Thursday, 14 May 2015

Art Flea Market & The Love Guru of Venice

Photo by A+A Gallery.

For me, the fun and frolics of the Venice Biennale are over as I'm now back in my London studio, working on my next project. But I'd like to thank everyone involved in the Rob Pruitt's Flea Market (the students of the “22nd Course in Curatorial Practices and Contemporary Arts” at The School for Curatorial Studies Venice, curator Tommaso Speretta, everyone from A plus A Gallery, the artists taking part, everyone who came along, and Rob Pruitt himself) for making it such a fun event to be part of.

As is the case with all of the Rob Pruitt's Flea Markets, wherever in the World they happen to take place, each one is its own, unique beast – an amalgam of the various artists taking part, at a particular location and time. This incarnation of the RPFM brought together music, food, performance, parties, interactive events, and artists selling their wares. Amongst the artworks on offer were paintings, books, portraits, bags, sculpture, photographs, badges, and bizarre miscellaneous items. For my part, I was selling prints, paintings, drawings, and screen printed tote bags.

Me next to RPFMV poster. Photo by Holly Howe.

Here's my 'inner-selfie' with one of my favourite characters from the RPFMV - Guru Jimmy, introduced to me by the talented artist, James Ostrer.

Bye, bye Rob Pruitt's Flea Market, Venice. Photo by A+A Gallery.

Rob Pruitt's Flea Market, Venice
'A plus A Gallery', San Marco 3073
T 00 39 041 277 04 66

Friday, 1 May 2015

Rob Pruitt's Flea Market, Venice – New Work

In a few hours I fly off to Venice for the preview week of the 2015 Venice Biennale. As mentioned in my previous post - I'm taking part in the Rob Pruitt's Flea Market.

And as I also mentioned, I was hoping to produce a set of cotton tote bags, screen printed with an Italian-themed design (my tentacled version of Leonardo da Vinci's Vitruvian Man) in time for RPFMV.

Well, I'm glad to say that they arrived from the printers in plenty of time, and I'm happy with how they turned out. The colour range for the totes is quite impressive so I've had my design printed up on a set of 17 different coloured bags – including natural, bright red, graphite grey, black, olive green, bottle green, pink, classic red, cornflower blue, cranberry, French navy, Kelly green, lime green, royal blue, purple, sky blue, and white.

In the short time since my last blog post I've been working on a few new drawings and paintings, for sale at RPFMV. So here are a few of them.

So if you happen to be in Venice for the Biennale's preview week, pop along and say hi. And if you'd like to see more of the work that I've created for the event then please feel free to check out my Oodles of Doodles blog.

Rob Pruitt's Flea Market,
Venice 'A plus A Gallery', San Marco 3073
5th - 8th May 2015 (open 12-8pm – free entry)

T 00 39 041 277 04 66

The project is organized by the students of the “22nd Course in Curatorial Practices and Contemporary Arts” at The School for Curatorial Studies Venice, and curated by Tommaso Speretta.

Wednesday, 22 April 2015

Rob Pruitt's Flea Market – Venice Biennale

To say that I've been looking forward to the opening of this year's Venice Biennale (and the party/private view week that precedes it) is a bit of an understatement, but now I have even more reason to be excited about it – even if it does mean that I won't be running around and checking out as quite many events as much as I'd like.

Coinciding with the preview week of this year's Biennale, the A plus A Gallery will be hosting the Rob Pruitt's Flea Market, Venice. And I will be taking part. In fact, I've pretty much been spending the last two weeks, working all through the night on new pieces for the event. I've been creating wooden wall plaque paintings and drawings, mostly based upon my sketchbook work – all of which will be for sale at the RPFM. Sticking with the Italian theme, I'm also having some tote bags, featuring my DaVinciPuss design (my take on Leonardo da Vinci's Vitruvian Man drawing), printed up especially for the event. They should be arriving from the screen printers any day now, so I'll post an image of one of them as soon as I get my mitts on them.

The first time that I became aware of the American artist, Rob Pruitt, and his internationally-travelling flea market project was in 2009 when he did a Christmas Flea Market at the Tate Modern in London. It was loads of fun and featured stalls by well known artists such as Tracey Emin and YBA, Gavin Turk, as well as those by lesser known artists. I bought a few pieces of artwork, including a couple of sweet, David Shrigleyesque drawings on blocks of wood (yes, that's where I stole the idea. Of drawing on bits of wood – not the drawings themselves. What do you take me for) by Jimp.

