Wednesday, 21 September 2022

Ironbridge Alien

I made this papier-mache alien for a group-initiative window diorama at the Bolthole, a design hub in Ironbridge Gorge, Shropshire. The window display coincides with Ironbridge's Festival of Imagination, which runs from 15th September to 2nd October 2022.

Papier-mâché Alien, 2021, artist: Wayne Chisnall

And what has an alien got to do with this particular part of the world you might ask? Well, not a lot to do with Ironbridge and it's rich industrial history, but Shropshire is something of a UFO hotspot, with a history of alleged extra terrestrial encounters. So here's my tongue-in-cheek imagining of an alien. 

Papier-mâché Alien (work-in-progress), 2021, artist: Wayne Chisnall

I started working on this little orange fella at a workshop run by my friend, the collage artist and fellow Wellington Arts Collective member, Caris Jackson. I began by making a wire frame, around which I applied layers of papier-mâché - as you can see in the little video that I made. The eyes are actually made from two antique clay or stone marbles that were found whilst mudlarking along the shore of the Thames River in London, at low tide. 

Here's a bit of bumf about this year's festival:

The Festival of Imagination 2022 – a celebration of the Ironbridge Gorge, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is set to be a feast of Art, poetry, film, workshops, performance, talks, and local history exploring the story of the Ironbridge Gorge where the raw materials of iron smelting, in the hands of historical innovators, converged to give birth to the industrial revolution.

Thursday, 7 July 2022

Biped (& Yoshi)

My new sculpture, 'Biped', made from reclaimed wire, stands on a base of 300-year-old reclaimed English oak. The oak is reclaimed from floor boards from an old farm house, here in Shropshire. The boards all have very long and very rusty, hand-made nails sticking out of them. I'm acutely aware of this because when I accidentally stood on one of them (and it went straight through the sole of my trainer, and deep into the ball of my foot) I wasn't able to walk on that foot for a few weeks. Talk about suffering for one's art.

'Biped', found materials sculpture, 2022, artist: Wayne Chisnall

When I initially started making Biped I had intended for it to be a much simpler wire structure, that would act as an armature onto which I could apply other materials; materials that would form the outer shell. However, as I progressed I quickly realized that I preferred the wire as the sole material for the figure. I see Biped as much as a three dimensional drawing as it is a sculpture, because even though the piece is a sculptural object I found the process as akin to drawing as it was to sculpting.

'Pelvis', found materials sculpture, 1995, artist: Wayne Chisnall

Even though I've used old bits of wire in previous works, I think that the only time I've previously made an all-wire sculpture (discounting the stand and coating) is when I made a piece called Pelvis, way back in the mid-90s.

'Biped', found materials sculpture, 2022, artist: Wayne Chisnall

When I was constructing this Biped I was reminded of a conversation that I had with, Yoshi, an old friend from my London Biennale (a London-based art collective set up by the artist, David Medalla, and comprising a wide mix of mostly international artists) days. I had once visited Yoshi in his South London flat (a flat that was so crammed with materials, artwork and Yoshi's strange inventions, that if it wasn't for Yoshi's amazing organisational skills, it would have been impossible to navigate) and there he showed me an articulated T-Rex that he'd made out of wire. From what I remember, if you pressed a wire lever on its back it either opened its mouth or flicked the 'V' sign (or possibly both). He asked me to guess how much wire was used in its construction. I think I guessed something like 23 metres, to which he replied 'almost spot on - no-one ever thinks it used that much wire'. I wish I'd thought to keep a tally of the amount of wire I'd used to make Biped before I started.

Yoshi and Adan Nankervis (international coordinator of the London Biennale), Crystal Palace, 2004

Sadly, a few days ago, I learnt that Yoshi had been suffering from stomach cancer and had died in King's Hospital, London on the 21st April 2022. He was a wonderfully eccentric character, and even though I'd not seen him for some time, I'll miss him. The world could do with more Yoshis.

Tuesday, 21 June 2022

Nail Head

All of the sculptures that Sharon Griffin and I exhibited at the Crafts Council's recent Collect art fair, at Somerset House in London, are from a series called 'Unlockdown'; a collaborative project that we started at the beginning of the pandemic lockdown in 2020, and which relate to the issues that people are facing during this time. 

