Wednesday, 6 January 2010

Sketchbook Archive # 01

The City/Fetish Mutated

If asked ‘what is the first thing you would try and save in a fire?’ I imagine that most artists would say sketchbooks (OK - if they had kids, they ‘might’ say kids first) – yet when it comes to exhibitions and the art world in general, these vital documents go largely over-looked. I know that not all artists use sketchbooks but to me they are invaluable. Not only do they act as a form of external memory (one of the worst things is to have a great idea for a piece, not make a note of it, then forget what it was) that you can come back to years later and find new inspiration in, but they also allow you to work out your mistakes without having to make them in the physical world.
So, as a tribute to the ‘the sketchbook’ I decided to start a regular (well, I say regular – I imagine that there will be more than one) Sketchbook Archive post on my blog, where I show a few examples of my working-drawings and talk about what was going through my mind at the time (cue the sound of wind and tumbleweed rolling across the prairie).
So, there goes –
The images above are perfect examples of what would happen if I could cross-breed some of my sculptures. Or rather, what the outcome would be if I started mixing some of the materials and techniques from one piece with that of another. These drawings take their inspiration from my earlier sculptures, The City (made mostly of wood and found materials) and Fetish, made from human hair. Ever since I first made Fetish I’ve been both fascinated and repulsed by the use of hair as an artistic medium. I love the look of it as a material but it feels horrible when you have to mix it, by hand, with glue. However, hair is a great thing to draw as it seems to dictate its own flow. But when I start introducing the rigid structure of wooden frames and boxes into the drawing, a kind of equilibrium or harmony comes into play and the two materials start to dictate the overall form the potential sculpture might take.
In a couple of the sketches you can see where I’ve experimented with adding items that I’d previously used in other sculptures – things like tubes, teeth and doll parts. This is one of the great things about sketchbooks – you can be a playful, dark or as silly as you like. And often, some of the best pieces come from what you originally thought of as just a stupid idea or from the crudest thumbnail sketch.

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