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
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
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

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 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.

Monday, 20 July 2015

Summer Salon Show (23 July - 16 August)

As I mentioned in my previous post, this Friday sees the private view of the Parallax Art Fair in Chelsea, London (RSVP to by 21st July if you'd like to get on the guest list, or click here for free tickets for Saturday and Sunday entry to the art fair), where I'll be showing some of my recent series of playful mini paintings and drawings.

However, if you'd like to see more of my work from this series then you are welcome to pop along this Thursday to the private view of the Summer Salon exhibition at the Candid Arts Trust in Islington, London (and on Thursday 6th August for the private view of part two of the exhibition - featuring new work by even more artists - as well as myself). There's no need to RSVP to this one – just turn up, and feel free to bring along friends.

Most of the pieces that I will be showing are based upon elements of my sketchbook work. Originally conceived as a limited run of mini artworks for the Rob Pruitt's Flea Market pop-up project which took place during the opening week of this year's Venice Biennale, I've decided to continue the series to offer an affordable entry level for those wishing to buy or start collecting my work.

Whereas the majority of my original artwork (paintings and sculptures) tend to run between the £1000 to £12000 mark, the nine pieces that I'm showing at Summer Salon show are priced around £200. Each of these paintings and drawings are executed on 20 x 15 cm blocks of 1.8 cm thick plywood, and originally designed to hang as wall plaques. However, for the Candid show I've mounted them all in white box frames, which I think looks equally as splendid.

Summer Salon (exhibition part 1)

Candid Arts Trust 3 Torrens Street
London EC1V 1NQ
First Floor Gallery / Free admission

Private View: Thursday 23 July (6-9pm) 
Exhibition open: 24th July - 2nd August (12-6pm)

Sunday, 28 June 2015

Parallax Art Fair - London - 24th-26th July

From Friday 24th - Sunday 26th July I'll be exhibiting a selection of my new wall-plaque paintings and ink drawings at the Parallax Art Fair. The fair takes place at the Chelsea Town Hall, Located on the famous King's Road, London.

Entry to the fair is free (click here for tickets), and if you would like to join us for the private viewing on the Friday (7:30-9:30pm) please RSVP to by 21st July to get on the guestlist.

Most of the pieces that I will be showing are based upon some of my more playful sketchbook work. Originally conceived as a limited run of mini artworks for the Rob Pruitt's Flea Market pop-up project which took place during the opening week of this year's Venice Biennale, I've decided to continue the series to offer an affordable entry level for those wishing to buy or start collecting my work. Whereas the majority of my original artwork (paintings and sculptures) tend to run between the £1000 to £12000 mark, I will be selling these hand-drawn and hand-painted 'Taster Menu' pieces for around the £100 to £200 price range.

Parallax Art Fair, Chelsea Old Town Hall, King's Rd, London SW3 5EE

Friday 24th July: Private View, 7.30-9.30pm
Saturday 25th July:  11am – 5pm
Sunday 26th October: 11am-5pm.

For Private View RSVP: by 21st Jul.

Parking and travel info.

Local Bus Routes: 49, 11, 19, 22, 211 319

London Underground: Take the Circle or District line train and alight at Sloane Square. Cross the pedestrian crossing outside the station into King’s Road. Keep walking straight down the King’s Road for approximately 10 minutes; the Chelsea Old Town hall is located on the left hand side opposite Sydney Street.

Tuesday, 9 June 2015

Tattooed Tumour Box (with working drawings)

There's been quite a gap between this post and my last Tattooed Tumour Box progress report but I'm pleased to say that work on the sculpture/3D drawing is finally complete. I started constructing the piece last year when I planned to build and enter it into the Jerwood Drawing Prize 2014. Although I managed to make all the interconnecting box sections of the piece well in advance of last year's submission deadline, I soon realised that the 'tattooed' element of the piece wasn't going to be fully achievable in time (as hard as I tried).