So here we have a few of the pieces that I've already created for the RPFMV, but if you'd like to see more then please feel free to check out my Oodles of Doodles blog.

Rob Pruitt's Flea Market, Venice
'A plus A Gallery', San Marco 3073
5th - 8th May 2015 (open 12-8pm – free entry)
T: 00 39 041 277 04 66

The project is organized by the students of the “22nd Course in Curatorial Practices and Contemporary Arts” at The School for Curatorial Studies Venice, and curated by Tommaso Speretta.

Friday, 17 April 2015

Ricoh Test Prints

Back in the olden days (late 1980s/early 1990s), before the joys of the internet, and when terrorists would thoughtfully give you a few minutes warning before blowing shit up, I used to work as a technical illustrator for Ricoh - a Japanese manufacturing company. For four years I hand drew (no-one even knew what a digital camera was back then) the illustrations for the assembly manuals that were used to build their photocopiers – something that definitely helped hone my technical drawing skills, and which still influences much of my drawing style today.

By chance, one of my old Ricoh colleagues came across a mention of my currency project and suggested that I pop up to the Ricoh facility in Shropshire, and check out the latest technological advances at their printing research and development department. This seemed like too good an opportunity to turn down so I procured some 100% cotton paper (the closest to actual banknote paper, that I've so far been able to find – real banknote paper being a 75%cotton, 25% linen mix, with a few extra fibres thrown in) samples from G F Smith and caught the next train from London up to Shropshire.

At this point I've not yet started working on the designs for my first banknote (a 10 Chig note), as I'm still finishing off my Tattooed Tumour Box sculpture, which has itself been put on a temporary back-burner whilst I create some new work for next month's Rob Pruitt's Flea Market project, as part of this year's Venice Biennale – but more on that in a later post. So, in the absence of any new currency designs, what I took with me to Shropshire, to test print on the cotton paper samples, were images of some of the customised currency paintings that I'd been playing with - which I originally made just to give me an insight into the flow and form of existing banknote designs.

Once at Ricoh, I was introduced by the engineer, Jason Dale, to some of the amazing things that their latest printers can do. I'm particularly interested in the fact that each note can be printed with an individual serial number, and in a clear ink that has inspired me to consider creating secondary designs that can be over printed on each side of the eventual banknote. So it's probably good that I didn't get round to designing my currency before I saw what the Ricoh printers were capable of.

Sunday, 22 March 2015

Secret Revealed (RCA Secret 2015)

As this year's RCA Secret has now been and gone, it's safe to reveal which pieces were mine. Although, to anyone who's familiar with my recent work, or drawing styles in general, it probably wasn't too difficult to spot my entries.

This year I submitted 3D postcards; as I've often done in previous RCA Secrets. This time they were in the form of hand-made plywood boxes, covered in black ink line drawings.

The drawings are based upon the ones that I made for my current on-going sculpture/drawing, 'Tattooed Tumour Box'.

All the drawings are a mixture of objects and bits of random materials (that I collect for potential use in my sculptures), morphed together with forms that I just make up.

These first three postcards are the ones that appeared in the London RCA Secret show, whilst the fourth one appeared in the RCA Secret Dubai.

Here, to give an all round view, I've Photoshopped together the five illustrated sides of one of the four postcards.

Sunday, 15 February 2015

RCA Secret – London and Dubai

Seeming to come round faster and faster every year, this year's RCA Secret (or to give it its more recent, sponsorship name - 'Stewarts Law RCA Secret') is almost upon us.

For anyone who doesn't know what the RCA Secret is, it's basically an annual exhibition of postcard-sized artworks, the sales of which, go to help support students of the Royal College of Art in London, UK. What's the 'secret' part of it I hear you ask... well, I was just about to get to that. The postcards all get displayed anonymously at the RCA's Battersea exhibition space in the Dyson Building (and on-line), then go on sale nine days later; and it's only after the postcards have been sold that the identity of the responsible artists (sorry, that sounds a bit like an oxymoron – maybe I should have said 'artists responsible') are revealed. Or just click here for the official description of what the show's all about, and how to register to buy.

I've exhibited work in the RCA Secret's annual postcard exhibitions for over ten years (I think – not quite sure when I first entered), and most years I've done something a little different from the previous year's submissions. Sometimes I do drawings, sometimes I'll show paintings, and occasionally I submit 3D work. As it's a secret I'm not even allowed to give a clue as to what this year's work might be (heaven forbid that I should reveal anything before the 21st March), so here's some images of my postcards from previous RCA Secrets.

