Thursday, 11 November 2010

Morocco with a little camera

Graffiti from each of the 3 places we visited.
An amazing fog descended on the beach at Essaouira, on our last day.
Rich colours from the souk in Marrakech

We have just returned from an eight day stay in Morocco, spread over three centres: Marakech, The Atlas Mountains and Essaouira. All were extraordinary for very different reasons, but it was a genuinely chilled break, and it gave me an opportunity to road-test my new compact camera - a Lumix LX3. I often feel uncomfortable pulling out a big, expensive looking digital SLR in certain situations, and wanted something more discreet looking and quicker to use. The LX3 proved itself to be at least the equal, and in many cases, superior to my SLR! It shoots RAW files and has Leica optics, and is sturdily built from metal.
The light in Morocco is an artist's dream, as is the cornucopia of vivid colours and unique fusion of cultures. If you want to see more, head over to:

Friday, 3 September 2010

Portentous skies

In anticipation of the arrival of my new A3 printer, I am working on a number of images I took last year in Iceland. I am proofing these shots on Canon's "Fine Art Photo Rag" paper,at A4 and the depth of colour and tone are remarkable. It was also wonderful to re-visit these shots, this process always transports me back to the location.

Friday, 27 August 2010


As a new academic year beckons, I have recently been reminded that plagiarism is on the up. If you go to the brilliant you will see plenty of, frankly shocking evidence of this fact. What is surprising to me, is how blatant and lazy this has become, some examples being lifted almost unaltered. I’d have thought they would at least try and conceal the deed in some way, which wouldn’t take much imagination. Now, this suggests to me that the perpetrator either thinks they’ll get away with it – a similar mentality is well established in the illegal downloading of music and films, and software piracy, the fact that one will get away with it seems enough to cloud one’s judgement – or, and I suspect this to be the probable case, they are stupid. Either way, this problem is unlikely to go away in a hurry, unless there are some high profile legal cases of the potential consequences. There is just too much temptation out there, Deviant Art, Flickr, The Behance Network, the list goes on.
As one involved in art education, I intend to make it one of my goals this year, to instil in each and every student I come into contact with, that plagiarism is possibly the only cardinal sin in our profession. That the difference between being influenced by, and lifting someone else’s ideas is a massive chasm, NOT to be crossed. And I urge anyone else, who is in education, to pass this post on, so as a collective of creative educators, we can help to assert a strong zero tolerance. And if we see any instances of this foul practice going on, we alert our community to it, and hound them out of business. All we have is our ideas and our style – it would appear that we need to guard it more closely.

Saturday, 21 August 2010

New work, on A4 paper

Well, after 5 months of creating and editing video for Quiet Voices, I never want to look at another video file....not for a long while, anyway. So, I have set out to make work on paper, stuff I can actually hold in my hand. So here are the first few doodlings!

Friday, 13 August 2010

Quiet Voices - On reflection

Well, where do I start? 5 months in development and creation, 8 artists involved, making, in total 35 hours of footage or motion graphics. Reading this back, it was a big ask, but the work was made, and it was magnificent. The venue fell short, slightly, of my expectations - I wasn't prepared for wrinkly screens & broken projectors - and the ground looked like...well, a mixture of soil and fag-ends.
But by the time sunday arrived, I was already harbouring some doubts about who would want to see this event. The festival had a huge proportion of very young folks - many, many more than I'd have predicted for this festival. The previous two nights had seen the Igloo packed with revelers and big beats. They came back for more, and were a little disappointed! There was a hardcore of folks who clearly did want to watch our show, but had I known the demographic when invited to put this on, I'd have probably thought twice about it.
You see, the Big Chill has changed, almost beyond recognition. The name used to say it all, but now seems like a misnomer. The beautiful, laid-back vibe that used to pervade the whole site, has been replaced by hoardes of feisty teenagers, dodgy geezers and a general lack of care and consideration that used to be the hallmark of this event.
Maybe I am just getting too old for this - I could see lots of folks clearly having fun, but most of this was fueled by stimuli of one sort or another. But one thing was for sure, they weren't interested in anything that went below 120 bpm.
It saddens me to say that I will never go near this festival again. The Big Chill had a huge part to play in my family's life since 1999, when we first went. Pete and Katrina really built something beautiful, that touched so many people's lives. Now, it is just another festival on the calendar, where tens of thousands of folks will descend upon it and spend the weekend getting totally trashed. If that's what they want to do, who am I to knock it?
I'll finish by thanking everybody involved in Quiet Voices - Tim Hetherington & Kate Flurrie, Muffled Visions, Simon Wild, Tim Holmes, MachV, Enrico & Francesca Coniglio, Bruce Bickerton, John Heery, Tom Sweet and Tom Green. You were all brilliant!

