Blinc Digital Arts Festival 2012

 

Photo: Craig Morrison and Joel Cockrill

October 26th, 27th and 28th saw the Castle town of Conwy, North Wales, transformed into a giant piece of digital art, numerous buildings in the town became projection backdrops for digital, video, sound and light art created by a host of local and national artists.

 

 

The event is currently in its second year, and like last year coincided with Wales’ largest food festival. The event also paid homage to Alan Turing.

Famed for his mathematical intelligence Turing was fundamental to The Enigma Machine success in the 2nd World War, and considered one of the forefathers of modern computing.

To mark the centenary of his birth, Artist / Curators Craig Morrison and Joel Cockrill were commissioned by the Arts Council of Wales to make a significant light work dedicated to Alan Turing.

The piece, which is entitled ‘Thank you’, was installed in Conwy Castle. Two large lasers programmed with Rolling Spheres or ‘Hyperboloids’ positioned high above the town on the castle towers, beamed green lights that swept across the sea and the sky, the beams flickering at a frequency calculated using Morse Code projecting ‘Thank You’ towards the heavens.

To accompany the lasers a large scale white neon positioned on a plinth, identical in size to the Fourth Plinth in Trafalgar Square, so that Turing’s poetic epitaph can be read while the lasers pulse into the night sky behind.

Craig states that “The significance of the plinth is inherent to the piece. The Fourth Plinth celebrates all that is contemporary in the arts today. Alan Turing’s abstract mathematical achievements epitomize what the plinth represents and in some way is responsible for probably most of the artwork that is displayed. His fundamental work in computing has helped to shape what we see in contemporary life. His wartime work on codebreaking definitely contributed to the preservation of our freedom of expression.”

 

Children’s drawings of Conwy projected onto the Civic Centre

 

Other artists taking part responded to the town and its history, here’s a few videos from my favourites:

 

Neil Coombs:

Neil’s work explores surrealism and its relationship with every day life, the photomontage video creates a face using ordinary everyday objects we normally don’t notice or give any time too:

 

Wendy Leah Dawson:

Wendy’s piece explored the swarm and hive mentality in bees, transforming an old chapel into a giant beehive, Wendy also paid homage to the towns historical bee keeping and honey traditions:

 

Alan Whitfield:

Alan’s video was projected onto the Castle – which was incredibly moving and overwhelming  – the scale, soundtrack and Alan’s presence made for a very powerful piece! Here’s the web version of the video and below that is a photograph by Roger Smith  of the projection on the Castle 

 

 

Elly Stringer + Alys Hughes:

I couldn’t find a version of Elly’s beautiful video entitled: ‘Hireath’ [loosely translates in English as ‘Longing’ – but there is no direct translation] that I could embed but she has put it up on her wonderful blog so head over there for a peek! The video was projected onto a bus outside of the British Legion, and watching it made me think of the time I spend daydreaming on the bus home from work, longing to get home, its a really evocative piece and beautifully made!

 

Alys, who performs in the video, each night completed a live dance performance in front of a projection inside the British Legion, which was stunning I have to say! Over the weekend they then repeated the performance this time in front of the projection on the castle – which unfortunately I missed 😦

 

It is a privilege to have such an amazing event right on my doorstep, and I count myself lucky to have seen it – especially considering the whole event was free! Well Done to all the team, organizers, helpers, Arts Council Wales, Cadw, Conwy County Council and of course the Artists involved!!

 

Helfa Gelf: Open Studios Art Trail

A diverse and talented group of artists based in Llandudno are preparing to throw open their doors to the public and invite visitors into the secret world of their art studio. They exhibit as part of Helf Gelf/Art Trail, North Wales’s largest open studios project.  A range of artists and craft makers will be allowing visitors to see where they work and how they work, over the Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays throughout September.

The six artists, based at ‘c.a.s.c artist studios and project space‘ on Garage Street behind MOSTYN Gallery, are a fantastic example of the diverse range of artists taking part in Helfa Gelf this year.  The ‘c.a.s.c’ collective has been going since 2009, when it first came to the public’s attention in its original location in Llandudno, they moved to their current studio – complete with a project/exhibition space in 2011 and have continued to thrive,  It has included a variety of artists over the years , all with a shared interest in contemporary art and crafts.

