I have just read a text that was written by a friend of my grandmother (Fathers side). It was called ‘A Coalminers Diary’, and based in the north of England across the mining counties. The author was attempting to document the closure of the pits during the years 87-90. He was an amateur Photographer who was also a coalminer’s son. I was reading it with a view to incorporating it into my current project, as a way of using it to generate visual ideas from sections of the text that I found of interest. One example was the fact /legend that the cathedral of Wakefield was built on a column of coal. Because of the sheer amount of coal under the city they were forced to leave a tower of black gold under it whilst mining in order not to endanger its foundations.
The hobbyist nature of the main character was also important and made me draw parallels with Patrick Acton (renowned matchstick sculptor from the U.S.A). A series of work will also be generated on this theme, in particular referencing his cross sectional diagram of the Soviet Cosmonauts living quarters in the craft ‘Zewda’. Further drawings will also be made.
For the Matchbox Brothers book launch, I am working on a small scale version of an installation that will happen during the residency at Kronika next year. Using photography taken during my recent trip to Poland I am making small scale sculptural pieces. A series of photographs will be displayed and a reading given.
I have recently submitted some more Media Puppets to ‘SOLO PROJECTS’ next upcoming exhibition: “LOOKING IS ALWAYS AN EXTRAORDINARY ACT”. Two have been accepted and more maybe considered for an ‘Expanded Photography’ show on the basis that their origins lie in the genre of journalism photography.
The project with the lake Twins will soon be back underway as they have made their way back from Lithuania.
I have also been continuing with the Zofia Rydet inspired collage drawings that I have been making, one that I am including here in two halves.
Lots happening in the last month with regards to art!
I’ll start with the major stuff: ACE application decision letter received which unfortunately was a rejection. They have sent several other links for funding which I will pursue. The project will still happen, just need to re-engineer to a smaller budget.
Hopefully will be able to support somewhat through the art market I am taking part in at York at the end of the month, presenting a new series of site specific reliefs with a particular Yorkshire flavour in the pipeline and in production.
Kronika gallery mentioned that, if funding didn’t come through, I could use of their artist’s accommodation for the purpose of a 2 week residency, dates to be confirmed.
Trip to Poland happened last week. Had the good hospitality of the Kronika gallery in Bytom to enjoy, artist’s accommodation located above the gallery on the main square in a house with a very chequered history. Two nights of research, meeting different people that run the place and struggling with my poor grasp of Polish. Several galleries visited in the Katowice area, Silesian museum and a local library. All with the aim of developing the project.
Last day was devoted to visiting the Museum of Matchbox Manufacturing at Czestochowa. Getting there from Bytom (amid the crowds of pilgrims of World Youth Day) was always going to be interesting. Arrived just after 2 (5 minutes later than you need to be there for the tour, as they close at 3): ringing a bell that I could hear in a warehouse somewhere endlessly, calling Dzien Dobry through a locked gate because I could see evidence of people, and enlisting the help of an old man who seemed convinced that the place was kaput.
Eventually (and as if totally unaware) a little old lady popped her head out and invited us in. Personal english translation during the tour was great as there was only 2 other Polish guests. Meant could ask a lot of questions about the factory’s history and its multiple owners, including cooperative of workers, the Swedish government and a Russian millionaire businessman. Its final flare of glory came when a fire was sparked by a box of sulphuric chemicals and brought half the place to the ground. The factory was the very last in the world to exist that still used hand operated machinery.
I was hoping to be able to make a large donation through the shop but was sorely disappointed to find out that they only sold many different sizes of matchboxes. Bought a pack anyway and am marketing the museum here.
They allowed me to take lots of pictures which, with the text, will count towards the conceptual development of the project.
Matchbox Brothers Book launch at The Exchange in Dalston has now been confirmed and will happen on the 22nd November. More details will be published on Facebook and via email soon. Looking forward to working with Froso and Natasha again on this one. New run of books being made so we don’t run out on the day!? Few copies left at the library for sale if your running low on reading material.
Thanks for reading and speak soon.
Blog a few days late this month. Partly an excuse fact been knuckling down for Arts Council deadline mid-way through. Made it anyhow, in spite of several major proofing and re-editing sessions. Now just a case of sitting back and waiting for a reply, apparently will hear something within 10 days as to whether application will go forward to next stage or not. Bit of a scare at the last minute when realized you can’t actually reapply for 12 months after if rejected. Previously had been under the impression you could just keep re-applying with their feedback. Will know something by this time next month anyhow!
