Beneath the Pavement
Beneath the Pavement was an amazing two days of presentations, walks interventions and discussions, concerning working within the art’s public realm sector in relation to Stoke-on-Trent, with the ultimate aim to improve the creative sector of the city. After a wonderful set of presentations from the programme’s lead artists and the invited speakers, I was grouped with Emily, Phil, Rachel and Jane, in which we began many discussion concerning possible ideas for working within the public realm, whilst taking further walks around the city. Although we didn’t actively create any works during the two days like some of the other groups, the chance to discuss and talk through different ideas was incredibly interesting and helpful. This allowed time to process the abundance of information for the development of ideas occur later on.
Initially I felt confused about what art within the public realm actually was. Was it transforming spaces into studios/exhibition spaces, creating pop up shops/café’s, tending to green spaces, improving aspects of the city such as seating areas, or responding to the place and site in response to own practice? I felt torn between what was more important. However, I began to realise that working within the public realm can encompass all of the above aspects, and one type of intervention is not necessarily more important then the other.
After each walk, I became further drawn to the contrasting architecture and began to link this with my current research and practice. Emily suggested that utilizing my own practice within site wasn’t selfish (my initial concern) and could take form as small intervention, such as a publication about the city’s architecture or projections in overlooked corners of buildings.
A week after the development programme, I’m still in a very early development stage in regards to my proposal, although last week I returned to Hanley to undertake another walk around the center for further inspiration. This time I brought my cameras, documenting some of the amazing buildings that inhabit Stoke (images within post). I think exploring the city further is definitely in order over the next month, I feel this could unearth many more hidden gems with potential and to help clarify ideas and thoughts.
Initial Observations and Thoughts:
I’ve listed below a few initial observation of the city center whilst undertaking the development programme:
Cleaning and maintenance of city needs to be addressed, so much litter and derelict building. What is going to happen to the old Hanley Shopping Centre? However these buildings have so much potential, and some are incredibly beautiful (1 Bethesda is a fantastic example).
Some amazing features (mosaic piece above Wilkinson and benches with willow patterns within the centre of Hanley) have been unmaintained and overlooked; with a little care, these could be really brought to life.
There seems to be a lot of small green spaces that need tending to, would it be interesting to create mini allotments/herb gardens which the community could benefit on (would there be enough space for this?)
It was very bizarre how the new aspects of the city conjoined in an unusual manner with derelict and disused areas. One could easily walk through Parliament Row and be confronted by the neglected space within the Old Hall Street. How could this be addressed?
What are other initiatives within city’s that involve art within the public realm? I began thinking of activities and spaces that have took place in other cities, such as drawing tours or First Friday’s. Could these be adopted in Stoke?
• 10 July 2014
I was intending to go into the studio today and create some new works utilising screen printing and photography, however I was drawn to the idea of creating a piece using some of the pre-existing work and imagery that I have generated over the past few weeks. The above piece was an attempt to address some of the issues that arose in previous experiments (particularly the inclusion of forms/imagery that explicitly relates to various architectural style). Although the work is definitely more considered, I’m currently unsure how well it’s articulating my current interests and concerns. A lot more reading and research is most certainly the way forward!
• 8 July 2014
After Beneath the Pavement, I was inspired to further explore the architecture within Stoke-on-Trent, (this time I brought my camera!). Over the next few weeks, I will be experimenting with some of the above images through screen-printing/collage/photography in attempt to investigate ideas around architectural tension and anxiety.
• 7 July 2014
Amazing two days, can’t believe how quick they went! (Will be uploading a post shortly about all the goings on.)
Image courtesy of Glen Stoker
• 28 June 2014
Recent Interest and Research:
The possible failure of modern architecture and the anxiety it induces (its early transformation into the ruin) Tension of conflicting postmodern/modern in architecture. Investigating this architectural tension through the materiality of printmaking and photography. Robert Smithson’s ‘ruins in reverse’.
First Experiments with Screen-printing and Postmodern Aesthetic:
Began experimenting with screen-printing by creating small squares across the screen. This allowed for testing how to pull a print correctly, (how much pressure to use etc). As it’s been a little while since I’ve created any work, I decided to just experiment with different materials that I had in the studio (glitter, fabric, tape, paint) without little consideration to the conceptual aspect of my practice. I felt that this could help begin the creative working process, allowing for the identification of interesting/important traits.
Texture of the print when too much paint is used, or when pulled with little pressure.
Composition, concentration of shapes, texture, layering.
Does this playful aesthetic create tension? Feel their needs to be a further investigation into this. Perhaps need to include more modern architectural traits to experiment with the tension between the two styles.
Need to consider emphasising the architectural elements of the work, particularly translated through the materiality (Need to investigate further Baroque, Geometry, Bauhaus, Brutalism.) Must avoid just the exploration of the materials without architectural consideration (as the above works demonstrate.)
Fuji Instax- Not sure how I currently feel about the inclusion of these in the work, would like to create silk screens from photographic imagery.
• 26 June 2014
Collage Experiments (Halftone Preparation for Screen Printing)
• 10 June 2014
Visit to Spode Factory- Viewed and explored space for group show in October, documented space using Ilford Delta 100 (35mm).
Above Print - Photocopy from Silver Gelatin Print overlaid with Found Ceramic Decal.
• 15 April 2014
Work Makes Works
A blog created by artist Emily Speed presenting various artist’s diagrams about how work generates further opportunities/work.
• 20 February 2014
Install of ‘No.4 Broad Street’
Images Courtesy of Bob Catterall
• 27 January 2014
Contact Sheet- First attempts with colour printing (RA4, Fuji Crystal Archive Paper)
• 13 December 2013