Matt on Collaboration

We sat down with Matt Girling to ask him about his thoughts and experiences on the OutsiderXchangeS project. Exploring how it may have changed his work and how he  collaborates.

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How did you approach collaboration within the project and what difficulties did you discover, how did you overcome them and also what successes have you discovered in collaboration? 

 I started out in a way that, looking back on it now, seemed naïve. Even before we came to the first studio session I had big bundle of ideas that seemed to me, likely to result in interesting and exciting collaborations. Most of these ideas involved me inviting other artist to participate in what I was doing; I had the door to my art practice open and beckoned people in to try it out. On the whole, this approach fell pretty flat. Other artists were interested but understandably were more interested in getting on with there own work. At that early stage I wasn’t comfortable attempting to influence what anybody else was working on. It felt rude to break somebodies’ busy concentration and try and make a difference to artwork that in most cases doesn’t need to be changed at all.

So I decided to do the same and just get on with my own practice. Just doing the what I would have been doing regardless of the context of the residency. I was mainly drawing. I sit next to Lesley in the studio, He also draws a lot too, and generally with the same kind of equipment to me; he’s the only person I know with a bigger trail of dried out black fine liners in their wake than me. Working so closely in parallel with another artist with a similar process to mine has defiantly affected the way I make drawings in two ways, I have become more interested in making drawings that tell stories. I have adopted a more dogmatic determination to keep going without becoming distracted. The way Leslie is able to concentrate has made me pull my socks up and really get on with it.

After that initial handful of sessions collaborations started to form organically; small at first, using an action figure belonging to Leslie for a bit of animation or giving Barry an alternative kind of paper to do his writing on. Ever since I have just let stuff happen without planning ahead, often working with different artists from week to week. More recently I have been working a lot with David, we have been making some experimental animations using green screen, (or “the ghost town effect” a term coined by David because he had seen it used in the music video by the specials.) we still don’t really know what it is we are doing but we are both just enjoying process for the time being. Looking forward towards the end of the residency I plan to amass all the small chunks of collaborative video work made and into a kind of visual soup. But that might change.

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Will the way you work in collaboration change now moving forward – was there a particular way you approached collaboration before? How has the OutsiderXchangeS project changed your art work? 

I haven’t collaborated on many art projects in the past so I can’t be sure. I’m fairly sure it has in some way affected the way I will work both collaboratively and on my own in the future.

How has it been working with artists who have a learning disability? Is there a difference? If so what is that? 

The difference in the way any two people perceive the world is massive, with the learning disabled artist working on Outsiderxchanges that difference in perception is multiplied wildly. This has made the whole experience insightful, confusing, hilarious in equal measures.

 If there was one thing you felt proud the most about the OutsiderXchangeS project what is that?  – this could be a piece of work, a collaboration, the environment…

 I wouldn’t say I have felt proud for any one piece of work but I was very happy with the reaction the project received at the open studio we held in May. I think people were able to see that this project is about mutual growth, which is important. I am looking forward to pulling all the loose ends together to make something that I am proud of in the coming months.

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…

Tanya Raabe-Webber – Workshop Reflections

As lead artist on Venture Arts OutsiderXchanges studio project my initial first thoughts were about finding inclusive ways of connecting with the artists as practitioners in their own right. To explore their themes and artistic practices with them that is driven by learning disability art and cultural identity. This has proven to be a natural road to follow. All of the artists, as you can see from the blog posts so far, are developing their own ideas, exploring materials and developing there own unique techniques. This seems to have grown very quickly and organically in a very short time.

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Our staring point was about exploring our identities as people, as artists and the relationship we had with the new space. Everyone soon claimed their space in the studio and set about making and thinking about their own art.

The studio really does feel like a hub of artistic thought and ideas beginning to flow, artist centered and artist led. Our studio practice is very much like embedded in the culture and practice of a supported studio. We have James Pollitt from Venture Arts, an art tutor who has a great foundation and background knowledge into the artists past work, working practices and communication. James directly facilitates the artists in their arts practices as and when they need it. Glen is our photographer, blogger and has been named Grip the Runner Man in case we need a hand in the studio and I have Jackie Cooley who is my personal artist assistant and she supports me to access my working arts practices when collaborating with the other artists.

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As the artists are now working on their own individual ideas I am able to begin to stand back and reflect on how I might develop collaborations between the artists, myself and the non disabled artists that will be joining us later this year.

With each artist I’m very interested in exploring verbal and non-verbal collaborative processes to develop new work of my own that explores learning disability art aesthetic, cultural identity and inclusive practice.

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I have just begun to do this with Horace. With Horace I’ve began to explore our shared experiences of childhood memories of school and childhood. Horace recalls experiences he’s had in an almost per formative way, taking on the physicality and characterisations of the people he speaks about, asking questions that he already has the answers to, whilst expecting you to know the correct answer. His recollections have an almost docudrama feel to them. When Horace is interviewing you it’s like you are the first to have been asked these questions. Making you, the interviewee, and feel very important. For me Horace’s stories are extremely lucid, totally reflective of a disability cultural identity and very real and for me our collaboration will inform a series of paintings about illustrating these types of memories whilst in the studio. We worked together on some pictorial ideas for this, which we filmed.

And this was just for starters so I’m really looking forward to seeing what happens next.

Tanya Raabe-Webber Lead Artist

Don’t forget you can join the artists on their journey by applying to be a collaborator on the project. 

We are looking for 4 interested artist to join our Manchester based artists over a five month period and in return they will be given a free artists space for the duration of the workshops and we are also looking for one artist to collaborate with a learning disabled artist based at Baltic 39.

More details can be found here: OutsiderXchangeS Collaboration.

OutsiderXchangeS Artists Workshop 4

The OutsiderXchangeS project is already a month old. During the past month our five artists  – Barry, Sarah, David, Horace and Lesley – have been hugely focused on developing their own individual art form and skills.

  • Barry has taken his narrative story style and begun to pass this onto acetate
  • Horace has begun to experiment with video and storytelling
  • Sarah is developing the designs – inspired by Bronte country –  for a piece of clothing
  • Lesley is exploring his illustrations and how to turn them into animations
  • and David has taken his fascination of the sky to another level utilising different media and abstract painting.

The OutsiderXchangeS artists will now take a short break for the festive period but will return on the 5th January to continue their artistic explorations.

Don’t forget you can join the artists on their journey by applying to be a collaborator on the project.

We are looking for 4 interested artist to join our Manchester based artists over a five month period and in return they will be given a free artists space for the duration of the workshops and we are also looking for one artist to collaborate with a learning disabled artist based at Baltic 39.

More details can be found here: OutsiderXchangeS Collaboration.

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