Tag Archives: Palace Arts

Only in England

Today I’m stewarding at Palace Arts in Redcar, this exhibition is a great coup for a small, regional gallery.

‘Only in England’ has photographs from two of my favourite social photographers, Martin Parr and Tony Ray-Jones.

The photographs from Martin Parr are selected from his Non-Conformist project, centred in Hebden Bridge not long after he finished college.

The Tony Ray-Jones photographs have been selected by Martin Parr from a couple of thousand contact sheets and are photographs not previously printed.

There is another exhibition at Kirkletham Museum on the outskirts of Redcar where the photographs that are being shown were printed by Tony Ray-Jones himself.

Both of these photographers studied a very English way of life with warmth and honesty, and the selection of images that are in the exhibition are great examples of this humour and warmth.

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 bookselling work ­čśë how clich├ęd.

Tumblr for Prayers of Steel: prayersofsteel.tumblr.com