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