As with most of my artistic projects, I underestimated just how long the drawing side of the work would take. There are several reasons for this. One being the fact that all the drawings are quite intricate and time consuming to develop from scratch, especially since I planned for all the elements to have their own unique qualities whilst still looking like they could coexist in the same universe. Couple this with the fact that, put together, all the forty four separate planes of the sculpture's components add up to a much larger surface area than one might expect, I now clearly see why the piece took so long to complete – although, admittedly, once I missed last year's deadline, work on the piece slowed down for a while whilst I worked on other projects.

Another reason that the drawing process took so long is that each sketch had to be done four separate times – firstly worked out as a pencil sketch in one of my sketchbooks, then traced in ink onto tracing paper, thirdly, transferred onto the sculpture using carbon paper and drawing over the image on the tracing paper, and finally there would be the time consuming task of inking in the carbon ghost image on the sculpture's wooden surface.

Initially, I started off the drawing process by rendering elements of miscellaneous found objects, and morphing them together but once I got into the flow of it, and started to really develop a feel for the world that my drawings evolved from, I mostly abandoned the use of existing source materials, and opted for the freedom of simply making it all up.

To give you a little insight into the multiple processes that I lovingly went through (often whilst working through the night, till five or six the next morning) constructing Tattooed Tumour Box this last year, here are a few of the pencil sketches, tracings, and inked-in sections of the sculpture's surface.

Incidentally, the sculpture is made up of cut-up pieces of antique packing crates, sourced from the Victoria and Albert Museum where I work part-time. You can even see sections of old labels, stencilled numbers, and part of the lettering of “V. & A. M.”, branded into the wood in a charming early twentieth century typography.

There are lots of drawn elements of the piece that I've especially enjoyed creating, and one of them is the underside of the base section of the sculpture, and therefore probably the part that is least likely to be seen. So I thought that I'd give it an airing here. As the circular hole in the centre is for the insertion of the pole that makes up part of the work's metal stand, I thought that I'd make it a feature of the overall design, and incorporated a sphincter element to the drawing. The sigils which appear within to outer ring reference occult interests as well as being a tribute to the flamboyantly entertaining comic book writer, Grant Morrison.

To see a larger selection of the drawings that I made in the creation of Tattooed Tumour Box please feel free to check out my Oodles of Doodles blog

Friday, 29 May 2015

Secret Postcard Season

It seems that the trend for secret postcard shows in aid of worthy causes (as popularised by the Royal College of Art's RCA Secret) has been going from strength to strength. Already this year I've done a 'lodda work for charidee' (apologies to those too young to remember, or not British enough to get the Smashie and Nicey reference) and taken part in a few secret postcard exhibitions.

The latest one, that I've just made four large postcard-sized works for is the Oli Bennett Charitable Trust, whose Anonymous Art Fair, this year, takes place on Thursday 18th June. For full details on how to buy a work from the sale click here. As the work on sale is supposed to be anonymous, I can't yet show you what I created, so here's one of my pencil drawn postcards from a previous Oli Bennett show.

This year, for the first time, the Royal College of Art held two RCA Secrets; one at their Dyson exhibition space in Battersea, London, and a second one in Dubai, during Art Dubai, the leading international art fair in the Middle East, Africa and South Asia. Unfortunately I wasn't able check out RCA Secret Dubai myself but I did manage to lift an image of part of it from the Artslant article by Danna Lorch. Almost the same as going there – right? As the artists invited to take part in this year's RCA Secret were given the usual three postcards for the London show, and just one for the exhibition in Dubai, I'm guessing that the latter was a little smaller. Although, the chap who bought my Dubai piece (a bit of a 3D postcard this year – as you can see) emailed me to say that unlike the London show, where some people camp out days, if not weeks, beforehand, there didn't seem to be much of a queue when he arrived half an hour before the start of the sale. So, maybe if you're one of those RCA Secret regulars, desperate for a piece by one of your favourite artists, you should consider a Dubai holiday next year – one that coincides with Art Dubai. Just a thought!

Like the works that I did for both of this year's RCA Secret shows, the postcard that I made for the Welling School Secret Postcard Show (image below) was also based upon one of the many drawings that I developed to cover the surface of my latest sculpture, Tattooed Tumour Box; a piece that I've been working on for the best part of a year (on and off), and which I finally finished today. As soon as I get some descent photos of it I'll put them up on the blog.