'Nail Head', 2021, ceramic & metal, artists, Wayne Chisnall & Sharon Griffin

The sculpture, 'Nail Head', utilizes a material that has been a prominent feature of some of my earlier works; namely the rusty nail (as well as of rusty items, e.g. screws). Whereas, in previous pieces, the use of rusty nails were initially inspired by my interest in their use in the animated films of The Brothers Quay and Jan Švankmajer, and later by my fascination with Minkisi (the totemic carvings of the peoples of the Congo), with 'Nail Head' a different set of meanings come into play. 

'Nail Head', 2021, ceramic & metal, artists, Wayne Chisnall & Sharon Griffin

In these troubling times of Covid, where we've all been forced to protect one another by wearing masks, the sculpture's balaclava of collected nails also acts like a mask, but one where the ominous array of nails form a barrier, warning people not to get too close. It points to the psychological side effect of living with the restrictions placed upon us because of the virus; where we cannot socially interact the ways we used to, and highlighting how, for such a highly sociable species as ourselves, this prolonged restricted interaction has greatly exacerbated problems of mental health issues. 

Credit: CCO Public Domain

What has also not gone unnoticed, is the similarity between the head of this sculpture and the familiar image of the corona virus, with its protein spikes, as portrayed in the media. As is often the case with sculpture, things reveal themselves after the creation process. So I'm not sure whether this similarity is because I was subconsciously thinking about this when I worked on the sculpture, or whether it's merely a coincidence and I'm reading too much into it.

Thursday, 26 May 2022

Never Let You Go

Over the last few years I've been searching for, and collecting, dead trees that ivy vines have grown around, and carefully removing the trees (chipping them away piece by piece) so as to leave the vine structures intact. This is for the 'Never Let You Go' series of sculptures that I'm planning. 

'Never Let You Go (small standing version)', 2022, artist: Wayne Chisnall

My aim is to replace the tree sections with large colourful fabric sausages, giving the impression that the vines had grown around them and are squeezing them tightly. To help emphasis this illusion I've mostly been selecting specimens were the vines have grown thick and into roughly tubular encasements, almost like extra long, irregular rib cages. Of these vine networks that I've so far collected, the largest one is around 11 feet long. 

Pictured is a relatively small, test version that I made; mostly to test out how the sausage would look when threaded through the tube of vines. The larger versions will be displayed horizontally and I will probably employ a stretchier fabric. This test version is only vertical because it isn't as fully tubular as the larger ones and I wanted to see how it would look standing up on the more leg-like sections of vine.

I'm looking forward to seeing how the contrast between colourful fabric and the earth brown of the vines will work.

Sunday, 27 March 2022

The Devourer And Child

Even though I have lots of projects that I should probably be getting on with, I currently feel the need to start something new - something a bit more experimental. My sculptures are usually planned out well in advance and are quite laborious to construct but I've recently been thinking about making a series of small, speedily executed pieces. The idea behind these maquettes being that they act more as rough 3 dimensional sketches (where I can play with forms and see what, if anything, usefully emerges), than as finished works in their own right. 

'The Devourer & Child', 2022, wood and metal sculpture, artist, Wayne Chisnall

I love the primitive clunkiness of Eduardo Paolozzi's 1950s sculptures (before he moved into his less detailed, and more industrial-looking sculptural period), and the way that they are only barely figurative. And it's with thoughts like this in mind (especially the vestige of figuration) that I started doing a few thumbnail drawings and making notes in my sketchbook - trying the get into the right headspace before I physically stared work.

sketchbook pages, 2022, artist, Wayne Chisnall

This piece, 'The Devourer & Child', started out as an armature (where I quickly screwed together roughly-cut pieces of wood and metal) for the first of these small sculptures; the intention being that I would then coat it in other materials and carve into them to create the eventual sculpture. However, after seeing the sculptural shorthand of a figure that emerged in the armature, I decided to leave it as it is. Sometimes it's hard to know when to stop working on a piece and just step away from it; so many artworks can be ruined by over working them.

'The Devourer And Child', 2022, wood & metal sculpture, artist, Wayne Chisnall

Before I started working on this one I had an inspirational image in my head of a very famous painting. At first I thought it was one of William Blake's. After furious searching for the image I suddenly remembered that it wasn't by Blake at all; it was by Goya. It was Goya's 'Saturn Devouring His Son', from his black paintings series. I think that what had temporarily thrown me was that I'd somehow formed a visual connection between Goya's piece and Blake's 'The Ghost of A Flea'.

