Saturday, 3 December 2011
Wednesday, 30 November 2011
Sunday, 27 November 2011
Elysium Artspace , an independent artist led gallery and studio space, held a street event on 5 November called 'Disruption'. I made a short film of some of the event. If you are an artist and have a proposal for an exhibition or event or want to become involved in activities, please contact here.
Saturday, 26 November 2011
Well I must apologise for not putting my finger on the keyboard to provide an update for such a long time. Anyway time to rectify that now. I had a summer where the French expression 'metro, boulot, dodo' applied to me but perhaps without the metro as I wasn't anywhere near one. I spent most of the summer in Ellesmere Port and didn't have a lot of time for much more than 16 hour days working, punctuated with a little sleep and travelling back home. It's always possible to stay in touch these days thanks to the mobile phone. Back in the days before these devices, I am sure many a young person caused their parents continual worry by being out of touch with them...but did they really ? I don't recall ever feeling the need to 'phone home' and if I did it would require a considerable effort to dig out the required pre-decimal coin, find a red telephone box and of course remember to press Button B. It's great that information is available at our fingertips 24 hours a day but I think we are perhaps in danger of collapsing under the weight of a surfeit of words and opinions. I am of course guilty of adding to this with this little contribution to the bloggosphere.
I had a couple of trips away to one place I had never been before - Helsinki, Finland and to another place I have been quite a few times - Paris, France. It's difficult to feel the 'soul' of a place in short visits but I had a friend from the time I lived in Belgium who said that the best way to find anything out at all is to walk around on foot which is exactly what I normally do and which I did on my recent visits. I was struck by the clear air and silence in Helsinki and the ciountryside around the city in Espoo and Vantaa. The Espoo Museum of Modern Art (EMMA) is one of the largest museums I have ever been in but there is a large amount of free space and so one doesn't feel crowded out by exhibits. I spent a lot of the time there in the exhibition by Chinese artist Yang Fudong and in particular his film Seven Intellectuals in Bamboo Forest - a modern interpretation of an old Chinese story. The parts of the film on display in the exhibit show seven 20-year old intellectuals leave the city for the countryside where they spend the days working on the land with manual labour and the evenings resting and talking and bonding as a group. The group move to an island where they want to spend time isolated and undisturbed. This feeling of isolation permeates through to the audience and I found myself being overwhelmed by the same feelings.
In Paris, in recent visits I have always tried to discover a new arrondissement or somewhere I haven't been before. In recent visits I have taken walks through the famous Cimetiere du Pere Lachaise which have featured in many French films and contain the graves of Oscar Wilde, Jim Morrison, Edith Piaf and many less famous names. An oasis of calm and contemplation in the city. On this trip, the main reason was to visit Paris Photo 2011 - for me the highlights were seeing an exhibition of original photographs from the NASA archive of space expeditions in the 1960s, a project interpreting the 1954 book by Dutch photographer Ed Van der Elsken 'Love on the Left Bank', meeting Iranian photographers showing their work and seeing the magnificent glass roof of the Grand Palais, built in 1897 and recently restored. I also found some time to visit the Impressionist Collections of Monet and others in the Musée Marmottan
One of my most enjoyable walks has been in the streets surrounding the Musée Rodin and of course in the museum itself. It is not a large collection but provides more inspiration than many collections three times the size.
Anyway, one can't escape or live in a vacuum forever and it is good to return to busy life in the city refreshed with batteries recharged. Any of us who have the fortunate opportunity to travel must do what we can to fight the enemies of being able to do things like this - poverty, disease, illness - we are in control of a lot in our lives but the last three really ask us to bond together as a society and help others who perhaps do not have the freedom or the luxury.
Saturday, 9 April 2011
One of my current projects is to produce an artwork to illustrate 'Th' in the poem 'A Welsh Alphabet by Lorin Morgan-Richards. 29 artists in total are involved. The work is planned for inclusion in a book and for display as part of the West Coast Eisteddfod to be held in Los Angeles 23-25 September.
