I am interested in art in public spaces/community art. As this work is about promoting play and inviting people to play I feel I want it used in a community recreational space. I had the idea of mocking up a playground and a basketball court on photoshop with some of my designs. Then on a walk through my local park I was reminded of the table tennis project Ping! Bristol. Table tennis in public spaces for anyone and everyone to play. So I thought my designs/invitations to play could translate to the table tennis table. Then I found an artist that does combine table tennis and art, based in London called the art of ping-pong. This led to discussions in the studio with my fellow course mates, about how you think you hit on an original/whacky idea, only to realise its already being done, probably several times over! On this page are my basketball court design ideas/invitations to play. On the next post I will share my table tennis ideas.
I think I have found a process that I love and I want to develop. I feel it is totally suited to my love of text/type. I spent some time coming up with my own positive phrase/invitation to play “Add more play” to print with letterpress. I also decided I wanted to print on some A2 coloured paper so I took a rainbow assortment of colours with me to print large posters onto.
Here are some more ideas and workings out that I want to include/document. I have found that I have never been short of ideas for this project and to be honest I’m not sure I am totally done with it.
Play as a radical practice: 2016-2018
Serpentine Gallery, Albert Potrony
I read about artist Albert Potrony who worked with pre-school children as part of a project with the Serpentine. Potrony is a participatory practitioner who explores ideas of identity, community and language. Potrony worked with the children, carers and staff at the Portman Early Childhood centre in London. The aim of the project was to explore the importance of space for free play, Potrony questioned the effects of the standardisation of play and the need for free play in state schools. The idea was to clear an area of toys and introduce children to a kit of materials and allow them to explore. As an Early Years practitioner I am aware of the importance of learning through play. I then find it odd that once children start formal state education, opportunities for play become less frequent as they progress through school life. I have so many thoughts and feelings about this, some I will continue to mull over. I know many schools work with play charities to build free play opportunities into break times but this isn’t standard practice.
Federico Herrero Artist, Costa Rica 1978-
Another project which has influenced my work and ideas, is Federico Herrero’s residency with the South London Gallery in 2018. Herrero worked with the residents on the Pelican housing estate in South London, to create an artwork for the children’s playground. I like that this project was very community based involving food, painting and music. Herrero described this piece as being connected to an experience rather than a decoration.
Interactive exhibition 2015, Collaboration between Assemble collective and artist Simon Terrill.
When I first started this block of work I had this exhibition in the back of my mind. An interactive exhibition exploring post-war design for play, the playground was seen as a key aspect of housing estate layout. I don’t necessarily want to create an immersive installation but I am interested in how play and art can intersect. Also this is the only exhibition my children have asked to go to twice.
Interactive exhibition 2019, Pippa Hale.
I did a fair bit of research into play and art, I read about this 2019 exhibition at the Baltic in Gateshead. It was designed to encourage people of all ages to “come together through play”. (Pippa Hale). This to me is a call-back to my work as a community practitioner, encouraging play as a way of bonding. I see this block of work as an invitation/call to arms inviting people to play or open up conversation about adding play back into our busy lives. I found reading about Hale’s work inspiring. The way she describes contemporary life as being drained of creativity, is something that I have reflected upon as part of my work. I understand that some people feel all “played out” particularly during the past year. I’m looking at my own experiences and the bigger picture, when life is hurtling along at full pace and we can take back some creative control. This could be as adults or families modelling and participating in play together.
Supermundane aka Rob Lowe
Graphic artist based in London UK
I’m finding it difficult to find out a lot of my influences dates of birth. I guess it doesn’t really matter but it would be nice to get an idea of what time they grew up in, so I could get a sense of their influences! One thing I do know is at the time of writing my studio file everyone is very much alive.
Anyway on to Supermundane /Rob Lowe another artist who is known for his use of colour, geometric shapes and text. Lowe’s work has also translated well into product design such as rugs and book covers. Lowe likes strong compositions and uses line and colour to achieve this. He attributes his signature style to his graphic design training which was done before “computer domination”. I read an article online where Lowe describes “putting simplicity at the heart of his work” (creativeboom.com). This is something I find really interesting, I like to give my work spaces to breath, so I like to keep ideas simple.
Artist London UK.
Yinka Ilori is a multidisciplinary artist who uses his British and Nigerian heritage to tell stories through design. I have to say I am totallty enamoured with his work. Ilori often uses text, but I also love his work for it vibrant colour, patterns and clean lines, he is colour obsessed. Ilori started off working in furniture design repurposing and reimagining furniture, this totally piqued my interest. Since then he has been quite prolific, working on book covers, bridges, skateparks, playgrounds and socks (I really want a pair, they are awesome). Ilori has also worked on window displays for big London department stores. I have noticed this seems to be more of a thing with a lot of the higher end shops such as Cos and Selfridges, working with contemporary artists on concepts/window designs. Ilori is another artist who has worked on the “Your space or mine?” billboard positivity project. I read in an interview Ilori likes to think about “colour and design in our everyday environment”.
