Silver & Light & Alchemy

I love this kind of passion, and to see this guy standing out like an extinct beautiful penguin or another rare critter.

I have been in love with photography since I was a kid with a 126 Kodak… I remember the excitement of waiting for the prints to come back from the chemist and later developing my own at college. It was real magic! I progressed from my beloved Canon A1, to an EOS 5 and then the Canon Digital Rebel or 300D as it was called in the UK. That was upgraded to a 20D, and my daughter was the last person to use that camera. I had a gorgeous collection of Canon “L” Glass lenses, but sadly I had to sell them for us to live.

No matter, I got an iPhone 4 eventually, and used that as my camera, and I had a lot of fun with Lo-Fi photography. I made a photo book , where all of the images were taken with my iPhone at train stations, or on trains in the UK. I need parameters or I go wild!

The thing is just about everyone is a photographer today, and we can all take very cool photos now, with the minimum of technical ability or skill and so it is more difficult to find something that stands out. I still swear that the best lens we have is the one in our eye and no amount of gorgeous glass can replace that for creativity.

At the end of the day cameras are just another tool. We can paint with a frayed twig, or a Kolinsky sable hair brush, but it’s what is inside that makes the image, tools only help us achieve our vision.

Watching Ian Ruhter in this video, creating paintings with light and silver, breaking the boundaries of basic  photographic materials of a long gone age, is just joyous.

The Light Shows

Today in the studio we all presented our Light Nelson Powerpoints for peer review. Personally, given the short time-frame I think all of the submissions were fabulous! Most of them fitted really well in the concept of Light Nelson.

I see Light Nelson as not just a light show, but as a lightening of the spirit and atmosphere, in the middle of the Southern winter. Not that I need lightening as I love winter most of all! I was very conscious of this, and also the fact that Light Nelson is a family event, and these concepts served to inform my views on what works and what doesn’t for this event.

My favourite installation I think is the one by Van Van and I… I really love it! A close second is Jess Shirley’s slideshow. It features photos of people around Nelson all saying why they love Nelson. Jess has written the statements on the photos and is showing them through an outside window at NMIT. It looked great on Friday! I love the celebratory atmosphere of this work, I love it’s positivity, and it is great to see all these happy smiling beautiful people! This for me embodies the very spirit of Light Nelson.

I also found out that my neighbour and good friend Linda is part of the slideshow!! You go gals!


My friend and neighbour Linda, or Mindy as I call her!

Photo by Jess Shirley



Yesterday was the day of the installation of my identity work. All through the night, gales with gusts approaching 200kph howled around my house and kept me awake. It is hard to access the comfort of sleep when you are afraid the roof will take off and leave you exposed to the elements – or worse. This morning the gales were still raging and driving was not advised. In the end I didn’t leave until 10.00am, and it actually didn’t matter because even when I got to college I couldn’t do anything.

G-Block was overrun with little people, we were unable to access most of the rooms, and I spent a lot of the time dodging in and out of the workshop and the Mac lab, trying to get my work finished, and helping others with Adobe stuff. I love it when I can help, and G-Block is a great place to be for helping and getting help – with all aspects of art.


Anyway, after 3.00pm when the little folk had vacated the building, I started moving all my stuff into the gallery. It was easy to assemble, I added finishing touches, like my red Dymo labels and masking tape on some of the posters and a cool sign on the top of the big stack of boxes. All that was left to do was to photograph it, sit and wrote my studio critique and gove myself and everyone else who was still around, a big pat on the back!

A view of the full installation:


A close up view of part of the installation:



It is really just multilayered…

We did our studio critique today. It was a great experience, there is nothing better than to be surrounded by other artists all talking about art and what it means! Apart from possibly being surrounded by poets or Tarot readers :)

I was really pleased with how my setup looked, considering I was completely flummoxed as to how to present it a week ago. The first comment was ‘Wow’ !and to be honest, that is what I thought when I walked in the room for the first time after setting it up. It does look good at first glance, but I think this is because of the uniformity of the shapes and the colour scheme. It is hard to go wrong with these colours against a white wall I reckon!

Anyway, this is how it looked today. I present my identity project, in it’s 80% finished state:


I looked at my feedback and everyone got the constructing identities part. Pauline was very encouraging, and that made me feel good. Barbara  Kruger was mentioned by Natalie and when I discussed it with her after, she said it was the red labels. The labels will actually be giant dymo tape images in the final thing but I didn’t have time to make them today, so I quickly hand wrote some to give the idea. One comment that was cool was that the work felt like a media ad, because of the pixelated images, and the colors. As these colours remind me of the newspaper joke I found that interesting. The pixelated images are actually blown up photographs which I had converted to halftone, which I did on purpose to represent a magnified view of life which brings it down to dots, or points in time. Kind of like looking at life or a person under a microscope, but focusing on moments, rather than cells.

