Tuesday, 26 March 2013

Win a Mini Print

For a chance to win one of my last few postcard-sized 'Swirly Skull on Pink' screen prints sign up to Twitter (if you're not already on it) and simply follow me and re-tweet my competition tweet from Tuesday 26th March. And I'll select a winner at random this Monday evening. Good luck!

Saturday, 23 March 2013

My RCA Secrets 2013

The sale of the RCA Secret 2013 postcards has been up and running for some hours now so I'm guessing that it's safe to reveal my 3 entries for this year. And to all the brave souls who have queued (not to mention the hardened few who camp out over several nights) through the rain and cold, I salute you! 

This one I definitely know is safe to reveal as I received a text this morning from the lucky person who jammily won (via the RCA Secret's 'first 50 places raffle') second place in the queue, telling me that the person in front of him had bagged it. It was number 1435 in the exhibition, and is probably my most 3D postcard entry to date. For anyone that knows my recent sculptural work it probably wasn't the most difficult piece of mine to spot in the the show. To construct the piece I cut and interlocked the wooden sections to form a box and carved the front to create the orifice section. Inside I placed a mirror to give the postcard the illusion of being internally deeper than it is externally. Hopefully the mirror also adds an unexpectedly fun element as upon initial inspection, the viewer might not expect to suddenly be confronted with their own reflection looking back at them from within the box. 

I'm not not sure what number this postcard was in the show, but it's adapted from an idea that I have for a tall, thin, wooden framed, tower sculpture that I'm planning to build. The eventual sculpture will incorporate a human skull that I acquired from an antiques dealer that I got chatting to whilst I was in the green room at a TV studio for a Channel 4 programme, 'Four Rooms', that is about feature one of my sculptures. 

As I mentioned earlier, this year I only entered three postcards into the RCA Secret. I normally enter more as my (not quite) alter ego, Chig. But this year I didn't receive any cards addressed to my nickname so entry number 1210 (one of the cards entered under my given name) is probably closer to previous drawings that I've entered as Chig. It's much more instinctive and free flowing.

Saturday, 16 March 2013

RCA Secret 2013

Last year the Royal College of Art in London took a break from holding it's annual RCA Secret Postcard exhibition/sale, much to the dismay of many of the show's hardened fans. But this year it's back, and at can be seen at a new location, south of the river; at the RCA's Dyson Building in Battersea.

Last night I checked out the show at the RCA Secret Artists' Party. I didn't manage to spot many pieces by my favourite regular contributors but it was a very busy event and I ended up chatting to other artists most of the night, so I probably missed loads of the postcards. Every time that I've revisited past RCA Secret shows I've always discovered a few gems that I missed on previous visits so I plan to go back in the daytime and look over the vast selection of work more carefully.

For anyone that doesn't know about the RCA Secret here's the basic run down (lifted from the RCA site) -

“The Secret

Ever wondered if you could spot a Paula Rego at 20 paces? How about a David Bailey? Each postcard in RCA Secret is signed only on the back, so collectors won’t know the identity of the artists until they have made their purchases. 

We’re giving you nine days to check out this eclectic collection and then for one day only the cards will be sold to support the RCA Fine Art Student Award Fund. With generous contributions of new work from hundreds of leading international artists and designers, RCA Secret continues to help emerging artists at a formative stage in their careers. So whether you walk away with a famous name or not, you’ll be buying a bit of history and contributing to the future. 

The new RCA Secret 2013 postcards are available to view HERE

Each postcard costs £45 and a maximum of four cards may be purchased per person. Postcards are only available to purchase in person at the Sale. You must have an RCA Secret Collector's Number to purchase a card at RCA Secret 2013. Register HERE to get one.” 

As well as Paula Rego and David Bailey, there are plenty of other well known artists contributing to this years show: Maggi Hambling, Bob and Roberta Smith, Pete Fowler, Nick Park, and Billy Childish, to name but a few... 

As I can't show you my three 2013 RCA Secret postcards until after the sale on 23rd March (that would be naughty), here's a few of my contributions from previous years (unfortunately I don't have any images of my postcards from pre-2008) - 

                                                                                                'Tentacle Tower', RCA Secret 2011

                                                                                                 'Werecrow', RCA Secret 2010

                                                                                                      'Love Is', RCA Secret 2009

                                                                                     'Spidey Pod Wave', RCA Secret 2008

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

Exhibition open: 14-22 March (11AM-6PM daily) 
Late Open: 21 March (until 9PM) 
Sale Open: Saturday 23 March (8AM-6PM)

Friday, 8 March 2013

Last Night's Opening & Zen Entertainment

Thank you to everyone who joined us for yesterday evening's 'Misuse: Creating Alternatives' exhibition opening at The Cass Bank Gallery. And a massive thank you to the London Metropolitan University's MA Curating the Contemporary team for their hard work and for making it all happen. The pieces in the show work well together and I'm pleased to have one of my works (as you can see in this photo) positioned between two of my current favourite artists, Nancy Fouts and Guy Laramee

The show was well attended with more than a few of the guests seeming reluctant to leave when the event ended at 9pm. Luckily the White Heart pub is almost directly opposite the gallery so me and my band of friends decanted to that fine establishment to carry on our merry making. One of our group was the photographer/artist/inventor/Zen practitioner, Yoshizen/Kinetorori, who kept us all entertained for the rest of the night with his tongue-in-cheek, yet insightful, palm readings. 

