Tuesday, 16 October 2018

Its Art Call 2018 Exhibition

I'd like to thank the judges and organisers of The Cult House for selecting me to be one of the twelve artists exhibiting in the Its Art Call 2018 exhibition, which runs from 31st October - 9th November, at the After Nyne gallery in Holland Park, London. 
If anyone would like to come to the private view/opening party on Thursday 1st November (6-9pm) please RSVP as soon as possible to info@theculthouse.co.uk . I'll be there and I imagine that most of the other exhibiting artists will also, so please feel free to pop along and chat to us - or just come along for a drink and a look at the artwork.
I'd also like to congratulate friend and fellow artist, Oskar Krajewski, for winning the solo show which will open on the 20th November at the same venue.
The three pieces that I will be exhibiting in the show are Tattooed Tumour Box, Planetoid 210, and Orifice Tower.

Tattooed Tumour Box emerged from my interest in applying organic-looking structural developments (that have gone awry) to geometric forms. In this case I have taken as my inspiration the mechanism of a cancer cell, where growth has gone unchecked and produced an unstable-looking, asymmetrical form. The 'tattooed' element of the piece harks back to growing up with a tattooist father but the style of the drawings relate more to my early career as a technical illustrator. As for the subject of the drawings - the starting point was based upon found materials that I had collected for use in future sculptures, but which I chose to morph together or exaggerate beyond recognition.

'Planetoid 210' is a realisation of one of a series of sketches that I had been working on for some time. These sketches all involve architectural structures or towers sitting atop planetoids or spherical bodies that are obviously too small to realistically support them. The original drawing was inspired by something that happened to me whilst I was in Goa, India. I was swimming in the sea and noticed an interesting seed pod floating towards me. And as I picked it up to investigate further a small colony of tiny crabs decided that they must have hit dry land and disembarked onto my hand.

Although it might look like it's just been thrown together all the individual box sections and framework of Orifice Tower have been carefully constructed in such a way that the pieces interlock, creating a deceptively sturdy structure – not that I'm encouraging anyone to try and climb it. Discounting the glue, all the materials used in the construction of this piece (mostly wood but some stone, copper piping and small metal fixings) are recycled – even down to the screws. This isn't purely for environmental reasons. It's mainly because I love the patina and 'resonance' of old materials. A lot of the wood comes from the backs of old picture frames or early to mid-20th Century packing cases from the Victoria and Albert Museum in London.

Orifice Tower started out as a quick thumbnail sketch that I drew whilst waiting for a talk to commence at the Jerwood Space in Bankside. At that time I was working on some small sculptures that were basically wooden boxes that incorporated carved apertures or orifices. By this stage I'd become aware of the fact that much of my work was getting smaller and smaller so I decided to remedy this by creating elevated versions of these new Orifice Box sculptures. This also tied in with my love of tower structures.

To come to the private view/opening party on Thursday 1st November (6-9pm) please RSVP as soon as possible to info@theculthouse.co.uk

Tuesday, 25 September 2018

Half Price Print Sale (for next 30 days)

It's been a few years since I last had one of my print sales and I've decided it's about time I had another. So for the next thirty days I'm offering a selection of my prints at half their regular price. If you'd like one at 50% discounted price drop me an email at WAYNECHISNALL@YAHOO.CO.UK
Here are the ones that are included in the sale -

IF THEY WERE BUNNIES (£75 instead of £150)

I created the original image for 'If They Were Bunnies' by first selecting a newspaper image of British police officers attacking demonstrators. I then painted out the protestors - replacing them with my own cartoon rabbits. I'm pleased with the contrast between the crisp graphic line work of the bunnies and the just about perceptible halftone modulations of the newspaper image.

Printed using cutting edge Epson® HDX Ultrachrome archival pigments inks, as opposed to ordinary dye-base inks, which are more prone to fading over prolonged exposure to UV light, and printed on Hahnemuhle Bright White 310 gsm; an acid-free, premium heavy-weight archival paper. The image is 45.5 x 33 cm, and the paper size is 50.5 x 39.3 cm. Each print is signed and editioned (being from a limited edition of 100). The prints are also embossed with an authentication stamp in the lower left corners of the border.

