After doing a number of residencies over the past few years and having recently bought a caravan, it seemed like the time was right to curate my own residencies i.e. to spend time in an area of my choosing at a time that suited me; to immerse myself in this location and to think about making new work. My first trip in October 2018 took me to the village of Llanvetherine, 10 miles from Abergavenny on the edge of the Brecon Beacons in South Wales.
To focus on my artwork for a week, to explore, to walk, to photograph, to film
To re-energise my creativity
To be in and re-connect with Wales. Llanvetherine is about 20 miles from Ystrad Mynach where I come from and the same distance from Newport where my family lived in the late 1960’s.
Borders – I was keen to explore the border between Wales and England and photograph any visual evidence of there being such a divide. This was as much about me as the actual landscape, having come from Wales but spending most of my life in England. I did walk some of Offa’s Dyke and the Three Castles (White, Grosmont and Skenfrith) built by the Normans soon after the invasion of 1066. I discovered the border ran along parts of the River Monnow and photographed both sides.
As ever it is the location where I stay and explore daily where I ultimately find inspiration. My time in Llanvetherine was no different. In this case it was an orchard in the grounds where I was staying. The Orchard needed some care and attention, but seemed to perfectly reflect the time of year, the Autumn light and colours of the apples and trees combining to hint at the perfect summer now faded and gone. I spent time in the space reflecting, and felt like injecting some my energy, so decided to play. Here’s the result:
Ystrad|Strata are very excited to be part of a cosmic mini-festival in Aberystwyth which will feature and celebrate aspects of future Wales. Visual artists, musicians, writers, performers and thinkers will gather for a day of imagining and creating future Wales.
With sci-fi and futurism becoming increasingly prominent in Welsh culture this event provides a timely opportunity to pull togerther the people working and making in the field together in one place. Amongst the artists taking part are the noted designer Hefin Jones whose Welsh Space Campaign and Cosmic Colliery projects have attracted world-wide attention. The headline band for the event is HMS Morris , bringing their cosmic pop-rock to the festival. The band were chosen as part of the BBC Wales Gorwelion scheme and have seen great success this year already playing to acclaim at Glastonbury and Festival No. 6. Supporting them will be the local electronic band, Roughion.
Arad Arad Goch Centre will be a space centre for the day with activities filling the building. As well as the music performances, there will be panel discussions on subjects such as literature, games, politics and art.
Canolfan Ofod Arad Goch Space Centre
Aberystwyth SY23 2NN
Sat 28th November 2015 (1pm-11:30pm)
Ticket sales and information on artists
“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.