'Saturn Devouring His Son', Francisco Goya . 'Cyclops', Eduardo Paolozzi . 'Ghost of a Flea', William Blake

Although the piece is generally known as 'Saturn Devouring His Son' (from the Roman myth of Saturn, which was derived from the earlier Greek myth of the titan Cronus/Kronos, who, through fear of being deposed by his children, ate them at birth), this is a title that has been attributed to the work after the artist's death. The painting is from what has become known as the Black Painting series. Goya painted 14 haunting paintings directly onto the walls of his house in Manzanares, near Madrid, between 1819 and 1823. As they were not intended for public display (they were later removed from the walls and transferred to canvas) Goya never named the paintings or explained their meaning.

Wednesday, 2 March 2022

'Bound' at 'Collect' Art Fair 2022

With just a day or so to go before Sharon Griffin and I headed down to London, to exhibit work from our 'Unlockdown' at Somerset House (as part of the Crafts Council's designers and makers art fair, Collect 2022), I managed to put the finishing touches to our sculpture, 'Bound'. My contribution to the sculpture was the hand-made black rope binding (braided and knotted together from my ripped up clothing) that envelopes the ceramic figure that Sharon created.

'Bound', 2022, ceramic and textile, at Collect art fair 2022. Artists, Sharon Griffin & Wayne Chisnall

Whereas my contributions to some of the previous pieces that we've created together have been quite invasive (a prime example being 'Constraint', where I chopped up the clay figure that Sharon gave me, much to her horror, and then built a framework of recycled oak battens that penetrated and enveloped the figure), for 'Bound' I wanted to add a more minimal touch; an intervention that would complement the form and accentuate my interpretation of what Sharon was conveying through her part (the main part) of the sculpture. For this reason I used fabric (a new art material for me), as it more easily followed the lines and wrapped around the features of the figure that Sharon had created.

'Contaiment', 2020, ceramic & oak, at Collect art fair 2022. Artists, Sharon Griffin & Wayne Chisnall

Even though it took a lot longer than I'd initially expected to make the bindings, I really enjoyed the process. And it enabled me to sit in my studio for hours on end, listening to podcasts whilst I did so. To get the bindings thick and irregular enough I had to plait lots of separate sections together, throw in lots of irregular knots, and leave just the right amount loose ends to give that unconsidered looking. The practice of knotting together all the thin strips of clothing felt very Zen. I'll definitely be using fabric and knot-work in my future art practice. I found that one of the ingredients in achieving a sense of irregularity in the bindings was by not going overboard on some of the threads and leaving them relatively un-knotted. This gave some aspects of the binding a sinewy or tendon-like appearance.

'Bound' (detail), 2022, ceramic and textile. Artists, Sharon Griffin & Wayne Chisnall

Whereas 'Nail Head' was the sculpture most photographed by the Collect 2022 visitors who came to our room in the South Wing of Somerset House, 'Bound' was definitely the one that provoked the strongest reaction. The most emotional responses were from visitors who said that it made them think of the conditions and treatment of slaves on slave ships - something that I'd not been thinking about when I added my contribution to the piece. But, as I've said many times, as a creator of art I don't believe that my opinion on what I create (here I'm usually talking about work that I create on my own) is the definitive explanation of what it means. With the creation of art, and probably more so in the case of sculpture, so much is going on subconsciously that much of the meaning and influences are only revealed during or after the creation process. So if someone else sees something different to what I see in my work, I'm usually interested to hear what it is.

A few visitors to the fair chatted to Sharon and I about Shibari, the ancient art of Japanese rope bondage. I was vaguely aware of Shibari (although I didn't previously know what it was called) and was interested to hear from two of the visitors that they attend life drawing classes where Shibari is demonstrated. I'm not sure which life drawing classes the visitors, that we spoke to, attend (or if it's even the same one) but I managed to find a London one run by Anatomie studio (which is where I found this black and white photo - apologies to photographer whose name I couldn't find). Involved in the life drawing classes are Anatomie studio founder, Anna Bones and rope model Sofia, both of whom are passionate about sexual empowerment, feminism and freedom of expression.