SPIDEY PODS (£100 instead of £200)

The Spidey Pods piece came about through the merging of a few different ideas or interests. Part of it was to do with my interest in nostalgia, childhood perceptions of adulthood and childhood heroes (hence the elements of the 70s style Spiderman costume). The work was also influenced by an interest in forms that reoccur within larger forms. Just prior to making the preparatory drawing for the Spidey Pods piece I had been peeling back the skin of a segment of orange and marvelling at the mass of smaller pod-like segments that it was made up of.
It was whilst sketching out the initial drawing that I also remembered a scene from the original 'Invasion of the Body Snatchers', in which the main character from the movie finds himself in the back of a truck, on top of a pile of giant pods. So again, there is this reworking of nostalgic elements, as films have been another important influence throughout my life (especially during my childhood).

Limited edition, hand-printed, silk-screen prints on acid-free, archival high grade paper. Signed and numbered. Edition of 300 (although less than 100 have so far been printed and it's unlikely that any more will be printed).
Dimensions: 58 x 53 cm.

MORPHED COMPONENTS (£80 instead of £160)

The 'Morphed Components' prints are based upon one of my pencil drawings, in which I morphed together elements of different found objects and materials that I'd been collecting for use in my sculptures. Unlike my recent quick-fire drawings this one harks back to the draughtsmanship style I used when I first started out as a technical illustrator for one of the big Japanese companies back in the 80s. I found it interesting using the same precise and clinical rendering that I used back then, on something that is personal to what I do now. Some people have said that they find the drawing a bit disturbing but I find it quite relaxing to stare at (the original hangs on the wall at the foot of my bed).

In order to give the prints a subtle pencily (that's not a real word is it?) quality the screen prints were hand-pulled using an ink made with graphite powder. As with all my other screen prints, these are also printed on archival quality paper and each one is signed and editioned. The paper dimensions are 54 x 52 cm and the print run is an edition of 60 plus five artist's proofs

Title:Morphed Components
Dimensions: 54 x 52 cm (approx)
Medium:silk-screen prints (hand printed) on acid-free paper
Colours:1 (graphite powder ink)

SWIRLY SKULLS ON PINK (£70 instead of £140)

For those of you who love skulls but with a shade of femininity, here’s my two colour, ‘Swirly Skulls on Pink’ screen print. They come in a strictly limited edition of 50 and each print is signed, titled, editioned, dated, and printed on archival paper. The paper dimensions are 70 x 50 cm (larger than my single colour, ‘Swirly Skulls’ prints which are 60 x 45 cm).

If you are interested in any of the prints (temporarily at half price) just drop me an email at waynechisnall@yahoo.co.uk

Friday, 6 July 2018

(Free) Miniature Oil Paintings

In the build-up to this November/December's RCA Secret exhibition (proceeds from the sale of the artworks go to help support the Royal College of Art's students) of postcard-sized artworks, to which I annually contribute, I've decided to get in the mood for it by working on a series of speedily executed, miniature oil sketches. Well, I say 'speedily executed', but there's always going to the odd one or two where I get drawn in, and end up staying up all night tinkering away over it.

On the final day of the RCA Secret (the day of the sale) I'll be giving away three of the postcard-sized artworks to winners selected at random - one via Instagram, one via Twitter, and one via Facebook. To be in with a chance of winning one simply 'follow' me on any of the three social media sites and 'like' and 'share' any of the posts (sharing posts on Instagaram is a bit trickier than on Twitter and Facebook, so extra points to anyone who manages it).

Here you see a few of the miniature oils sketches that I've recently produced. There will be more to come over the following months. To view them, and for a chance to win one, check out my Instagram, Twitter and Facebook pages. Good luck!


Tuesday, 5 June 2018

'National Mesmeric' - Work In Progress

These days the whole of my house is filled with the smell of turpentine and linseed oil. And it's glorious! The reason for this pervading odour? Well, whereas my sculpture studio and workshop are located in my back garden, my painting studio happens to be a room in my house, and after a twenty year break I have returned to oil painting (having previously been working mostly in acrylics, painting-wise); hence the  gloriousness of this much-miss smell - and the memories it triggers.

I'm currently working on a 1.5m x 1.2m oil painting called 'National Mesmeric'. It's based upon the BBC's TV Test Card F that was used from 1967 till the late 90s but I'll reveal more about it in a later post, once the painting is finished. For now here's a picture of me working on it.