“Working at the ‘c.a.s.c’ studios has allowed us the opportunity to network with other like-minded artists and to seek peer group support. It is surprising how many artists live and work in North Wales and how much talent there is.,” says Wendy Couling mixed media artist and one of the founder members of ‘c.a.s.c’

“This is the third year I have taken part in Helfa Gelf and it has been a really rewarding experience for me. I exhibited as part of a different studio last year and we did well with sales, which is an added incentive!” said Barry Morris, a figurative painter.

“It is good to meet people who are interested in art and get feedback about your work. It is also interesting when you have people visit you every year, who can then comment on how your work has developed.”

All six artists will open their workshop spaces to visitors during the Helfa Gelf event in September. They will exhibit paintings, ceramics, sculpture, mixed media work and present installation pieces, the other members include Antonia Dewhurst, who this summer completed a successful exhibition and installation at Oriel Davies (New Town), Gerallt Hughes an illustrator, Jane Tudor who works in mixed media and sculptural ceramicist Wendy Dykes.

The local artists in the area are in the Conwy Coastal Cluster part of the Helfa Gelf /Art Trail.

Artists who open their studios share the inner workings of their creative world. Studios in the Conwy coastal Cluster  are hugely diverse and interesting, with over 22 artists all living and working in a 17 mile radius of each other. A full range of art forms is available to visitors including: contemporary wood work, ceramics, drawing, felting, jewellery making, painting, photography, printmaking, textiles, sculpture, fractual art and  illustration. In total there are over 300 artists across Gwynedd, Conwy, Flintshire, Denbighshire and Wrexham opening their studios to allow visitors to experience their creative processes.

A Helfa Gelf Art Trail guide book is widely available from local libraries, schools, tourist information centres, hotels, shops, galleries and Helfa Gelf Information Points. To help to plan your free artistic adventure, ‘The Art Trail Map’, an online interactive guide, is available at www.helfagelf.co.uk. This includes information on studio locations, artist profiles, a gallery of images, directions to the studios, satellite map, access information and opening times. It also contains information about free drop-in workshops and free community bus-tours run during the event.

Sabine Cockrill, project coordinator for Helfa Gelf says:

““The range of art is very diverse. It is exciting to start on the Art Trail and be recommended other artists to go and see and spend an interesting day exploring creative spaces.. You never know where the Trail might lead you. ‘c.a.s.c’ is a fantastic example of a group studio, where are you are able to see very different types of artworks.  The studios are in all sorts of locations from beautiful rural cottages, to garden sheds, to purpose built spaces in towns and villages.”

The  ‘c.a.s.c’ studio has been divided into different working spaces for each artist. As you move through the building, you can see how the artists have renovated the interior to meet their needs. Some areas have bright white boards, easels and workbenches, and all the artists have adapted the flooring, lighting and storage to enable them to work in their different materials and artistic media.

Barry Morris, whose work includes skull linocut print bunting and painted dolls, adds:” It really motivates you when you know other artists, curators , buyers, visitors and members of the community will be looking at your work. “

Pick up a booklet locally or use ‘The Art Trail Map’ online at www.helfagelf.co.uk. The HelfaGelfArtTrail project has received funding through the Rural Development Plan for Wales 2007–2013, which is funded by the Welsh Government and the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development.

‘Trails of Thread’: Exhibition inside the ‘Adain Avion’ – The Mobile Arts Space Plane

The ‘Trails of Thread’ installation consists of artwork created during a series of Workshop sessions run by Llandudno based artist Wendy Couling. Working with the Textile-based group ‘Serentex’, including members of the Embroiderers Guild, and also a series of Masterclass sessions with members of the community. Using Wendy’s own work on perspex and aluminium as a starting point, the artwork is based on the participant’s collection of memories of Llandudno, and thus builds a connection between the fuselage of Adain Avion and the local landscape.

