Saturday, 13 February 2016

Vamalgam 7

For this year's Victoria and Albert Museum (where I work part-time) staff art show, 'Vamalgam 7', I am exhibiting my painting, ' Tentacle Touch Teddy'.


For a while now I've been tinkering with the idea of doing some 2D and 3D cross-over pieces. One line of enquiry that I'm eager to pursue is a series of painted tower and box sculptures; either brightly painted in single colours, with possible tonal variations, or with intricate designs, like my recent 'Tattooed Tumour Box' sculpture. However, with 'Tentacle Touch Teddy', I made a start on a slightly different cross over process by depicting an image of one of my wheeled, orifice boxes on the surface of the very material that I normally use to construct the sculptures themselves - in this case, a piece of antique plywood packing crate, sourced from the Victorian and Albert Museum itself. There's also something very satisfying about painting on a rough, and untreated mid-tone surface (and working with its existing idiosyncrasies), as opposed to a pristine white one.

Friday, 12 February 2016

Hugly Crew

At the end of last year I posted about a crowd funding campaign for a project that I am working on with two friends, Sam and Ian, which aims to encourage children to engage more in outdoor activities. The initial stage of the project is to produce a children's storybook that also doubles up as a cookbook, whilst providing seeds and instructions for growing one of the ingredients that forms an integral part of the story. I'm happy to say that we met our £8000 target (largely down to the hard work put in by Sam and Ian, whose commitment and infectious enthusiasm for the project pulled in backers from all walks of life) which will enable us to complete this first stage of the project. 


All the stories in this and future stages of the project will be based around a group of cartoon characters, Hugly and Friends, that Sam and I developed from my initial sketches. And what we're now really excited about is welcoming on board the newest member of our team, the talented writer, Gemma Appleton, who will help us bring Hugly and his friends truly to life.

We are proud, at this very early stage, to already have support for the project from Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall and River Cottage - but the children's storybook/cookbook is just the start, and we have plans to develop Hugly’s world in more detail, offering exciting grow kits, outdoor games and interactive apps that use real outdoor experiences, and much, much more.

Saturday, 6 February 2016

RCA Secret 2016 - London and Dubai

Every year the deadline for submitting my invited entries into the RCA Secret seems to sneak up on me; but not so this year – at least that was the plan.


I've exhibited in every one of the Royal College of Art's secret postcard exhibitions for the past twelve years (is that correct? – if not, I'm sure that at least one the dedicated RCA Secret collectors can put me right on that score), and over the years my submissions have tended to become somewhat more elaborate and three dimensional. Without giving anything away (as it's a secret), I'll just say that my three entries for this year are no exception, and are, in fact, more sculptural than in previous years (a few examples of which you see here) – which is why I'm only just gonna be able to finish them in time for this Monday's submission deadline.


For those of you who don't know about the RCA Secret, it is a show of around 2000 original postcard-sized artworks by 'internationally acclaimed artists, designers, cultural icons, alumni, and up-and-coming graduates', exhibited between two venues – the Upper Gulbenkian Gallery, Royal College of Art, Kensington, London (7-15 April 2016), and Art Dubai, Madinat Jumeirah, Dubai (16-19 March 2016).


All of the cards go on sale for £55 each in London, and 500EAD in Dubai - with all the proceeds going to the RCA Fund, providing scholarships and bursaries for students. And the secret part of it, I hear you ask? Well, each postcard is exhibited anonymously, with the creator only being revealed once the card has been bought by its collector.


If you would like to buy any of the postcards from the shows (especially the London one) them I suggest arriving very early on the day of the sale as the queues can be very long. Previous years have seen the hardcore few camping out the night (and in some cases, days) before the show opens; which, I'm guessing, is why the RCA has decided to stagger this year's sale over six days – releasing new cards throughout the sale period. And if you do decide to go along, I advise that you make a long list of your favourite pieces, as it's quite likely that your first choices will be gone before you get to the payment desk. But, saying that, in previous years, some cards by really big names in the art world have been known to still be available late in the day.


