Tag Archives: work

ARK Cycling Consultation shop window

ARK Cycling Shop window

I spent a few hours today drawing window graphics for the ARK Cycling Consultation shop on Queen Street, Cardiff. Cardiff Council asked ARK to help with the public consultation process for improving the Cardiff Cycle Network.

The shop features and interactive survey (which you can also fill online here – but it’s much more fun in the shop!) and events like Dr Bike maintenance workshop and bike accessories making workshops.

Interested in having a say about the future of cycling in Cardiff? Visit the shop at 105-107 Queen Street (the old Lobster Bob shop opposite Capitol Centre) this Thursday 21 October or Saturday 23 October. I’ll be there all day Saturday to take people through the questions and have fun whilst doing so 🙂

More info: http://www.ark-lab.co.uk/survey

Do I have to paint you a picture?

In February I was asked to design the programme for Do I have to paint you a picture?, an international Polaroid exhibition and symposium. The brainchild of photographer Sam Perry, the exhibition and symposium had a good timing now that theoriginal Polaroid film is no longer being manufactured.*

This was one of those projects I can honestly say I enjoyed working on very much. Our meetings took place in a relaxed but productive atmosphere at an arts centre café/bar, usually over a coffee or a glass of wine. We had great conversations about the meaning of Polaroid and its unfortunate demise – and this shared interest formed the foundation for a good client-designer relationship. I actually saw myself as more of a consultant, advisor and collaborator in this project, which made the project run smoothly and the client feel more at ease. The more I work on freelance projects directly with a client, the I more I realise the importance of really listening to your client.

It was fantastic to take part in the symposium, listen to some inspiring talks by Polaroid photographer artists, researchers and journalists, and feel the shared connection in the space. Mark Arkless, a Welsh photographer with a passion for Polaroid, mentioned how the slowly disappearing Polaroid film stock has forced many photographers slow down and think through their process a bit more – the opposite of the effects of digital photography. He also talked about the preciousness and physical nature of Polaroids and how for him the colour variations of the classic SX-70 film express the Welsh concept of hiraeth, a kind of a deep longing for home. A real sense of ownership, care and curiosity was present both in the words of the speakers and the questions of the audience.

I agree with many who say Polaroids work best when they document everyday moments. The unexpected blurs, colour shifts and hues almost mimic the way our memory works – it’s not quite sharp in places and the tone of memories can change over time. For me it’s the size and weight of a Polaroid that makes the physical snapshot of a moment so much more precious – it becomes an object of desire.

*This does not mean the end of instant film – Fuji manufacture a peel-apart type film, and then there are the amazing people behind The Impossible Project who managed to salvage the last Polaroid production plant and who finally have succeeded in producing their own new instant film.

Creating space for a creative headspace

After a nice break that included no presents, rushing or spending much money, I have been getting back in gear by reading some of my favourite blogs. And I feel particularly warm and fuzzy in my heart as I see the same ethos and sentiment carry through so many people’s minds: to establish better conditions to unleash creativity within themselves.

First lovely Lulu, a creative designer and facilitator beaming with positive attitude, expresses her desire for self-exploration and creation of artistic works:

I believe that by committing to spend some time educating myself about my Self, by using the act of creating to journey from question to understanding, that artistic voice within me will be unleashed. And that the most appropriate mediums of expression will naturally emerge.

Then Olivia, a creative writer and thinker, talks about creative space which she calls “Olivia’s Kitchen”:

This year is about creating conditions that will allow my work to emerge – and Olivia’s Kitchen conjures the image for me of that space. — It is my belief that we are often so focused on worrying about what we are going to do and how we are going to do it, that we actually neglect creating the space which would allow the answers to those questions to emerge naturally.

I also enjoyed reading an ebook about happiness, quality of life and work by Vehmas Assembly (available in Finnish only), in which the author Sampsa coins a nice phrase saying that we all need to “re-educate our inner monkeys”. With this he refers to our evolutionary survival instincts and the unfortunate hoarding and status craving instinct that drives many to a vicious cycle of overconsumption, overworking and unhappiness. I share the point he and many others have made: a process of kindness, love and self-awareness is needed. Channeling these things into everyday life and ways of looking at things will affect everything else, like a chain reaction. One becomes kinder to oneself and this transfers to relationships, work and quality of life.

I felt inspired by all these generous and heartfelt pieces of writing and thought I would simply share my process of creative space. It’s not finished yet and I hope it never will be as things change with the flow. And change and flow I know now to be important parts of my quality of life in general.

I have reorganised my working space at home over Christmas. I have a desk in the corner of our light and cozy living room. It is only when I got rid of lots of clutter that is not related to my creativity (if it’s related, then it’s not clutter), moved it facing the window and allocated a wall next to it for free notes and drawings that I actually feel in my bones I can finally embrace this spot as my own. I have my candle, space for a cup of coffee or a glass of wine, a crazy plant, cat per week desk calendar, origami a day calendar, pot with lots of brushes and pens and sticks, a beautiful 50s book of British birds, a shelf with more books, different drawing papers and sketch books, woollen socks to combat drafty floors and the laptop, of course.

I hope you noticed that the laptop was last on the list.

I have now begun addressing the time space issue – to comfortably enjoy spending time here even after a long day at my full time job. Time space is for me really more about the whole sphere of an issue about creative headspace. It’s more about that freedom inside my head, a simultaneous lenience and vigorous drive towards exploring and expressing myself.

The good thing is that I have a perfect project starting up at the end of January, and this project will offer me a framework to help with creative time outside normal working hours. The project involves a workshops with many other great creative people: musicians, actors, filmmakers, writers and me as a storyboard artist. It’s a dream project – I’m going to be exploring storyboarding techniques and hopefully find an interesting way of showcasing the athmospheric moods and even sensuality of a scene. It’s work but it’s firstly more fun and personally rewarding exploration, happiness.

It’s a good start for 2010, a continuity of good things. I wish you all the same.

Tickets please…

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.