9 December 2016

Thinking about Socialism and Capitalism

Today whilst working on some new sculpture I had the opportunity to listen to a video on Youtube called "Marxism 101: How Capitalism is Killing Itself with Dr. Richard Wolff". 

I got to say this really touched home on some of my own experiences, I think more than anything it just re-afirmed on some of the things I already new.

This video made me think about aspects surrounding Socialism and Capitalism.

Socialism stands for equality of standard of living, health and wealth.

Capitalism tends to exploit workers for profit.

I have been experiencing this more and more when working for other people in the past. I sometimes get the feeling of being exploited and overused, not paid fairly for the skills I have and the work that I produce. This situation also makes me feel trapped in a system/prison. 

I want to feel like I have freedom and I think this is why I create art. It is a way to escape the system and sometimes to comment on it. For me making art is about freedom, ideas, possibility, potential and to reveal another way of looking at the world.

Perhaps then art can be useful for a potential new society/system if we see the end of Capitalism.

While I am not in favour of 100% supporting either Capitalism or Socialism I do think it is interesting to hear a perspective on the current system we are living in. It gets me thinking of the world I am living in and it intensifies the reason why it is I make art as I believe in a better world. 

Lost Words. 6/8/16, L12cm W12cm H18cm, stoneware, hand built, slips, glaze fired to 1230c.

I thought I would throw in this image of a sculpture I created this year as I think it has some relevance to this. I made this to respond to my experience in life so far. The inspiration for the form comes from ancient clay tablets used to record writing. Sometimes I feel like I am a tool in the machine, an object to be used to serve the economy and sometimes this makes me question my own humanity and value in society. 

If anyone would like to watch the video feel free to see the link below.

Marxism 101: How Capitalism is Killing Itself with Dr. Richard Wolff


25 September 2016

Exploring new cloud ideas through drawing

Cloud series 1, 2008, Thrown, stoneware, slips, glaze, fired to 1260c 

Lately I have been trying to work on finishing some new sculpture in the making and so in between that I have used some of my available time to investigate some new ideas.

I have become interested again in looking at cloud formations as an inspiration and this goes back to some of my earlier work created in 2010. The interesting thing about clouds is that it can be interpreted in many ways, it can be spiritual, dream-like, it can can relate to my emotions through its diversity of formations ambiance and colour, and it can be a place of contemplation and imagination.

I then wounded what would happen if I combined this with architectural elements, nature and the human-made together as one. The cloud is not a solid object, but the human-made such as architecture is a physical object. When combined this creates questions relating to the real and unreal, a bridge between different dimensions or reality's.

7 May 2016

Avebury Stone Circle, Wiltshire, England

On the 6th of May 2016 myself and my wife went to visit the Avebury Stone Circle in Wiltshire, England. It is considered to be the largest Stone Circle in Europe perhaps constructed over several hundred years in the 3rd millennium BC.

This is my second visit now to this ancient site and it is really difficult to find words to describe its presence. Just like my encounter with Stonehenge in Salisbury, England I not only experienced the place by seeing it but also by feeling/sensing.

Unlike Stonehenge people are not allowed to walk into the stone enclosure or touch the stones but at the Avebury Stone Circle people are allowed to walk into the space and touch the stones and this adds a whole new experience of interaction.

I don't know what the purpose behind the Avebury Stone Circle is but what I do know is that when I was there I could feel something. The feeling I felt was like a tingling sensation on the back of my legs and back. This feeling would come and go depending on were I stood within the circle, sometimes it was near the stones and sometimes it was in a clear space and I have had this feeling before at Stonehenge.

What I do realize about these place such as the Avebury Stone Circle and Stonehenge is the that they don't tell me how to think and what to do, its like it is up to me to experience and decode it for my self. I realize how important this is as this idea shifts its self into the sculpture I create and that is why I took these sculptures with me to place at the Avebury Stone Circle to re-establish that connection. Also by placing them outside they almost become more real in a sense as they we not in the context of the gallery setting.

I think we live in a world were we are constantly fed information which can influence the way we think and therefore I find it liberating that a place such as Avebury Stone Circle and Stonehenge can really free the mind to new thoughts and new experiences. In today's world everything seems to be materialistic and economy driven to consume. I wounder how different the world must have looked back then when these moments were in use and the ideas and ways of living for the people who used them. How different was their lifestyles to the ones we experience now?