A Welsh Alphabet
By Lorin Morgan-Richards
edited by Kevin Richards & Jason Shepherd
A is for Afanc
Whose scales could not be pierced.
He flooded the harbors
set town ablaze
Terrorizing those he unearthed.
B is for Bendigeidfran
Who laid a bridge
for his weary army to run.
In his last breath the giant fell
Sending the enemy back to Ireland.
C is for Coblynau
Who helps the miner find his ore.
But when the cavern shakes
The rocks will slide
Something he will surely ignore.
Ch is for Arthur a Chei
Who grew up together to play.
The brothers came upon
A sword in a stone
that little Arthur carried away.
D is for Dôn
Who raised her sons
To watch over the feuding land.
They battled Llyr’s flock
‘til old and gray
Taking control of their command.
Dd is for Y Ddraig Goch
Who chased away his white foe.
But the young Myrddin
found them buried
in a magic pool.
E is for Ellyllon
Who roam the valleys and groves.
Their approach may slow the shepherd
But the sheep go running in droves.
F is for Y Forgen
Who lure the travelers by their sins.
Their beauty tis overseen as ye drown
Their legs be slippery fins.
F is for Y Flodeuwedd
Who was made by enchanting flowers
For her husband’s cursed bride.
But upon finding her cheating deception
She changed into an owl to fly.
Ff is for Ffridd yr Ywen
Where fairies dance in the round.
Those who enter may never return
Turning only to dust when they’re found.
G ar gyfer Gwyllgi
Whose eyes are Ill omen of fiery red
Tells the traveler nearby he will soon be dead.
Ng is for Yng Ngarth
Where castles stood on the hill.
You’ll find angry ghosts haunting there still
Rising up from the ruined Bastille.
H is for Henwrach
Who begins every year in November
To grow from veiled crone so old
To maiden younger and younger
Just as the spring warms winter’s cold.
I is for Iarlles y Ffynnon
Who protects an almighty spring.
That if a wanderer drinks
without her permitting
The black knight rids them clean.
L is for Luned
Who made her love
Disappear with a magical ring
But once he vanished
He was swept away
Until found suffering.
Ll is for Llamhigyn y Dwr
Is found in ponds and swamps,
With a limbless body of a frog,
A tail of a lizard, wings of a bat.
A menace to fishery and farms.
M is for Myrddin
A legendary prophet
Who had the knowledge of the wise
He led a quest that Arthur partook
Protecting him with his disguise.
N is for Nissien
Who battles amongst the celestial star
He combats his twin Efnissien
Dueling for peace afar.
O is for Ogof
That can drain the life out of traveler’s nearby.
‘tis not a bear
But a force inside
That proceeds without a sigh.
P is for Plentyn Newid
Who steal children away as they sleep.
Quickly replacing it with
an ugly, shriveled beast
That has made many a poor mother weep.
Ph is for Arawn a Phwyll
Who switched their place for a year.
Pwyll hunted and survived in the underworld
To keep his promise sincere.
R is for Y Rudda Gawr
Whose enemies’ beard were made into his cloak
Sir Arthur was called to give his own
But the giant cut beardless, quivering said
‘My apologies King Arthur I must have misspoke.’
Rh is for Rhiannon
Who had a son and was accused of his murder.
But then a mysterious beast
Was seen to be stealing fouls,
The son was released to cure her.
S is for Shuï Rhys
A sad beautiful girl who always dreamt day to day
In time she was carried off by Tylwyth Teg,
last seen somewhere near the town of Crawley.
T is for Twm Sion Cati
Who tricked all those he crossed
robbing the rich, pleasing the poor,
No Robin Hood though, the gold
he bore, he never lost.
Th is for Aneirin a Thalhaearn
Who poets, with Taliesin makes three,
Known for their love of early folktales,
Including versions of King Arthur you see.
U is for Ugnach
Who is the son of Mydno
From the Black Book of Carmathen.
