Wednesday 23 February 2011

Picture Perfect or Fabulous Fun Females

A few days ago I had great news, Ricky and I were selected to take part in the Carnival Crossroads project in March. We had applied for it not really expecting to get a place especially when we saw how many other artists were present at the meeting. Then January came and I thought we had little hope but I was wrong. This opportunity means an intensive training session in Luton for four days learning how to make and construct wonderful carnival costumes. What a great opportunity to learn new skills, meet new people and have great fun.

On Saturday I will be running a workshop titled Picture Perfect Portraits at the annual event in a village near to where I live. It is called Textiles in Focus and has always been an event which I have attended and taken part in for many years.

My Picture Perfect Portraits are created using mixed media techniques with a cartoon like female character as the main focus. This image is stitched, painted or printed to make it interesting and then placed onto a background which is also decorated in a complimentary way.The two are then combined and the picture is complete.

They are meant to be fun and quirky and can be used to make a statement if the artist wishes.

What is so addictive about these is that there are endless directions and effects which can be explored. This has left me considering the idea of developing them into larger pieces. I have made quite a few and the image here is a montage of only three of them. I like the simplicity of the characters and the vibrancy of the colours each one being individual and unique even though I am only using three different characters.

Tuesday 15 February 2011

A look at Chris Ofili's work

I borrowed a book from the library recently about the work of Chris Ofili the painter who won the Turner Prize in 1998. It is simply titled Chris Ofili edited by Judith Nesbitt.
When I spotted the book I was drawn to it because, although I had heard a bit about his work and his use of elephant dung, I had not really seen much of it. In my circle of friends mention had been made too that there was a similarity between my work and his. A quick flick through the book revealed that we were of a similar age (I was 5 years older) he was British born and lived in Manchester, he was a painter and was now living in Trinidad.
I was taken aback by the range of emotions I experienced on reading the text the first being humour. Then I was shocked at his controversial titles and work created as a response to what was occuring at the time in his environment, the music scene, and what was referred to as "Afro-centricity"

The elephant dung additions to his work adds humour and it does make one question his reasoning for using it and it is in searching for the answers that a fascination develops.

I was thrilled that others thought to mention the similarity between our work (even without knowing much about his work), but now having had a chance to find out more about him and his ideas I am absolutely inspired. I must add, that for me the similarities are mainly in his use of strong colour and texture, the female image and the black/African element. His patterns and textures created by his use of medium also has a familiarity and I would love to see him work.

My favourite paintings are No woman, no cry and Blossom as seen on the front cover in the photo above. Additionally I am impressed with the size of his work and his watercolours. I doubt if textile artist would be able to include elephant dung within their work but like painters we have been known to use odd things so watch this space.