Thursday, 17 February 2022

Collect 2022

With just a few days to go till the opening of the Collect art fair (organised through the Crafts Council), Sharon Griffin and I are not only very excited about having been selected to take part in this prestigious event, but we're also busy adding last minute touches to sculptures, building plinths, and numerous other hectic preparations.

Collect is one of the world’s most influential fairs focusing on contemporary craft and design and living artists, and takes place each year at Somerset House in the heart of London. Most of the stands at the fair will be dedicated to specific galleries (where they will be promoting the work of the artists that they represent) but there will also be 10 or so individual or duos of selected artists showing. Sharon and I are one such artistic duo, and we will be exhibiting a selection of sculptures from our ongoing 'Unlockdown' project.

Courtyard at Somerset House, London, UK, photo by Kevin Meredith

If you can make it to London next week then I hope to see you there. And if you turn up at the weekend then please excuse my state, as I'm sure that I'll be totally frazzled by that point.

Tuesday, 18 January 2022

Stay Silly

Sharon Griffin and I would like to say a massive thank you Mary & Hugh for generously allowing us to use their wonderful Twenty Twenty Gallery as a space in which to shooting some videos. As I've previously mentioned, Sharon and I have been selected to exhibit some of the sculptures from our ongoing Unlockdown art collaboration project at this February's COLLECT art fair (in conjunction with The Crafts Council), at Somerset House, London. And as part of the preparation for the show we've been taking photos of the work, and shooting videos of us talking about out individual artistic practices and of what it's like working as a collaboration.

So, after several hours of laboriously positioning the artwork, us trying out different lighting set ups, and trying to talk to camera without fluffing our lines (we wrote out a rough script to try and help us from deviating too badly off topic), we treated ourselves to a few minutes of dancing about and pulling faces to camera. The photo shows me pretending to be dismayed by Sharon's antics.

Thursday, 6 January 2022

Small Box Sculptures

I've recently started going through the remains of one of my favourite sculptures, 'The City'; a sculpture that somehow got destroyed when I lent it to an exhibition in Birmingham some years ago. I'm considering using what I can repair and salvage from the original sculpture and, together with new additional element, making a larger version. In going through the small box sections that made up 'The City' (a kind of mobile tower version of a cabinet of curiosities, made out of found materials) I started thinking about some of the small wheeled box sculptures that I made not long after I'd built 'The City', and which were influenced by this larger piece. So I thought I share some of these pieces with you here.

Small wheeled box sculptures by artist, Wayne Chisnall

All of these small sculptures were made in the first few years after I moved to London in 1999. One of the reasons that they are so small is that for my first few years I either didn't have a dedicated art studio or I was living in a cramped live/work space (often an old shop front, or a single room in a flat share), so my work space was usually also my bedroom.

The first of the six pieces you see above is 'Spider Box', made from sections of an antique tea chest and contains spider husks, cob webs, and a dead wasp. the third, 'Don't Feed Box', has a door set into the front, that opens up to a human hair-lined interior. The fourth is called 'Blind Copy Box'; 'Copy' because it's dimensions and details copied the early stages of one of my other sculptures (Nest Box), and 'Blind' because whereas 'Nest Box' has a glass lens set into it, Blind Copy Box just has a flat wooden surface. 

'Nest Box' sculpture by artist, Wayne Chisnall

Of all these early box sculptures, 'Nest Box' probably bears closer resemblance to elements of its big sister, 'The City'. It incorporates pieces of found wood and metal, vines, a magnified lens, a stone, and it sits on casters. As you can see from the photos, I had started to incorporate a framework structure to it, with the intention of continuously adding to the piece over time, and letting it develop in an organic manner. However, I've not been able to find it for some time now. Hopefully it is in a box somewhere in one of my art stores (even though I've looked for it exhaustively). Otherwise I have probably got left behind at an exhibition or something similar).

'Sleeping Beauty Box' sculpture by artist, Wayne Chisnall

'Sleeping Beauty Box' (so named because of the rose thorns inside of it) is also made with a magnified glass lens; a window that allows the viewer to see the piece's 'inner workings'. One of the things that I like about using magnified lenses is that it gives the interior scene of the sculpture a dream or fairy tale-like appearance - magnifying and throwing one area into sharp focus, whilst slightly distorting and blurring the area immediately around it.

