It’s Summer but Winter is Coming

While I’ve been holed up in my house waiting for further surgery I’ve been delving into the realms of Westeros and a bit of fan art. Not something I do very often but I thought I’d give it a go. Here’s a couple of versions of a Jon Snow portrait I’ve been working on. The pics below contain no spoilers…they are just my idea of a bit of fun really. Also you can now find me on Deviant Art as well!

 

Winter has Come
Winter has Come

Lord Snow

And here is the Mother of Dragons!

mhysa

A Varying Degree of Pain and Pleasure

I have been in two minds about how to go about articulating recent events in my art and uni life. I have decided honesty is always the best policy…So here it is:
I broke my ankle, quite spectacularly in 3 places (and yes I am 30 years old and wearing Disney Pyjamas!!) I was rushed into surgery, had pins and plates inserted and spent 10 days in a hospital bed. This happened 3 weeks before the degree show. I am not going lie, it has been a very very difficult situation to deal with and I had to work tremendously hard to remain in the degree show. Unfortunately though, because of my accident I cannot yet share with you my final piece as it is not actual final! I have been granted an extension on my module deadlines and I am working towards healing and finishing my work to submit at a later date.

The upside is that I am still able to make it into the show. Thankfully I have got some amazing people helping me and I was very organised before my accident and had nearly everything prepared to begin building my installation. I am delighted to have been given such wonderful support by the university. My tutors have worked really hard to get me some helpers and to have my work re situated onto the ground floor (as I am now in a wheelchair when venturing out of the house! So I am currently experiencing a lot of pain but also it is a real pleasure to say that I SHALL still go to the ball!!

[Update 5/6/2015 – Apolopgies, I have been meaning to update and publish this post but got tinkering with the rest of the site design and it fell by the wayside a bit! The degree show was very good and my new assessment date has been issued now for the 15th June. I will update after this date has passed. For now though I am concentrating on doing the final bits for the installation. Ankle is healing well and I will be out of the cast next Friday! For now though, please watch this space!!

New Website!!!

Hello! Welcome and thank you for visiting my brand new website! Please feel free to browse and leave me any feedback you may have. You can contact me via the link above, leave me a comment or if you prefer Facebook or Twitter please use the links at the bottom!

Website Design: It’s been a long time in the making but finally I have arrived at a place where I am happy to publish this! It’s been quite the journey indeed! As you can see I have managed to integrate my new WordPress blog into the design which in itself has been quite a challenge! (I just have to copy and paste all my old posts over from blogspot now! Snore!)

I guess this journey started a half my lifetime ago when I was 15. I learned the very basics of HTML through friends and as a hobby. I only very recently, in my first year of university, learned CSS and since then I have been developing my skills over time. I was happy to hear that we are required to have a professional website as part of one of our modules and jumped at the chance to start afresh, “rebrand” myself and build something which really reflects my current art practice. I have chosen to build with quite a clean, fresh look in mostly black and white which compliments my love for tonal drawings.

Firstly, to write this site I decided to go back to basics and revise my prior knowledge of HTML and CSS. I looked to our booklist and found this awesome source! I highly recommend this book to anyone who is thinking of building a decent site from scratch:

Although I have spent a long time writing the HTML and CSS code for my website I have looked to the web for tutorials, info and example sites to help me learn and further develop my skills. For the menu bar and image galleries, as I have very little understanding of Javascript I have dipped in a little to some free resources (all acknowledged within the coding). There is a huge plethora of such things out there but these are a few I really recommend:

Also I have some awesome friends who have helped me now and in the past to understand better how this all works! Especial thanks to David Harris-James, Michael Stephenson, Jim Grimmet and Jan Doncom!!

The development is ongoing and right now, after finally managing to work out the integration process to get my blog on here, the next challenge is getting my mind around responsive design. Watch this space! 🙂

Thus is the Thesis!

Today I received a first for my dissertation. I cannot even begin to describe how happy this has made me!

Last year I began my research adventure by exploring humour in Fine Art within the realms of philosophical and theoretical thinking. Over time though I realised that not only was my subject based in a broad landscape but there were hundreds of different avenues which lead to thousands of separate pathways; some which ended abruptly in neat little cul-de-sac’s of theory, others which dramatically turned corners in a great tangle of ideas and then through it all were great highways which linked everything together.
Humour theory is not broadly discussed however within typical studies of philosophy or art theory. You really have to dig around to find the real gems! Surprisingly the thinker who gave me the most food for thought on the subject of humour was Friedrich Nietzsche. I have heard many people speak of Nietzsche’s work as “gloomy” or “depressing”, when actually a great part of it is quite uplifting!
The book I most admire was published in 1878 and is entitled Human, All Too Human
As part of my current studio work I have been conducting some research by performance work. This has meant I have been wearing a gorilla suit in day to day life. It began as an activity which was raising a little money for charity but also as a precursor to my studio work. It seemed fitting as this particular mode of performance raised many laughs and smiles to explore the humour in it a little further and so my studio practice influenced my writing.
Very recently in the Tate Britain I saw a short video of a man jumping about in a gorilla suit trying to escape and the deal was done! I absolutely loved this video and it became a lot of the focus point for my writing. This video was by Angus Fairhurst in 1995 and is called A Cheap and Ill-Fitting Gorilla Suit. You can see a bit of it here complete with adverse opinions of the viewer . In tribute to Fairhurst though, who sadly passed away in 2008, this video was made by the Tate, I recommend giving this a watch though as it speaks volumes about Fairhursts sense of humour.

If you would like to read my dissertation please click here to view the PDF version. It has its official grade from the university now but I am always happy to hear any comments or feedback about my work.

The Future is Bright, the Future is Freelance?