Royal College of Art, Kensington
Kensington Gore
London SW7 2EU

Exhibition
8–15 April, 11am – 6pm
Late opening
13 & 15 April, until 8pm

Sale
10 April, 8am – 6pm
11–15 April, 11am – 6pm

COLLECTION DAY 16 April, 9am – 5pm

Free admission

Art Dubai
RCA Secret Dubai, takes place at Art Dubai, Madinat Jumeirah, 16 to 19 March 2016. Please note that the official Art Dubai Opening is 16 March. For more information, see Art Dubai Visitor Information.

Exhibition
16–19 March

Tuesday, 12 January 2016

Ping Pong Light Box

A little over two years ago I was commissioned to work on designs for the new Ping Pong restaurant, next to Wembley Stadium, North London. For anyone that doesn't know much about Ping Pong, they're an international restaurant chain that specialise in Dim sum. For this project I worked in conjunction with Andy Martin Architects


Part of the brief involved me creating a 1930's Shanghai influenced mural for one of the internal walls, and hand painted wall panels for the ladies and gents toilets (that's English for Restrooms). 


However, the piece that I most enjoyed working on during the project was a massive, 20 metre-long light box designed to hang from the ceiling, in the centre of the restaurant. For this I came up with a predominantly aquatic themed design, incorporating drawings of jellyfish, octopuses, fish, seaweed, and weird forms, morphing together. 

 
Unfortunately, as is often the way with these sort of things, the final dimensions of the light box ended up being very different from the ones that I was originally given to work from. As a result, the flow of the eventual design on the light box ended up being a bit of a compromise – cobbling together smaller elements of my proposed design. Because of the tight build schedule on site, and delays with materials from the building suppliers, I didn't get to actually see the light box being installed, or even its eventual colour scheme. In fact, it's only because I recently came across this photo of it online, that I actually got to see it at all.

To give a rough idea of what I was thinking, when I was first handed the brief, I've included three of my early working drawings for some of the panels that make up the light box.

Thursday, 7 January 2016

Artist's Finds #2 (Thames Embryo Leaping)

Returning to my obsession with found materials, this is my second post on what I'll probably end up calling Minimal Intervention Pieces - found objects that I don't feel that I have manipulated enough to actually claim them as my own artworks, but which I feel have artistic merit in their own right. Maybe I shouldn't be so concerned with what is or isn't art; after all, the act of selecting and isolating an object from it's original environment for the purpose of presenting it as something of value is surely enough to repurpose it as art. Or maybe I'm wrong. Regardless, here is the second piece in my collection of interesting finds.


I've called it Thames Embryo Leaping; partly because I found it whilst mudlarking along the South Bank of the River Thames, here in London, and partly because it reminds me of an embryonic (or partially formed) animal, leaping. As I'd stated in my first Artist's Finds post, I find some of these found objects to be perfect as they are, so there is little need to alter them in any way. The only alteration that I did to this piece was to dry it out, wax it, drill a hole in the bottom and mount it on a black metal display stand.


Because I was so fascinated with this bit flotsam, I found myself sketching it over and over. Here you can see a painterly sketch that I made of it (along with a piece of bone that I also found whilst out mudlarking), painted over one of my Spidey Pods screen prints. There's no specific reason that I chose to paint an image of Thames Embryo Leaping over Spidey Pods (I wasn't deliberately trying to draw any correlation between the two) other than the fact that there was a slight defect in this particular Spidey Pods print, and I was curious to find out what it was like to paint and draw over the top of it.

I do have a love of drawing and painting over existing things – especially old books. There's something very engaging about working on a surface that already has a history. Also, when a surface has a mid-tone or tonal colour shifts, you have something that you can play with. You can go lighter and darker from the off, something that you can't do straight away from a blank white page.

Thursday, 17 December 2015

Merry Christmas

I know that to our American, European, and world wide cousins, Christmas might not be such a big deal, but to us Brits it's massive. It's all about overindulgence – eating and drinking far too much, doing shameful things at the work's Christmas party (that would probably get you fired any other time of the year), and spending so much money on mostly unwanted gifts, for our loved and not so loved ones, that we can't afford to pay the rent for the next two months... there was also something about some chap being born in a shed but that was ages ago so I'm a bit fuzzy on those details.


So, if you're a Brit, or not, I'd like to wish you a very merry Christmas and a wonderful New Year.

