Thursday, 31 October 2019

Great Ormond Street Children's Hospital Workshop

This Sunday, just gone, I ran a children's workshop at Great Ormond Street Hospital in London, where we made model animals and puppets. I got involved with this programme after being contacted by the charity, Bright Futures UK, and asked if I would like to volunteer on a regular basis to run some art workshops. This is my first one with them and I'm looking forward to being involved with many more.

At the workshop we made the models out of recycled materials (mostly cardboard and packaging), which we covered in plaster bandage and then painted. As you can imagine it got a little messy at times but everyone had a lot of fun. We soon realised that with enough glitter and googly eyes, everything looks great.

As the workshops are a drop-in ones (a mixture of patients and their siblings) I wasn't able to assess the children's ages, abilities and how long they would be there for, so I prepared in advance by making a few finished and unfinished examples. That way the children could see some finished products as well as the stages that let up to their completion. It also meant that any of the kids with limited abilities or who were only able to drop in for a brief period were able to quickly finish off an almost completed piece and paint it before they had to leave.     

Bright Futures UK is the first charity to provide support to young individuals who are forced to take time out from education due to medical circumstances – both mental health and physical health. If you would like to help, be it mentoring, tutoring or by organising workshops (or in any other way) then please feel free to check out the charity's programmes page.

Monday, 14 October 2019

'Mars And Beyond' - Promo Video

From 20th Feb-15th March 2020 I'll be one of many artists and contributors taking part in 'Mars and Beyond'; an immersive event packed with art, talks, film screenings, music, VR and more.

The event is the brainchild of the artist, Oskar OK Krajewski, founder of Art-Recyclism the platform for artists and everyone who cares about our planet.
"My team and I are amidst preparations for a month-long show exploring the wellbeing of the Earth set within a post-apocalyptic and futuristic background."

The whole event will be immersive and packed with audiovisual stimulants, filling over 5 floors at the iconic Bargehouse in Central London (behind the OXO Tower).
The venue offers 13 spaces over 5 floors, with a combined floor size of 1,400 sq metres (13,000 sq ft.). Each floor will have a unique focus and theme. There will also be a shop selling work by the contributing artists. 

Mars & Beyond merges two crucial and critical themes of the 21st century.
Firstly, the catastrophic rise in global warming, deforestation, animal species extinction and plastic pollution in our oceans. Secondly, the revival of the space race and space ventures increasingly funded by the private sector.  

Mars & Beyond will explore the human race now and in the future. We will examine the science of our planet (lower floors) and imaginatively create alternative futures (top floors). The event aims educate, warn, entertain and inspire audiences. This will be a unique and unforgettable experience. A blend of fine art and immersive events which will arrest all the senses which demands repeat visits and encourages a wider conversation and call to arms.
Artists and Contributors:

Venue:  Bargehouse’, OXO Tower Wharf, Bargehouse Street, South Bank, London SE1 9PH
Dates:  20th February-15th March 2020

Tuesday, 8 October 2019

Fetish Face

You may remember, a few months back, I posted about the mould I made for the creation of a series of large wall-mounted face mask sculptures. Well, I've just produced my first piece (not counting the existing red wall mask piece that I made, in order to cast the mould in the first place) from it. I'm looking forward to experimenting with a wide variety of materials in the production of the series; materials such as plastics, wood, ceramics, fabric etc. But for this first piece, 'Fetish Face', I used human hair and resin.

Three views of  'Fetish Face', human hair sculpture by British artist, Wayne Chisnall

When I initially set about constructing the mould I intended for the face to be simple and gender/race-neutral so I went for a very stylised form. Interestingly, it ended up looking not unlike a simplified version of a traditional African mask. This may be, in part, because I wanted to draw attention to the similarity in structure of the mouth and eye lids, so deliberately made them the same size and shape. I think that by making this first piece out of human hair I've ended up with something that looks like a cross between Chewbacca and an African mask, and I'm looking forward to seeing how the use of a wide variety of materials effects the appearance of future sculptures in the series.

'Fetish', human hair sculpture by British artist, Wayne Chisnall

The title for the piece refers back to my first hair sculpture, 'Fetish', which I made in the late 90s. 'Fetish' was one of four wheeled tower sculptures (all made from very different materials) all of which, in some way, relate to our emotional ties with material objects and possessions, and how these relationships effect our freedom of mobility. Being a sculptor (therefore reliant on lots of materials, tools and equipment), a bit of a hoarder, and a film buff, I often think on the Tyler Durden quotes from 'Fight Club' - "The things you own, end up owning you." and "It's only after you lose everything that you're free to do anything." But I'm definitely no Tyler Durden.

Thursday, 26 September 2019

Gender Kit - Over 20 Years In The Making

Yes, I know, 'over 20 years in the making' does make it sound much grander than it really is. Basically, I moulded and cast the genital sections for 'Gender Kit (Basic Model)' back in the 90s when I was an art student, with the intention of it being an accompanying piece to a much larger model kit sculpture that I'd made. But as is often the case, by the time I'd cast them my mind was already occupied with thoughts of other projects. So, from then until now the two pieces have just sat in a box and every year or so something would remind me of them and I'd think ' I must get round to finishing that piece someday'. Well, that day has finally arrived.