This one, 'Arterial Box', is coated in multiple layers of street and roads that I hand-cut from the pages of an old London A to Z. By cutting out all the negative spaces between the roads and streets, and layering them over one another, on the surface of the box sculpture, I was able to build up a dense network of road systems; systems that would be impossible in reality - connecting parts of London that shouldn't be connected. One of the things that I enjoyed about creating this piece is that once I had decided where to place a layer of 'road lacework' on a particular surface, any sections that then folded of the edge of that surface (especially if it then folded over a second edge of corner) would reroute the pathways in even more unexpected directions.

'Arterial Box' sculpture by artist, Wayne Chisnall, at 'Mapping' exhibition, Bury Art Museum

In 2007 I exhibited 'Arterial Box' at Lancashire's Bury Art Museum, in an exhibition called 'Mapping'. It was a really good show, with lots of big name artists; artist such as Cornelia Parker, Richard Long, and Ian Hamilton Finlay

I remember that when I drove up Bury from London to go to the show's private viewing, I foolishly deciding to take the more scenic route rather than stick to the motorways, which on the maps looked to be of a less direct route (oh the irony). I took something like 8 hours - with myself and my patient passenger, the art journalist, Holly Howe, spending more time than we'd have liked, ambling through villages with 20 mph speed limits.

Thursday, 9 December 2021

The Artist's Manual

Today I had a rather pleasant surprise (even if the postman did wake me from a mid-day snooze) when an unexpected parcel arrived at my door. I opened it up, thinking that maybe it contained something that I'd ordered as a Yuletide present for someone, only to realise that inside were two copies of a new art book that features one of my sculptures, 'Magnet'. I'd been contacted well over a year ago about having my work featured in a couple of art books, and I'd almost forgot about them.


This book, 'the artist's manual' (ISBN: 9780241483855) is published by DK, with Rob Pepper as consultant editor, and is surprisingly chunkier than I was expecting. It is an art source book, covering media, materials, tools, and techniques, and filled with hundreds of images of work, from a wide range of artists. My piece is featured in the 'Readymades and Assemblage' chapter.


'Magnet', toy tower sculpture, by artist, Wayne Chisnall, featured in 'the artist's manual'

Flicking through the pages I quickly found images of three sculptures by one of the contributing authors, the lovely and talented sculptor, Julian Wild - an artist that I've exhibited alongside a few times, starting from back when we were both members of the Royal British Society of Sculptors (a society for whom Julian was Vice President from 2015-2019).


As I'd mentioned in a previous post, 'Magnet', my toy tower sculpture, is now in the permanent collection at The Black Gold Museum in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia (due to open in 2022).


The Black Gold Museum, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia (opening 2022)

'Magnet' is from of a series of four wheeled tower sculptures (the others being The City, Book Tower and Fetish); each relating to a different aspect of our relationship with material possessions, and how our psychological attachment to large quantities of physical objects limit our freedom and mobility.


Originally titled 'Toy Tower', it was renamed 'Magnet' after its first showing when it became evident that its powers of attraction seemed to work on children and adults in equal measure. On the first day of Magnet’s first exhibition the person invigilating told me that he had looked over to where my sculpture should have been, only to find that it had disappeared. Apparently four little boys had managed to sneak the piece out into the street before being chased off by the invigilator, who wheeled the sculpture back into the gallery.


Contents pages, 'the artist's manual', DK publishing, 2021

It's still a bit odd not having Magnet around anymore, as it's one of the earliest sculptures I made (way back in 1999) and has been a colourful presence around the place for over two decades - especially since most of my later sculptures tend to lean towards the brown end of the colour spectrum. To compensate for its absence I think that maybe the next piece in my giant face mask wall sculptures series will have to be made using plastic toys.

Monday, 29 November 2021

Staple Face

Here's 'Staple Face', one of the pieces from mine & Sharon Griffin's ongoing collaboration project, UnlockdownThe creative process in this project begins by one of us starting a piece off (we usually start with clay, but not always), before we hand it over to the other for them to add their touch, before it is handed back again. And so it goes until the piece is deemed to be complete.


