Deconstruction

I have recently agreed to do some work with Siavash Sabba for an upcoming film project he is working on. (You can see some of his work on his website Here) Although the details of the film is still under wraps I can say I am back to deconstructing insects once again. While taking them apart and organizing the bits into various boxes, I decided to take some photos of my process. 

I will fully admit to having a "touch" of OCD, as the pics might show.. I do have a habit of making sure things are lined up on a shelf, or carefully organised in my space (even my books are arranged by colour!) and the process of taking each insect apart and putting each piece in its box I find incredibly relaxing. Next step.. reconstruction... here is an example of a new bloom below. 

I am very excited about this new project.. I it is quite dark, but I think its a really nice counterpoint to the flowers with butterfly wings. 

 

Animal Tattoos and Tattooed Animals

Being an avid lover of both Japanese tattoos as well as animals, I am really loving this piece by Beth Cavener Stichter and Alessandro Gallo (who painted the beautiful tattoos) 

In her own words: 

I want to pry at those uncomfortable, awkward edges between animal and human. Entangled in their own internal and external struggles, the figures express frustration for the human tendency towards cruelty and lack of understanding. Something conscious and knowing is captured in their gestures and expressions. An invitation and a rebuke.

You can see more of her work on here website http://www.followtheblackrabbit.com/

A Migratory Moose, and Answering the Call of Canada

"Where Thou art—that—is Home"
                Emily Dickinson


The lease on TM Studios came to an end this month, scattering the nine artists who had made their home there. As most artists in London will agree, trying to find affordable and decent work-space in the city is a daunting challenge.

Every time I move I am surprised at how much 'stuff' I have accumulated. What seems to fit comfortably in the nooks and crannies, on the shelves and in the cupboards, suddenly presents itself all at once. I have created a monster, and its name is Possessions.

Mr Moose took the temporary loss of his horns very well, I thought, but then he's never been one for expressing his emotions. Still, I am happy to report that he has been reunited with his 'impressive rack'. He, and his numerous companions, are safe and sound in their temporary new space, where they will remain until we can find something more permanent for them.

image.jpg

That search is on hold at the moment, however, as I have returned to the land of my birth: Canada. I am catching up with friends and releasing my inner Canadian, eh? The last few days have been spent on Griffith Island, learning how to shoot a gun. This, I am happy to report, has been done at a great cost to the local population of 'clay pigeons' but with no animal casualties: I have no desire to shoot or kill a living animal. There is something satisfying about the cracking break, the floating dust-cloud and the falling fragments of the target, after a successful shot.

All of this has been accompanied by inspiring landscapes, fresh air and wildlife. So, for a couple of weeks, I am happy to make my home back in Canada. At least until I start to miss London, as I always seem to do.


Inspired: The work of Kate MacDowell

“We do not want merely to see beauty, though, God knows, even that is bounty enough.  We want something else which can hardly be put into words--to be united with the beauty we see, to pass into it, to receive it into ourselves, to bathe in it, to become part of it.” – C.S. Lewis.

 This quote begins Kate MacDowell's statement about her work, which illustrates our current relationship with the natural world

Her pieces are at once beautiful and disturbing and I particularly love the detail that she achieves with textures using simple white porcelain, giving the work an almost ghost like feel. I encourage you to go and check out her website for more images and a complete statement.


The Secret's Out...

The RCA's Secrets Exhibition is over which means two things.. The first is that I can now show you the images of my postcards... (yes clearly I am still a little obsessed with Carnivorous plants) 

And that you can now go onto their website and search the postcards online randomly as well as search by artist, or my personal favourite by colour. Have fun checking out all of the amazing work on their website:  http://london.secret.rca.ac.uk/2015/

Sun, Sand and ... Finches?!

There is grandeur in this view of life, with its several powers, having been originally breathed into a few forms or into one; and that, whilst this planet has gone cycling on according to the fixed law of gravity, from so simple a beginning endless forms most beautiful and most wonderful have been, and are being, evolved.