Sunday, 15 April 2018

Sketchy Thoughts

As much as I love spending hours walking around art galleries, scrutinising works by my favourite artists and discovering pieces by artists that are new to me, one thing that I always want to see more of is their accompanying sketchbook work. I'm fascinated by these visual diaries/notebooks and how they reveal the thought processes behind the finished works that we see up on the gallery walls. And it's with this in mind that I thought that I'd give you a little insight into my creative musings by posting a few recent scrawls from my current pocket sketchbook (these days I rarely use a sketchbook bigger than A5 size).

My own sketchbooks are amongst my most precious possessions; probably the first things that I'd try to save in the case of a house fire. To me they serve multiple purposes. Often they are repositories for pretty much fully formed ideas for potential future artworks (mostly sculptures) - having long ago realised that if I don't get an idea down on paper straight away, I'm liable to forget it forever. But they are also where I go to work out the not-so-fully-formed ideas. Sometimes an idea is so vague that it's not until I start to see it take form on the page in front of me that it is actually realized. Sketchbooks are also great places to knock lumps off of forms before you attempt it in the real world. By this I mean that you can experiment and make your mistakes on paper, before you commit to the physicality of the actual sculpture. It's also a good place to refine the form of the sculptural work that you are going to pursue - the place where you discover its ideal outline.

I have more ideas for artworks than I'll ever have the time in which to create them, especially since the act of constructing a sculpture always generates ideas for various different versions of itself (usually there will be multiple points in the construction of a sculpture where you are confronted with the option of taking the work in one of at least two different directions), so I content myself with the fact that if I manage to get my ideas down on paper at least the work exists in some form.

Although the majority of my sketchbooks are filled with preliminary drawings, I do also use them for making working drawings of mid-construction sculptures - as a way of working out some of the finer details of a work in progress. I find that it can also be useful to make sketches of sculptures that I'm working on, purely as a way of temporarily distancing myself from the sculpture, and in which to see it from a fresh perspective.

As you've probably noticed from these few examples, I usually eschew the pencil; instead preferring to work directly in ink on paper. I like the immediacy of working with a pen. Knowing that you can't erase a mistake, trains you to be more accurate and economical with your mark making, or to incorporate rogue lines into the body of the drawing. Although, saying that, some of my thumbnail sketches can occasionally lean towards the clumsy, especially if I'm more interested in quickly jotting down an idea (usually accompanied with a few notes on materials and construction methods) than I am in pure joy of drawing.

Another thing that I love about sketchbooks is that they can act as an inspiration store. I have sketchbooks dating back decades and every now and then, when flicking through them, I will come across a forgotten drawing or set of notes that triggers an idea for a new work.

I smile now when I think back to my early days at art college, when the tutors would try and impress upon us the importance of sketchbook work, and would demand to see a body of preparatory drawings accompanying each finished piece of artwork. Inevitably we would all disregard this - go straight ahead with our main piece of work, then, once it was finished, we would laboriously try and come up with the pages of 'preliminary drawings' that had led us to that end point.

Thursday, 30 November 2017

'Chronica' Sleeve Artwork

I woke up this morning (I say 'morning' but technically I'd missed the cut-off for that time of day by about an hour) to find a note shoved through the letter box, telling me that the postman had left a parcel for me, tucked between the wheelie bins. Having a pretty good idea what the parcel contained I excitedly nipped out to retrieve it, before it could get rained on. The last time a parcel was left there, I'd been away from home for a week. And if you know anything about the British weather, then you can guess what state it was in by the time I found it.

The parcel turned out to contain exactly what I thought it would - 'Chronica', the new gatefold, double album on heavyweight vinyl, by The Scaramanga Six. Even though I completed the sleeve artwork some months ago, this was the first time that I'd got to handle a copy of either the vinyl version or the CD (digipack double-CD is on lovely reverse-board finish) version of the record. I must say that I'm very pleased with the results. The colour reproduction and sleeve design is spot on, and matt finish to the cardboard sleeve not only looks great but adds that extra tactile element. Now all I have to do is dust off my trusty gramophone and give this baby a spin...

The Scaramanga Six, for an English indie band, are pretty much in a class of their own. They're theatrical songs and flamboyantly aggressive stage presence has made them a significant band on the Leeds rock scene. Described as "the closest we'll see to a British answer to Fugazi", The Scaramanga Six exist in a Lynchian-like soundscape where the likes of Cardiacs or Tony Bennet wouldn't seem out of place.