He is said to be a powerful druid
With riches untold,
President and keeper of earthly tomes.
W is for Y “Wwb” sound
Of Gwyllion who leads astray the familiar man.
Their stare and four pointed hat
Can only be thwarted
By the flash of knife in hand.
Y is for Ysbrydion
Who haunts the midnight hour.
Their moaning lasts
Until the relatives change
The uncompromising dower.
Monday, 4 April 2011
Tuesday, 1 March 2011
March 1st has come round again and each year the clamour for a public holiday in Wales to mark St David's Day grows in strength. This year was a little bit different for me than usual as I was a guest with my friend Deborah Fisher on the Roy Noble show on BBC Radio Wales. We were there to talk about our links with the Kansai St David's Society in Japan. Deborah was their guest speaker last year and I will be travelling out next week to Japan to give two talks about my photography work to their members in Osaka and in Tokyo. It is a fantastic opportunity to be able to do this and I am very fortunate in that I will be staying with some of the members who have kindly invited me to their houses. While I am there I am hoping to be able to talk to any potential students from Japan who wish to come and study in Wales and in particular at Swansea Metropolitan University. I am also hoping to meet up with Japanese artists and hopefully forge some links between them and Elysium gallery in Swansea which may result in future exhibitions in Wales for anyone who wishes to come over.
Monday, 28 February 2011
My second press photoshoot for the Wales Comic Relief team was at The Globe in Cardiff. New bands and a first time stand up comedian were on the bill for what proved to be a very successful fundraiser for the 2011 appeal. If anyone is interested in booking me for a photoshoot, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Sunday, 27 February 2011
I had a message last Friday lunchtime to ask if I would be free to take some photographs that evening for Awel Amen Tawe a South Wales community energy charity who were holding a ceremony to announce the winners of their Climate Change poetry competition at Pontardawe Arts Centre. The event was organised by Emily Hinshelwood, a former winner of the John Tripp Spoken Poetry Award in 2003 and contained readings by National Poet for Wales, Gillian Clarke, the internationally acclaimed poet Menna Elfyn, Susan Richardson, one of BBC Radio 4's resident poets on 'Saturday Live' and 2009 John Tripp Award winner Dafydd Wyn. The English language entries for the competition were judged by Gillian Clarke and the Welsh language winners judged by Menna Elfyn. It was a very well-attended event and a first return for me to Pontardawe Arts Centre for almost a year. I've attached a selection of images of the poets who read and the prizewinners of the competition I took which I hope give a flavour of the event.
Saturday, 19 February 2011
Friday, 11 February 2011
Tuesday, 4 January 2011
Royal Mail is launching a set of lenticular stamps featuring key characters and scenes from Gerry Anderson puppet TV shows of the 1960s. The lenticular set is part of the 50th anniversary range of stamps featuring Stingray, Joe 90, Captain Scarlett and Thunderbirds, and Royal Mail's first 'motion stamps'. The four-stamp miniature sheet features Thunderbird 5 on its border and Thunderbirds 1-4 on the individual stamps. The range marks the 50th anniversary of the TV shows and will be available next year between first class and 97p denominations. The stamps are printed by Outer Aspect Ltd, of Aukland, New Zealand and contain 36 microthin key frames that make up the motion sequence that lasts several seconds.
These microthin slices were placed side by side and printed onto the back of a special clear magnifying lens in reverse so that they read correctly through the lens from the front.
The lens refracts the light in such a way that different but complete frames are displayed depending on the viewing angle, and by changing this angle the frames play in sequence.
Saturday, 1 January 2011
So the new decade begins here...I never make resolutions...but I always hope that the world will become a better place and wars poverty and suffering will be a thing of the past. Vast improvements have been made in the last 100 years of course but there is still work to be done! Within minutes of the New Year commencing, a Facebook friend in Egypt posted a video of the aftermath of a bomb that exploded down her street she thought at a mosque. So there is a lot of work to be done and we have to redouble our efforts. Happy New Year!