Here's to world peace in 2016. After all, how hard can it be? If everyone of us tries really, really hard not to kill anyone else – problem solved!

Tuesday, 15 December 2015

Arty Christmas Gift Ideas

Okay, I admit it – I'm taking advantage here of the materialistic side of the festive season and your amazing taste in art. If you haven't already blown your Christmas prezzie budget on shop-bought items how about something special, for that special art-lover in your life (best spoken in a sleazy, radio DJ voice) from my affordable art range?


All of the pieces in this series range from £70-£200 pounds. Many of the works have already sold but there are still plenty left. However, if there's one that you particularly like, and it's no-longer available, please feel free to get in touch (at waynechisnall@yahoo.co.uk) and I can recreate it for you, or come up with something similar.


I developed the range by going through my last twenty years worth of sketchbooks, selecting various images, then reproducing them as drawings or paintings on hand-made plywood wall plaques. Here are three of the works but click here to check out more from the series, which I have called my Taster Menu. Because I'm selling them at a fraction of the cost of my larger work (of which, gallery prices range from £1,000-£20,000) they offer an affordable introduction level for new collectors.


Taster Menu was originally created for a four day pop-up event at the A plus A Gallery during the opening week of this year's Venice Biennale but because it's been very popular with fan's of my work (thank you very much by the way) I've decided to continue the range, and will be adding more to it in the coming year.

A Cringeworthy Christmas Story


This is a reposting of an article that I wrote three years ago, and pertains to an embarrassingly awkward situation that I got myself into one Christmas. It's also about one of those regrettable memories that I just can't shake, so I thought it best to open old wounds, and share it with you one more time. Enjoy... 
 
A few hears ago when I was working for a well known London gallery, a colleague asked me if I knew of anyone that would be interested in earning a bit of extra cash over the festive season doing caricatures at a Christmas party in The City (London) for some big corporation. The job was very well paid, involved a couple of hours of work drawing caricatures of the company's employees - and more free food and drink than any poor starving artist could wish for.
Well... what could I say but 'look no further - here's your man!'
I got the job and being overly confident in the fact that I'd always been pretty good at caricatures at school (they'd got me in and out of trouble with both pupils and teachers alike on more than one occasion) I did no more preparation than buying myself a new set of Tomboy brush pens and turning up at the venue.


At first, everything seemed to be going well. I was introduced to a hip-looking young man and woman who handed me my wages for the night (good start). They both looked super stylish. She had a cool bob (similar to Uma Thurman's in Pulp Fiction) and he was slightly camp and incredibly well turned out. So when they asked to be the first couple to be drawn I had no problems. I quickly rendered them in a minimal, sharp cartoon style that suited their look and everyone was happy.
Then everything seemed to go down hill from that point onwards. Unfortunately the next subject wasn't so aesthetically well rounded and feeling that their true essence wouldn't be captured using the previous style, I changed tack. Instead of creating a fun stylised cartoon version of my new subject I honed in on, and exaggerated, my hapless victim worst features. It wasn't an intentional act of malice. I had merely focused on the most prominent features and run with them – not thinking how the eventual image may turn out. Needless to say, it didn't turn out well – at least not for the subject. They weren't too pleased. I'd even go as far as saying that they may have been a little upset.



I quickly realised my mistake. I had failed to fix on one style, practice it beforehand and stick with it regardless.
By this point I was starting to feel a bit uncomfortable – which didn't help when it came to the next subject. Desperate to salvage the situation I tried yet another style but the only problem with this was that unless I stuck with my tried and tested methods there was the chance that the drawing would pay little resemblance to the person in front of me so I soon reverted back to knocking out grotesque renderings from the now large line of people forming next to me.
It was a very strange experience. I seemed to be upsetting an ever-growing number of people yet more of them were queuing up to be humiliated. And the more I tried to alter my style of drawing the worse these sketched monsters turned out (this may have been something to do with the vast number of drinks people were plying me with – which I was eager to consume in an attempt to dull the anxiety).
Not only was there a long queue of people waiting to be sketched but a large group had formed of slightly drunk folks who were obviously enjoying their fellow employees' visual assassinations (at this point I honestly no longer felt in control of what my hands were producing) - so much so that splinter groups were now breaking off from the main mob in search of juicier victims. A couple of them dragged over a lady who must have been the fattest person in the whole company. I think that the alarm in my eyes must have mirrored that in hers. My mind was screaming 'please – not her!' but my fingers showed no mercy. One poor chap, after I handed him my rendition of him, simply looked at me with such devastation in his eyes and said 'I'm gonna go home now and hang myself'. I truly believe he didn't really mean it and it was just the drink talking but it obviously didn't ease my conscience.
After two of the longest hours of my life I apologised to the long line of people still waiting to be drawn (I should really have apologised to the ones I'd already sketched) and made my escape. I tell you – once outside of that building, London's air had never before smelt so fresh and the sense of relief never so palpable. I probably won't be doing that again - probably!