'Staple Face', 2021, ceramic & metal, by Wayne Chisnall & Sharon Griffin

Compared to other 'Unlockdown' pieces, 'Staple Face' required quite minimal intervention on my part. I pressed slabs of clay into a mould that Sharon had made of one of her bust figures, and when I removed it from the mould I was fascinated by the creases that occurred where the slabs of rolled clay had joined. To me they looked like beautiful scars, and thinking on one of my favourite black and white horror movie characters, Frankenstein's Monster (played by Boris Karloff - who I later found out was born just round the corner from where I lived, in Forest Hill, when I first moved London), I decided to hand-make rusty metal staples to join the 'scars' together. Sharon handled the lovely glazing (made to her own recipe, from locally sourced Telford minerals) and the firing.

'Staple Face', 2021, ceramic & metal, by Wayne Chisnall & Sharon Griffin

'Staple face' is the second piece that I've worked on, where I've incorporated hand-made metal staples. The first one was my 'Frankenstein's Log' sculpture; one of my solo artworks, and not part of the 'Unlockdown' project.


'Frankenstein's Log', 2020, sculpture by artist, Wayne Chisnall

As I'd previously mentioned, Sharon, and I have been selected to exhibit some of our work from 'Unlockdown' at COLLECT. However, I don't think that Staple Face will be on of the pieces that Sharon & I will be showing at the art fair. COLLECT makers fair will take place at Somerset House in London, in February 2022. This highly acclaimed Crafts Council event showcases the best of British and international high-end crafts, and Sharon and I are both very excited to be selected to take part.


Sharon and I would like to say a massive thank you to the wonderful creative team at Kensa, who have so beautifully photographed the sculptures that we will be exhibiting at COLLECT. Kensa is a creative marketing agency based here in Telford, Shropshire.


Over the next few months, Sharon and I will be revealing more of what we've been working on and sharing our ideas, inspirations and processes.

Sunday, 28 November 2021

Craft Council's 'COLLECT' Art Fair 2022

After 18 months of keeping it secret I'm now delighted to announce that I, along with my collaborator, Sharon Griffin, will be exhibit sculptures from our ongoing 'Unlockdown' project at COLLECT, which will take place at Somerset House in London, in February 2022. This highly acclaimed Crafts Council event (the biggest makers fair in Europe) showcases the best of British and international high-end crafts, and Sharon and I are both very excited to be selected to take part.


Courtyard at Somerset House, London, UK, photo by Kevin Meredith

Over the next few months, Sharon and I will be revealing more of what we've been working on and sharing our ideas, inspirations and processes. If we're brave enough maybe we'll even share some of our thoughts about what we've discovered about ourselves along the way. Making art can be very revealing about one's own psyche, and can draw on early memories and sometimes traumas too (heavy!).


artist, Wayne Chisnall, working in pottery studio, Wellington, Shropshire, 2021

In this photo I'm working on a piece that would become 'Nail Head' - one of my favourite pieces, so far, from mine and Sharon's collaboration.

Friday, 26 November 2021

Digital Doodles

I've recently been messing around with this wonky old Wacom drawing tablet that I've had knocking around my studio for years. I originally found it after it had been chucked it out by another artist during one of my previous studio moves in London. As was quite common back then (and probably still is now, although there now seem to be less and less artists' studio spaces available in the capital), a whole building full of artists would be given short notice to move out and find studio space elsewhere, and in the rush to move, piles of unwanted art materials, books and curios would be abandoned outside studio doors - far too tempting to a hoarder like me!

Untitled digital skull doodle, 2021, by artist, Wayne Chisnall

Anyway - back to this temperamental drawing tablet. There's a bit of a time delay between the movement of the pen and what appears on the screen, and sometimes, when I've lifted the pen from the pad it will still carry on making marks on the screen. 

Untitled digital skull doodle, 2021, by artist, Wayne Chisnall

But I'm quite enjoying this malfunction - it's like having to wrestle with the line whilst you're drawing - forcing you to counter each unexpected mark with a split second corrective one. I've also found that if I hold the pen a certain way (at the furthest point from the nib), it amplifies the malfunction - making the drawing process a little less easy to control, but hopefully producing more interesting/random-looking line work.

Untitled digital skull doodle, 2021, by artist, Wayne Chisnall

Digital art isn't something that I'm that familiar with, which I probably why I'm having so much fun discovering what I can do with it - to the extent that I'll sometimes find myself doodling away on it till about 6:30 in the morning.


Untitled digital skull doodle, 2021, by artist, Wayne Chisnall

Part of me hopes that I don't learn to many digital skills as I like seeing what can be achieved with limited knowledge of a medium.

