Friday, 31 July 2015

Thoughts On: Alex Pritchard

The Fruitmarket Gallery host an Artists' Books weekend every February which I highly recommend you to check out when it next rolls around.

For now I am going to spill out some thoughts on an Book Binder & Illustrator that I found at the fair back in February 2014.

This artist's name is Alex Pritchard. You can read about him in his own words here:

Alex uses his work to describe scientific theory and help people visualise data, ideas and big numbers. I am particularly attracted to his work as I love science (mainly physics and astronomy) but I do feel that my dyslexia holds me back from fully conceiving ideas when they are presented purely in mathematical or word-based forms.

Coming across Alex's work at the Book Fair was very exciting for me. He had a book at the time for sale (I wish I had bought it now!) which consisted of a concertina of cards, each card representing a planet, with a visual depiction of the planet (to scale) and a measurement worked out (to scale) using the viewer as "the sun". I got very worked up at the idea that you could then take this book, stand in a field and place the cards at the stated distance away from you and literally have created an ad-hoc (non-operational) Orrery.

Having no money to purchase the book my heart craved I picked up one of his business cards (almost equally as exciting) and had the most incredible fun for a couple of months using it to foist scientific facts about the universe on people.

See his business card an infographic here (the image that follows is not my work and copyright belongs to Alex Pritchard **):

This is an infographic depicting the make-up of the universe and (to the best of my memory) is...

Large Grey: Dark Energy
Smaller Grey: Dark Matter
Red: Hydrogen
Orange: Helium
Yellow: Stars (Photons, Light)
Green: Physical/Solid Matter (Planets, Asteroids)

If you like this... Upon producing Pritchard's card to a good friend yesterday she squealed with delight and told me about David McCandless' Book "Information is Beautiful" which she is reading currently. Ever a fan of collecting pretty books and facts to put everything in perspective I have been on line to his website today to have a bit of a dig around, and suggest you check it out too: 

Thursday, 30 July 2015


You will not know this but for the past six months I have been taking photographs of my feet.

This started as I embarked on a short course in Artists' Books in January of this year. The Tutor asked us to do something every day for the duration of the course, as a small exercise to have us thinking about repetition and how this could translate into a book.

At this time I was struggling within the whirlwind of a very intense and depressing job. Every day I would wake in blackness, push myself towards consciousness and fall into a bus. As dawn was breaking I would be hurtling towards the farthest fringe of civilisation, my life in hiatus, waiting for the right time to arrive. I lived out 8.30am to 5pm suspended in a cocoon of wax, desperate for the day to finish so I could stumble back onto the same bus, the one that would take me home again. Home, where I would collapse and with each outward breath shrink further and further away from the final dying hours of the day.

Month upon month I shuttled.

Back and forth.
Forth and Back.

To and Fro.

A heavily weighted pendulum swinging and swinging but never catching.

This was it, this was life, the routine and repetition - so this had to be captured. I began to take pictures of my journey, the sky and my surroundings.

I quickly realised that I would need more in order to sustain the project and so I turned to my feet. In what has become a reverse selfie, my new routine and the antithesis of a Kim Kardashian moment. Un-glamarous "hashtag no filter".

Without context or explanation, however, what will this endless string of photographs of my own two feet become?

Currently I am approaching this project in a similar way to Everywhere I Park My Bike which was a short-lived project made in August 2009 wherein I photographed every place I parked my bicycle. The aim was to produce an on-line string of boring and pointless documentary photographs to parody people's blogs detailing their exciting skiing or hiking adventures, travels, etc. It was incredibly hard not to try and photograph the bicycle in an interesting way and after ten days I had bored even myself with it.

Now, however.. (in terms at least of feet) I have recruited a point of contrast and comparison in the form of my sister. For thirty days we will each photograph our feet and as a further point -to flip the project upside down and bring new perspective- we are also simultaneously taking photographs of what is above us, be it sky or ceiling.

The project is named Sisters: To and Fro. For now you will find it presented in a new blog here:

Monday, 20 July 2015

Thoughts on: Amy Mae's "Hard.Back"

Two months ago I took myself down to a local hip festival we have running here in Edinburgh every so often called the Hidden Door Festival. Hidden Door is a volunteer run and led festival of local artists, musicians and performers who take over disused spaces and turn them into something beautiful/dirty just for a little while.

This year the festival was held in the old traffic department buildings for the municipal authority (otherwise known as City of Edinburgh Council).

The festival was busy, buzzing and exciting - there were some moments of great sunshine and good vibes in the courtyard space, some stalls full of tasty food, music, theatre.. but what I was there for was the art.

