This may look as if I have a real problem as I sit amongst a pile of untidy litter but these discarded National Lottery scratch cards are actually very important art materials to me. Colours such as the golden brown in the tickets I am holding form part of the various shades of nature that I like to include in my artwork. I am never short of materials and I appreciate the many donations from local business who know how I use them.
Here is an example of my latest colour palette made up of donated scratch cards. I hole-punch them into thousands of pieces which eventually become a pointillist style formation of small dots covering the canvas.
August is going to be a very busy month. One of the venues for a display of my artwork this year is here at my premises in the “Open Garage” as part of the Nidd Art Trail event. This is why I am beginning to sort through these scratch cards so that visitors will get a real feel for the way in which I like to use recycled materials. It won’t be as disorganised as it looks, I promise!
I need to feel organised as I have been told that on one of the days I am going to be filmed as part of a project regarding autism in the workplace and what it is like to have autism and ways I overcome challenges, as well as find strengths through my work. I am looking forward to this interview as the film will help promote neuro diverse people into employment. I usually like to explain why I create this form of environmental art and how I like to help charities through my artwork. This is a project which I have been told is lottery-funded (very appropriate in terms of my art materials!) and is said to focus on the positives that people with autism can bring to the workplace. I recently left education and training so am concentrating full-time now on moving forward and earning a living.
In many ways I enjoy the solitary nature of my art as it is not only therapeutic and calming to me in a very hectic world but enables me to put all my ideas into my art and really focus without distractions. My mosaic-style collages are very time-consuming. However, I am also involved as much as I can be in the preparations for my exhibitions. A lot goes on behind the scenes in setting up these events, marketing and promoting them and making all the plans for transporting artwork and then hanging it to make the displays.
This gives an idea of the process once a venue has been agreed, for example my latest main exhibition, which takes place at The Image Collective Gallery, Leith, Edinburgh:
- Go and visit the venue to take photos and have an idea of space:
2. Have a detailed sketch with dimensions so that all the artwork I take with me can be planned in advance into the areas available according to the themes of my collages – trees and nature, birdlife and animals, architecture and other. I am taking 20 framed pieces to Edinburgh and the categories are:
TREES AND NATURE: At Twilight, A Path To Peace, Woodland Walk, Reconnecting with Nature, Tree of Life, Roses, Fields of Gold, Cherry Tree In Blossom (7) and (9), Within The Woodland
BIRDLIFE AND ANIMALS: Canary In a Coal Mine, Red Squirrel, First Snow of Winter, The Thoroughbred, Springtime
ARCHITECTURE AND OTHER: Durham Cathedral, Ripon Cathedral, The Viaduct, Encircled, Bejewelled
The main piece for Scotland is “Reconnecting with Nature” as I took this in its early stages to COP26 Glasgow last year so it needs to be centrally positioned as you immediately enter the exhibition. I showed it to The Leith Collective last year who are the organisers of The Image Collective events. I am pleased that my artwork fits in with their theme of recycling, restoring, reclaiming and reusing materials!
3. Promoting the exhibition by creating posters and also invitations to my Meet The Artist event on 2nd August where I will be demonstrating my form of environmental artwork and chatting to visitors:
4. Printing information on the latest events in leaflets for distribution to tourist offices and PR event organisers. Also including a press release to go to local and national newspapers, as well as local news stations online and Scottish TV. Posting on social media has been one of the main ways of also promoting the exhibition and using Eventbrite for inviting visitors to the “Meet The Artist” opening day.
5. As the exhibition approaches and just one week to go, the frames all now have mirror plates to secure them and they are all safely packaged for transport. Labels have been printed with my name, the title of the artwork and a description such as “Giclee print on fine art paper, approved by the Fine Art Trade Guild” with the price. Accommodation has been booked and I’m ready to go!
6. Soon after my return I will be setting up a display of posters showing my artwork for the National Trust at Fountains Abbey. The theme is Trees and I will arrange a collection of posters to be displayed at Swanley Grange: https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/events/8d8b19e9-5084-46b9-9785-2649ab241784/pages/details
I plan to go back to the other galleries showing my art during August such as Art In The Mill, Knaresborough, North Yorkshire:
Also Giddy Arts in the World Heritage Site of Saltaire, West Yorkshire and to The Level Centre in Rowsley near Matlock, Derbyshire where it has just been announced that one of my pieces has won second prize! https://levelcentre.com/visual-arts-exhibition/