Tag Archives: manchester

Body of Work


I was going to title this post: Portraits of the Damned.

Then I started to include landscapes and still-lives to it. So, the title wouldn’t really make sense. But it will in a minute! Be afraid, be very afraid.

Some of you may, or may not, know that I volunteer for an Arts charity called Arc, (Arts for Recovery in the Community), in Reddish, Stockport.

I’ve done a lot of this work there, and some at home. But all the techniques I’ve picked up are from either attending or volunteering on their programmes.

Whether it be block-printing, collage, charcoal, watercolour, acrylics, inks, fabric, embroidery, clay or pastel. Not to mention the numerous techniques, yes brushes, but also charcoal tied to the end of a three feet long piece of bamboo! Bits of old Paymobil and Lego, edges of long out-of-date credit cards.

At Arc, it’s never about the technique and what end result you achieve, it’s about enjoying the process of doing it. Losing yourself, immersing yourself in art for a few hours – now that is medicine!

I appreciate that my work is more the stuff of nightmares rather than living room walls. But I like it!

Collage

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Watercolour

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Self-portraits

Processed with Snapseed.

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Charcoal

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Pen and ink sketches

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Portraits of the Damned!

Mostly acrylic and chalk pastel on canvas or paper.

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And finally, the installation I made for the centenary commemoration of the end of the First World War at Stockport War Memorial Art Gallery. R.I.P. Herbert Jackson of Didsbury Road, Heaton Mersey, Stockport. Railway man, musician, fiance – and soldier.

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A Soldier’s Dream


I’m really excited (and honoured) to be taking part in an art exhibition to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the end of the First World War.

The exhibition is being organised by ARC (a charity I do quite a lot of voluntary work for).

The exhibition is being held at Stockport War Memorial Art Gallery from 11th November.

After the war, residents of Stockport, rather than erect a traditional war memorial to commemorate the dead, decided to build an art gallery so that future generations may benefit from their sacrifice. Which I think is a brilliant idea.

The theme of the exhibition is ‘A Soldier’s Dream’.

Because, all of these soldiers were, once upon a time, civilians who worked in factories and mills, merchant companies and railways. They had wives and children, brothers and sisters. Mums and … well, you get the picture.

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Scale model of the exhibition.

Instead of focussing on what they did in the war, the exhibition aims to show them as ordinary everyday people who had hopes, dreams and aspirations. Rather than just one aspect of their lives which was to give it in service of their country.

The part that I am involved in is to create a ‘Soldier’s Dream box’. This takes the form of ten 40cm x 40cm wooden crates and each one will ecapsulate the dreams of a soldier who lost his life.

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I can’t tell you what mine will be about yet as I am still in the research stage. I have been finding out about people local to my area in the Four Heatons who lost their lives.

I have always loved history, in particular, the First World War, so I was really excited and passionate about getting involved. (I even did a tour of the Somme a few years ago. I know, I’m a great laugh to go on holiday with.)

As part of my research, (provided by the brilliant website www.stockport1914-18.co.uk), I have been reading brief biographies of soldiers from the Heatons who died. Of which there are many.

But, reading about where they worked, who they married, their children’s names, what team they played for, makes it all the more personal. They aren’t soldiers anymore. They are real people who lived real lives. And I guess that’s the whole point of the exhibition.

Some of the biogs even give their address! These are houses I pass every week. The stories that must be contained between their walls must be incredible.

Well, that’s all for now. I’ll keep you posted when I have something new to tell you.

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A real Presence in art – Ewa Konior


There is a brilliant exhibition on at the Arc Gallery at the moment by a stupendously talented artist by the name of Ewa Konior. (Pronounced Evva, I think.)

Ewa hails from Poland, but now plies her trade from her studio in Wales.

There are two very distinctive styles of work on show – the big, bold portraits, full of life and energy. And the smaller, multi-layered images of everyday life built up on wallpaper. You really have to see them in the flesh to see the full effect of the textures and scale.

The title of her exhibition is ‘Presence’ and runs until the 16th June.

Anyway, enough of me rambling, you want to see her work.

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Here are a few shots I took at the exhibition. Apologies for the reflections.

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So, if you’re in and around Stockport, Reddish or Manchester, try to pop along, it really is a wonderful exhibition. It’s Free in there’s free parking round the back of the mill. And there’s also a brand-spanking new cafe in which to relax and admire the work.

Ewa Konior, Polish, artist, Arc gallery, Stockport

Ewa Konior and some auld fella. Photo courtesy of Mark Coffey.

Oh, and by the way, Ewa’s work is for sale if you’re a collector. But please don’t feel obliged to buy me anything. Honestly. It really isn’t necessary.

Arc Centre and Gallery
Unit 33m, Vauxhall Industrial Estate
Greg Street
Reddish
Stockport  SK5 7BR

Artist’s statement:

In my work, I aim to describe the essence of life and quality of existence. Experience, observation and study of the human psyche support my work, I empathise with and give voice to my human subjects. In the paintings of time and place I construct surrealistic locations including abstract elements. Like a frame from a film, the painting is a moment in a movement though time.

I perceive the world as an ocean where, below its visible surface, layers of complexity can be found in its depths. Painting, for me, is intuitively diving into and through the ocean to discover new dimensions and planes. It is an alchemic activity where the creative decision making process and my presence as the artist is evident. My painting is an expression of my particular view, involving aspects of reality, nuanced memories and philosophical contemplations.

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That’ll do, Dave. That’ll do.


Old farmer Cameron has been bandying about the insults at today’s Tory Party Conference.

 

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Okay, let’s try to dissect what David Cameron actually meant when he accused Labour leader, Jeremy Corbyn, of being: “security threatening, terrorist-sympathising, Britain-hating”.