Thursday, 24 June 2010

End of (another) era..

Well, another year (academic) draws to a close, students we have nurtured and (in most cases!!) cherished are at the point of leaving for pastures new. I feel. as ever, sad to see them go. They feel like family in many ways, and it is impossible not to become attached to them. We finished the year off in style, with a final show, followed by refreshments at the beloved Dove. In fact, a good deal of us became very refreshed indeed, leading to good honest banter and a few chosen photographic opportunities (see above).
I have to say, it has been a real pleasure and honour to work with both the staff and students of ND2 and Foundation. Although it can be a roller-coaster ride throughout the year, the overall vibe of the place is still untouched by anything! Good luck to you all, and keep in touch.
One last mission - the Cambridge trip...........oh yes!

Saturday, 22 May 2010

Eating an Elephant

Continuing on the long path of creating content for Quiet Voices at the Big Chill. I am trying to aim to create around 5 minutes of animation a day until July - hence the title! Some days, when it all goes tits-up, it seems an impossible task, but I reckon I'm on target. I have to say, it is not always easy to envisage 5 screens all running at once and, in reality, folks will probably only be able to see, at most, 3 of them at one time. The prospect of lighting such a big space with video, however, drives me on, and I have now seen the content tha Tim Hetherington and Kate Flurrie are working on, and this promises to be really beautiful, and very different from my own work.

Tuesday, 11 May 2010

When Information becomes a distraction.

I received an email from somebody today saying that my hotmail email account had been spamming her. I don't use it much, so wandered over to it and had a look. Sure enough, things were going tonto, so I decided to close it completely. Guess what? It proved to be harder than I envisaged, and I still don't know if I have succeeded. This, naturally got me thinking about all of these things we sign up for, never fully knowing if we can ever fully leave them. So I decided to quit my Myspace account next (I rarely use this now). Guess what? You see a pattern emerging here? The thing that concerns me most, is the trepidation I feel when hovering my cursor over the "close account" button. This, in itself makes me want to do it, yet the drug is obviously still coursing through my cyber-veins, and quite clearly, these need purging. Facebook is the biggie, the class A, the opiate. Part of me feels connected by using it, and part feels slightly inadequate in feeling the "need" to use it. I have found it a good way to squirt useful, individual information to students, in the absence of them being at college 5 days a week, but I have Twitter, and this blog, so this should all still be possible. And if it isn't, I suspect that the earth will somehow continue to revolve. As for my friends, well, I have their emails, their phone numbers and hey, if I'm feeling really wild, I can always talk to them face to face. I simply feel that I am experiencing information overload, and a big part of me would like to shed a load of it. My work as a lecturer is, by its very nature, highly sociable, so its not like I am in need of the "company" - and I use this word with a pinch of salt the size of a small planet! I'm talking myself into this, what do you think? The irony of me posting a link to this on FB is, by the way, not lost on me!

Saturday, 8 May 2010

New York

Just got back from our trip with the students, to New York. We had a short stay there, in the heart of Chelsea, taking in the sights and galleries of this extraordinary place. Feeling - as predicted - really odd being back in Suffolk, but I am enjoying the quiet.....More pictures to follow.

Wednesday, 31 March 2010

Quiet Voices at The Big Chill

I can now confirm that The Big Chill has asked me to programme the Igloo Stage for Sunday's ambient night at this year's festival at Eastnor Castle!