So here's a little about the concept behind the double album (lovingly lifted from the band's own site).
The title of this work is ‘CHRONICA’ – containing an abstract story roughly hewn from a concept of a dystopian island society. A place where everything has fallen into ruin, yet people still seem to have the same preoccupation with the trivial crap they had before. The population trudge through a chaotic existence on top of each other with absolutely no hope of a better life. Society is reduced to its base behaviour yet people still crave superficial fixes. The human condition carries on regardless. There is no outcome, no lessons to be learned. Familiar?

Before I started work on the album sleeve artwork, the band sent me loads of notes on the concept and other useful information. Rather than try to tackle as many of the elements from the notes as possible (in a straightforward illustrative manner) I decided to try and produce something that engaged with feel of the run-down dystopian island society that the album describes, whilst still staying true to the aesthetic of my own work. To achieve this I started by collaging together distressed, old materials, on top of sections of antique packing crates (check out some of the gorgeously grubby old labels, still attached to the wood), sourced from the Victoria and Albert Museum, London, where I used to work. Then I painted over areas of the collage with images adapted from my own drawings of found objects, morphing in and out of one another.

Creative Debuts - Haunted House of Horrors Exhibition

It would seem that I've made a bit of a blunder over my blog post scheduling for the announcement of the final days of the Creative Debuts' Haunted House of Horrors exhibition (in which I had five of my small paintings), at their Shoreditch, London exhibition space. I had thought that it was to run till the 4th of December but it would appear that the show has already ended. Oops!

However, you can still find a small selection of my artwork, available to buy, on the Creative Debuts site.

Monday, 27 November 2017

Dyslexia Amazing Art Award 2017

On Saturday I was honoured to receive the Amazing Art Award at the 2017 Dyslexia Awards ceremony, which took place at the Engenuity science museum (part of the Ironbridge Gorge Museums group). Here I am, proudly receiving my award from Jill Bagnall, the designer/maker behind Fusing Ideas Glass. Not only did Jill's company sponsor the award that I won, but Jill also designed and created the wonderful glass trophies for all of this year's winners.

©Infocus Photography – Michael Wilkinson 2017

As some of you may have spotted from my ten years or so of blogging, I am dyslexic - although, through the use of spell check and laborious self-proofreading, hopefully not too much of the negative side of the condition shows through in my writing. I say negative 'side' to highlight the point that dyslexia isn't just a disabling condition. The dyslexic brain can allow, what some might actually consider, an unfair advantage when it comes to creative thinking; especially when you consider how many pioneering creative minds were themselves dyslexic. People such as Leonardo da Vinci, Agatha Christie, Albert Einstein, Thomas Edison, Winston Churchill, Maggie Aderin-Pocock, Alexander Graham Bell, Walt Disney, Erin Brockovich, Richard Branson, John Lennon, and John F Kennedy, to name but a few. Not that all dyslexics can claim such talented and versatile minds - but at least it's nice to realise that you're included in the same pool of potential. And it's fantastic that we have people like Elizabeth 'Eli' Wilkinson, who set up the Dyslexia Awards organisation to help celebrate, and raise awareness of the positive aspects of Dyslexia.

I'd like to end this post by saying a massive thank you to all my friends, family and colleagues, who generously sent it such heartfelt and lovingly composed supporting nominations - and to the judges who selected me for the award, based upon what they read in those nominations. Last but definitely not least, thank you Eli and the rest of the Dyslexia Award team for all your dedication and hard work.

Wednesday, 22 November 2017

All Aboard The Salvator Mundi Bandwagon

Did someone shout 'bandwagon'? Well, here we go then...
AP photo/Julie Jacobson

If you were one of the many (pretty much all of us) who couldn't afford the $450M price tag for a Leonardo da Vinci (that possibly isn't actually a da Vinci anyway - yes, I'm talking about you Salvator Mundi) then don't worry - I have come to save the day. For a mere £8, plus postage, you can be the proud owner of one of my 'DaVincipus' tote bags - 100% genuinely guaranteed not to have been anywhere near a Fifteenth Century, Italian Renaissance polymath. My design is, however, based upon Leonardo's Vitruvian Man drawing - but me being me, I've replaced the limbs with tentacles and turned the square and circle line work, as depicted in his original drawing, into a frame from which my 'cephalopodised' (what do you mean, that's a made-up word? Aren't all words made-up?) man suspends himself.