Friday, 4 December 2015

Help Fund Hugly & Friends

I've been working on a project with two friends, Sam Frith and Ian Hamilton, aiming to encourage children to engage in more outdoor activities. The initial stage of the project is to produce a children's storybook that also doubles up as a cookbook, whilst providing seeds and instructions for growing one of the ingredients that forms an integral part of the story. And today our crowd funding campaign, by which we aim to fund our project, went live.


Hugly Crowd Funder from SAM on Vimeo.

My part of the project, so far, has been to come up with the original sketches for the characters (some of which you can see here), and to sculpt a 3D model of the main character, Hugly. All the really hard graft has been put in by Sam and Ian – I'm just the doodler.


As is mentioned in our short video, we are looking to raise £8000 to self-publish our first Hugly and Friends interactive book. But this is just the start. We aim to exceed this target and use the excess money to help develop Hugly’s world in more detail, offering exciting grow kits, outdoor games and interactive apps that use real outdoor experiences, and much, much more.


 

So here's the bit where we ask for your money. If you like the idea of what we're trying to achieve then it's easy to donate to the project – just click on the link and follow the simple instructions. As an incentive, pledgers will receive varying rewards; ranging from a credit in the book, a copy of the book, T-shirts - right through to an invite to our launch party at Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall's River Cottage, and for the top pledgers, the creation of a character (which will appear in a future stage of our project) based upon themselves.

Tuesday, 1 December 2015

Artfinder Winter Catalogue

Just a quick shout-out about the Artfinder Winter Catalogue - as I'm in it!


As the biggest market place for original art, with over 150,000 artworks available online, Artfinder has brought out it's first ever catalogue. This printed selection of the works available through Artfinder.com is a sample of the companies favourites, which makes me very pleased to have been chosen, especially since I am one of only five sculptors featured in the catalogue's pages.


However, if you check out my page on the site you'll find that Artfinder are not just selling my sculptural pieces. There is also my affordable range of mini paintings, drawings, and editioned screen prints – ideal Christmas gifts for the arty loved ones in your life ;)

Sunday, 29 November 2015

Minimal Intervention Piece #1

I'm not sure that my sculptural work qualifies 100% as assemblage. It's true that most of my three dimensional pieces employ the use of found materials, but unlike traditional assemblage, where found objects are often merely stuck together (I'm in no way deriding assemblage – in fact many of my favourite sculptures are assemblages), in my work I feel the need to manipulate the materials to a certain degree, in order to make them my own. Even with my box/tower structures, I find it hard to just take existing boxes and use them as they are. I still feel the need to create them from scratch; from bits of old wood – which ironically makes it look like I've just used pre-existing boxes.

One of the problems with using found objects in artwork is that sometimes one comes across a piece of material that is just perfect as it is, and altering it in any way might even go as far as to lessen its artistic merit. And as an avid collector (read 'hoarder') of materials I often find bits of flotsam and jetsam that fit just this criteria.


Even though there is a long and respected tradition of artists exhibiting found objects exactly as they are, or with minimal intervention, and declaring them pieces art (Marcel Duchamp taking a urinal, signing it 'R.Mutt 1917', and calling it Fountain, being probably the most famous instance), I'm still not sure that I would call my found pieces art in the same way that I'd call my more laboured works art. But maybe that will change once I start showing them. In fact, I'd love to organize a show of artists' collections of objects. Although, thinking about it, I'm pretty sure that the Barbican Gallery did something similar to that last year - oh well!

