Not far to the portal… adventures await.
Rewind & Fastforward:
- Last post in January – good vibes for the year
- Go to to West Wales for research week on a film
- Come back from West Wales & commence storyboard drawing (ideas stage)
- In February, continue drawing for storyboards & characters (starting to lose bits of paper with sketches on)
- Design the programme for Time Zero Polaroid photography symposium (it turned out very lovely – more on that soon)
- Do a lot of dancing and busting some groovy moves, and then, at the height of contact improv dancing (it sounded like a good idea), injure my knee in five different ways
- Get cabin fever after two days of immobilisation (patience building exercise can never hurt?)
- Continue drawing a lot
- In March, get back to walking again and realising I have a huge list of stuff to share here.
So, here we are. Lots of interesting little bits to come, here’s a snippet from December. After out improv gig at Chapter, which I mentioned in a previous post, me and the genius of Mr Nic Finch did some improv drawing.
I’d love to do this more, just unplanned, raw drawing out of the blue (well, the blue of the mind). Here’s the final drawing:
I love Nic’s animal collective! My style is more rough and ready, with pyramid-shaped fish, a crumbling tower with a crazy jazz cats blasting out notes enjoyed by deer, and two fairytale characters having tea. Oh, and Mr Moon with mushrooms growing out of his chin.
And also, I designed a poster for the event with an otter in it. Can’t go wrong.
Here are some fruits of the labour from a Saturday afternoon. On one of my usual wanders around the charity shops I started admiring the old hardbacks on the shelf, especially their texture and illustrations. Touching them gave me a real sense of ownership that had left its mark on the pages. I wanted to get these books but not just so that they can sit still on a shelf with their counterparts – they deserved more than that.
I started thinking about how I struggle to keep a notebook. I have several notebooks but none of them are quite… well, mine. And this is why a lot of them get lost or forgotten on table corners in my flat, only half-used. I thought these hardback books would actually be perfect to use for note/sketch book covers as they are sturdy and also because they would be customisable. This is something I’ve found lacking in notebooks too. So I gathered a pile of different types of paper into different combinations, trimmed them, added a couple of rubber bands and voilà! My own personalised notebook.
I can take out or add pages when I want to without ripping anything and even replace all of the pages if I feel like it. Now I’m actually using the book much more and feel slightly compelled to sketch on its pages. I suppose it was just about making my own creative space in the form of a book to enable creative manifestations.
You know those conversations, the enthusiastic rants you have with interesting people, often performed over a few drinks in a pub? And the following day, the slow dawn of realisation that you have wholeheartedly agreed to take part in some project or another?
I love those conversations.
Great discussions are often initiated and accelerated by impulse and instinct. They can generate interesting creative collaborations that be simple short-lived sparks or long-lasting affairs. A couple of weeks ago I had a conversation that lead me to take part in an improvised music performance with the PAST collective as part of the May you Live in Interesting Times festival.
I used to sing a lot when I was younger, in indie bands and in plays as part of my theatre activities. Since coming to Britain I haven’t sung much and I had almost forgotten what singing really means to me and what it feels like. I came across a quote, on the Facebook page of the German Krautrockers Popol Vuh, which describes this feeling well:
Music expresses that which cannot be said and on which it is impossible to be silent.
The singing I did for the performance was the first time I used my voice as more of an instrument amongst others. Creating rhythms, simple melodies, whispers of breathing which were looped and layered into the fabric of sound we were improvising together. It was very liberating, the improvisation, and being able to embrace the individual processes of each of the rehearsal sessions we had.
To be able to improvise is to be able to welcome uncertainty and discomfort and allow them to open up new creative pathways. With singing this approach is physical, both raw and delicate at times. This tingling exploration is to be found in other creative pursuits too, but I think it takes more practice for me to find it and apply it to them. The environment has a big impact on this – the often hectic surroundings do not offer me the almost meditative qualities needed for a fluid and experimental mindset. So next for me it’s about practicing achieving this mindset in everyday life and creative practice and letting it run its course.
I’ve just finished doing some work for the brilliant artist, Matt Cook, on his Open Top Sound art event coming up in Colchester this Saturday. The work included both printed and email flyers and a bus ticket (as seen above); when boarding the bus the ticket will be rubber stamped with Matt’s logo.
Making the bus ticket made me think how much fun little bits of work like this can be, playing around with type and paying homage to the style conventions of the past. And the fun isn’t just in the work, it’s also in the process of working with the client: an evolving, sparky two-way interaction at it’s best.
So what was the project about?
Open Top Sound is a sound art event that took place – you guessed it – on top of an open top bus as it made a journey through Colchester.
Open Top Sound is composed of field recordings, sections of ambient noise recorded around the town, combined with recorded descriptions of places in Colchester by local Blue Badge Guides. Recorded noises blend with noises from beyond the bus to create an immersive experience.
If you want to see more of Matt’s work, check out his website.