I’m very pleased to have been invited to exhibit at the View Gallery this month. The show is called Visual Poetry, which is an exploration of how poetry can inspire art, and how artists can inspire poetry.
Featuring: Terence Wilson Fletcher, Jessica Brox Chapman, Tim Burgess, Fran Williams, Mike Stuart, Joanna Swann, Clare Ferguson-Walker, Sam Wilson Fletcher.
It’s a very visually rich show with some artists I really admire, so I’m very happy to be exhibiting with them.
In November 2019 I exhibited with Beki Wills and Mark Hollis as Space Invaders Bristol, in a popup gallery at The Arcade, Broadmead in Bristol. The Arcade is a beautiful piece of architecture, built in 1824 to emulate the Regency style of Burlington Arcade in London, the building felt steeped in history, with some rather spooky vibes when it was empty (don’t go into the top room)…
It was great to meet so many artists and creatives, since there was a constant flow of artists from all disciplines. We hosted an afro-futurism themed writing workshop run by Chicago poet Mojdeh Stoakley with a poetry performance by Mojdeh and Edson Burton, plus a night of Halloween-themed animated films by local filmmakers and puppet makers from Puppet Place.
Being situated right in the middle of Bristol’s shopping district was a wonderful opportunity. We had a continual influx of random shoppers, tourists who discovered us by accident, and artists who just happened to be passing and came in out of curiosity. I’ve always been wary of elitism and exclusivity in art, so it felt good to be able to reach people who wouldn’t normally have felt that a gallery was somewhere they were allowed to visit.
After hiding away for 4 years, and after some pushing by Beki, it was great to exhibit again. I was given free rein to use the basement and chose to fill it with as many framed drawings as possible. I named the basement show Descent, which reflected the precarious steps leading down into the cellar space and my own precarious mental journey. None of the work was created with the public in mind, so it was quite a daunting experience to turn my innermost thoughts inside out. I felt very exposed… but I was relieved to find such positive and encouraging feedback.
I was also able to use the shop window opposite and showed some large prints taken from illustrations I had created for the illustrated online horror novel Welcome to Black Mountain.
I’m showing my biro drawings from 28th November till the 5th December at in Hamilton House Gallery, 80 Stokes Croft, BS1 3QY Bristol. I’m very excited – if you know Bristol, you’ll know why this is the ideal location for my work – the heart of Stokes Croft…
The Private View is on Thursday 28th 6-8pm… come along and say hello!
Here are some photos from my last ‘proper’ exhibition at the View Gallery 4 years ago… Life sidetracked me for a bit but I’m girding my loins and dusting myself off with the intention of showing my work again.
The drawings shown at the exhibition: four large A1 biro drawings
Some photos of the private view from my old friend and brilliant photographer Mark ‘Bub’ Watts www.bubimages.com
After a rather difficult 4 years, dealing with several bereavements and family problems, I turned to drawing to keep sane. Now I have a large amount of drawings in sketch books, but haven’t been able to turn these into the large, polished and finished pieces that people expect to see at exhibitions… plus.. .they’re not really the sort of images that people want to buy to put on their walls, since they were created from a dark place, trying to make sense of emotional turmoil.
I had a thought recently… why not show the sketches in an exhibition? Instead of tidying them up for public consumption, why not show them in their rawness? They are direct and sincere and a bit wonky, but they’re real. So.. the idea has been forming of creating an exhibition as an experience, rather than as a shop to buy what is for most people, fancy furniture. I would love to fill a room with images and let people just lose themselves in it… not to court flattering comments, or to increase my brand as an artist… but to provide an experience.
So I’ve been busy going through my sketchbooks scanning the drawings to see how many there are and to see how they look together. I finally worked out a hacky way to upload images directly from my computer to Instagram (Chrome Dev Tools if you’re interested) so I’ve been putting the drawings on Instagram. Here is a selection:
Here is a compilation of the animations used in the performance A Wing A Prey A Song. I was commissioned to create the animation by playright Ros Martin last year. The animations were projected around the room during the reading performance, highlighting the action and adding more layers to the audience experience. For more information please visit www.awingapreyasong.org
A Wing A Prey A Song
A play written by Ros Martin
Animation by Mike Stuart
Poem by Ros Martin read by Ros Martin, Jojo martin and Ria Hartley
Poem by Langston Hughes sung by by Emilyne Mondo and Shola Adewusi
Copyright 2013 (c) Ros Martin, Mike Stuart & The Migrations Project
It’s All 2 Much gallery specialises in supporting local artists. They have a strong pop and graffiti influence which is appropriate since their gallery sits in the heart of the vibrant, feral open-air graffiti gallery that is Stokes Croft. The gallery itself is a bit of a hidden gem, since you’d never know that it is home to many busy artist studios in their back rooms.
I will be creating a series of animated projections based on the theme of migratory birds for the Migrations theatre project: A Wing A Prey A Song. For more information visit www.awingapreyasong.org
Having a lifelong fascination for the natural world, I feel inspired that this project will enable me to gain a deeper understanding of birds; to explore the movement of bird flight, the textures and patterns of their markings, their gestures and social interaction. I find the symbolism of bird migration very interesting. Migration can represent the yearning we feel for a bigger world, for change and for adventure. The animation works in the play as punctuation; a place for rest and reflection between each scene. Displaying the animation in this way lifts it beyond the TV screen or gallery wall.
I am currently showing 5 drawings at the Summer Salon exhibition in the View Gallery, Bristol.
I had an unofficial quiet low-key celebration but I haven’t exhibited for 10 years so this was a big event for me. I was drawing furiously up to the last moment to finish two drawings that I really wanted to include so it was a huge relief when I had completed and framed them on time… and great to see them framed on the gallery walls.
The Summer Salon is an uncharacteristically subdued event for the View Gallery, where they showcase as many artists as possible during the quiet period when people are away during the summer, but I’ve been invited back to exhibit in a themed show in November.
Also, in September I shall be showing some different pieces at It’s All Too Much gallery in Stokes Croft.
There’s only one weekend left before the Summer Salon closes so if you’d like to see it this is the last opportunity to do so:
In December 2012 I was invited to visit a year 10 GCSE art class at Brunel Academy, a secondary school in Bristol. I’ve taught web design, Flash and Photoshop before, but I was very nervous about how to approach teaching something so close to my heart as Art. Teaching a practical subject like web design is completely different: there are specific goals and tasks that can be taught in a step-by-step way.