Following the success of “Quiet Voices” at TATE Britain in January, I am proposing to bring that experience to The Big Chill.

Using 360 degree projection in the Igloo (the blue bit in the image above is the screen), the space will be submerged in down-tempo and ambient sounds, and bathed in lush, cinematic visuals shot around the world. Music from Enrico Coniglio, Alucidnation, Another Fine Day, Ben Mynott, Mr Tom & Input Junkie; Video installations from: Simon Wild, Muffled Visions, Francesca Coniglio, Phoebe Rixon and Tim Hetherington. I will be presenting audio-visual collaborations with Tom Green (Another Fine Day) and my visual piece set to “The 4th State” by Jon Hopkins.

The festival runs from 5th. - 8th. August 2010. More info here:

I am now officially excited!

Thursday, 4 March 2010


Really hope that this long, dark winter is behind us. I have the sun streaming in through my studio window, still struggling to warm the place but hey, at least it is trying! One good thing about it though, is the light - and I've been looking through my photographs from various dog walks and found these two.

Beginning to clear my memory cards out, ready for New York...!

Sunday, 28 February 2010

Hanging in there...

I cannot explain why, at this time of great weariness (Sarah, my beloved, has a new job in London - this involves us setting the alarm for really silly hours in the morning) I am enjoying (!) a really prolific spell. I am SO TIRED. There, I've said it. Yet out of this daftness seems to come films, images and lots of folio watching....
College work is tough but wonderful, if that doesn't sound a contradiction. Students are buzzing away, getting places at universities and generally keeping me real and happy.
Jess brought me back the catalogue / book from the Van Doesbur exhibition at Tate Modern, this is giving me a lot of pleasure at the moment, and I am looking forward to seeing it for myself - perhaps once this term is out of the way.
And, to cap it all, as I type this, there is a blackbird singing in my garden - it is dark and 6.00pm - this is a sure sign that spring is on her way.....thank fuck for that.

Saturday, 20 February 2010

Sjaumst i Virginiu

I have finally finished the film! Frustratingly, I can't post it up yet as the band and Gis have not seen it yet - as I type, they are performing at the by:Larm festival in Oslo - So I have posted 4 stills from it. The film was made with video and photographs taken in April last year in and around the area of Hali Farm and Jokulsarlon, Iceland.

Sunday, 14 February 2010

An exciting new project!

One exciting outcome of my "Quiet Voices" event at the Tate in January, was meeting Gis "von Ice", manager of the emerging post-rock band "For a minor reflection" from Reykjavik. We talked loosely about collaboration, based upon the Iceland themed work I was showing that night.
The upshot of this is that I, along with my daughter Phoebe and former student Lucy Wilson are to make four films for their forthcoming UK tour. I shall be using material collected and shot on my last visit to Iceland with Simon Wild - who will also be contributing photography for the pieces.
I have already made a start to this project, some stills below:

Sunday, 7 February 2010

Kit of parts

I am exploring the possibilities of using a set number of specific elements within a digital collage, altering only the scale, colour and position of these common elements. I'm finding it really helpful in focusing on purely the composition, and particularly, how colour is a crucial compositional element. This could go on and on, or I could find myself distracted with something else, as is often the case.

And a Triptych to finish the day off!

Friday, 5 February 2010

New work

Excited at the prospect of seeing Theo Van Doesburg's work in the flesh, after such a long time.

An a bit of fooling around with it in Illustrator.

Saturday, 23 January 2010

A wee collage made on a wet Saturday afternoon purely for the fun of it! Playing around with a mixture of paper and digital, and exploring colourways not familiar to me. I confess it is down to looking at the upsurge in retro that has finally replaced swirly vector shapes and gradients.... and the one above it shouldn't be there really, still, mustn't complain eh?

Friday, 1 January 2010

Two Thousand and Ten

Well, that was painless enough.....
Just finished 2 collages for this event:
Then naturally, couldn't resist scanning them in and messing with them in Photoshop!
Must find the perfect collage glue - that'll be my mission for 2010 - and no, despite it's brilliance, Display mount ain't it...............