Not only was Yoshi a contributing factor to an already fun night but I'd like to thank him for taking photographs of the show (e.g. this super-wide angled shot of me and my Orifice Tower sculpture) and for undoubtedly the most original review of my work that I've ever come across. If you ever get the chance to chat to Yoshi as him about his bizarre and interesting life – it'd be great source material for a terrific black comedy or indie film. 

Exhibition Continues: 8th - 22nd March 
Open Monday - Friday 10am - 6pm, Saturday 12pm - 5pm 

Barry Sykes / Artist Talk / 'I Didn't Do it: Various Experiments with Found Objects' Tuesday 12th March / 6.30pm / Room CEI 38 (first floor) / Central House, London Met Uni, E1 7PF

The Cass Bank Gallery,  
Central House, London Metropolitan University,  
59-63 Whitechapel High Street, London, E1 7PF   
(opposite Whitechapel Gallery)

Sunday, 3 March 2013

Misuse – Thurs 7th March

This coming week looks like being a pleasantly hectic one, art-wise. On Monday I install some sculptures in the offices of Artfinder, on Tuesday I take down my first solo show, 'Found Memories', at the Nancy Victor Gallery and on Wednesday I install three sculptures in The Cass Bank Gallery, ready for the opening of the group show 'Misuse: Creating Alternatives'. The show is curated by 'MA Curating the Contemporary' at London Metropolitan University in partnership with Whitechapel Gallery. Apart from myself, the artists exhibiting in the show will be Alice Anderson, Blue Curry, Darren Harvey-Regan, Barry Sykes, Nick Gentry, Kyle Bean, Nancy Fouts, Guy Laramee, Elisabeth Lecourt & Kaarina Kaikkonen.

As you can see from the exhibition poster, one of the three pieces that I'll be showing is Orifice Tower which I completed last year. This sculpture started out as a deliberate rebuff to a sneaking trend that my box sculptures had developed for getting smaller and smaller. In this early sketch that I quickly scribble in the back of a 2011 diary (whilst waiting for the speakers at a Jerwood Space art talk to start, I seem to remember) you can see my blatant approach to how to turn small works into big works – as well as my abandonment of the wheeled motif that had become common throughout my box and tower structures. 

When I was initially asked to exhibit in the show the piece that the curation team was most interested in me exhibiting was my sculpture, The City. Unfortunately after lending this piece to Charlie Levine and Minnie Weisz for their wonderful curatorial collaboration, 'Creative Machines, Minimalist Sculpture' (as part of Trove gallery's 'The Event 2011') it was returned to me having first been mysteriously smashed to pieces. 

Reconstruction of The City is going to be a big undertaking, especially if I want to get the new version looking as close as possible to the original. So for now I've cobble together a temporary structure (basically an old wooden box with a few intricate shelves) to house some of the less damaged pieces from The City. Hopefully this will at least give a taster of the original work until I can find the time to remake it in full. 

The third sculpture that I'm exhibiting will be my Nkisi-inspired piece, Nail Box. This is one of my favourite piece – partly because to construct it I spent four years collecting the rusty nails and screws from wherever I could find them (mostly picked up off the ground whilst out walking, both here in the UK and whilst traveling abroad) and because I feel that the work has quite a distinctive, if not cheeky, personality all of its own (probably just me anthropomorphizing again). Whilst working on Nail Box, rather than taking new nails and screws and rusting them artificially, I chose ones that had corroded naturally – through contact with the elements. I thought that this gave the metal an authentic patina and I hoped that the vast number of rusty nails and screws used in the piece would generate a kind of collective resonance. But maybe I'll let you be the judge of that. 

Anyway – enough waffling. The opening night for the show is this Thursday (7th March - 6-9pm) at The Cass Bank Gallery, 59-63 Whitechapel High Street, London E1 7PF (directly opposite the Whitechapel Gallery) so I hope that you can join us. But if you can't make it to the private view then the exhibition will be on till the 22nd March.

Exhibition Continues: 8th - 22nd March
Open Monday - Friday 10am - 6pm, Saturday 12pm - 5pm

Barry Sykes / Artist Talk / 'I Didn't Do it: Various Experiments with Found Objects'
Tuesday 12th March / 6.30pm / Room CEI 38 (first floor) / Central House, London Met Uni, E1 7PF /

The Cass Bank Gallery, 
Central House, London Metropolitan University, 
59-63 Whitechapel High Street, London, E1 7PF  
(opposite Whitechapel Gallery)

('Nail Box' photo courtesy of Rosie Mayell)