I’m really excited about all the prospects there are for the future…really excited but really scared too! Our university has laid on two really exciting day sessions for us with Chrysalis Arts in York. These sessions just might have proved the most valuable thing that I have so far done in 3rd year because I think I have finally decided what I really want to do with my degree upon leaving university. I am going to begin looking into a career in freelance art working. I cannot say for sure if this will be my main job as one must have a stable way to earn their bread and butter, but there is nothing saying that with perseverance, a strong business plan, dedication and a little innovation I might just be able to make something out of it all!

I’ve begun already to look at possible projects I may be able to venture forth on. I have in fact got something in the pipeline which is VERY exciting. I am not going to give details just yet though because I would prefer it all to be for certain before I begin telling people about it. Let’s just say I have been in conversation with some people about a possible residency in the next year or so and I have been pursuing options for funding.

I am also currently working with a couple of freelance online agencies currently that specialise in private commissions for both fine drawing/painting and illustration. I am always open to suggestion of how to expand on my commission/freelance opportunities, so please feel free to message me or comment below if you have any ideas!

Commissions

I have just been signed up with an online arts commission agency Commissionanartist.com which I am quite excited about. I have just completed my first commission through them and I am really pleased with how it is going so far. Working with an agency wasn’t something I had considered doing before but it was recommended to me recently and I’m pleased I decided to give it a go!

For several years now I have been taken on private commissions. I have done a range of things including a bespoke postcard design, sign painting, marketing illustration and design; mostly though I specialising in making art for people who would just like a special piece of art. I’ve heard a few artists complain about being asked to paint pictures of other peoples dogs and babies because they would prefer bigger projects which will bring them wider recognition or fame even. I really don’t feel this way because I really love to make art for anyone regardless of the size of the audience for my work. All I ask for is to be paid for exercising my skills, the materials I use and the time I spend creating the work.

Believe it or not this is probably one of the bigger issues I have encountered in the past, people asking me to do commissions but expecting it to be for free or to just have to buy a canvas and have me work on it and say that they will show everyone and it will be good exposure for my art. It’s by no means an issue unique to me. I certainly believe I should be paid for my work, just as anyone working in a particular profession. If you are interested in reading more about the issue of artists being paid for their efforts please click here to read about the current campaign!

Bricoleur – Interim Art Show, Artemis House, York

How exciting! We have opened our interim degree show at the Salt & Powell gallery space at Artemis House in York. It’s been quite hectic trying to get everything ready. I’ve been on the technical team which means assisting with building false walls, filling holes, cleaning floors, sorting electric cables, endless wall painting and sanding…etc. I enjoy the work and it’s been good experience but can be frustrating at times as myself and a select few others have been at the space on time every day ready to work but the rest of the team tends to either come late or not turn up at all…such is life though. We have done the best we can with the people power we have.

My work is an small installation which centres around a man called Ian Zempech. He has a very unique problem: when he looks in a mirror or at a photo of himself he sees the image of a chimpanzee, the rest of the world sees him as a normal man. He has spent all his life trying to understand his condition and recently has done some work with a neurologist who has dubbed it with the term Primorphia. Primorphia is the name of my work incidentally and it is a small installation of his space. Ian is an avid maker of self-portraits to show the world how he seems himself so the space I have created for him is a kind of studio/sitting room which he habitually inhabits.

The idea of the interim show is to test out your final piece and see how it can be expanded on and brought forward into the end degree show. I am happy(ish) with my work but it needs to be bigger and more intimate. I want my final piece to be a really immersive experience, one in which the audience can really engage with Mr. Zempech and his plight and attempt to understand what he must experience in day to day life.

Gorilla – Gorilla, Gorilla

Final year is fully underway now at uni and I am in full on art mode! I’ve had some crazy ideas for my work this year which tie into my dissertation writing and they have resulted in this:

This is in fact my research! Not just the book I am reading for my dissertation but the whole gorilla suit wearing is a major part of my research for my studio module too. I have been doing a bit of charity work in my gorilla suit for Ape Action Africa the idea is for every £1 I raise I spend an hour in the gorilla suit. I’ve managed to raise a fair bit recently but I am bringing the project to an end soon, sadly, as final year takes priority over any other projects.

It’s been rather fun but very insightful too walking about as a gorilla. I recently went on a rather fun trip to Leeds College of Art to visit the studios there and the whole way was wearing the gorilla suit.

Project Hole Punch

I’ve taken on a bit of a project this summer in preparation for my final year at uni. I have been working with found and recycled materials to produce pictures of monkeys. For those of you who don’t know…I rather like monkeys. I promised myself that third year would be the year for me where I would really let my imagination run wild and I would let the monkey out! Here is a sneak peak into the work I have been making, these are made using the dots found in hole punches which I have acquired from the office I work in and by going around the faculty offices at university:

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York Curiouser Festival – Workshop of Historical Corrections

This summer has been incredibly busy. I have had parallel projects running, the Midsummer Nights Dream project and this other, even bigger task. We have been commissioned by Janet Hodgson and York Curiouser Festival to produce work for the installation of The Workshop of Historical Correction at the historical site The Postern Tower in Fishergate, York.

It has been a really challenging and wonderful experience. Working alongside Janet, has been a really valuable insight into how a contemporary art project is put together. While we students are individually working hard making the physical artefacts for the Workshop Janet is making a video installation for the top floor which involves a lot of auditions, assistants, actors an editor etc… All in all it’s been quite the show!

My work was a fictionalised account of how William Shakespeare wrote his play. It was a play itself on the words “writers block”. The idea is that he had a kind of frame of cubes, a bit like an abacus; each cube had four words on it and the whole this formed eight rows, each with eight blocks which he spun to gain inspiration for his writing.

I made an online version of this for fun which was linked into the piece via a QR Code. You can find the online version here.