-Charles Darwin. 

IMG_5554.JPG

I have just returned from an amazing few weeks in the Galapagos Islands, I am both inspired and a bit overwhelmed at all I have seen and experienced. 

 

Having always drawn inspiration from nature, I was expecting this trip to inspire me, however I was completely unprepared for the surrealism of it all. The completely arid landscape, that was unexpectedly home to such a variety of animal life, not to mention the vast differences in colour, texture and environments between the different Islands, despite the fact that the entire grouping is spread over less than 140 miles. 

 

Another amazing feature of these islands is just how unafraid the animals living there are of humans. One can really get to see them interacting in their natural habitat without them even seeming to notice your presence. When working with taxidermy one can get a very interesting view of animals specific physiognomy but also lose touch with the amazing power and intrigue animals possess. Experiencing that in person is such an amazing feeling, and has left me feeling newly inspired. On that note I invite you to check out this video my brother took of a killer whale, that we saw surfacing within 10 feet from our tiny panga.


Ssh... It's a Secret

It's that time of year again. An innocuous little envelope drops through my letterbox containing the blank post cards for the RCA Secrets exhibition. Just in case you're unfamiliar with this annual phenomenon, let me fill you in. RCA Secrets is an exhibition and sale of original, postcard-sized artworks by internationally acclaimed artists and up-and-coming graduates from the Royal College of Art. What’s the secret you ask? Well, the artist responsible for each postcard does not sign the work, at least not on the front of the card. Until the sales are over, buyers don’t know who made the art they now own. You can see some examples of last year's cards on the RCA's online archive

So, post cards in hand, I promise myself that I will get them done well before the deadline, like I do every year. That deadline is today, February 13th, and, like every year, it was just a few short days ago that I rediscovered said postcards under a pile of books on my desk. Thus the inevitable happens: I realize I have left it to the last minute, and need to come up with something sooner than is humanly possible. As people who know me and my practice will attest, I don’t do much two-dimensional work, which makes Secrets an even bigger challenge for me. But there in the corner, where I left them last year, sit my two-dimensional-art supplies, encouraging me to think about what I want to do.

 Which brings us more-or-less up to date. Here I am, sketching out some ideas and wondering why I do this every year. I mean, I don’t really draw that much, and I’m always scrambling to produce something at the last minute. But then something funny happens. I realise I am actually enjoying myself - really enjoying myself - and the process of drawing, painting, and sketching has become fun. I finish the cards and over-night them back where they're needed. (We're way past the time when the freepost return envelope would arrive before the deadline.) 

I have promised myself I will start keeping a sketchbook again, and draw more regularly. Yes, the chances of that actually happening are pretty slim, but hey! at least once a year I am reminded that the world of two-dimensions is indeed a lovely place to visit.

And what, you ask, did I do for this year's Secrets exhibition? You can start guessing when the show opens on March 8th, 2015, but if you want to be sure you'll have to wait until it closes. Because, you know, it’s a secret. 

Perfect weather for a Polar Bear.

I am back from the Netherlands after a snowy trip to the wonderful Museum Arnhem for the opening of "Beauty of the Beast". I had my piece, "Meltwater", in the show. As well as some others. 

It is a beautifully curated exhibition, and the opening was a great event. I had a chance to meet the other artists, and the many attendees with a keen interest in taxidermy and jewellery. I also had the pleasure of  a few post-opening drinks with the formidable Kate MccGwire, whom I already knew to be a brilliant artist, and now know to be an all-round remarkable person.

Leaving the snows of Arnhem behind, I headed to Amsterdam with  Sarah Marr, my long term partner-in-crime, best friend, and brilliant writer. Every time I visit Amsterdam I make sure I get my fix of Dutch design, and this trip was no exception. The Frozen Fountain and Droog Design  never fail to delight and inspire. I even ended up coming home with this fun and science-inspired water jug from Droog.

If you're in Arnhem be sure to drop by the Museum for the show, it's open until May 10,  2015. You can find the details, here. Museum Arnhem.