Monday, 24 March 2008

Daniel is Swept Away

I’ve always been fascinated by Japanese prints or Ukiyo-e, especially the highly stylized imagery used to portray water.

Trust Daniel to accidentally fall into a Ukiyo-e torrent and get swept away, only to finally succumb to the turbulent currents… or does he?



I originally designed the three silk cuttings to explore the patterns and complexity of portraying the water and Daniel simply fell in. Then I felt sorry for him and devised his escape, but that never got beyond the sketch stage.

These three silk paper cuttings have yet to be finished and are still held together by ‘spars’ of silk which I’ll cut off before mounting the work. I laid the work on white silk to take the photos so there are shadows.

Wednesday, 19 March 2008

The Gentleman Badger

The badger has always been a motif in my work. From my teens, when I used to go badger watching with my dad deep in the English countryside, I’ve been fascinated by these secretive, powerful nocturnal animals. Their gentle, friendly faces hide a powerful set of jaws lined with some awesome teeth. Their stumpy bodies and short legs cleverly disguise the fact that these are powerful digging and fighting machines. On the whole though they are passive, but don’t expect a cuddle!

In my work the badger dropped its earthly trappings and gradually took on the role of this artist’s psyche. Hidden and secretive, but always observing, they keep well away from unpredictable humans. At first, in the late 1980's, the badgers had their own cartoon strips, but now they inhabit the world of my silk paper cuttings. They seem to be quite at home in the confused twisting innards of iridescent silk. Click on the Dancing Boys below and take yourself badger watching to see how many you can spot. There are 10 to find.

And if you are really keen go to my website to find more.

Wednesday, 12 March 2008

Liu Ren's Paper cuts

Beijing city government has promoted traditional folk arts by encouraging artists to set up shop in an area of old hutongs in Beijing city. These are traditional court yard houses which are rapidly developing in the name of modernization. One of these hutong is occupied by Chinese paper-cutting artist Liu Ren. Liu Ren set up a paper-cutting home museum in 1999 for the purpose of carrying forward the traditional handicraft and sharing with others the joy brought by paper-cutting. It seems she regularly holds workshops at her home.

Her work has a graphic quality that really appeals to me. Its organic nature and imagery is not rigid and formalized though it obviously relies on a rich corpus of traditional symbols.

See more of her home by following this link

Tuesday, 4 March 2008

Living in Taipei

The grey murk of a long spell of torrid winter weather has finally lifted and the sun has magically reappeared to reveal Taipei in all its ‘splendid glory’. There’s a hint of sarcasm there, but just a hint. This silk paper cut done just over a year ago is called Bugs, Bowls ‘n’ Bikes. It incorporates four elements of living in Taipei, which is where my family currently lives. Starting from the centre are the bugs which during the summer are found happily scuttling around the streets, but most annoyingly in my kitchen!
Then there’s the food. Watching freshly cooked noodle soup on a cold day is a wondrous steamy sight.
Finally there’s the over abundance of motorbikes which are everywhere and I mean everywhere. You’ll find them zipping along the sidewalks and even in the middle of quiet parks someone will try to make a short cut across the grass.

Surrounding all this is a ring of grey misty cloud which represents Taipei’s hot humid weather.

It's all a mish mash of exotic sights and smells which even after living here so long don't fail to stir the senses. Hope you enjoy!