For now I'll just be content calling these my Minimal Intervention Pieces. I've collected quite a few of them over the years, so I think that it's time that I finally started showing them – even if it is just on my blog for now. This first piece (I'll post more over the coming months) currently hangs above my bedroom door and is made up of two objects that were given to me by two separate friends. One half of the piece is a vintage, leather and steel, child's baseball mask, and the other is a pair of old horns – probably antelope. I'm not sure why I originally put the two items together, but to my mind, they produce something greater than the sum of their parts. And isn't that what art is about? (so maybe they are artworks after all).

Friday, 27 November 2015

Weekend Two of ICADF 2015 (Opens Tonight)

Just a quick reminder that I'm exhibiting eight of my sculptures at weekend two (opening night tonight - pop along if you're in the area) of the Islington Contemporary Art & Design Fair 2015 at the Candid Arts Galleries directly behind Angel Tube station in Islington, London.


The fair has run over two weekends, with tonight seeing the start of the second of those weekends. My work is displayed on the upper floor gallery (not far from the bar, so you won't missed them), and will be there till the fair closes on Sunday night. As you might remember from an earlier blog post (or if you made it to last Friday's/weekend's event) I was also exhibiting in the more contemporary art side of the fair last week. This weekend's part of the fair has more of fashion/textiles/jewellery/furniture/ceramics/glass design products slant but Candid have asked if they can keep my work up for this one too. Maybe my sculptures don't quite conform to the theme of this half of the fair so let's just pretend they're furniture – just don't try to sit on any of them.


I'm planning to get there shortly after 5pm (probably nearer to 6pm knowing my punctuality) so I look forward to meeting, chatting to, and sharing a drink with as many people as possible. There's no need to RSVP to this one – just turn up, and feel free to bring along friends. I hope to see you there.

Islington Contemporary Art and Design Fair

Private View: Friday 27 November (5-9pm)

Weekend Two: 28 – 29 November (11am-6pm)

Candid Arts Galleries
3 Torrens Street
Islington
London EC1V 1NQ

Free admission

Thursday, 26 November 2015

Dino Tattoo

It's not every day that I receive a message from someone saying that they think my work is so amazing that they made it a part of them, so when I do, I definitely take it as a massive compliment. A few days ago I was contacted by a chap called Xavier Parrie, saying exactly that.


At first I thought maybe Xavier had had a tattoo done of one of the drawings that I made for the 'tattooed' element of my latest sculpture, Tattooed Tumour Box (currently on show at the Islington Contemporary Art and Design Fair 2015, from Friday 27 to Sunday 29 Nov.) – an idea that I've recently been toying with myself. My father was a tattooist, and I've always fancied having tats myself but, being an artist, I'm acutely aware of visual relevance so I knew that firstly I'd have to have to come up with something that was personal to me, design it myself, and then find a tattooist that I trusted to render it exactly how I wanted. It's only now, with the collection of drawings that I made for Tattooed Tumour Box, that I feel that I finally have the imagery that I could live with on my own body. Although, to be honest, I probably won't get any tats now. I love them on other people but am no-longer as excited about getting my own – maybe I waited too long.


Anyway – back to Xavier. When I opened up the attachment that he'd sent me, I saw that he'd had gone for one of my quick-fire drawings of a cartoon dinosaur. There are some wonderful colourful tats out there and loads with amazing detail and shading work but my favourites tend to be the simple line drawn ones.
 
The original dinosaur drawing is part of a large collection of quickly-executed ink drawings, all made without any forethought of what the eventual images would become. I started this series of drawings a couple of years back as kind of creative limbering up exercise, and found it to be a good way of letting go of any preciousness over my sketchbook work, as well as great way of generating new and unexpected imagery – some of which I've gone on to use in other projects. At the height of the series I set myself the challenge of having to execute a minimum of ten drawings a night, before I'd allow myself to go to sleep. Pretty soon a big pile of sketchbooks grew up next to my bed.


