Moving

A story about trying something new, getting stuck, and moving on again.

“Nothing happens until something moves” Albert Einstein.

In April 2018 I made my first tentative steps into stencil cutting and spray painting. I used Record Store Day as the spark to cut and spray some simple lettering designs onto old LP records. The response to these initial pieces was positive, so I kept making, and the vinyl junkie project was born.

Record Store Day 2018. The Happy Talk art is sprayed on to a copy of South Pacific.

I began to develop my own lettering styles and experiment with different paint effects, and then I received my first vinyl junkie commission. I was learning lots about how painful on the fingers stencil cutting is, and how fiddly spray paint can sometimes be. I was enjoying the project, things were going well.

Developing the project
My first vinyl junkie commission

A couple of months later, while showing my work at the 2018 Carshalton Artists Open Studios, I received some unsolicited feedback on the vinyl junkie project. ‘It’s a bit A-level, a bit student. These aren’t very good, I think you should stop doing them’.

One of the things I experienced when I was at my lowest with stress and burnout, was a tendency to focus on the negative, and I took this feedback to heart. The open studios event was a success, but in the aftermath, I put the vinyl to one side, and stopped making. Every day I walked past a small stack of vinyl leaning in the studio doorway, and every day I did nothing about it. The vinyl shifted from something I really enjoyed using, to becoming an obstacle around which I skirted every time I passed through the doorway.

This went on for a while, until one day I accidentally kicked the pile, and some of the vinyl scattered on the floor. I restacked the pieces and carried on. Two days later, during my weekly counselling, I talked about this story, and concluded it was time to either restart the vinyl junkie project, or put it away and move on.

“Nothing happens until something moves” Albert Einstein

I decided to go again, and almost immediately after making the decision, a commission enquiry arrived, and that enquiry turned into this.

I was asked by some good friends to make something with a nod to the city of Cleveland where they live. I experimented with a few stencil cuts before settling on the one you see here, laid onto a starry night sky background. The piece on the right was a surprise thank you for my friends, incorporating letters of their names into a heart shape. Shortly after making these, I was approached by someone wanting a black cat vinyl. This black cat commission marked my first move into multi layered stencil cutting, and I am continuing to develop my practice with more layers, and different paint effects.

I’ve learned a few things from this experience:

  • Whilst I can’t stop unsolicited feedback – I don’t have to pay it any attention.
  • When giving feedback, I should ask if it is wanted first.
  • Getting stuck isn’t great, but it happens. When it does, remember that nothing happens until something moves.
  • Show your work.
  • Keep experimenting.

What’s next for the vinyl junkie project? I don’t know, and I am open to commission enquiries so if you have any ideas, drop me a line and let’s talk.

Lights Out : A Labour of Love

When I was a kid, I remember my Mum buying me a Spider Man comic while I was ill, and off school for a few days. For years after that I bought loads of different Marvel comics, and I always remembered that day I read my first one. Stan Lee, the creator of Sider Man and many more super heroes besides, died a few days ago, at the age of 95. I instinctively knew that the next free art drop needed to honour his work, in a way that meant something to me.

I’ve been working on a Spider Man tribute piece for a few days now, and it’s finally finished. I’ve titled it Lights Out, and deliberately left the eyes dark.

Here are a few pictures of the work in progress, including a piece of accidental art made when I laid one layer of stencil on top of a piece of my Elemental Art series.

Record Store Day : Free Art Drops

Saturday 21st April 2018 is Record Store Day in the UK. I’ve made some free art drops to mark the occasion. These are the first pieces of art I’ve made using acrylic sprays and stencils. Trust me, all the cutting is hard work! I think its been worth it though, and I’ll be hiding these in the local area over the weekend.

The vinyls have no obvious connection to the designs I made, with one exception. Happy Talk is sprayed on to a copy of South Pacific on the Music For Pleasure label. Captain Sensible covered this song, and the title of The Damned’s second album is…Music For Pleasure 😉

Update: I’ve added one more vinyl into the mix – heh heh.