Month: April 2008


I am now starting to pull everything together so I’ve been looking back at my sketch book and my ideas to try and make everything coherent to me. A lot of my research was done in Paris during the Easter holidays, through visiting art galleries and in the way people conduct themselves on a day to day basis. I have read about war, I have seen the photographs and news footage and watched war films but I it is unlikely that I will ever experience war first hand so, when I think of war I think of soldiers lined up, row upon row waiting to go into battle and I think of Blackadder in the Trenches.

In Paris we lined up in a regimental manner to enter the Pompidou Centre and then lined up to get our tickets then lined up to put our coats in, then lined up to go into the exhibition. I walked through galleries and looked at the rows upon rows of Die Attion and Der Sturm.

I saw Marcel Duchamps Neuf Moules Malic and loved the light reflecting a shadow of the image onto the wall – shadows were the only remains of people after the atomic bomb dropped.

The original brief mentioned Guernica by Picasso and I used that as my initial research, as it is an anti-war statement, and also black and white like newspaper photographs.

The more I looked at war work the more I was drawn to the idea of a series of images, I looked at air force insignia of world war 2, I looked at photographs I’d taken at the Rodin Museum of the Gates of Hell , I also looked into work by Ken Currie and Peter Howison. Researching war art and I looked at John Singer Sargent “Gassed” from 1918 (2.5 x 6 metres) and the historical piece Royal Standard of UR from 2600bc and the Bayeux Tapestry 1070 (51cm x 70.4 metres) – I loved the similarity of the flat figures and the twisted torsos. I also like the idea of length v’s height as they are all long works and I see war as regimented rows and soldiers all the same height.

I then looked at Jake and Dinos Chapman and HELL (1998-2000) the images were really disturbing and they made me realise that we are so de-sensitized to war and atrocity it takes two artists to really push boundaries and make us feel shock and disgust. It impressed me and made me decide to take a different route. The Chapman Brothers used Goya’s “Disasters of War” and I want to use Picasso’s Guernica.

By breaking the painting down into 10 pieces, I can then play with the positioning of them – do I want them lined up on the floor like Gormley’s Field or the Terraccota Warriors, or do I want them lying on the floor as though destroyed or lined up against a wall? I was working on the engravings in my studio and the light shone through the windows catching the engraving and casting its shadow across the floor – this is what I hope to recreate




Borrowed a dictaphone and recorded myself 3 times reading Dulce et Decorum Est – although it was good practice it was a worthless effort cos the quality was not good at all.

Went to the radio studio and re-recorded myself on a Mic Active Zoom Handy Recorder! My main problems – although the quality is to the standard I want and can be used on both mac and pc – were; interruptions, my stomach rumbling and the noise levels when I had to raise my voice.

The original lasts 1 minute and 38 and using pro tools 7.0 I tinkered with noise levels and effects, will have to drop white noise into the programme as I want to try with old crackle radio noises. I also made one recording of a minute 42.9 seconds with reverberating sound which also sounds really sci-fi. As I plan to drop the sound over a digital piece this could be perfect.


I have been looking at the work of the Chapman Brothers and in particular a book called HELL – they are really unsettling images and not a route I really want to go down but are relevant for my war research.

I managed to acquire 10 pieces of curved glass (from an old conservatory) and I have started breaking down the different sections of Picasso’s Guernica – I want to have a series of images – I will experiment with lining them up like the terracotta warriors – (or Anthony Gormley’s “Field”). I have started engraving into the glass although it is really difficult to photograph (cos its glass!) Also want to light candles below them.


American post World War II art movement of the mid 40’s. The first time an American Movement achieved world wide influence.
A style of painting that combines abstract form and expressionist emotional values.

Influences come from surrealism and cubism.

Artists include

Mark Tobey who was influenced by

Jackson Pollock who was influenced by

Max Ernst.

Also Willem de kooning and

Mark Rothko,

Franz Kline, Archile Gorky, Hans Hofmann, Robert Motherwell, Philip Guston, Clyfford Still.

Emphasis on spontaneous, automatic or subconscious creation.
Term given to any number of artists mainly working in New York – with quite different styles.

Similar in style to Russian artists of eary 20th century such as Wassily Kandinsky (Blue Rider).

Most paintings involved careful planning as they were of such huge size.

There are 3 general approaches within the movement.

1st – made famous by Jackson Pollock. His work was colourful, large and free flowing. Linked to “action” painting all paint drops are deliberately “loose, rapid sweeping brushstrokes make this style reminisceent of the surealists”.

2nd – Abstract Impressionism – less spontaneous than action painting. Manipulated towards a preconceived notion of an end esult.

Philip Guston – notable of stylee.

3rd – well defined abstract images or large scales of pure colour. Artists of this style of paint include Robert Motherwell, Mark Rothko, James Brooks.

Willem de Kooning April 1904 – April 1997, Rotterdam

Post WWII Action painting abstract expressionism.

Influenced by John D Graham, Arshile Gorky.

He supported himself through early Depression by commercial jobs. Used b&w household enamels to paint large abstracts.

How I did my prints……

1.jpgFirst I made the ink all nice and thick and tacky – tried to get a dark, almost black colour using dark green and orange.

2.jpgThen I rolled it all out really really thin

3.jpgGot my lovely metal photo print and inked it up, after washing off the gum residue I’d covered it with to protect

4.jpgThis is the plate after 3 covers of ink, it has been washed between each layer.

5.jpgThen you scrape some of the slimy stuff off the press to stop the rollers sticking and put it on the plastic protective cover so the mechanism works smoothly.

You put your prepared paper onto the roller and place the sheet of plastic over the top – to stop it sticking

Pull the lever down to get the rollers tight onto the press and press the button

Push the roller back to its original position and TA DA!!! You have a beautiful litho print

Clean up all the bits and pieces and go home for a cup of tea



Took my camera around the college – looking at the outside and inside – like the library – it is an underused asset to the college and if it had something eyecatching or funky it may get visited more often.

Also looked at the amazing array of art Telford college boasts from its numerous art based courses!!! I am particularly fond of “skinned cow”