Today’s unconventional advent calendar is very unconventional indeed as it is long weekend of cumulative entries. I may well devise some bonus content later for those of you who might have missed the last two days of usually daily pics and musings.
I was taken by the art featured in the calendar as someone who endeavours to unite art and planning issues; often we find ourselves working with various people who have ideas for new uses for buildings where the previous use has for some reason ceased, and unfortunately there are a lot of examples of buildings which are at risk due to continual neglect and decay. From a cultural planning point of view these can also present themselves as opportunities as well as problems, there are many innovative examples of property re-use and reimagination. Our towns and cities are constantly changing, instability can mean an area reinvents itself in various ways. The Liverpool biennial is the largest contemporary arts festival in the UK (see website), and when I first visited in 2008 the city was the European capital of culture. Interestingly, Liverpool and Liverpool John Moores Universities devised a methodology for assessing the impact of cultural festivals (download here), covering cultural access, economy and tourism, cultural vibrance and sustainability, image and perceptions and governance and delivery.
Previous entries for the unconventional advent calendar can all be seen on the UWS Cultural Planning blog where a community of cultural planning practitioners doing the 2013 short course are recording and sharing their reflections and thoughts.
So, this is what part of my studio looks like at the moment after two weeks of research away for my Are You Here Project. I thought I would share it for a bit of fun (I liked the way the printed out photographs all sat nicely together), and also ask how other people who do creative work get inspiration and plan out projects.
This is a “part one” documenting my work for the sculptural pieces I am doing as part of my current project, planning for an exhibition in July at Gladstone’s Land in Edinburgh. The works form part of a filmed and photographic work, incorporated into an e-book which will be debuted at the exhibition and then released online after this.
I have now completed the letters, shown here with their first coat of paint.
The letters of the project “Are you here” are arranged and re-arranged to form various statements, at three temporary on site locations in Bristol and Brighton, where two lines of my family come from.
These works are designed to question the nature of family and genealogical links to places, making us wonder whether it is a coincidence that we are instinctively drawn to places or if we actively try to create links with places where we have connections (no matter how distant or close).
I was amused to see this owl on a boat by M-Shed museum in Bristol yesterday, he was watching over the city. I spent yesterday meeting up with friends old and new, doing lots of sketches, and also acquired the materials to make my temporary sculptures (more on that later).
I love these beautiful pens, a very happily received present. They are Letrasets, bold and wonderful. The power of new, lovely, pretty pens and a blank page!
Art based and architectural based books line my bookshelves and have given me many happy hours of inspiration. I thought I would write a review of a recent book which I acquired to share how much I enjoyed it and also invite some suggestions from others as to books which inspire and delight.
My current book of choice is “An Illustrated Journey: Inspiration from the Private Arts Journals of Travelling Artists, Illustrators and Designers” by Danny Gregory.
I’m hoping no-one minds me taking a photo of the book cover, happy to take it down if someone does! I just wanted to share the lovely detail so people who had not seen it could see what it looked like.
The book contains sketches and illustrations from a huge number of artists from around the world, each has descriptions from the artists of their creative practice and a selection of images from sketchbooks. It is a delight to read (either cover to cover or dipping in every now and then) as you can travel the world from the comfort of your own home… Italy to Uddingston, Dallas to Paris. I find it fascinating to see how little everyday details which are superbly familiar to some are utterly unusual to others; food packaging, street signs, architectural styles, words and lettering. What is “the norm” in one country becomes so interesting to the visitor; sketching makes us notice new things (and revisit our own visual landscape with fresh eyes). Each artist describes their journalling technique and their chosen “tools”, some even have photographs of their kit so that you can see how they work on location. The differences in technique are fascinating as everyone has slightly different approaches (some working in pen, others including collected ephemera from their travels, some preferring to include descriptions alongside drawings and others divulging inner thoughts) and some prefer not to set “rules” for working and just see what happens. The compilation is presented by alphabetical order of artist, and carefully chosen images line each page. This is a wonderful book for anyone who enjoys travelling and wishes to explore ways of capturing the world around them, and also for those of us who love art and architecture and seldom leave the house without a sketchbook!
I would love to hear some more book recommendations for art and architecture. How do you like to remember your travels? If you could go anywhere in the world and draw, where would that be?