My DaVincipus design is screen printed in black and white ink on cotton tote bags, in a range of 17 different colours (limited edition of around 4-5 bags per colour). The bag dimensions are 40 cm x 37 cm (not counting the handles).

I should just mention though - if you follow the link to the full range of colours, the olive green bags have now sold out. And my 'Swirly Skull' tote bags have now, all but for one pink and six unbleached, also sold out.

Tuesday, 24 October 2017

New Print - 'If They Were Bunnies'

After lots of research into Fine Art giclée printing and artwork reproduction capture (with helpful tips from friend and fellow artist, James White) I am pleased to announce the arrival of my new print, 'If They Were Bunnies'. With this print I worked closely with the amazing Mark Parry, of The Artist's Print Room, whose eye for detail is spot on. I was so impressed with Mark's work that I also commissioned him to photograph the artwork that I produced for the new Scaramanga Six album, 'Chronica' (but more about that later).

Aside from Mark's unparalleled photographic and reproduction skills, one of the major selling points for me, in using The Artist's Print Room, is his use of cutting edge Epson® HDX Ultrachrome archival pigments inks, as opposed to ordinary dye-base inks, which are more prone to fading over prolonged exposure to UV light.

At this point I'd like to interject an apology for the white balance on the photograph (which you see here) that I took of the finished 'If They Were Bunnies' print. In the actual print, the bunnies and border are the pure white of the paper, as opposed to the off white that you see here. My Bad!

I created the original image for 'If They Were Bunnies' by first selecting a newspaper image of British police officers attacking demonstrators. I then placed a clear animation cell over the image, and painted out the protestors - replacing them with my own cartoon rabbits. After scanning the image I then tidied up a few bits on my laptop to heighten the contrast between the crisp graphic line work of the bunnies and the, just about perceptible, halftone modulations of the newspaper image.

As well as the archival pigment inks, that I previously mentioned, 'If They Were Buinnies' is printed on Hahnemuhle Bright White 310 gsm; an acid-free, premium heavy-weight archival paper. The image is 45.5 x 33 cm, and the paper size is 50.5 x 39.3 cm. Each print is signed and editioned (being from a limited edition of 100). The prints are also embossed with an authentication stamp (see close-up photo) in the lower left corners of the border.

For a limited period I'll be offering 'If They Were Bunnies' at the reduced price of £120 to members of my mailing list, or to anyone wishing to join the list. So, if you are interested in one of the new prints, or just in joining my mailing list, please feel free to drop me a line at wayne@waynechisnall.com

Saturday, 23 September 2017

Slave/Master at the V&A Museum

I recently had the pleasure of working with two friends, Moin Roberts-Islam and Brooke Roberts-Islam of London-based innovation studio, BR Innovation Agency (BRIA), when they called me in to help design and to build the wooden elements of the set for their latest project, Slave/Master - which runs until Saturday 24th September as part of London Design Festival at the Victoria and Albert Museum, London. Slave/Master combines contemporary dance, cutting-edge robotics and interactive projection graphics in a collaborative performance, with the audience able to roam freely around the installation space, viewing it from all angles.

The time allocated for the construction of the set was pretty tight but the 'innovation destination', Plexal (at Here East, on the Olympic Park site), kindly provided space for the dancers to rehearse, the robotics guys to do their thing, and for me to build the set. I build the two circular dance platforms, the framework for the 7.2 metre by 5.5 metre tall projection screen, the computer desk, and the 4.5 metre wide projectors platform at the back.

On our last day at Plexal the dancers gave a last preview of their routine with the robots (which is where I shot this little video) before we dismantled everything and shipped it all over to the V&A, ready for the following mornings' install. Unfortunately I had to head up to Shropshire straight after reconstructing the set at the V&A, so didn't get to see the performance at the V&A, and the dancers in their costumes, but from what I've seen online it looks amazing.

The concept, costumes and production were devised by BRIA, with projection graphic technology and creative support from Holition and dancers and choreography from the London Contemporary Ballet Theatre. Robotic arms, software, engineering support and sponsorship were provided by KUKA Robotics UK Ltd, Autodesk, Adelphi Automation and SCM Handling.