'Gender Kit (Basic Model)', 1998-2019, model kit-inspired sculpture by UK/British artist, Wayne Chisnall

As I mentioned in a previous post, the volunteers for the casting process involved in the construction of the two resin genital sections were myself and my then girlfriend and fellow art student; whose name, to help preserve her modesty, maybe I shouldn't mention over social media. However, what I will say is that when it did come to her part in the casting process there was an unfortunate, if not wholly unfunny, incident. It turned out that before applying the plaster of Paris (used to make the mould in which to cast the resin positive) we hadn't quite applied enough petroleum jelly (used to act as a release agent) to the pubic area in question. As such, once the cast had dried and we tried to remove it from her genital region we found that if had become firmly attached, having trapped quite a few pubic hairs in the process. Needless to say, it didn't help matters any that I then started to laugh; at which point I was ordered out of the room while the matter was angrily and painfully resolved. But I will say that the young lady was a bloody good sport for taking part.

The reason that I've attached '(Basic Model)' to the title of 'Gender Kit' is that I've been toying with the idea of making an elongated version of the piece that would include genital casts from the many graduations running along the female to male spectrum. Although, knowing how long it took me to get round to finishing this first one, and how hard it might prove in finding suitable volunteers for the casting process, I wouldn't hold my breath in waiting for the realisation of 'Gender Kit (Expanded Model)'.

'Gender Kit (Basic Model)', 1998-2019, model kit-inspired sculpture by UK/British artist, Wayne Chisnall

I'm not sure what prompted me to finish the work. Maybe it was someone commenting on my first model kit piece or maybe it's something to do with the whole issue of gender being more relevant now than ever before. Either way, I'd like to say a big thank you to a dear friend, Ian Fenton, for 3D printing the sprue/runner corner sections, T junctions and domed end pieces for me. This made the construction of the sculpture so much easier and vastly more stable than with my earlier model kit-inspired pieces. Which brings me round to the inspiration behind the work. As a child in the early 70s I was obsessed with horror movie characters, dinosaurs, super heroes and space ships, and would spend hours of fun and frustration building model kit versions of them. So I'd like to say a massive thank you to Airfix and the other model kit companies (and the modellers who created the original models which were then turned into kit form) for that element of my formative years.  

'And When I'm a Man, I'll Think As a Man', model kit-inspired sculpture by UK/British artist, Wayne Chisnall

The much larger model kit-inspired sculpture that 'Gender Kit' was initially intended to be an accompanying piece to is my 'And When I'm a Man, I'll Think As a Man' sculpture, which I also started (and managed to finish) during the second year of my BA Fine Art degree way back in the 90s. Incidentally the photo you see here of 'And When I'm a Man, I'll Think As a Man', which includes me for scale (I used to just show photographs of the work on its own but people would often presume that the sculpture was an actual model kit, about 8" across), not just vanity, was taken many years after I constructed the sculpture. It was shot by the photographer, Phil Sofer (thanks mate), in 2011 at the Scream gallery in Mayfair, London, where I was exhibiting a number of sculptures at the time.

Apologies that some of the text and one of the images in this post is lifted from my earlier 'Work In Progress' post, but it seemed relevant to include them here.

Saturday, 21 September 2019

Art Recyclism

I'm delighted to announce that I'm now part of Art-Recyclism and would like to thank the award-winning artist, Oskar Krajewski, (the driving force behind the group) for inviting me onboard and for featuring my sculptures on their new website.

Detail from 'The City' sculpture by British artist, Wayne Chisnall.

Art-Recyclism's goal is to promote sustainability through art and work with artists who create work using recycled/reclaimed materials. As the website's mission statement says,
" A Visionary Recycling Artist’s role is to inspire and be inspired by scientists, experiment with materials, guide and visually entertain the public.
At Recyclism we pledge to make people environmentally aware through beauty and ingenuity.
We are suffocating our planet with plastic and we believe that Art can play an important role in our survival."

'Tattooed Tumour Box', sculpture by British artist, Wayne Chisnall.

We all understand that recycling alone isn't going to save the planet (or rather, our lives on the planet - the planet will roll on nicely with or without us thank you very much) but it is one of many important steps that we should be taking. Cue another piece of text lifted from the website -
"Recyclism is a very current theme and hot topic in the world right now. It is a platform to show the world how to transform our waste into beautiful and useful objects. This is not something new, artists have been working with reclaimed materials for the past century but it has never been more relevant than now.
The Objective for Recyclism is to challenge our consumerist society and fly in the face of the multiple corporates who show a disdain for sustainability."

'Planetoid 210', sculpture by British artist, Wayne Chisnall.

If you are an artist who makes work from reclaimed materials, and you would like to get involved with Art-Recyclism and have your work featured on the website, Facebook page and Instagram page then please feel free to get in contact. Similarly, if you are passionate about environmental issues and feel that you might have something to contribute to Recyclism, or that we could collaborate with you and help promote your cause, then also please feel free to get in touch.