I really wanted to enjoy my first trip to New York, but I also wanted to take some pictures. It is difficult to know how to respond to a location that looms large in our collective imagination. My main aim was to keep things fresh, and without resorting to cliché add my own dots to the puzzle of images already in our head. I also didn’t want to spend the whole trip with a camera stuck to my face.
By using a digital pinhole I let serendipity take the lead. This allowed me to ‘see’ through my own eyes rather than ‘look’ through the camera lens, and to remain engaged with the city.
I enjoy working with ambiguities: mixing a state of the art digital camera with a pinhole lens, working digitally to produce work whose square format references the past, and by blending colour with black and white. The image above is one of six pieces from my trip to NYC. On reflection they’re more about the notion of ‘the photographic eye’ and are an exploration into the unpredictable side of photography.
“When life moves on, elements of the past remain. Those elements hang around and become a part of the future themselves”
I was first introduced to musician and producer Geraint Ffrancon by a mutual friend. Interestingly the three of us never met at the same time, so our first meeting had a bit of a blind date feel about it! We soon found we had a lot in common: both Welsh but living in Bristol, both studied an MA in Interactive Media at UWE, my first home was in Ystrad Mynach where Geraint’s dad was born and at some point we’ve had Hillman Imp cars to run around in!
Initially we met with the purpose of Geraint teaching me Welsh. This was not totally successful as we usually met in a pub, and conversation ultimately turned towards our feelings about Wales and potential art projects. Thus Ystrad|Strata was born…
Geraint and I both left Wales at a young age. Visits ‘home’ tend to elicit a mixture of emotions; from happiness through melancholia to frustration. We are effectively outsiders in our own country. Because of once being a part of and at the same time completely apart from the historical, political and cultural changes that have affected Wales over the past few decades, we can offer an interesting perspective on not only Wales’s past but also it’s present and it’s future.
Ystrad|Strata aims therefore to dig into the different layers of what it is to be Welsh, and to look beyond the cliches into what Wales has been, and what it can be in the future. To document our own works that fit under the Ystrad|Strata banner and to talk about future collaborative projects please check our blog: Ystrad|Strata blog.
I am very pleased to be showing two pieces of work from my new ‘Life Before Colour’ series at the first Plymouth Contemporary Open exhibition.
As a starting point the Life Before Colour series uses my fathers and grandfathers colour slides of Cardiff from the 1950/60’s (Bute Park Nursery and Alexandra Gardens). The work reflects upon my own roots; photography as historical documents and cities as evolving landscapes.
Playing with the perception that history is often seen in Black & White, the works juxtapose prints of my forefathers slides sitting behind my own black & white images printed directly onto glass. These physical printed layers create a subtle optical tension between old and new; both in terms of the images and technologies used to create them.
Plymouth Contemporary Open
11 July – 29 August 2015
Peninsula Arts Gallery
1A Roland Levinsky Building
Devon PL4 8 AA
The full list of artists featuring in the exhibition is as follows: Bram Thomas Arnold, ATOI (Amy Thomas and Oliver Irvine), Dan Beard, Harriet Bowman, Jennifer Boyd and Alice May Williams, Jessie Brennan, Bristol Diving School, Chloe Brooks, Michael Cox, Tim Foxon, Naomi Frears, Laura Gower, Jane Hayes Greenwood, Will Kendrick, Samuel Levack, Jennifer Lewandowski, Cathy Lomax, Mateusz Marek, Pilar Mata Dupont, David Morgan-Davies, Ailbhe Ni’ Bhriain, Steven Paige, Sarah Poots, Michael Porter, Ruaidhri Ryan, and Paul Vivian.
After seven successful events in London the Other Art Fair is coming to Bristol. The fair’s ethos is to give undiscovered artists a platform from which to showcase and sell their work: to gallerists, curators, critics and collectors. This is music to my ears.
60 artists including myself have been selected to showcase their work at the Arnolfini Gallery by a committee including Helen Legg, director of Spike Island, Paul Hobson, director of Modern Art Oxford, Cherie Federico, director of Aesthetica Magazine and Bristol Street Artist Sickboy.
The Other Art Fair will take over all three floors of the Arnolfini gallery during the weekend of 5-7 June 2015.
I’ll be showing and selling my work at Stand No.1 on the ground floor.
