Month: February 2014

Finally it’s the exhibition!

After days  of late night studio sessions, four Biros and weeks of research, I finally finished my A1 drawing for the Narrative exhibition.  So here it is:

(click on image to enlarge it)

I’ve realised that I haven’t mentioned the UV light in previous posts so you’re probably a bit confused right now.  As you (hopefully) have previously read, my work for this exhibition is based on the homeless and a blog I found called “Invisible people”. I began writing real life stories I heard from the blog and recording them in UV pen in my sketchbook, I then drew the picture over the top.  The background as to why I chose these particular scenes is in one of my previous posts, so check it out to save me retyping it.  After testing a few of these out in A5, I decided I couldn’t tell their stories in the way they should be told, directly from them and unchanged.  So I went and sat on a bench in the cold and rain and wrote down what I felt sat there when people just walked past me. I tried to think what I possibly might feel if I knew I had nowhere to go at the end of the day, to keep warm and dry off. Although I know I could never feel how they do unless I was in the same situation as them.  I recorded how I felt in a piece of writing which I wrote underneath the A1 drawing in the UV pen.

(click on image to enlarge it)

(click on image to enlarge it)

Below my A1 drawing in the exhibition I decided to show my sketchbook and the writing in it.  Although at first I wasn’t to sure as a sketchbook is quite a personal thing to display in an exhibition. But after I got some feedback off various people I decided it would give the viewer an insight into what the Biro image above was about.

(click on image to enlarge it)

The ‘Narrative’ exhibition is on from Friday 28th February over the weekend ending on Sunday 2nd March 2014. So if you’re in the area come and see it! There’s tonnes of interesting pieces on display from all the first year students at Newcastle University!


A snapshot of their world

Continuing on my ‘Narrative’ brief,  after my decision to base it on the stories and lives of the homeless,  I’ve recently been going out on walks with my sketch book.  I decided to go and sit where people living on the streets might in the day or may even sleep there at night. I sit on a bench maybe or even on the pavement and I draw their view of the world.  To anyone looking at my drawings they just see a normal everyday mundane scene, maybe including the end of a bench. When in fact it could mean a lot more than that to someone living on the streets, it might be the view they wake up to and have done so for many years.

2014-02-15 18.30.32(Click on the image to enlarge it)

The way I lay out my sketch book has become really important to me since starting these particular drawings. On the left page I list key points from stories I listen to on the blog ‘Invisible People’  ( ). Whilst on the right I have one of my sketches, in the case above its the view from a bus shelter.  Immediately you know the two are linked but you don’t quite know how. On the other hand if you see the drawing alone you have no idea of its underlying meaning. I kind of enjoy the fact that anyone looking at it on its own doesn’t really understand why I chose that scene. As usual you will then get those art critics that have some in-depth reading about how I had some subconscious thought… So maybe I should reveal it’s real history to the viewer for their peace of mind?

2014-02-15-18-28-57(Click on the image to enlarge it)

Invisible people

I was given the brief ‘Narrative’, straight away I thought of all those typical fairy-tales, but why do they come to mind first? I’ve come to realise that they don’t always happen, I felt like I should help voice the other end of the scale and the real life stories.  We don’t always want to listen, we’re so busy with our lives we ignore those who just want to be heard.  Now living in a larger city I’ve begun to notice the increasing homeless population and I want to listen to their stories. So I want my work educate the viewer of how someone can go from living the perfect life to the opposite, and become homeless. I don’t want my work to make me come across as a kind of missionary, because I know I can’t solve homelessness. I simply want people to be more aware of the situation, like I became when moving to the city.

I began my research by trying to find someone who’s managed to get off the streets and voice their story online. Whilst doing this I came across a blog which does this on behalf of the homeless, it lets them tell us what we can do to help them; Mark Horvath gives people on the street a chance to voice themselves and tell their story in an unedited video. I was really moved when I heard some of the videos and I didn’t realise the amount each individual story varies. I thought it was something everyone should see, and if you can make any of their three wishes from the videos come true it could change someone’s life.


So next time you walk past a homeless person, if you can’t stop to listen, pass a smile and don’t make them feel invisible.

A British Love Affair

Rarely do I find an exhibition I really get into and enjoy, but when I visited the Hatton Gallery I did!  I’m fascinated with Marilyn photography so the exhibition ‘Marilyn Monroe: A British Love Affair’ organised by the National Portrait Gallery sent me crazy.  One of the key things I liked about this collection of photographs and magazine covers was that they included honest imagery. In this day and age we are constantly exposed to fantasy bodies in the media that girls can literally only dream of; yet here we all see a stunning actress who has not been photo-shopped to have a smaller waist and a gap between her thighs, so why do we feel the need to do that now?  An image I picked out to show you was by Baron, who chose to show her in a casual loose shirt and without all the lights of studio setting.

Photograph by Baron

She’s gorgeous, many would say the same, so why are there so many that wouldn’t? Marilyn’s so relaxed here but if we compare it to other photographs in the exhibition, such as one in preparation for a Pin-Up magazine cover, we see another side of her. The gentle, loving housewife previously photographed by Baron has been restyled to look more like a fun but classy show girl. This is not only in the clothes she’s been given to wear but also the pose and props used in the image.  I still really appreciate this photograph, and Reisfeld, as even though its aimed at another audience, so is composed very differently to Barons, they’ve still kept to her true shape using only lighting to accentuate her body parts.

Photograph by Bert Reisfeld 1954

The last image I picked out from the exhibition was the vintage poster from ‘The Prince and the Showgirl’. I’m not entirely sure what my overall opinion of this is as I understand this is advertisement for a film. So it is very fitting for this purpose, but as a photograph alone I don’t particularly like it.  I know you can’t just say I don’t like something so I’d probably have to pick out that I feel it’s very male dominating, depicting a submissive woman (although I’m not quite sure that’s the best way to describe how I feel about it). If Marilyns face was hidden you would expect to see a crying scared woman being grabbed by a slightly aggressive male actor from behind. So maybe that’s why I don’t quite feel at ease with the image.

‘The Prince and the Showgirl’, Vintage Poster 1957

My work is not similar to this at all so I can’t really compare it to any of these artists. Although it’s given me a few ideas with composition of photographs and how that can easily change who will appreciate your work and their opinions.  I just really enjoyed looking around this so I think the ‘Marilyn Monroe: A British Love Affair’ is a must see for everyone!  Whether you’re interested in photography, film or just have an interest in the arts I’d definitely recommend it!


Narnia bound!

 This has got to be one of the most enjoyable pieces I’ve ever made. I just went crazy with it! My plan of it being a suit of armour kind of resulted in some sort of mythical beetle suit, so not  looking anything like what I’d originally planned. Although collecting and cutting up over 150 CDs was a little monotonous.. but all the free cake from the art department made up for it!  I wouldn’t say it’s entirely wearable either.. what you see below meant having to move around extremely careful and slowly ( I did get some funny looks!) but even though I was cautious I ended up with many cuts and scratches, but I’d say it was worth it! The idea came from being trapped in a mirror and fighting to get out, which might explain where my armour idea came from.  It was probably a more skill building project, as I had to learn to knit (which I feel I need to mention YouTube videos for that are really helpful!), learn to use a laser cutter and how to work with expanding foam and plaster.  Hours and hours of work is now lying in my garage with many other of my creations unfortunately!


…and yes it was numbingly cold shooting this !