I was thrilled to be a part of the exhibition initially housed inside the DC plane that was the centrepiece of the Adain Avion project. The exhibition only lasted two hours and I was on hand to help with the install and take down, alongside our other studio-mates Gerallt and Toni. The exhibition then moved onto Mostyn Gallery where it will hang for two weeks [until July 25th].

Part of the London 2012 FestivalAdain Avion is one of 12 London 2012 Cultural Olympiad Artists taking the lead commissions to celebrate the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games in creative ways across the UK, and has been funded by the National Lottery through Arts Council of Wales. Adain Avion is Curated and Directed by Marc Rees, co-produced by Taliesin Arts Centre, Swansea University and receives additional funding from: Major Events Unit, Welsh Government; City and County of Swansea; Blaenau Gwent County Borough Council and Conwy Borough Council.

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‘Adain Avion’ mobile arts space lands in Llandudno

Photo by Marc Rees

On Sunday July 8th the fuselage of a DC aeroplane landed on the promenade in Llandudno, the third destination of the wingless plane’s “flight” around Wales, having previously nested in Swansea and Ebbw Vale, it will reach its final destination in August when it comes into land at the National Eisteddfod of Wales which in 2012 occupies a former airfield in Llandow, Vale of Glamorgan.

The wreckage of the DC-9 plane was discovered by Spanish sculptor and designer Eduardo Cajal in a scrapyard, having crashed with no fatalities, Cajal decided to transform the fuselage into a mobile arts space, his artist/architect led collective Trashumante finally unveiled Avion at the international art fair ARCO in Madrid. In 2009 Marc Rees was selected to represent Wales in the UK-wide project Artists Taking the Lead as part of the London 2012 Cultural Olympiad. His winning proposal was to bring Avion from its home in Huesca, northern Spain to travel around Wales. Rees acting as the planes Captain became the temporary custodian of this extraordinary sculptural object, celebrating the twentieth anniversary of its conception with an international cultural exchange titled “Adain Avion”.

Photo by Philip Andrews

Alongside “Captain” Marc Rees were 6 Stewardesses – The AAA Troupe [Adain Avion Attendants] played beautifully by ‘Kitsch ‘n Sync Collective‘ and decked out in dresses designed by Melyn Tregwynt  they performed routines around the plane, town and Mostyn Gallery creating a homage to the town’s theatrical entrepreneur Will Catlin who hired Pierrot groups and strategically placed them about town to publicise his shows. Will Catlin’s daughter Margot worked with dancer and choreographer Cai Tomos to develop a performance which took place on the site where Will once built her a roller skating rink.

Local Artists Nick Elphick, Tim Pugh and Wendy Couling staged exhibitions and workshops within the plane, and artists selected from the Helfa Gelf Open Studios Arts Trail took part in a sound and video installation. Aeroplane related films played on screens inside the fuselage and each morning the plane hosted a different fitness class.

The events, exhibitions and performances where all recorded and along with the footage from previous destinations will be edited to produce the planes ‘blackbox’ which will be presented by Marc Rees to the National History Museum at St.Fagans, Cardiff, where it will be archived in the Contemporary Folk Archive.

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By @badgemakesart

Area: Wales

Gwyl Arall (Another Festival) Art Exhibition – Wales

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Last year I took part in a local arts festival calledGwyl Arall [which translates as ‘Another Festival’] with my series of doll artwork displayed in an old toy shop window, so I was thrilled to be invited to submit work again for this years exhibition organized by the husband and wife team Morgan Griffith and Rebecca.F.Hardy [who also run the brilliant DyfalDonc].

Aided byBocs, a non-profit co-op of artists based in Caernarfon andGwead.com‘ the exhibition aims to help provide a platform for and to help promote emerging Welsh talent. The role call of artists taking part is impressive with 3 winners from this years “Welsh Artist of the Year”: Gareth Griffith and Iwan Lewis who shared the prize for Painting, and Wendy Leah Dawson who took home the student prize. It also boasts former “Welsh Photographer of the Year” Llinos Lanini and Gethin Wyn Jones who in 2006 won the Nationwide Mercury Art competition and is currently exhibiting at Wales flagship contemporary art gallery Mostyn. Others exhibiting include myself Barry Morris [Badge], Gerallt.D.Hughes, Jaime Kelly, Gethin Wavell, Alana Tyson, Osian Efnisien, Morgan Griffith [Sonomano], Buddug Humphreys, Rebecca.F.Hardy, Jessie Chorley, Ioan Griffith, Siân Green, Sarah McEachran, Richard Cynan-Jones, Nerys Jones, Alan Whitfield, and Rebecca Gould.

