David OutsiderXchangeS Reflections

We sat with David today to have a chat about his work and collaborations on the OutsiderXchangeS project. Here are his thoughts:

“I’m trying to make the original painting come alive more by putting bits on top of it.

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I’ve got socks from Southport which have lots of different designs, I picked them because they are colourful and different and they blend in with my painting. They also remind me of the animations I did with Matt early on in this project.

I’ve got some jewellery and beads which I’ve brought from home which a family friend passed on to me, I’m adding them to the picture as well because they are so different.

I like things being different, I like to do something different that no one else has done before. It is unique.

I’ve been looking at different established artists to add elements and how they work into my work and it has ended up looking nothing like their work, but has turned into something quite unique.

It is boring just being the same, it is more exciting to be different and unique.

Collaborating I’ve been working with Matt and animating figures with my work on top of them. This added to my work, because I started to add the shapes of characters into my work. When I’ve completed this it would be great to then go back with Matt and animate the dinosaurs and fishes in my work and to see how they look, I don’t know if that will be possible but that’s the fun of this work and collaboration.

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Today I also did some interesting work with Roseanne which included sound, she has a set up that picks up minute sounds of springs and pen scratches using special microphones that pick up tiny noises. It sounds really unique and unusual. I added and dragged a bead necklace on the microphones which was recorded. This made me think about bringing sound similar to this into my main work, creating abstract noises for the animals and their movement which may then add to the animation work I want to explore with Matt.

Working on this project has been great, the development of using different art, collaborating and my artwork improving as well.”

“I was the assembly hall” – Horace

Today we tried the wallpaper on to re-build Cambrian School. I was the assembly hall, Juliet was the dinner ladies room and Sophie (not Sophie Lawrence) was the classroom.

It was nice being underneath the wallpaper and talking about the school. It was like being in a den (not a lions den). Listen, if horses were in there with the lions, how would they feel? They’d be feeling upset.

We also talked about the fact they are going to take the school down. Mr Nutall said he would send us a letter so we can visit the school again before they take it down.

Then we took the wall paper down.  After that we watched the video that Sophie’s camera had been filming.

We would like to continue working with this idea, to make a video about the school to bring back memories.

 

Collaboration within OutsiderXchangeS – Julie not Juliet

Horace was the first person I met when I came to Venture Arts – I actually met him outside the building on the day of my interview and remember being intrigued by his interest in knowing the year I was born, but also a bit intimidated by his insistence in my name being Julie and not Juliet.

When ‘OutsiderXchangeS’ actually started, Horace, Sophie and I quickly got together thanks to our common interest in education, childhood, and ways of working which are not limited to the studio but also involve online research, discussions and trips around Manchester.

Horace has been doing his interview series on the theme of school days and we thought the Open Studios would be a great way to take this project further.

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On Saturday 28th May, after Horace had been to church, we did five individual interviews in a small room next to our communal studio space where Horace first asked people questions about their childhood memories, before we asked them to build a small version of their school with wood blocks, so they could explain better how the school was structured, where their classroom was, where the head master or mistress’ office was, where they would play…

I was fascinated by how people would answer Horace’s questions in different ways: because they can be quite general (‘What were your school days?’), some people mainly spoke about the subjects they studied, some would enumerate the various schools they’d been to, one mainly talked about the games on the playground! Often the interviews are quite reflective for the people reflecting their stories, having to look back on fairly early memories and assumptions they had at the time (especially about the headmaster-mistress).

Some of the interviews were documented, but the important part of the work for us seems to be the live element, the special encounter with Horace and me in an intimate environment. Horace is being himself and speaking in the way he always speaks, I’m being myself as well… we’re not ‘performing’, but because it’s just the three of us and people have committed to the interview, I feel like this moment that we share together is slightly separate from the rest of the event and the discussions Horace can have with people the rest of the time. Where does the artwork/performance start and end? Who is performing?

