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.”

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!

Open Studios: New Art Spaces Chorlton – 28th May

Coinciding with Chorlton Arts Festival, on the 28th of May OutsiderXchanges will be welcoming the public into their studios to meet the participating artists and gain a unique insight into studio practice and artwork in the development stages of this exciting collaboration. The first public event at Castlefield Gallery’s New Art Spaces Chorlton, join us to see new work by OusiderXchanges artists, locally-based contemporary artists, and enjoy guided tours and a set by a cappella group Vocal Harum.
Meet the artists and find out about New Art Spaces, Castlefield Gallery’s initiative making temporarily empty properties available to artists to develop and present new work.

Artists at New Arts Spaces Chorlton:
James Ackerley
Kamran Ali
Robin Broadley
Jo Clements
COLLAR
Matthew Denniss
Olivia Glasser
Susan Gunn
Elizabeth Kwant
Jane Lawson
LEGROOM
John Lynch
Monty
Lauren Sagar
Claire Tindale
OutsiderXchanges – Venture Arts

The Open Day is part of Chorlton Arts Festival http://www.chorltonartsfestival.com/

 

April – Quotes and Images

The last few weeks the OutsiderXchangeS studio has been a hive of great activity.

Collaboration between all artists has started and individual artists have started to experiment even more.

Below are some images and quotes from the OutsiderXchangeS artists from the past couple of weeks.

Sarah used different clays for her architectural 3D sketches- and Juliet sketched her in the process. Sarah has continued to experiment with different types of clay to construct her buildings.

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Rosanne: “I’ve been recording Barry reading some of his wording. We’ve also been working with Horace to position records from history as well as collecting imagery for our AV collaboration”

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Matt decided to gift Barry a calligraphy note pad to which Barry said “WRRIGHTING IN THIS BOOK IS DIFFERRENNT. IT MADE ME HAPPY”

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Horace has also added a selection of Polaroid’s he took of his old school to his map drawing- “it brings back memories” he told the fellow artists.

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Lesley bought in a chimpanzee figure to show Matt and has decided, “I might paint on the tarzan picture” which Lesley has been working on for the past few weeks.” When asked about his painting Lesley said “I used to watch Tarzan as a child in the 1970’s, on Granada TV, and it has always been a favourite of mine. So I’m really enjoying painting this. It makes me feel good.”

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David has really enjoyed having a studio space for himself. “It feels a lot better to have my own space to experiement with my work. It has helped me realise sometimes I’ve got to reinvent myself’

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We’ll be capturing the thoughts and progress of all artists every week and you can keep a track on the work and collaborations on this blog and on our Twitter page. Give us a follow on @oxchanges

 

 

OutsiderXchangeS Collaboration Begins

Last Wednesday (16 March) we brought all of our Manchester based artists together for the first time at their artist studio in Chorlton.

Joining Barry, Sarah, Leslie, David and Horace we have the dynamic Sophie Lee, Rosanne Robertson, Matt Girling and Juliet Davis.

As well as our lead artists Tanya Raabe-Webber and James Pollitt who will be helping to facilitate the collaboration between all artists.

Entering a new artist space can be an exciting time and for some of the artists the first time they have had an artist space to call their own. Horace in particular appeared to thrive in the space saying “This is my space and I am going to do some great work.” Matt, who is an experienced artist, this is also the first time he has had a space to experiment with his work adding “having this space gives me the space and the sense of calm to really experiment with my work.”

The first morning in the space all of the artists settled in their own space and then during the day sat and chatted about their own work with each other. One of the first steps in collaboration is being comfortable in their studio and space and then learning more about each other. Through these conversations inspirations of collaboration will happen and hopefully we will see some amazing work produced individually, together and inspired by each other.

By the second week in the artist studio all artists appeared inspired by artist Matt’s figurine stop motion work which he had set out in the centre of the studio. Leslie and Matt decided to experiment on an animation connected to Leslie’s interest in Tarzen and David decided to take his previous exploration in DNA structures further by looking at some of Matt’s figurines of dinosaurs. Horace started sharing his interviews and music influences with Rosanne and who knows what might come from that. It will be exciting to find out. Sarah continued to experiment with different media and inspired by the recent fire at Wythenshawe Hall has started to build part of the structures of the hall in clay as well as the coat of arms of the Tatton family (who originally owned the Hall). These are just some of the early collaborations happening across the studio and it will be exciting to see where they go on the OutsiderXchangeS journey of collaboration.

2016 Jan – Feb Workshops – Reflections from Glen

2016 Jan – Feb Workshops – Reflections from Glen

As the new year of 2016 commenced our Venture Arts artists returned to their workshop space in Hulme. Every Wednesday our five artists – Barry, Sarah, Lesley, David and Horace – have the space and time to explore ‘their art’. Tanya and James – our lead artists and facilitators of the sessions – oversee and suggest different techniques, media and ways forward with their work. I pop in to the sessions at least once a day to explore what the artists are working on and to see how their work develops from week to week. Having this unique insight into their artistic journey I feel very privileged. It’s not often you get to see an artist grow week after week and I get the chance to see five artists grow into their work and their work become so individual.

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This way of working for most of the artists can be quite new for them. Within Venture Arts a lot of the artwork produced is workshop led. So the finished product and the content of the artwork is very individual and of a very high quality the starting point of their work doesn’t necessarily come directly from the artist.

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With OutsiderXchangeS the work produced comes truly from the artist, with no time pressures or group pressures. Because of that we are seeing our five artists starting to produce work of an even higher quality than they have in the past.

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Over the past two months we have engaged with artists across the North of England all of whom had shown an interest in collaborating on the OutsiderXchangeS project. We now have 5 artists who are joining us on that journey in Manchester in our dedicated artist studios in Chorlton and one artist who will be collaborating in Newcastle in our tandem project with BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art. All artists will be coming together to start collaborating by the end of March till August, and we will introduce you to each of them in the coming weeks.

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But looking at some of the work already produced by our Venture Arts based artists the artwork that will be produced in the next few months, through collaboration (that collaboration facilitated by Tanya and James), should be really exciting. I know personally I can’t wait to see what’s produced and I’ll be keeping you up to date here with their progress.

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From next week I’ll be posting updates on how each Venture Arts based artist has developed their work in the past four months. But in the gallery below you can see a few examples of the artists work.

Coming up soon:

Artist Profiles

Full artists studio collaboration updates

Newcastle Updates

and more…

ELEVATE MASTERCLASS – Walk The Plank

Amanda Sutton and Artist Tanya Raabe-Webber delivered an Introduction to the work of Tanya Raabe-Webber and Venture Arts in a new season of free ELEVATE Masterclasses.

Thank you to everyone who attended. Amanda spoke about collaborations in learning disabled art, OutsiderXchanges and people working as equals to make new contemporary art.

OutsiderXchanges artist Lesley created illustrations documenting the session.

Tanya Raabe-Webber spoke about her practice and experience. Then Tanya delivered a practical exercise creating acetate portraits which was really well received. It was enlightening to hear and see her story through her art in many contexts. Thanks to everyone who joined us.

Walk the Plank’s artist development programme is created in association with Manchester City Council.