A lot of the drawings from my quick-fire series re-emerged as the wall plaque pieces that I made for the pop-up event at the A plus A Gallery during the opening week of this year's Venice Biennale, and Dino was one of them. Basically, I went through my last twenty years worth of sketchbooks, selected various images, then reproduced them as drawings or paintings on hand-made plywood wall plaques. The dinosaur one, that you see here, recently sold but click here to check out more from the series, which I have called my Taster Menu (because I'm selling them at a fraction of the cost of my normal work they offer an affordable introduction level for new collectors).

Friday, 20 November 2015

Check Out Candid and Crypt This Weekend

This week has been crazily busy, preparing for the Toys (Are Us) exhibition at The Crypt Gallery (last day of the show is this Saturday, 21 Nov,11am-6pm) on the Euston Road, and the Islington Contemporary Art and Design Fair 2015 at Candid Arts Galleries, behind Angel tube station – but it was all well worth the effort.


The private view for 'Toys (Are Us)' was last night, and the one for 'ICADF 2015' was tonight (Friday). At both events I managed some long over due catch-ups with fellow artists and friends, and met some very engaging new people (i.e. 'new to me' - not children. Although I did see a few children at the 'Toys (are Us)' show, especially around my toy tower sculpture, 'Magnet').

When I arrived at The Crypt Gallery opening I was pleasantly surprised to find an old friend, Yoshi Kinetorori Mamura, AKA Yoshizen, taking photos (and being photographed taking photos) of my sculpture with one of his eccentrically modified cameras. For anyone who doesn't know Yoshi, he's a strange mix of photographer, artist, inventor, Zen Buddhist, and much more. His life story would make for a bizarre and fascinating movie (I could see Wes Anderson directing) but that's a story for another time.


This photo of Yoshi's (using a fish eye lens) shows me explaining something about my sculpture to three students from the Barbican. To see some of his more experimental pinhole photos from the night check out his blog.

As well as all the great friends who managed to make it to the shows (I'll resist naming everyone as it'll just end up sounding like the world's dullest award ceremony acceptance speech – and I'd make it even worse by forgetting to mention someone) I got chatting to several artists that I'd not met before, and found out about their practices.


One artist whose work I was particularly taken with was Simon Fearnhamm and his Skelemental bronzes. Simon sculpts and casts miniature and life-size skeletons – something that would normally be enough in my book to warrant attention, only as I approached his stand, at tonight's Candid Arts opening, I immediately spotted his version of one of the Children of the Hydra's Teeth skeletons from probably my all time, favourite childhood film, Jason and the Argonauts. Not only that but I soon found out that Simon had actually worked with the god of movie animation, Ray Harryhausen on the pieces, some of which are now in the personal collection of that other movie great, Guillermo del Toro.


Another interesting artist that I met with was Italian printmaker, Sisetta Zappone, who is also exhibiting at Candid Arts this weekend. I was telling Sisetta how much I missed etching and working with printing presses – something that I've not done since my college days, just before I switched from printmaking to sculpture. Fortunately Sisetta also teaches at the Thames Barrier Print Studio (apparently the cheapest open source print studio in London), and rather generously has offered to show me round the place. So if all goes well I may soon be working on a few small series of etchings – let's hope so.


Unfortunately I forgot to take any photos whilst at the Candid Arts private view tonight so all the images (excluding the one by Yoshi) are of some of the sculptures that I currently have on show at the ICADF 2015, but taken elsewhere. I had planned to pop into the fair tomorrow (Saturday) and take photos but I now have to appear in a video that day, for a crowd funding project that myself, two friends, and the chef, Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall, are to be involved in – but more on that one at a later date (I'll tell you about it when you're older).

'Nail Box' photo by Rosie Mayell

Islington Contemporary Art & Design Fair 2015

Not content with being in just one art exhibition this weekend (by the way, thanks to everyone who made it to the opening of 'Toys (Are Us)' at The Crypt Gallery last night – great crowd, great venue, great show), I'm also exhibiting eight of my sculptures at the Islington Contemporary Art and Design Fair 2015 at the Candid Arts Galleries, directly behind Angel Tube station in Islington, London.


The fair runs over two weekends and today sees the opening night for the first one. My work is displayed on the upper floor gallery (not far from the bar, so you won't miss them), and will be there over both weekends.


I'm planning to get there shortly after 5pm so I look forward to meeting, chatting to, and sharing a drink with as many of you lovely people as possible. There's no need to RSVP to this one – just turn up, and feel free to bring along friends. I hope to see you there.


