March Meet The Maker : Phase One

I recently found out about March Meet The Maker – a month long creative practice diary hosted primarily on Instagram, started by Joanne Hawker. I am enjoying rising to the challenges of the daily creative prompts, and I’ve decided to record these creative snippets in batches here on the blog, so I have a longer term record of them. Are you sitting comfortably?

Day One : Story


‘Just Create’. Beginning my #MarchMeetTheMaker, telling part of my story. This is a piece of art, made and given away four years ago, as part of LeapDay 2016. It symbolises letting go and it encapsulates the creative essence of Leap Day and the free art project I started, shortly after this art was made and hidden. Letting go is a life’s work, and it’s partly why I became an artist. After my Dad died in 2012 I struggled to deal with my grief. In subsequent years I experienced anxiety and depression and worthlessness in ways I didn’t know were possible, even though I’m fortunate to be part of a loving family. Through this time, my art has helped me see things differently, given me some purpose and enabled me to connect with the wider community. I don’t think it’s an exaggeration to say that art helped to save my life, along with Carole, Keira, and some fantastic counselling too. Note: I didn’t make this piece, I wish I could recall who did, as it contains much joy and wisdom for me. Thank you.

Day Two : Hands at Work

Hand drawn hand. Oh come on, it’s been a long day!! ? I work with all kinds of materials- on any other day this photo could show clay, spray paint, watercolour, acrylic – pretty much anything! 

Day Three : Time

Today’s #MarchMeetTheMaker is all about time. A good friend recently told me ‘Life is short, live it well’. I wish I’d started arting sooner but hey, I’ll make what I can while I can. In the words of the late great Neil Peart :
‘The arrow flies while you breathe, The hours tick away the cells tick away, The watchmaker has time up his sleeve, The hours tick away, they tick away.

Day Four : Branding

I don’t currently have a logo for my creative work, but my artistic identity is strongly associated with stencil art, spray paint, and frequently features sheet music. When people spot my work I want them to see a contemporary artist working with a mix of new materials and ideas, on older, repurposed surfaces. Something like that anyway. What do you think my ‘brand’ says? I received some very interesting, useful replies to this question on LinkedIn.

Day Five : Close Up

This is work in progress on a carefully crafted guardian – a 00 sized brush drags acrylic paint across rough watercolour paper. Maybe not the best tool for the job but I love the texture on the wing of the finished piece. An exercise in patience.

Day Six : Reducing Waste

Lots of my work is new art on old surfaces. Sheet music, maps, and money all feature in my work, and my Vinyl Junkie project uses old LP records. All these surfaces were unwanted, destined for the bin. Transforming them from junk into new works of art is one small way of reducing waste, which is what today’s #MarchMeetTheMaker is all about. 

Day Seven : You

I’m not often in front of the camera, I prefer to let my work do the talking ?. Here I am working on some stencil art at a conference in Berlin. This was part of a three day visual exploration of creativity and innovation with a client. When I’m not doing this, I paint from home, I rent shop space in a lovely pop up shop in Reigate, I run community art workshops, and I make and hide art in my neighbourhood. My free art project will be four years old soon – watch this space and help me celebrate this anniversary.

More to follow…

Afterimage : A Remembrance Piece

After hearing the news of Neil Peart’s death earlier this week – my thoughts turned to how I might acknowledge his life through the free art project. I wanted to reference his lyrics and connect these with a design familiar to Rush fans.

The song Afterimage opens with the lines:

Suddenly, you were gone

From all the lives you left your mark upon

N Peart

The song later begins to conclude with:

I learned your love for life

I feel the way that you would

I feel your presence

I remember

N Peart

Neil Peart was a private person, and news of his ill health had successfully been kept from the media – so in that respect, his death came as a shock. These words feel apt.

As an image – I chose to adapt the Rush Starman design originally by Hugh Syme. Peart once described the design as ‘the abstract man against the masses’. I’ve chosen to represent the design with tiny dots – and sought to create a fading out appearance towards the bottom of the design. ‘Afterimage’ will be the next free art drop and it will be accompanied by a print out of this blog post.

‘Afterimage’ adapted from an original design by Hugh Syme

I Had A Hand In This

Art is community : Community is art

In the Autumn of 2018, Jo Slater, who owns The Sun pub in Carshalton, approached me after I donated an art work to a charity raffle in the pub, and kindly offered some space for us to make art. Art In The Sun duly began in January of this year. A weekly gathering of curious adventurers, an experiment in experimental art.

Each session features an idea, maybe a theme, an offer of new tools, materials, techniques – just enough structure, and no more. People get to work, talking, sharing ideas, experimenting. I’m on hand if needed, but the process is largely about discovery.

Some weeks a hush falls over the group as the concentration levels rise, some weeks there’s loads of chat and laughter. We’ve been fortunate to have ELTEL perform with us a few times, and we’ve tried numerous techniques out since we started. Mark making, printing, stencil cutting, masking and layering, brushless work, tile painting, collaborative and solo works. The group takes it all on – confident in the emerging process. Plenty of our work ends up in the bin, and that’s OK.

A while back I suggested the idea of an exhibition – a chance to show our work to a wider audience. I recall the idea being received a little hesitantly, so we left it to percolate. Time passes, experiments continue, the idea is remembered again, and here we are, it’s exhibition day.

I’m off to The Sun. My role today is that of curator, and general setter upper. I’m proud of this lovely group of people and everything they have achieved so far, and I hope that today, I do their work justice for them. I have much to do, so I’ll wish you well and leave you with a hint of what is yet to come.

‘I Had A Hand In This’. Mixed media co-created collage, on A1 foam board