Cutouts – Pastures New and Harvest Home

I visited the Matisse Cutouts with a friend again recently, I think I’ve been to see the exhibition seven times so far. I love the scale of the later works, and the simplicity and adaptability of the whole cutout approach fascinates me. When I think about how some of my work projects evolve – I wonder how you could apply some cutout principles to them? Keep it simple, the option to position and reposition stuff as the ideas form, building and developing, iterating and improvising.

My friend is in the process of changing jobs, and as we walked around the exhibition and talked of work and the art we were seeing, part of our conversation was about knowing when to start something new, and knowing when something is finished.

I often carry a small supply of card and markers around with me, and once we’d seen the exhibition and gone our separate ways, these ideas of starting and finishing continued to bounce around in my head. Over the coming days, in snatched moments between meetings, two small pictures began to form – first in my head, and then on paper.

Pastures New
Pastures New
Harvest Home
Harvest Home

These two cutouts are an attempt to represent the cycle of beginnings and endings. I have mixed feelings about working with cutouts. It takes me a long time to make something that looks incredibly simple and basic. This is quite a childish method I suppose, and acknowledging that somehow makes pressing the publish button on these recent cutout pieces, feel awkward. Picasso said it took him ‘four years to learn to paint like Raphael – and forever to learn to paint like a child’, and whilst I’m not even aiming at Raphael like standards, maybe I just need to get over myself and be more comfortable with this kind of work.

Art for Work’s Sake – Manchester Summer School

Art for Work’s Sake Summer School is coming to Manchester – July 24th 2014

Creativity Ebb n Flow Meter V1.2

Would you like to explore some creative ways to make your work more enjoyable and productive? Are you based in or near Manchester? Are you free on the afternoon of July 24th 2014? If you answered yes to all three of those questions – please read on.

Before I take Art for Work’s Sake off to the USA in August and September, I thought it would be fun to branch out a little closer to home, so I’m running a specially priced, Art for Work’s Sake Summer School in Manchester. The workshop will run from 1.30pm to around 5pm, and the ticket price is just £90 inclusive of VAT, Eventbrite fees and all materials. There is also a ConnectingHR Manchester tweetup that evening so if you fancy exercising your creative muscles before a great social event, it would be lovely to see you.

These slides from a recent talk and workshop will give you a feel for some of the techniques and ideas we will experiment with on the day.

Full details including how to book your workshop ticket are on our Eventbrite page. For those who are also interested in the TweetUp – here’s the link for that too. I hope to see a few of you in Manchester – and if you could help by sharing this blog post that would be great! Thanks.

Comics Unmasked – Superhero Friends

I visited the Comics Unmasked – Art and Anarchy in the UK exhibition at the British Library yesterday. It’s an interesting and dark catalogue of comics through the decades. Forget The Beano and Whizzer and Chips, this is more Knockabout, Crisis and 2000AD. The photo above is a snapshot of part of the banner advertising the exhibition outside the library. If you are in London, interested in comics and have some spare time before August 19th, it’s worth a look.

I was accompanied by three superhero friends, and on the train journey into London, I drew a calling card for each of them. I made a quick pencil sketch then went over that with an italic nib and used Letraset Promarkers to colour in the cards. It’s great having superhero friends, do you recognise any of them?