Most years I make three postcard-sized works for the show but this year I've made an extra piece as RCA Secret is going international, with RCA Secret Dubai. As well as going to the College’s Scholarship Fund, helping talented students at formative stages in their careers, sales from this second RCA Secret show (which runs from 18th to 21st March) will also contribute to establishing and running RCA courses in Dubai, which will in turn nurture emerging local Dubai talent.

Back here in London, the RCA Secret exhibition opens to the public on the 12th March, with the sale itself taking place on Saturday 21st March (8am-6pm). If you want to guarantee getting at least one of your top twenty postcards then I suggest getting in the queue very early (some hardcore souls start queueing the night, or days, before the doors open for the sale) or win one of the first fifty places in the queue via the RCA Secret raffle.

Royal College of Art, Battersea
Dyson Building, 1 Hester Road, London SW11 4AN

Exhibition 12–20 March, 11am–6pm
Late opening Thursday 19 March until 9pm
Sale Saturday 21 March, 8am–6pm (exhibition closed to visitors)

Saturday, 24 January 2015

Emerging UK Artists You Should Know

I'd like to thank journalist, Holly Howe (@Hollytorious) for including me in her article, Emerging UK Artists You Should Know.

Of the other artists in the Complex article, it's great to see so many I know personally. The featured artists are - this year's Turner Prize winner, Duncan Campbell - painter/scribbler, Stephen Anthony Davids (who's gallery, F-Art, I once exhibited in) - painter/sculptor, Jonathan Paul Davies (who I affectionately call Begbie, after an accidental bottle throwing incident at a private view in a Fitzrovia gallery) - photographer, Nigel Grimmer - printmaker/Victorian image splicing wizard, Dan Hillier, who's work you'll probably recognise from the cover of Royal Blood’s Mercury-nominated and No.1 début album – street art/fine art crossover, Steve More - fine art photographer, Suzanne Moxhay - painter, Al Saralis - and finally, the mysterious graffiti artist, Stik.

Sunday, 28 December 2014

New Money

I'm not normally one for New Year's resolutions but there are a few projects that I want to get started on in 2015 so maybe cracking on with them can be my NYR. One of them is an idea that I've had for a while, and that's the creation of my own currency – well, sort of...

What I would like to do is produce a large edition of double-side prints in the form of a banknote, but to my own design, and my own currency – the 'Chig' (taken from the nickname that I've had since childhood).

So far I've looked into existing currency for a bit of inspiration, and instead of launching straight into my own design I've decided to play around with what's already out there in order to get a better feel for the medium. As you can see, I've had a bit of fun painting on currency left over from some of my previous trips abroad. To see more of my customised currency check out my Oodles of Doodles blog.

In order for me to get this project off the ground there are a few challenges that need to be met – some of which I've already started looking into. As well as signing and numbering each note individually I'd like to get them produced to as high a standard as possible, so that they have an authentic banknote feel. This would involve more than one printing technique (with one employing a raised ink), watermarks, metal thread, possibly holograms, and all printed on the same cotton/linen paper that banknotes are traditionally printed on. And it's this last one that looks like being the biggest stumbling block. Unless you happen to be one of the few organisations in the world that actually prints money legally, then getting hold of the right kind of paper looks to be next to impossible.

I've spoken to a friend who is probably the top artist book binder working today, and she told me that she knows of a few people who still have the right sort of paper but they are book binders who just happen to have small quantities left over from decades ago, when it was still just about publicly available. The obvious reason that it's so hard to get hold of is that it would be very useful to counterfeiters – which led me onto a particular line of enquiry that nearly got me into trouble, and probably on a watched list. I went onto what can only be described as a forgery forum and ended up chatting to some very obvious law enforcement people, posing as counterfeiters looking to recruit gullible young, would-be counterfeiters. Needless to say, the experience wasn't particularly fruitful, although I did learn some interesting facts about the most successful counterfeiting techniques – the details of which are probably best not shared.

An important part of this project is realising my own limitations. As my computer graphic skills are pretty poor I think it best that I find a talented graphic artist with the ability to translate my drawings into the intricate background line work needed to give the final images their banknote-like look. So if you know of anyone out there that might be interested, get in touch.

Then we come to the all important element of the project – funding! One area that I'm considering is crowd funding, although this seems to be a bit of a mine field in itself. If I do go down this route then a friend, horror film-maker, Andy 'Zombie' Edwards, has kindly offered to shoot the promotional video for it, but even so, raising awareness of the project is probably as big a task as the project itself.

