Friday 16th September 2011

 

Well it’s been so long since I last updated the blog, that I thought this was an opportune moment to do so, as the steam train of my artistic career seems to be forging ahead, leaving me somewhat ‘gobsmacked’.

 

Since the Cork Street Exhibition in August I have shown work down at the Art Wave Festival in Lewes, at The Hive Gallery. This was a wonderful experience as I met with some amazing people, along with some lovely new friends. (Hi, Claire, Debbie, the Oyster Project and Mark)

 

It opened on Friday 26th August, so I drove down from Sleaford, with Ian Doubleday, a former colleague, and now mate, who kindly offered to help me out over the weekend.

 

Going to new places is always stressful when you are a wheelchair user, so having Ian with me for those 2 days was really great. He helped carry things and was also fantastic at finding parking spaces, in the lovely town of Lewes. Ian was also great company on the long journey there and back, although meeting those strange people at the services with the bald cats was also an unexpected highlight.

 

On the Saturday I was asked to speak to the Oyster Project about my work, which was a real pleasure, as there weren’t many people there, so it made for an intimate and friendly atmosphere which enabled me to open up somewhat. I was able to speak openly about the work and was surprised by the things that I found out about my own work! Sometimes when speaking about your own work, it really is like looking at it for the first time.

 

So a big thank you to Mark, Claire, Debbie, the Oyster Project and of course Ian.

 

Since the Lewes Exhibition I met with the people over at the National Centre for Design & Crafts, as I will be part of an exhibition for 3 months next year. (July-Sep 2012) I will have more updates about this, as there is much work to do regarding funding with the Arts Council of England, and also many planning meetings.

 

I am also working very hard on a project, which I feel I have been planning for since the age when my dad took me to Belle Vue, the home of Wakefield Trinity RLFC, for the first time. And although I didn’t get involved with the game, much to my dad’s annoyance, it proved to be the start of a lifelong love affair with the sport of rugby league, and the club.

 

I met with Davide Longo and Mark Winder (Davide is stadium manager and Mark is Education Manager at the club) some months ago about a completely unrelated matter, as I was meeting to discuss with them the facilities at the ground for disabled supporters. It proved to be an amazing meeting as I struck it off immediately with Mark and we saw the possibilities of creating a truly inspiring and innovative project, with me acting as Artist in Residence for the forthcoming season in 2012.

 

This is a huge project and since that first meeting we have been working very hard with Anne Cunningham, the CEO at the Art House, along with the Arts Council, Wakefield College and other interested parties, such as the Hepworth.

 

We have had to write an 8000-word proposal document, which is not quite completed yet, as we are anticipating having to do some rewrites, before we send it in at the end of September. The Arts Council met with us a couple of weeks ago and said that we would have to raise a certain amount before we presented the proposal, and Mark Winder has been amazing with this in that he has raised a significant amount already.

 

It is a wonderful time, although the work that is going into the proposal and project means that I am spending a lot of time away from home, which is sometimes difficult, but necessary.

 

To give you a taster of the project: -

 

Wakefield Trinity Wildcats RLFC – Artist in Residence

Aims of Residency

 

The aims for the Wakefield Trinity Wildcats RLFC artist in residence are as follows: -

 

  1. Artist in Residence to be part of the club for the period of at least 12 months

 

  1. Residency to take place at the ground, Belle Vue, and also at the Art House, where a studio will be available throughout the period

 

  1. Residency to encompass all aspects of the arts, with the artist working with theatre groups, arts students & dance troupes

 

  1. Supporters will vote for their 13 all time Trinity Greats, taken from the whole of the history of the club, since 1873

 

  1. Completion of the 13 paintings for the Trinity Greats Project – these images will then be made into fashion garments, and the original paintings hung permanently at the new stadium

 

  1. Trinity Great paintings to be exhibited throughout Wakefield and at the Hepworth Gallery, before going on display permanently at the new ground at Newmarket

 

  1. Parts of the Belle Vue Stadium to become public art areas, which will include: -

 

·      A 100 metre mural depicting the history, stories and ethos of the club along the East Stand

·      Images projected throughout the stadium, using a digital data projector

·      Artwork to be shown throughout the city in empty shop properties

·  Trinity ‘blue plaques’ to be mounted around the stadium telling the story of the club, from the communities/fans point of view

 

  1. Workshops with schools and community groups delivered throughout the 12 month residency

 

  1. Wakefield artists and students mentored and trained so that the residency has a legacy and work can be delivered after the residency is over

 

  1. Work exhibited throughout the city, in empty shops, and at the art house and the Hepworth Gallery (this is obviously to be negotiated)

 

  1. Collaborations - Digital art sent to the community, via text & email, and then collaborations being exhibited online

 

  1. Online blog

 

  1. Online gallery

 

  1. Work developed on the theme of daily life at the rugby club, including: -

 

·      Match day preparation,

·      Training,

·      The games (both home and away)

·      The drama of the dressing room

·      The supporters

·      The players

·      Cheerleaders

·      And all other aspects of the club, including the backroom staff, etc.

 

  1. Public Art Events at the ground on match days, such as

 

·      Temporary art digitally projected onto the fabric of the stadium

·      Temporary installations, using supporters help

·      Dance performances

·      Theatrical performances

 

  1. Work developed on the theme of the ‘juxtaposition’ of my own disability against the physical fitness, and ‘perfection’ of the players themselves

 *


Life is very good at present and I am enjoying the work immensely, although I am finding it hard to make time for my own work. This is a balance that all professional artist face, and it is something, which I will have to work at getting right.

 

As my dad used to say however; ‘It’s Champion!’.