I’m consistent at least in the irregularity of my posts… so here I am again with another bit of news, following a unprecedented year off from posting. Not that the last year hasn’t been eventful, (far from it) it’s just that my hands have been kept busy changing nappies and making (very) early morning porridge.
That’s right, my partner and I (mostly her) produced a little Grey Earlette. She’s an absolute wee cracker and is outdrawing me already.
Onto the blog news….
I have been a very lucky boy this year. Not only with becoming a dad but also in the opportunity to present my work in my first solo exhibition – The Grey Earl, a collection of work. The very good people at Platform, in Easterhouse, approached me to showcase some of my work to coincide with their winter show Rapunzel, which I did the visuals for.
Huge thanks to Margaret McCormick for setting up the show, from initial talks about the work, to lining up drawings at the last hour.
The work is split up into sections, and here is a bit more info for anyone who might be interested in it….
Music: When I first dropped anchor on the Clyde, way back in 2010, I also had a collection of songs which I had been developing whilst travelling away from the UK. Folky type, sea shanties (from all those summers in Wales during the 1980’s, spent down Llandudno beach in a rubber dingy) were the starting point, which led into some other narrative based ideas.
Strangely, I never made it onto top of the pops, but I did meet some very kind, creative folk in the Glasgow music scene, who helped me to add some instrumentation to these songs and supported me whilst I attempted to play them live on occasion. Some of the visuals in the exhibition are from this early period and document a collection of songs from my Sea Gave Way, ep. I haven’t drawn in this way in a while, but am making plans for some new work which is a bit closer to this aesthetic.
Picture Hooks: I’ve written about Picture Hooks in the last post, with some images from the National Gallery exhibition. In the exhibition at Platform, I’ve been able to add in some of the development sketches too.
Characters: The majority of work in this show, features in this section and includes characters that I have been developing over the last 5 years (even a sneaky one from my uni days back in 2005 – strongman). Ranging from very early sketch work, to development visuals showing the process I use for adding colour to finished pieces.
They are taken from a selection of picture book stories that I have been developing, but yet to find the time to take to completion. This is something I intend to address in 2017 (if I reach 2018 with no update, give me a poke, or send whatever emoticon, that shows some kind of animated prodding action or a look of displeasure at a lack of creative progress on my part.) The lovely thing about putting the work together for this show though, was being able to see it as a whole and printed out nicely onto paper as opposed to just viewing them on a computer screen one by one. I realised I’ve done quite a bit of work over the last couple of years….and work that, (wait for it),well, that I’m happy with. I’ve always been pretty hard on myself regarding my creative work and found it difficult to find a happy place it. I think most creative people are probably like that. It can be useful, in terms of trying to better yourself, your work, but it can also be a pain in the buttocks for actually having the energy to pick up the pencils (they are very heavy pencils mind) and get going again. HOWEVER, this exhibition has given me a fresh perspective on things and I’m really grateful for that. Looking at the work together, it feels like I do have a style that feels Grey Early. The work has changed in terms of how it is produced and the materials I’ve used, but there is a consistency also with the characters that I’m beginning to get comfy with. I could probably go on a bit here with regards my own creative process and the challenges I tend to meet, both on paper and in my head, but I’ll possibly save that for another blog post. For now, Thank you Platform, for helping with the shift.
The Letter J: Also, plenty of info on the blog about The Letter J, the theatre company that I am a member of. In this exhibition I decided to display both illustrations that inspired and featured in our first children’s theatre production, Grandad and Me. There are also some concept drawings from projects that have yet to be realised. A glimpse into future shows perhaps?
Platform: As mentioned above, I created the artwork which has been used for this years winter show, Rapunzel, at Platform. This is the third year that I have illustrated their festive show and it’s always a real treat to work on. Featured in the exhibition are Three Little Pigs (2014), Puss in Boots (2015) and the current show.
Although I now live a bit further away from the venue than I used to, I’m always really interested in the work they programme and their approach to community involvement. They’ve also played an integral part in The Letter J’s progress, from day 1 of Grandad and Me rehearsals, to booking us to perform the final version to a lovely Easterhouse audience.
Here’s the exhibition details for anyone interested in making a visit.
9 December 2016 – 22 January 2017
Platform, The Bridge, 1000 Westerhouse Road, Glasgow G34 9JW
Many thanks to all who helped make this exhibition happen.