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Throughout the interview, Horace, like he always does, impersonates different characters: the detached interviewer, his mum (“she told the dinner ladies ‘do not give Horace no pudding'”), the teacher, the headmaster (‘Where do you think you’re going?!’)… and the person being interviewed equally has to take on different roles: the adult recalling childhood memories, the pupil getting caught trying to get out of the school and having to justify themselves…

Horace also often uses sentences as ‘nets’ to catch us in this impersonation game, by ‘tricking’ us into finishing his sentences. (“-It’s not appropriate. It’s not what? -Appropriate.”)

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We’re hoping that these 15 minutes spent with us can help spark a mecanism of memories for the participants, even when they’ve gone out of the interview, and that by stimulating a conversation in a “safe” place slightly separated from the rest of what they experience during that day, they might be more open to encounters with strangers in their daily life…

Here are some extracts of some feedback we got during the day:

“It was pleasant to think back to my childhood. I was apprehensive at first but was put to ease by Horace. I was told to expect questions about my school years, but didn’t expect it to be deep and probing. I don’t think I have ever been interacted with by an art piece before.” Kamran, 28.

 

“It was great. It was different from the other artworks I’ve experienced before because of the interactivity, the focus on you as a participant and the ability to ask the artist questions.” Steph, 28.

We are going to develop the interview format during the future public events that will happen with Outsiderxchanges, and also devise a way for the artwork to be accessible when the interviews themselves are not possible. We’re currently working with Sophie on a video and a sound piece not being a mere documentation of the interviews, but a piece in its own right.

We’re really pleased by the enthusiasm that the participants have had so far and exited about the other works we want to develop together over the next few months!

Reflecting on our Open Day event

 

 

Sarah- On Saturday, when the art space opened, me and my parents came to look around to view other peoples work. We also noticed some musicians who were performing in the space that we are using at the moment. I first took some time to explain and talk about my work. Once I got going, talking about the pieces on display,my ideas and what I’m doing on the float for the Manchester parade I was okay doing it.

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Leslie-I drew some big cartoon work about this building, the Chorlton space.  I also talked to people about my career and my picture of Tarzan. My mum came and my brother Geoff came which was fantastic. 

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Horace- I was there. I went to church first so I wore my black suit. I asked the fella about his school days. I met newer people to ask questions to. It was good. It was a bit like a party. 

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David-  I thought it was really good. I didn’t realise there was so many people’s work in the other spaces. I was interested in what people did. Loads of people talked to me about my inspiration, I said ‘Its just Life; skin, colour, texture, genetics and vibrance’. They all liked what I did. 

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David James and Matt Girling; Pearlescent Evolution.

 

 

On the first studio session back in march David James started a painting that he has been working on ever since. It started as a still life of a dinosaur, a frog and a lizard toy I lent him for inspiration. We chatted a bit about genetics and the DNA strands that David had been exploring and how this new painting is a continuation of similar ideas. He has since gone on to include Reptile eyes, a Peacock, an Amarillo, David bowie and is currently painting fish swimming around eye balls. Each idea is in some way linked to the last and when one idea had been realised he moves on to the next. David calls it as an “never ending masterpiece”. Given infinite time, paint, and paper it feels like David would be able to paint everything that as ever existed. His ambition knows no bounds.

Pearlescent Evolution is a collection of Animation and Green screen experiments. It started when David was describing how he trying to capture the “iridescent eyes” and “idyllic eyes” using “pearlescent paints”. I have taken some of these words made green screen cut outs to show David how the green screen works.

 

We both agreed it’s a very effective way of getting interesting results quickly. We have been bouncing ideas back and fourth and experimenting by taking recordings of David’s painting and manipulating them to try and create the qualities that David talks about but are very hard to achieve with just paint on it’s own. I’m not sure that we have always done exactly what we set out to do but the results have been quite interesting regardless. Im looking forward to continuing to collaborate with David and hopefully will produce enough interesting footage to use for a full length music video. Heres’s what we have so far…

Lesley- ‘Painting from the Hey Days’

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I’ve been doing these Beautifully. It makes me feel good about doing the job of drawing and painting from the heydays from the video I watched in 1990’s. I had to draw the outlines of ‘Giant Haystacks’ and Big Daddy’. Then i used the pens to do the different colours of the audience and the arena and the wrestlers.  I put the water on the pens to make it all colourful. The black pen is at the end.