Wednesday, 24 November 2021

Mini Painting Challenge - Continued Update

I've just realised that, so far, I've only posted images of the first half of the 100 or so paintings that I made during the mini painting challenge that I set myself near the start of last year. So here's a few more from the second half of that series. I'll post more at later dates, so as not to overwhelm with a glut of images all in one post.

"Scrotal Teapot'', 2020, oil on book cover by UK artist, Wayne Chisnall

In mid-January of 2020 I came up with the idea of setting myself the ridiculously ambitious challenge of trying to paint 1000 small oil paintings in a 12 month time span. My initial thoughts behind the project were that I'd knock out a load of quick oil sketches as a way or generating a few new ideas and trying out different painting techniques. Although the majority of the paintings didn't turn out to be quite as quick or sketchy as I'd initially intended, I was, for the first few weeks, still on schedule for my target. 

"Bride Of Frankenstein'', 2020, oil on board by UK artist, Wayne Chisnall

However, I soon realised how all-consuming a twelve month painting challenge of this scale would be, and that putting that amount of pressure on myself would take a lot of the fun out of painting. Also, it wouldn't allow me any free time for working on my sculptural projects, and I've always found that taking a break from one medium and switching to another for a while keeps me motivated and helps generate new ideas. 

"Saintly Long Dog'', 2020, oil on board by UK artist, Wayne Chisnall

Apart from two or three, all of the paintings in this 2020 series are painted directly to the painting's surface with brush and oil paint, rather than being pencilled in beforehand. I really like the immediacy of this approach. You can often end up with a piece that has a vibrancy that you might not have got if you were being more considered and calculated.

"Sullen Ted'', 2020, oil on board by UK artist, Wayne Chisnall

The mini oil paintings/oil sketches that I've produced so far are mostly painted on small, wall mountable, plywood or chipboard plaques (recycled form pieces of  Victoria and Albert Museum packing crates), or on old book covers and recycled pieces of primed mount board (recycled from the V&A museum's Paper Conservation Department and from their Picture Framing Dept.).

Sunday, 25 July 2021

'Unlockdown' - Close-up Details

The reason that I've not posted anything about 'Unlockdown' (the art collaboration project between myself and the ceramics artist, Sharon Griffin) for a while is that we thought we'd hold some stuff back until we exhibit the main body of the work. Sharon and I have been selected to exhibit the work at a big event in London, which, because of Covid, has now been postponed till early 2022 - unless another lockdown hits, in which case I'm sure that it'll be postponed even further.

'Nail Head', ceramic & metal sculpture, Unlockdown project. Artists, Wayne Chisnall & Sharon Griffin

However, just to show that we're still working on Unlockdown, I thought I'd share a couple of close-up detail photos from two of the more recent pieces - one of them still a work-in-progress.

These pieces might be the last two sculptures that feature a true face, as Sharon and I have reached a point in the project where we feel to need to move away from the figure. This will be more of a departure from the norm for Sharon as her current practice is predominantly figurative. The ceramic elements of the initial sculptures were that of androgynous-looking human busts, which later got cropped down to disembodied heads, and we feel that the next stage is the simplifying the heads into spheres. 

Ceramic & wood sculpture (work-in-progress), Unlockdown project. Artists, Wayne Chisnall & Sharon Griffin

To give a brief reminder of the process behind the project, and how it started off, here's a bit of text from one of my earlier posts about Unlockdown - "what we are undertaking is to produce a series of experimental sculptures whereby Sharon kicks off the creation of each new sculpture by giving me a clay bust of a relatively androgynous-looking figure, made from a plaster cast mould that she made from her original clay bust sculpture. I then alter the clay bust in some way, before handing it back to Sharon, in order for her to perform her alchemy by apply some of her glazes (created from her own recipes, using locally sourced geological ingredients - apparently the variety of geological settings in Shropshire is unmatched within the British Isles or, within such a relatively small area, probably anywhere else in the world), and then fire the piece.  She then hands the piece back to me for next stage, in which I integrate it with other manipulated materials." 

Although Sharon works predominantly in clay and I work in... well, pretty much anything I can get my grubby hands on, we have a lot of things in common - a love of nature and the earth, of manipulating materials, we share many similar views, we're both from the same part of Shropshire, both with similarly odd family backgrounds etc. So I'm very excited to see where our collaboration takes us.