Saturday, 20 December 2014

Sunday, 14 December 2014

Blast From The Past

Rummaging through some half-forgotten boxes that I had in storage I recently came across one of my old sketchbooks from twenty years ago. I opened it with some trepidation, fearing that what I'd find inside might be a bit cringe-worthy, but I was relieved to see that some of the pages weren't too bad. Here's a few examples of what I found. To see more check out the latest posting on my Oodles of Doodles blog – a blog that I've shamefully neglected of late.

These first two are of Lisa Kelly; still a very close friend, even after all these years of knowing me.

Here are a couple of drawings of details from a wire maquette, Pelvis, that I made for a sculpture that never came to be.

 And who hasn't crucified their Action Man doll at least once? No... just me then? Right!... moving on...

To mark my brief foray into stone carving we have a scrappy painting/working drawing for my take on the theme of 'Mother and Child', followed by a photo of the resultant carving.

Regarding the next three pages, I think that I had a thing for puppets and body bags.

Next we have something a little more traditional - a life drawing!

And we end with something light and fluffy – a drawing of a stuffed toy monkey.

Saturday, 15 November 2014

My 'Complex' Interview

Here's the article written by journalist, Holly Howe, who recently interviewed me for Complex.

Interview: Sculptor Wayne Chisnall Discusses His New Exhibition, "Dreams of Being Batman".

Tentacle Touch Teddy by Wayne Chisnall

If you walk through the graffiti-filled archways under Waterloo Station in London, you’ll find the Vaults Gallery, home to a new exhibition of Wayne Chisnall’s work. Titled "Dreams of Being Batman," the show features over 30 works from the British artist, ranging from sculptures from the late '90s to new assemblages made for this show.

Born in Shropshire, UK in 1968, Wayne started his art career illustrating gaming magazines, before moving into the world of fine art. His work has been exhibited at the Royal British Society of Sculptors and the V&A Museum as well as in galleries around the world and has appeared on television shows including BBC 2's The Culture Show, Channel 4 News, and Channel 4 Four Rooms. He has also been known to do the odd bit of design work, most recently for the interior of the new Ping Pong restaurant in Wembley, London.

We sat down with Wayne to ask him about his art, his inspiration, and how he ended up working with John Malkovich.

Dreams of Being Batman by Wayne Chisnall

Where does the title of the exhibition come from?
"Dreams of Being Batman" is taken from the title of one of my earliest sculptures (above). It had to do with childhood perceptions of adulthood. I was focusing on childhood hero figures. In dreams things aren’t quite what they seem, hence the head and the horns aren’t quite a Batman head but a dream version of it.

And it’s your head in the work?
It’s sort of a self-portrait, and Batman was one of my favorite superheroes, but with most of my sculptures, there’s never just one meaning. Also I was the only one stupid enough to sit still to have my head cast. I nearly lost my own ears as it was really difficult to remove the cast when it set.
The show has a mix of sculpture and painting, which do you prefer?

I enjoy both, but I probably prefer sculpture. I had been an illustrator previously, but when I moved into sculpture almost 20 years ago, everything seemed to click. It was as if I found my true voice.

You seem to use an assortment of really weird materials. Where do you find them?
Everywhere! I find things on the street or in skips [dumpsters]. I always keep an eye out for unusual materials wherever I go. I’m often spied down the back streets with a big bag over my shoulder.

Baby Kit by Wayne Chisnall
Baby kit (above) reminds me of the model kits that were around when I was a child, but none of them looked like that!
Yeah, when you look at it you eventually realize that all the pieces don’t make up a whole doll, which references an anomaly I noticed in some children’s dolls. In some, the individual body parts might actually be based upon elements of a child from different age ranges with even a few adult proportions thrown in.

Of course, you don’t just work as an artist. Tell us about your script with John Malkovich?
There was a script writing competition where John Malkovich wrote the opening scenes and was looking for a follow-on script, and he chose mine. What I wasn’t expecting was that it then got turned into a short animated film, which was great as a lot of my work is influenced by animation and film.

"Dreams of Being Batman" runs until Nov. 29 in London's Vault Gallery.

Book Tower II (Nostalgia For a Childhood That Wasn't Mine) by Wayne Chisnall

Toy Tower by Wayne Chisnall
The City (remains) and Crutch And Tumour Box by Wayne Chisnall
Orifice Tower by Wayne Chisnall
At Any Time by Wayne Chisnall