Holy Shit! Visions of the Walworth Jumpers

Wednesday, 15 June 2011

Visions of the Walworth Jumpers at Sassoon gallery

On Sunday the 5th of June, I completed the mural I had been working on for a few days at the Sassoon gallery. Titled "Holy Shit!:Visions of the Walworth Jumpers", the show was a gathering of four graphic artists under the arches of Peckham Rye.

The lovely Peter Lally, organizer of the International Alternative Press Fair

We were four artists committed to rebeautifying the gallery and were given just a week to do so. I started the mural quite late in the week. These 7 days were quite challenging because I was in the middle of marking/doing assessments for my 3rd year Illustration students at the university of East London and also being engaged with other smaller assignements.

The lovely daughter of the Sassoon gallery managers.

Is it a lighthouse, a candle or a...penis?!

One strand of my work is about subverting imagery taken from established mainstream strands of culture. Here the religious brief, inspired from Mary Ann Girling really suited me perfectly because I had an opportunity to play with classical iconography and apply my own modern twist on it. The arches where the gallery is situated was the location for many wacky sects in the Victorian era and to this day, the area is peppered with churches of all denominations. Philip Hoare's book on the New Forest Shakers was of particular inspiration.

Pink eyes? Is it a classical painting? They must be positively alien!

I revisited Michelangelo's sistine chapel paintings, William Blake's prints and Gustav DorĂ©'s bible woodcut engravings.

Lord Hurk's painting. one of the other three artists doing work for the show.

The Krah came in and crafted this in one day with the help of an assistant. A well oiled and  impressive business!

Kevin Ward's pastoral/ voodoo dance.

I like this little guy!

There was an advantage to having started last and using colour last also. After a little chat with the gallery owner, I decided it would serve the show and my work best to try and tie in all the other disparate murals together by taking one colour from each mural and using it in my own.

I borrowed the grey from The Krah's, the orange from Hurk and the pink form Kevin's.

I am very happy with the final result. One reason I like doing murals so much is that you can't be too precious about the process and the result. It allows you to be bold and unattached to the work as these murals are not permanent.

The Sunday zine fair and Start your Own Cult workshop in full swing.

The Editions of You stand.

Kevin Ward at work under the watchful eyes of my demoness/ priestess!

BBC Radio 5 political correspondant John Pienaar came down to interview the team behing the fair. I have to say I was not aware of the political connection when I took on this assignement and was quite surprised when I saw Pienaar come down to the gallery. So folks, any political connection here made is the fair's and not my own. I prefer to be in control of the political tags I put onto my work, if and when I chose to.  And so far, I am more interested in forms of social commentary.

That said, the interview was pretty funny!

Wednesday, 8 June 2011

Consecrate that Body: Exercises in Holy Life Drawings

Life model Philip before going in the nude.

Last Saturday, I organised and taught a themed life drawing workshop set up to coincide with my big mural drawing at the Sasson gallery for the Visions of the Walkworth Jumpers exhibition.

 Gallery manger Laura as the Virgin

By the original enthusiastic response I got from the class description I had written that was posted on the website, I expected the event to go well. And I was not disappointed! A large crew came along with the type of attendees being dedicated and very talented life drawing enthusiasts.

The International Alternative Press fair provided the papers, people brought their own drawing materials and colours were highly encouraged! Oh, and tea, coffee and bruschetta came courtesy of the life drawers. I provided the kettle!

2 of my illustration students came along- excellent drawers Helen Parsliffe and Gosia Kackmarczyk.

It was the first time I was working with life model Philip and I will definitely use him again. His quiet professionalism went down a storm, with the gallery owner's daughter very happy to pose as baby Jesus on Philip's Virgin Mary's knees. We had such a laugh!

It was a proper class where I taught a number of precepts such as drawing from the left side of the brain. Diverse props were used such as a big woodden cross or the photograph of Jesus.

The idea was to make life drawing creative and enhance the student's experience. To that end, I used a playlist ranging from Nine Inch Nails, Depeche Mode and Dvorak among others; all songs were to convey emotions related to life, death, heaven or any other religious issues.

The idea was for participants to think in terms of drama and on how to add colour to create this dramatic effect... and have fun!

The event was so successful we are looking to do it again! More info on this blog soon.