I wanted to see what was new and happening in my city. Working for 'the moolah' as much as I do at the moment I barely have the opportunity to work on my own projects, let alone get out there and see what is going on - so having the Hidden Door barely five minutes down the road from my desk was an opportunity far to good to miss!

That is how I came across Amy Mae's project: Hard.Back. Burrowed away within the sprawling abandoned office spaces and garages she spent the duration of the festival photographing people's backs (both naked and not) and developing the prints in an improvised cupboard-sized dark room.

The set up was simple, involving a darkened room - the daylight blocked out out by an old beige vertical blind, drawn tightly shut. On an old desk sat a book rapidly filling with the prints she was creating and there: straight ahead, three and a half rows of misty photos.. with plenty pre-marked gaps for more.

Her work stood out to me at once as bold and ambitious, picking up and taking forward the mantle of the great nudist painters before her, squeezing it through a the semi-modernist medium of photography, pulling it back from the digital realm unto which it has lately fled and coming out, at the end, with something completely of her own.

If it is right that it is not necessarily the subject of your art which is the most important, but the methodology and the idea - then I would say that is what caught my attention. Any other artist using the space even with the same intent would not have produced the same effect, the same atmosphere, the same results. So much of what I think made the space and idea a success in my eyes was Amy's approach to her subjects, her passion for her work, her open-ness about her work, her honesty and friendliness.

If at first when you walked into the abandoned office the set-up seemed underground, dodgy, even a bit too Terry Richardson-esque, as soon as you met Amy you were completely put at ease. By the end of the week long festival her enthusiasm for the project had pulled a vast array of people through the narrow entrance-way into the slightly disconcerting, but at once completely normalised action, of taking your clothes off for a complete stranger.

I look forward to seeing how she takes the project forward as I understand she is looking to publish a one-off special 'zine using the work she created.

Wednesday, 15 July 2015

Promises, Promises

I talk a lot about rebuilding my website. Seems I never quite get it wrapped up. Thing is, I am not the most digitally inclined.

After spending all day staring at a screen in my money making day soul sucking admin job, scratching my head through Excel, on-line travel booking systems, cross-referencing design protocol sheets, staring down the black and infinate hole that is Cost Coding for Finance........

I get home, and I'm tired. Exhausted. Flat out. Drained. I don't want to sit down at another computer and figure my way through another whole programme to get what I want: an easy way for me to communicate with you lot: "out there".

There has been a lot of upheaval in the past few years too. You know, the life stuff.. people, heartbreak, illness, frustration.. that stuff. The stuff that makes you really question everything deep down.

Who Am I?

What Am I?

Why Am I Doing This?

What Am I Doing?

What Should I Be Doing?

What Do I Want To Do?

How Can I Do That?

There is so much figuring out that needs figured out in this whole life-living business. If you can figure out how to even have the time to take to figure it all out that doesn't involve controlling the space-time continuum on a deep and sub-molecular level, do let me know. (Did I ever tell you about that time I figured out time-travel and it was all to do with mirrors but then I forgot it in the end..?)

But hey! Let's forget all that. I am here, here I am. Typing this out to you, reader.

So: I say "Hello" and present to you my latest achievement. I took that clunking out of date old website down, and I made a new front page of sorts.. I even figured out how to get it up there on the interwebs so you can see it on your computer screen.

I'll show you if you like:

Have a little look. ;)

Thursday, 26 February 2015

First Artist Book

 Concertina fold window book - Gelatin print. January 2015.

Welcome to my new discovery... Artist Books.

Course taken under the tutelage of Susie Wilson, Edinburgh based Book Artist and Printmaker.

Sunday, 19 October 2014

Old Faces _ New Faces

I got hard at work with the life drawing again today, and thought I'd like to share today's efforts with you. Great model, intense day.. it isn't often that I get the chance to really sit down with a model in front of me and draw for a long time. Usually the sessions I go to are maximum two hours in length. After having been along for the day to Wasps Studios a couple of weeks ago and really enjoyed the whole day drawing I leapt at the chance to hang out at Whitespace and take advantage of their six hour session.

My website is coming along slowly, I put it on hiatus for a few weeks as I've had some other bits and pieces to sort out but keep your eyes peeled. This is happening folks! :)

Thursday, 2 October 2014

Man With Annoying Mouth Contemplating That One Of His Hands Is Infinitely Bigger Than The Other Hand

Or, I haven't been life drawing for a year and this is what happened...

I had an awesome day of drawing at Wasps Studios in Dalry yesterday - here are my sketchings!

They are having some open days over the next month which I highly recommend that you check out if you can. The open days are being held at all the different studio spaces all over Scotland.

I'll be back at life drawing regularly to loosen up my mark-making and brushing up on my observational drawing so do expect a flurry of sketches on the blog for the next few months. :)