I don't think the people who built places like these were primitive people, I think we just like to use that term to define that stage or evolution in human history. For me personally I think to able to construct a monument like that there needs to be some serious planing, organization and skill involved.

Thank you National Trust for allowing people to experience the stones in a personal way.

28 March 2016

Investigating the link between archetecture and the Organic

In what new ways can I drive my ideas forward and how can the making process reflect this?

At its core I am still concerned with ideas generated from observing Stonehenge, so ideas such as space, the suggestion of purpose & function & meaning and the imagination are still important. The built environment still plays a part in visualizing this information through aspects such as architectural forms.

Recently I have been trying to investigate how to extend this idea of evoking the imagination and so I have been introducing organic forms to architectural components. Hopefully they can contrast each other and perhaps set up some symbolic meaning to add to this sense of otherness.

I think just like Stonehenge and the built environment they both share the same space with nature (the organic) and in some ways they both interact with each other. From here this fusion can create an interesting combination when investigated through the practical work.

5 March 2016

Decoration/Symbolic Meaning within the Built Envionment (Taiwan Feb-March 2016)

(Japanese House built in the time of occupation) It has a distinct use of decoration that is Weston in appearance.

How Do You Define The Built Environment?
  • Geometric Forms
  • Imagery
  • Function
  • Writing
  • Symbols/Meanings
  • Purpose
  • Space 
  • Types of architectural styles
  • Decorative
  • Modern/Minimalist 
I have also realized that different styles of architecture can also embody political meanings that my not be recognized if you do not posses the knowledge to decode it. 

Imaginary/ Symbols within the Built Environment (Taiwan, Feb to March 2016)

Research= Two Part Combination (what does it do?)

1) Stonehenge= Imaginary, freedom of the mind, inspiration to see the world around me differently
2) Built Environment= Structure, control, materiality, consumerism, culture, economic, political

Constructed environments/ Reality.

How we interact or how it influences of effects our behavior through ways of conditioning or shaping the individual from the outside.

By changing the built environment can this then re-shape people's life styles, understanding, knowledge or behavior.

Book: Ways of Seeing by John Berger

For example in Taiwan imagery such as cartoons, children's toys or sound is used within the built environment. This can conjure relaxed and playful situations and this seems to be taken seriously to effect people's life styles.

Urban/Modern/Macine-Like/ Revealing Construction (Taiwan, Feb to March 2016)

  1. Research: Psychology
  2. How do built Environments  influence or effect human behavior?
  3. How can we create an environment that can influence/stimulate human possibility, innovation, new ways of seeing reality/the world, imagination, freedom of the mind?
  4. Can we change the environment to essentially re-structure the current economic, political, cultural, social and behavior structure to have a positive effect on people's lives. Therefore by doing this can we introduce a new system completely different from our present one?

16 February 2016

Taiwan 1/2/16-8/3/16 Types of Brush and Traditional Chinese Calligraphy Styles

 3 Types of Brush:
  • 100% Horse Hair
  • 70% Wolf + 30% Sheep Hair
  • 100% Wolf Hair

Official writing style (example 1)

 Different Writing Style (example 2)

I have been in Taiwan for a couple of weeks now helping my wife with her artist residency at Yingge Ceramics Museum. Unlike the last time I went when I just mainly focused on taking lots of photos of the built environment I have instead been trying to use the time to learn.

Recently I have been trying to understand different writing styles used in Taiwan and trying to learn for my self how to write some Chinese words like my name. Luckily I have had the help from my wife and my wife's mother who have been trying to teach me.

I have learnt that there are 7 Types of current Traditional Chinese Calligraphy Styles that started on paper, two examples are at the top of the page written from my wife's mother. There is an official writing style and that is mainly used for example if you are are student undergoing an exam or street signs or if you work for the government. Underneath the example of the official writing style you can see an example of a different style.

There is a lot to be learnt and at first glance I appreciated the different writing style (example 2) as I felt this captured emotion and energy from the person and the brush however this is not really a current trend at the moment. I realize Chinese Calligraphy is made up of tradition and rules that must be followed, so for example the form of the character to were the brush starts and were it ends, every aspect must be precise.

I think at first glance I was looking at calligraphy from a Weston eye, automatically judging what I believed to be good calligraphy however this all comes from my own taste, experiences and influences. I realize that to understand Traditional Chinese Calligraphy I must change my mind set and put aside Weston thought.