Friday 5th June: 5pm – 9:30pm (preview)
Saturday 6th June: 10am – 7pm
Sunday 7th June: 10am – 6pm
Day tickets, bookable on-line are £5
I’ve been dismissive about Instagram in the past, mainly because it can sometimes take the art out of photography. However using a camera-phone whilst out and about to snap anything that interests me, I’ve come to see the value in it. Until now these these images have been stuck on my phone and eventually end up on my computer. For many this is the best place, but some are pretty good and should be shared. I’m conscious that I don’t update my website often enough with new work, so Instagram is good way of regularly showing what’s grabbing my attention.
So, if you’d like to keep up-to-date with my random collection of camera-phone pictures or follow me on Instagram, please use this: DMD Instagram Link or the Instagram icon on my Home Page footer to link to my Instagram page.
It’s nice to have my work featured in Bare Hill Publishing’s latest book ‘Landscape & Portrait #1’. This is the sixth book in their The State of Art, art book series and explores some of the more traditional subjects and techniques that artists are seeking to represent. The title alludes to the format of an image as well as the composition of the subject matter. The book includes the work of 41 Landscape & Portrait Artists, with 154 full colour pages, 209 illustrations including artist statements and biographies.
The State of Art – Landscape & Portrait #1 is available via Amazon, Waterstones and other online book retailers for £24.99. A 25% discount is available if bought direct from Barehill’s Bookshop.
The State of Art – Landscape & Portrait #1
Edited by Andy Laffan.
Softcover, 10.8″ x 8″ (27.6cm x 20.3cm)
‘hidden’: 40″ x 26″ Giclée print, aluminium dibond mounted, available as an edition of 7.
they cycle past – one of two short films shown.
The Searchers began as a ‘one year’ gallery project in Bristol promoting collectable contemporary art. We are now a roaming group of artists aiming to support and challenge each other in our individual practices, with studio visits, shared experiences and critical discussion. Our latest show includes painting, drawing, sculpture, photography & film. As well as new body of work ‘Hidden’; inspired by the camps & structures of Leigh Woods by myself (photography and short films) the exhibition features the work of Harriet Aston, Stephen Buckeridge, Tony Eastman, Michael Hayter, Stuart Low, Jitka Palmer and Ruth Piper. In addition we have commissioned Bristol art historian & writer, Lizzie Lloyd to write an accompanying text for the exhibition.
It was John Ford’s classic western ‘The Searchers’ that inspired our name. Obsessive and curious by nature artists travel alone, searching through unfamiliar territory, hoping for fresh insights & new configurations.
‘Shooting from the hip’
12-24 September 2014
Private view – Friday 12th September at 6pm
6 Leonard Lane
Bristol BS1 1EA
Tel: 07711 541 852
I spent a fantastic day a couple of months ago taking part in the Sounding the City workshop. The day organised by Nina Williams from the University of Bristol explored the use of field recording as a way of guiding and documenting an urban walk. Ten participants split into pairs then followed the same mapped route around the city centre. Each group was asked to make a sound recording at ten allotted locations.
The edited recordings are to be aired at the following exhibition at the Edwardian Cloakroom, Bristol:
Sounding the City
15th – 16th August 2014 (12pm – 6pm)
Private view – Thursday 14th August at 7pm
corner of Park Row/Woodland Road
Bristol BS1 5LS
‘in the distance’: 73cm x 73cm Giclée print / Ash box framed. Available as an edition of 5.
It’s always nice to be invited to show at the Grant Bradley Gallery, being the gallery closest to my home and studio. I want to see how you see is curated exhibition of photography selected from a diverse group of artists living and working in the Bristol region. The exhibition encompasses works of contemporary portraiture, landscape and social documentary. With no given theme, each artist displays the work that best represents themselves. I will be showing ‘in the distance’ from my ‘Built Environment’ series plus a short film ‘the light shines through’.
I want to see how you see
9th – 30th August 2014
Private view – Friday 8th August at 6pm
The Grant Bradley Gallery
1 St Peters Court
Bristol BS3 4AQ
Tel: 0117 9637 673
It’s Open Studios at BV Studios at the end of the month. The converted warehouse in Bedminster, Bristol houses over 100 artists who work in a variety of media. It’s always a great weekend and a great way to discover some wonderful art and chat to the artists who make it.
I’m in Studio R5 (up the right hand staircase from the entrance hall), so please come along and say hello.
Friday 30th May: 6pm – 9pm
Saturday 31st May & Sunday 1st June: 11am – 6pm