Formed after the closure of Oriel Dafydd Hardy in Caernarfon, ‘Bocs’ filled the void left by the gallery by becoming a champion for emerging young Welsh talent encompassing visual arts, music and performance, and helping to nurture up-and-coming artists, this is the first year that ‘Bocs’ has been involved with ‘Gwyl Arall’, but organizer Rebecca.F.Hardy hopes that it will be the start of a fruitful relationship. Rebecca is already working with her colleagues at ‘Bocs’ in securing a new permanent venue for the co-op and approaching artists to develop a programme of exhibitions and workshops for the coming year.

The aim of gwead.com is to introduce the work of contemporary photographers from Europe’s oldest cultures at the moment; Wales, Brittany, the Basque Country and Catalonia. Their mission statement elaborates on this idea: “By submitting visual work and sharing of cultures that are either similar in language, culture and history or a historical or linguistic we hope to strengthen the relationship between them. We may add more countries in the future. In addition to delivering work on the web, we will display the work in exhibitions, festivals and galleries over the coming months and years. This websites is Rhodri Owen idea of Ysbyty Ifan in Wales. “

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badgemakesart@yahoo.co.uk

Area: Wales

Space and Time – Photography Exhibition by Gemma Pepper – May to October 2012 – Llandudno – North Wales

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The first time Gemma Pepper realized she wanted to become a photographer she was stood on top of a mountain in Zakinthos in Greece.

Born in Hertfordshire and raised in Switzerland, Gemma grew up in a creative family, her Mother is a keen watercolour painter and late Grandfather a photographer and painter, she found herself encouraged to follow her dream of becoming a photographer. In 2010 she moved back to North Wales to study for a HND in photography, now approaching the end of her final year she chose to stage a solo show as part of her assessment, the result is ‘Space and Time’.

Inspired by the likes of Francesca Woodman, Ralph Eugene Meatyard and Duane Michals, Gemma’s work explores ideas of representation and the self, with portraits of young females and self portraits a prevalent theme. For this body of work Gemma sought inspiration from surrealism and traditional darkroom techniques, using a 35mm camera and long exposures she began to question the notions of time and space.

Having used an old Village Hall in Dolgarrog and an empty Hanger in Beaumaris for similar photo-shoots Gemma experimented with both Digital and Film [both 35mm and large format] working through ideas for her final project responding to the buildings features and the models relationship with the space. It was through sheer coincidence that Gemma found her biggest inspiration for the project in the shape of an empty Edwardian Pumping Station in Rhos-on-Sea, thanks to the support of estate agent Richard Baddeley she was able to use the building as the location for the end photo-shoot, using long exposures and blurred movements to evoke the constant changes that affect and shape our lives.

In 2011 Gemma achieved both first and second place in two Focal Press competitions, and is currently shortlisted for the ‘Art, Design and Media Student award 2012’.

‘Space and Time’ will be touring from May atCASC artist studios and project spaceto Zurich, Switzerland in October 2012.

The exhibition is the first public exhibition to be held at ‘casc artist studios and project space’ an artist-run organisation consisting of artist studios and a project space, founded with the mission of supporting and promoting both emerging and established contemporary visual artists from North Wales and beyond, by providing affordable artist-run studios and an exhibition/project space. Key to the groups’ ethos is the development and sustainability of local, regional and international initiatives, promoting research and community outreach projects.

Gemma’s exhibition is the starting point for the group’s mission to help support and nurture upcoming talent, providing them not only with an exhibition space, but invaluable advice, guidance and a kickstart to their burgeoning artistic careers.

More information can be found about Gemma on her Facebook Page and CASC artist studios project here

Written by Badgemakesart

Images copyright Gemma Pepper

Area – North Wales