Let’s take “security threatening” first. 

Corbyn wants world peace.

He doesn’t want to bomb Syria.

He wants nuclear disarmament.
Yes, he sounds like a real threat to me.
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Next, we have terrorist-sympathising”.
Corbyn thinks we should open a dialogue with all interested parties in conflict. These could be governments, political parties or terrorist organisations. A bit like we did with the IRA when it came to the Good Friday Agreement.
Talk, before bombs? Who knows, it could work.
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Lastly, Britain-hating”.
Like me, Corbyn has no-truck with the monarchy.
Indeed, I would like my daughters to have the chance of being the democratically elected head of state. Instead of the out-dated, eternally privileged, palace dwelling, tax-dodging, freeloaders we have now.
What I hate about that ‘kind’ of Britain, is that the public school educated elite believe they have the right to lord it over plebs like me ad infinitum.
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So, Babe, before you start dishing out the insults, I suggest you take a leaf out of Mr. Corbyn’s book, and try a fresh approach to governance to create a New Britain. One that protects its citizens, (yes, even the poor ones). A country that educates its children and takes care of its sick. A nation that welcome diverse cultures and strives towards a peaceful world with fewer bombs and more dialogue.
And, no Dave, HP Sauce is not a lube.

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Things I am grateful for #24.


Curry.

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I love curry.

I could eat it every day.

The most curries I’ve eaten is six in five days. That was on Manchester’s Curry Mile in Rusholme.

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Curry Mile

I’ve even heard it said, that some Indian spices, such as cumin, turmeric and coriander are addictive. But I haven’t found any evidence to back that up.

Because I have a love for all things tomato, I prefer my curries on the red side rather than creamy. My favourite being Chicken Rogan Josh, accompanied by a garlic and coriander naan and pea-pilau rice. Wouldn’t harm to throw in a couple of poppadoms and an onion bhaji or two, either. (Don’t get me wrong, I’d never turn my nose up at a Korma or Massala if they were offered.)

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I was a curry virgin until my mid twenties. It was my mate, Markham who introduced me to the delights of Indian cuisine when we worked together in Manchester in the mid 80s. He was gentle with me at first,  and I started out with a chicken korma. I’ve been hooked ever since.

I’d always been put off by the smell. Not the smell of Indian cooking, I might add, but by the aroma of my mum’s Vesta powdered curry mix, which was my only experience of it in my formative years, (60s/70s). I have no idea what they put in those sachets, but they bear no resemblance to the ecstatic redolence of true Asian spices.

I read somewhere that Chicken Tikka Massala is now England’s national dish as it has overtaken roast beef and Yorkshire pud in terms of popularity.

So, not only am I grateful for curry, but to all the Indians who migrated here during the 1950s/60s and 70s who brought us this manna from heaven.

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A Brave New World


I first met Damian in our kids’ playground. (By that I mean our respective children – not our shared sibling.)

Although I’d never met him before he couldn’t do enough to help out with the Japan Art Auction I was trying to organise. Had it not been for him getting The Smiths, Mike Joyce on board to open the gig, I doubt we would have raised nearly half as much.

So my experience of Damian is one of only pure helpfulness and philanthropy.

It is with that little intro in mind that I want to tell you about a new venture that Damian’s embarking upon.

CELEBRITY LIVE AGENCY BRAVE MUSIC GOES BRAVELY WHERE NO AGENT HAS GONE BEFORE

Manchester based Damian Morgan today announces he is expanding his successful booking & tour agency Brave Music Agency to nurture the UK’s best unsigned talent without initially taking an agent’s commission.

Damian Morgan

Brave Music Agency is know for it’s roster of well know live and DJ talent like Terry Hall, ex-Smiths Mike Joyce and Andy Rourke, Jez and Andy from Doves, through to Mark Morriss from The Bluetones, Dodgy and current acts Guillemots and Moshi Moshi records.

Terry Hall, The Specials / Fun Boy Three

Morgan has now decided to open his books to unsigned talent. Why? He’s a man on a mission:

“A band should have a good agent on their side to fight their corner and try and make sure they don’t encounter the pitfalls I, and countless bands before and after did. I’ve been there a playing fleapits and also doing supports for bigger bands. I remember being 24 and thinking that because we’d been offered a gig at a famous venue that I’d finally ‘made it’. How wrong, but you can’t blame bands for that, they want to make it big but this almost blind ambition is easy to exploit.”

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His inspiration for this new direction was the first hand experience of the pitfalls of being in 90’s unsigned band Saturated:

“I remember what it was like to play crap venues and find that there was no one there and we were paying £125 for the pleasure of playing (this was the mid 90’s and pay to play was rife, and in fact the almost unopposed norm). Being told you’re playing at midnight when you’d been booked to play at 10pm. “You’re headlining” just meant “you’re on last! We were so keen to make it and not upset anyone that we’d put up with poor deals and smelly dressing rooms…It’s because of my experiences in bands that I set up Brave Music Agency 8 years ago”

Brave Music Agency will be acting on behalf of new unsigned talent including bands like Pleasure Mob, an unsigned indie electro act from London, handling their booking, negotiating fees & gig terms and offering expert advice. Morgan adds:

“Great new bands like Pleasure Mob, Liar Liar, Jukebox Collective and The Horn The Hunt deserve decent bookings – they should have the opportunity to build on their fanbase & get their music heard. There are some great promoters out there who do care, and its part of my job to help bands navigate those choppy waters and guide them towards the good gigs…I’m also there to protect the interests of good venues and promoters too. It’s a job that takes diplomacy and sensitivity”

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