Islington Contemporary Art & Design Fair
Private View: Friday 20 November (5-9pm)
Weekend One: 21 – 22 November (11am-6pm)
Weekend Two: 28 – 29 November (11am-6pm)

Candid Arts Galleries
3 Torrens Street
Islington
London EC1V 1NQ
020 7837 4237

Free admission

Friday, 13 November 2015

Toys (Are Us)

This Thursday (19th November) sees the opening of 'Toys (Are Us)' at The Crypt Gallery, a group show of artworks based around the theme of toys – or to be more precise, 'the impact of toys on human development, society and the environment'. The show has been put together by artist/curator, Kosha Hussain, co-curated by Chloe Dall'Olio, and features works by over twenty national and international artists.

As Kosha explains on his Tumbler page (when choosing the right photo for the flier), 'the concept behind the image is a homage to the short essay that provided most of the initial inspiration to the show. It is an essay written by the French philosopher and semiotician, Roland Barthes, titled… 
‘Toys’ that appears in his 1957 book Mythologies. In it, he talks about two main things, the transition of the materiality of toys from wood to plastic and as a result, the way it affects the child’s developmental relationship with the toy. But perhaps more interestingly in my opinion, he brings forward the observation that what most toys are, is a miniaturisation of the grown up world, of its institutions and systems, and what these objects of mimesis do is attempt to subvert the child’s unruly imagination, desire and sense of identity.' 

I joined the selected group a little late in the day which is why you don't see my name on the list of exhibiting artists. But never mind – I'll just assume the role of mystery, special guest.

As anyone who knows my work can testify, I like to play around with the theme of toys and childhood perceptions of adulthood, so for this show I'll be exhibiting my sculpture, 'Magnet', which is literally made up of toys. Magnet is the largest piece in a series of four wheeled, tower sculptures (the others being The City, Book Tower, and Fetish) that all relate to our obsession with objects and material possessions. All the pieces in the series have aesthetically over-sized wheels, intended as a comment on the mobility restrictions that having so many possessions places upon us as a species.


Whereas the other works in the series dealt with revered or fetish materials, Magnet was initially supposed to represent the disposable and worthless aspect of consumer society. Yet, knowing the quirks of human nature, I turned this notion of worthlessness on its head by incorporating several prized and sort after ‘collectables’.

Originally named Toy Tower the piece was re-named Magnet after its first public showing, when it became apparent that young children, and older toy enthusiasts, found it difficult to resist physically interacting with the sculpture. At its first exhibition four young boys actually managed to wheel Magnet out of the gallery before the invigilator spotted the piece was missing and hurriedly retrieved it before it got too far down the street. Hopefully this won't happen this time, especially since the show takes place underground (in the wonderfully atmospheric Crypt Gallery below St. Pancras Church – probably the coolest current contemporary art space in central London), and any potential souvenir hunters would first have to carry the piece up quite a few steps in order to leave the building. Fingers crossed!

Toys (Are Us) 
Opening 19 Nov (6-9pm)
19-21 November

Crypt Gallery
Euston Road
London
NW1 2BA

Tuesday, 20 October 2015

LoVArts Interview

A couple of Sundays ago I had the pleasure of meeting up with Elizabeth Covello of LoVArts, the promotional and networking platform for visual artists based in London. We met at one of my favourite East London spots, The Gallery Cafe, adjacent to Bethnal Green's Museum of Childhood. And with it being one of those rare Sunny October afternoons we decided to take tea in the garden (all proper and British like – innit). We chatted at length, or rather, Elizabeth asked intelligent and pertinent questions while I just blathered on about why I make the things that I make. Here's the resulting interview and a few pics.


“Wayne Chisnall: Intuition and Interaction 
On a sunny Sunday afternoon, I had the opportunity to meet with Wayne Chisnall, who introduced me to his world, where funky creatures, architecture and sculptures get mingled with childhood memories.
While Wayne started talking to me about his work, I realised that I was talking to a hunter: during his free time, Wayne goes down the Thames to, in his own words, “hunt things” such as teeth, hair, bones, pieces of wood and metal and many other random materials. 