Studio File/ Influences
Designer/printmaker Born in France now based in London UK
I had seen some of Diane’s work in an interiors magazine. I can’t remember if it was a rug or wallpaper but I really liked the colours that she had used and I wanted to see more of her work. I was really pleased when I found out she was giving an online talk about her work, through the West Yorkshire Print Workshop. I kind of feel that her talk is another one that came at a good time for me. I was feeling like my work was incorporating more digital elements and I was questioning if it was fine art enough. To hear Diane talk about her process, (she screen prints patterns onto lining paper then works on them digitally,) helped me to get my own practice into perspective. Diane went to great depth discussing the relation in her work between craft and technology and how she combines them.
Artist/ designer Born in France now based in London UK.
Camille Walala has inspired me by the way she uses colour and pattern. Walala doesn’t really use text but for me I like her colourful distinctive style, that is influenced by the 1980s Memphis Group. Walala often makes work for public spaces, she has transformed the pedestrian crossing outside London’s White City Station, as well as transforming buildings on a high street in east London. Walala has described her work as using “the power of colour and pattern to transform atmospheres, elevate moods and spark positivity”. I definitely feel this is something I wish to aspire to with my work. I’ve had a few comments about my work brightening up people’s Instagram feed lately and this makes me very happy indeed.
Designer/artist UK London. Born in 1963-
Morag Myerscough is known for colourful work that integrates type. Myerscough set up her own design studio in the 1990s. I like that Myerscough says she sees no boundaries within disciplines and will work on architectural projects, art projects, product design or experienced based art. Myerscough has collaborated on many projects, sometimes with other artists, sometimes with communities. I am interested in Myerscough’s use of colour and pattern. I like how for her latest project “a new now” she has taken the phrases a “New normal” which was banded about by politicians and media at the height of the Covid pandemic, and adapted it. The statement Myerscough put out to accompany the work described the work as a piece “to encourage, with communicative joy, to build an after to the Covid crisis.” I am always interested to learn why artists use the text they do and where it comes from. I was very excited to spot “a new now” on the streets of Bristol. As well as being an installation on the streets of Paris, France, it is part of a UK wide campaign to spread messages of positivity. An ongoing project called “your space or mine”, has collaborated with artists on this national billboard campaign.
Artist UK, London based.
Lakwena Maciver is known for artwork that combines colour, decorative patterns and empowering phrases. Maciver’s work often provides a response or statement on the current political and social climate. Maciver uses bright bold colours and text often influenced by her African roots. Maciver has produced work internationally, a lot of her work consists of large scale murals in public places. I like the idea of art in public spaces, I wonder whether it is a particular type of person who visits a gallery? Public art can potentially reach all different kinds of audiences. When I was thinking about where to take my ideas and researching public play spaces and basketball courts, I found that Maciver had been involved with a community project in Arkansas USA. A mural with vibrant colours using the words of poet Maya Angelou, to inspire and bring art to the public. I saw these images and I was really moved by the words and the idea behind the project. It kind of brings home the power that words can have.
Artist and Printmaker. Manchester UK. DOB unknown but graduated in fine art from Cardiff in the late 1990s.
I found about about Hazel Roberts through an advert from West Yorkshire Print Workshop, about an upcoming talk she was giving. I was intrigued, I wanted to find out more about Roberts’s work so I checked out her Instagram. I just thought wow, this is right up my street, the colours the social/political themes, I booked my ticket for the talk immediately.
The talk itself was very inspiring, Roberts was funny and engaging and spoke passionately about her work and its themes. Roberts also described her approach to making work which is often low tech, stencils, tape and sometimes bits of text. Roberts talked about being commissioned by the TUC (Trades Union Congress) to create 3 pieces of work in celebration of their 150th anniversary. Roberts described talking to members for research and asking what the TUC meant to them. The themes that came out of the research were Educate, Agitate and Organise. Roberts incorporated these words as text into each print. The work went on to win the Left Bank Leeds Art Prize in 2018. I am really excited by Roberts’ work, I find it so inspiring and I feel she is someone I’m going to come back to. The talk came at such a good time, when I was starting to research this new body of work and worrying about if this was the right direction.
Fandangoe Kid (Annie Nicholson)
Artist. DOB unknown. Based in London, UK.
Annie Nicholson aka Fandangoe Kid is a London based print artist. Nicholson makes “Large scale narrative driven pieces for the public realm”(Fandangoe Kid.com). Nicholson’s work deals with social and political themes often text based. I am particularly drawn to Nicholson’s use of bright bold colours. I came across Nicholson’s work in an online newspaper article. Nicholson often works with community groups on projects particularly young people. Nicholson’s work is often seen publicly on the streets as installations or poster campaigns. What I also really like about Nicholson’s work is that it has crossed over into product and clothing design. This has resulted in collaborations with charities such as Marie Curie and the British Red Cross. Nicholson has experienced a lot of personal trauma in her life and has said that creativity has helped to work through it. I think Nicholson’s work is very though provoking and succeeds in prompting conversation, which is something I wish to achieve through my own work.
I wanted set myself a new challenge as part of this module. I also wanted to be creative with new ways of working during lockdown/restricted studio access, my aim is to experiment and get better using photoshop. Here are some ideas I have been working on.
I really like mixing my work with digital. I don’t think I would want to start off making digital work as I like the fine art/handmade quality to come through the piece.