How I work, an ongoing reflection

I walk through my local landscape and draw. As I draw I reflect on what is happening in the community, often these reflections begin with a conversation.

This large drawing has enabled me to use some of the cards I developed to help me generate ideas as to how images could be linked. I deal cards out onto a just started drawing and their positioning suggests what could go on.

The first cards I made were simple hand drawn ones like this one below of a lifebuoy and I gradually developed the idea into a more formal one.

In order to visualise what I'm drawing and give the images more conviction I often make models, these are then used alongside the cards to spin off other ideas. This is not a logical process, more of a mash-up between different approaches, often interjected with poetry writing and more roaming the streets and drawing.

The sculptures enabled me to develop a series of 3D visualisations using 123D Catch.

I sometimes make small sculptures based on images taken from notebook drawings (above). I was looking at the formal and iconic potential of camp fires and mountains. A nagging worry about the confluence of healthy living, mountains, camp fires, boy scouting and the emergence of the Nazi party.

This drawing (below) is just over 8 feet wide and as always hard to photograph, so sorry about the poor image quality, details will have to do. The image is a fusion of drawings made on walks through Chapeltown, images drawn from dreams, (I keep a notebook at the side of the bed for these) and worked out connections related to particular allegories that come to mind as I work.

These images of cards (below) were when I started to formalise the cards and head towards the idea of having a set printed. When I finally did get the first set printed, their existence opened out another possibility for exhibition and dissemination of my ideas, because I was able to engage my audiences with my own process and get then to add their own ideas into how the cards could be used.

The drawing below the images of sketchbook drawings also started as a series of walks around my local area. I have dozens of notebooks like these which I refer to as I build the first part of a large image. The smallest ones are done directly from nature and then slightly larger drawings are done as I begin the process of making the drawings more 'iconic' or more generalised.

The one thing that ties them both together is that I use pen and ink for both. Very perverse I realise, but I started using a dip in pen in primary school and have loved them ever since.

Details might make it easier to understand, its about 8 feet wide.

As I draw other types of ideas spin off. I just follow my nose and use the drawings to help generate images in other media.

Those headscarf designs are starting to come to fruition, I've got about 10 done by now, the idea is at some point to have a complete show of them. The hard to read image is of some wall paper/wrapping paper I designed based partly on my feelings about shopping as hell, but also on a much stronger set of emotions about the history of my family. My grandmother was of Polish Jewish stock. Easier to look at if you want to get an idea of the design of the wallpaper.

I have made surface pattern designs from several of the pig images. I am particularly interested in making head scarves. They bring together images of my mother from the 1950s with images of women having to cover their heads in so many cultures. Pigs and religion a difficult mix, their 'dirtyness' perhaps a recognition of how similar they are to ourselves.

I've drawn and printed images of pigs and men for several years now. See section on pigs for more of these.

Some images of work in process.

This first image (below) is when it was just about done, it's about 5 foot across, ink and water colour on paper.

Below are details of various sections, I did some drawings of riots a few years ago directly from the TV, but the final image came from drawings I did of workmen digging up Chapeltown Road. I became fascinated with piles of dirt and their potential to be transcendent. The other narratives were from my dreams I was having at the time about Hegel. I was dreaming about Hegel because I was then part of reading group and we were studying aspects of his work. I mention this because it shows how anything can crop up as an influence on what you do.

I was drawing flies for another image (see below), which has one scene of a cornfield and a man with a pig at the top (upside down) and a combined scene of two images I developed from drawing in the woods. Below is a detail of a few flies. The final image is about 8 feet high.

The two studies below were combined to make up the bottom section, the flies rise up and finally pollinate a cornfield far above.

This is the finished image, (Below)

This is an image (below) that arrived very quickly, no preparation, just stuck two sheets of A1 together and drew. Not sure about it, but it's interesting in a dark way.

This (below) is how I usually start these things. I select images that suggest a narrative. In these recent ones I have tried to clarify a dream I had of a tower which keeps coming back, over and over again. The image started with a view taken from just off Chapeltown Road and then included Potternewton Park. It took a lot of work to make the spacial twist convincing.

I've included the radiator as it gives an idea of scale. Below are a few close-ups of studies for certain sections, including a couple of tower studies.

The process is a very messy one, ideas collide and breed coming together at some points and diverging at others. What unites them is though drawing. I draw everyday if I can, either to build up visual reference points or to allow ideas to emerge. Both sorts of drawing energise each other. The more I draw from life the more I can control the emergence of ideas as they emerge from the drawing mind. The more objects I make to help visualise my drawings the more these objects take on a life of their own and eventually become starting points for works in their own right.