Once he has gathered enough elements, he goes back to his studio which I imagine being a sort of experimental lab. From there, the materials discovered by Wayne will start dictating their future shapes to become vast sculptures ,the artist’s favourite plastic art, where he can explore technics, interact with his material and discover things that were  subconsciously in his mind. 

Wayne Chisnall also reveals that he always had a fascination for the changing process of organic elements, visible with a piece of wood but also ,on a more medical aspect, on a tumour, whose expansion in a body intrigues the artist. The tumour actually inspired Wayne for his “Tattooed Tumour Box”, a vast architectural sculpture  made of wooden boxes and covered with extremely meticulous drawings, obviously reminding us of tattoos, an art form that Wayne knows well. 


Finally, Wayne explains that his work is greatly influenced by his childhood where he used to be obsessed with comics, sci-fi and horror movies. His childhood memories come back to him in his dreams leading to the design of astonishing creatures, such as the Spidey Pod or the Evil Pebble Blue.
Wayne Chisnall is working on a lot of projects and will continue to surprise us! ”

Tuesday, 6 October 2015

Art and Beer

If, like me, you love beer and you love art then check out Series 5, the latest batch of art labels, lovingly wrapped around bottles of craft beer - produced by the Canadian brewer, Collective Arts Brewing.

And why am I telling you all this? No, I'm not surreptitiously trying to sneak some advertising into my blog. One of my artworks, Winged Torpedo, has been selected to feature in the series. I've not yet received an actual bottle (when it does arrive, resisting the urge to drink it may prove difficult) but here's what it will look like.


To give you a bit more insight into the goings on at Collective Arts here's some info and a video that I lifted from their site -

“Collective Arts Brewing is a grassroots craft brewer based in Ontario that aims to fuse the creativity of craft beer with the inspired talents of emerging artists, musicians and filmmakers. Matt Johnston and Bob Russell founded Collective Arts Brewing on two beliefs: The first that creativity fosters creativity. And the second, that creativity yields delicious pints. 

Each of our beers is a work of art. On the inside, we proudly brew some of the most well-crafted beers with the help of our brewmaster, Ryan Morrow. On the outside, we feature limited-edition works of art by artists and musicians that change every few months. Added bonus? Through the augmented reality technology of our partner Blippar, all labels come to life through the free Blippar mobile phone app. Simply scan the label to hear the music, see the videos and view artist bios.” 



And just in case you are viewing all of this on a tiny, hand-held device, and would like to check out some of the finer detailing in my Winged Torpedo design then here's a closer look at the label, which can also be viewed on my page at the Collective Arts Brewing site.

Sunday, 27 September 2015

Half Price Print Sale – September and October


I had planned to continue the tradition (that I started last year – so not really much of a tradition yet, is it?) of having a 50% off sale on the gallery prices of all of my prints on paper, for the month of September – my birthday month. However, because of planning for my trip to this year's Burning Man gathering in the Nevada Desert (which was god damn amazing by the way), and dealing with all the boring admin stuff upon my return, I seem to have not got round to posting about it. So, to make amends I'll simply extend the offer to the end of October.


If you would like to buy any of my prints at the gallery commission-free/mates' rates prices, then my Swirly Skulls (black and white) screen print will now be £60, Swirly Skulls on Pink will be £70, Morphed Components (my personal favourite, and the inspiration behind my recent 'Tattooed Tumour Box' sculpture) will be £70, and the Spidey Pods screen prints will be £100 each.


To purchase a print simply drop me a line at waynechisnall@yahoo.co.uk and I'll swap you a big bit of paper for some smaller ones.

Wednesday, 19 August 2015

Oli Bennet Postcards 2015



I've just realised that I never got round to posting images of the four large postcard-sized works that I did for the Oli Bennett Charitable Trust, that went on sale during the Anonymous Art Fair in June.


In keeping with most of the charity postcard events that I donate to, the work that I made for the Oli Bennett show related to the project that I was working on at the time – namely, my Tattooed Tumour Box sculpture.


As I'd mentioned in previous posts, in the process of working on my Tattooed Tumour Box sculpture I ended up generating lots of sketches. I then reproduced select elements of a few of these, as carbon drawings, to created the Oli Bennett postcards.