To keep my mind from fretting about ACE app have been getting on with some drawings and collages for Lake Twins project. Developments underway with regards to locating an exhibition space, possibility of being able to use the gallery space upstairs at the Birds Nest pub in Deptford. Thinking it would be nice to be able to tie it in with Art Licks festival in October, or any other arts festivals happening at the same time.
Also Camberwell Arts Festival happened with a weekend of open studios (www.camberwellarts.org.uk/summer-2016/). That was pretty cool. My first time on the proper map and with an official banner outside. Even had the blurb about the history in the brochure and studio had official christening, Joiners Yard Studios being born! Had nearly 100 people in all weekend, of which explaining all latest projects to, before directing them to the sales table where a collection of old watercolours and pen and pencil drawings had been collected together. Made 3 sales, just smaller works, a maquette of a 3D collage to a lady who said it looked like her friend because it had blonde hair, an old relief collage combining 2D and 3D from a series based on Bath to a man who said the druids at Stonehenge spoke to him and a pencil sketch of a beer garden awning fluttering under a church in a Warsaw square. Met lots of interesting folk too, had great conversations and where relevant left people on their own to enjoy the art. One conversation with a curator of Cuban artists left me thinking that they don’t do badly under communism. Seem to have all their education paid for them if they are talented enough. She rounded it off with a comparison of the raw deal that UK artists have. Another with a representative of Bad Behaviour, an organization based in Brixton who hold regular group exhibitions at Brixton east. An open call for their next project coming up in September. Also collaborating in this weekend’s event was The Crows Rest Bakehouse (www.thecrowsrestbakehouse.co.uk) who kindly donated 2 varieties of cookies which went like the clappers. In return flyers for a coming workshop were also distributed.
Also took part in the Camberwell Open, had a 2D collage piece in there called Machine Gun Media (www.nickvaughan.org/work/mediapuppets/machine-gun-media-2/).
This is the beginning of a monthly blog whereby I will explain what I have been up to with regards to art projects, competitions and new pieces of work (that will be viewable on this site). I will explain more about current ones as well as those potentially on the horizon and proposals made. Also it will be a chance for me speak about ideas or concepts that I am developing as well as more pragmatic information such as dates for exhibitions, etc.
…..One art project on the go I am doing with some identical twins ‘Lake Twins‘, who are multi media artists. They make really cool left and right handed drawings as well and have this spooky unified consciousness thing going on. Generally they have an interest in architecture and tend to respond to an environment about them. We went out on a photo trail starting in Holborn and ending at Waterloo. Its always very interesting to see how different artists work. I am now producing some drawings for that, which I have taken through a process of ‘shuffling’ in order to create new narrative. From these collages were made. We shall be looking for somewhere to put on a small show soon!
I have just put a proposal in at The Exchange in Dalston with regards to the launch of my book ‘Matchbox Brothers‘. This revolves around my vision of a communist book signing. Using imagery related to spy mania I will offer an alternative form of book launch, whereby participants may surreptitiously steal away in silence from the experience, with a secretly signed copy of the book.
Have just entered The Camberwell Open and Derwent Art Prize. Was nominated for the Derwent 2 years ago and hoping through the entry of a more experimental style of drawing to have some luck! A Bowie tribute with a surrealistic element and a new approach to collage for me.
Arts council application inches painfully on. Another small section completed of its epic length last night for the budget. Deadline is now in June so shall just have to wait and see. On the plus side its always great to see random, unrelated aspects of your practise come together under this umbrella of an application. Now getting more practical side of budgeting/costing together same kind of pattern developing. Research for travel, dates, interesting Polish towns that will be visited. Czesztochowa, where they have a matchbox factory that featured in my story (Matchbox Brothers). Krakow for Zofia Rydet Foundation. An artist who dedicated latter years of her life to the mammoth task of photographing every home in Poland. They have half of her life’s work stored in negative format piled to the rafters of some dusty , rustic old tumbledown villa on the outskirts of town. Will be collaborating with them to produce a new series of work for an exhibition at Kronika gallery in Bytom.