I am not sure I got the kit part across as the poster was a bit small. I think I need to make the advertising poster about four times the size, and maybe place it more strategically. Also I will make a proper box for the  Identity Kit, instead of the little one that I used for show here. The images and labels and building blocks are larger than life because that is exactly how companies sell things to us, with a promise of something that is way bigger than the reality.

The identity in this project is focused on me, but it could be anyone, the message is that anyone can make themselves anything, with a camera and the right clothes and accessories, (or my wonderful identity kit toy!), but it is always only an image. To make the truth, or a reality behind the image takes much longer, it requires solid building blocks. I tried to explain this concept, using the image of myself and Pollyanna as a newborn, I looked like a mother, but I was only a mother by name. I am still learning how to be a mother 19 years later, those are the years of experience that make the building blocks. I can see why Kay thought that it may be two different pieces, but it is really just multilayered  and it can be deconstructed as far as anyone cares to take it.


Anyway I will try and talk to more people about this, and see what I can do to make the work clearer to the audience. Although to be honest, does it matter? Everyone picked up the basic theme of constructed identity, and it is a fluid do it yourself kit, so people can play :)



The Four Tutors


Anyone want to come up with a caption for this photo?




On a box hunt…

I need cardboard boxes…BIG ones… I went dumpster diving in the huge Warehouse Stationary bin, to no avail, and then I hit the electrical stores, not much luck yet. I have found an old art packing box from when my ship came in from England, but it means emptying it!

Anyway here is the first poster/Bobby board.


I will play with it, it is actually a bit bigger than life size I think!



Artists & Identity – Barbara Kruger

Until last week I had never heard of Barbara Kruger! It seems strange to me that I haven’t heard of her as I have done a lot of work in a similar vein to hers over the years. It seems she has also inspired a lot of other artists, except they were aware of the fact at the time. Trying to find original Barbara Kruger images was quite difficult for one who doesn’t know.

Kruger works with images from magazines and other mass media, over which she collages slap bang phrases of big bold text. She works with themes of power, image and identity, and often in the paradigm of feminism. I am not a feminist, but I do like her work, mainly because I love text, I love typography and I love black white and red as a colour combination. I was shocked to find that large prints, of what appear to be very simple messages in typography made by Kruger, sell for around 50,000 USD! Check out the one  below:




This is typical of the early work I have see of this artist, although it was done fairly recently. It seems ironic that the T-Shirt was designed for the large fashion label Gap, and the theme of the design appears to be about consumerism!



The crown image below is one of her earlier works and appears to be a parody of the words advertisers use to make viewers feel that buying their product will make them feel special.



I will search for some of my old image and text collage work and post them here, because I was certainly reminded of them by this gal’s stuff. Because it is such a widely used method, although I like it, I think it would be quite a challenge to give the style a personal identity of ones own. I take my hat off to Barbara though, selling a few words for fifty grand!

 All images in this post by Barbara Kruger and retrieved from the websites below on 18th March 2014

Life Without Pain from Artsy

T-Shirt from Dexigner

Crown Image from Art Edu for Kids






Artists & Identity – JR

I am currently looking at artists who work with Identity. One of my favourite artists in the field is JR.

JR is a young, unidentified French artist, he works with identity and freedom issues, and he calls himself a photograffeur. JR combines his art with his dreams. He has spent the last ten years on a journey around the planet trying to erase the limits that society chains us with, and promoting freedom for individuals.  His work is magnificent, not just because it is large, but because of all that it does. In my book he is the ultimate identity artist, he has woken people up to the fact that they are individuals with free will, and they don’t have to make judgements about their fellow men based on government propaganda. JR pasted two ginormous posters of taxi drivers in a market place in Israel. One was an Israeli and the other Palestinian. The people who crowded around him were stunned when he showed them that these were just two guys, doing the same job, living their lives as individuals. Not the pawns of some government chess game.

Another project JR created which took him to many countries was entitled Women are Heroes. One of my favourite installations was in Africa, where he attached vinyl prints of his photographs onto the roofs of houses in a slum in Kenya. They people loved it, the vinyl kept the rain out! As you can see in the photo below, the eyes of the women looked up to the heavens, as the heavens look back. This was an added bonus to the original idea, but how wonderful is that!


This second image is from the same Women are Heroes project but this photograph was pasted in Cambodia.


I am inspired by JR because he makes things happen, and he is a world ambassador for peace. Watching his movies, or his TED talk are gateways to the sublime.

Images retrieved on 17the March 2014,  from JR’s own website


What a beautiful mind!


Wow, I just watched this TED talk by French artist JR.

I am so inspired and humbled by this guy, and his projects. What a beautiful mind! There will be more abut my thoughts on this but for now, I am too filled with awe to make words here.
Just go and watch it…



Sometimes Life is Black and White

I love my new iPhone… I love it’s gorgeous eight megapixel camera. I loved my old iPhone 4, and that baby served me well for almost three years, and now my daughter has it and is loving it.

I took the new shiny iPhone for a walk around Nelson today. Nelson, my iPhone, and I were in one of those moods where life is just black and white.