Prayers of Steel

Though I’ve been taking photographs since the early 80s I had never really considered myself as an artist as I’m completely self-taught with no formal art background.

I have had some of my work exhibited in a group exhibition in Palace Arts, Redcar in 2015. This was due to the encouragement from Mark and Nel who run the gallery and are very friendly and supportive.

I’ve got to admit that this was me playing safe and submitting aesthetically attractive images of an area local to the gallery as I am very unsure of my skills, but more so unsure of my right to be an artist.

I had also just finished my Art History degree with the Open University and started feeling more and more confident about my place within an artistic context, understanding where I was coming from artistically.

This moment of exhibiting as I completed my degree I saw as a punctum, a turning point and I became more confident, both in my ability to produce/make/realise art and in my right to do so.

Most of my art is still photographically based; whether working with my own images using various processes from cyanotype to digital projection, or working with found images from various sources.

I had been mumbling on with various projects and practices over the years without anything coming to fruition and with my confidence boosted I proposed entering ‘Prayers of Steel’ into a group exhibition on the theme of Steel at Palace Arts, Redcar.

A collection of found images from social media, printed out as 6″x4″ ‘snaps’ with the comment from the original poster written on the back in pencil. Arranged in a 110cmx110cm plastic ‘curtain’.

This is an ongoing project which will be realised in book form (which can be found on Tumblr) for the 20th anniversary of the erection of The Angel of the North in 2018.

This all happened during a life-changing event where I had to re-assess my priorities. So I am now a struggling artist who is supporting himself with barista work 😉 how clichéd.

My site can be found at a journal/blog/notebook being developed which will show developing projects and my thoughts and ideas.

Tumblr for Prayers of Steel:

Edinburgh Castle

Another note from my iPhone.

I am in Edinburgh for the weekend working, this will be the first time I’ve been alone in Edinburgh for coming on 30 years.

I did the tourist walk; along the West End, up Lothian Road, through the Meadows down South Bridges, the Royal Mile up to the Castle and then back to the hotel.

Strange emotions, strange seeing the place again after so many years of popping up for family visits without really visiting the city.

The walk gave me ideas for another series of photographs, but these are Edinburgh centric and will take a while to compose and collect.

‘Sins of the Father’ first two notes are places I saw my dad coming out of:

the Western Bar has been there forever and doesn’t seem to have changed much, but the Bingo Hall used to be Edinburgh’s ‘adult’ cinema.

This is a start and how much of this I go into is still to be decided.

Starting out

Just starting out this journal for my work and other artistic ventures.

Whilst thinking about this journal as a notebook and place to collect materials I realised I’ve been making most of my work with my iPhone. This is written, photographs and research; all has been done on the mobile device.

I think it’s the convenience of the mobile device which makes all those tasks immediate and linked, it has almost become an electronic extension of my thought process.

Ideas can be noted down, sketched, photographed, networked and then all brought together in one place such as this journal. This process can be interrupted, disjointed and chaotic as the outcome can always be edited: and then edited until content and the original is always there to go back to if mistakes are made.

So his journal will see my notes, thoughts, sketches, experiments and collections of others thoughts, ideas and inspirations and there may be a gem occasionally that could help and inspire others.