My Childhood Artwork

Like most creatives, art has been my passion from a very young age. Just give me a pad of paper and a pen or two and I'd be happy for hours as a child - and nothing much has changed to this day. At the weekend, I thought it'd be fun to take a little break from my uni work and have a look at some of the artwork I've created over the years.

FMP #3

Before I start this post I want to apologise for my less than consistent attempts at blogging over the last few weeks. Hopefully this post will go some way to explaining that but the short version is that I've been crazily running around trying to get my final exhibition together for the foundation/degree show at Manchester School of Art. My final deadline is Monday 1st June so I'm really looking forward to having more time to dedicate to blogging soon. For now though, since my life is revolving around my final major project and completing my exhibition, I thought it'd be good to do a little update. If you haven't seen my previous two FMP posts I will link them here and here so you can take a look at 'the story so far'. 

The final countdown for my FMP is well and truly in full swing now. This week I've been getting my hands dirty preparing my exhibition space, getting it cleaned, sanded and repainted as well as measuring everything out to within an inch of my life. I'll tell you now, if measuring burnt significant calories, I'd be a very skinny girl by now! It's no secret to people that know me that I'm a huge perfectionist and so everything's taking a fair bit of time to get right, but I'm really happy with how it has gone so far *touches every item of wood in sight*. I have been allocated a wall space in a corner so I've had quite a few obstacles to overcome including a big red fire alarm which has played havoc with my need for clean white surfaces! Preparing the exhibition space has been a fun experience though and it's been lovely to make some last memories and spend time with some really great friends I've made on the course. 
To a certain extent I thought it would be nice to keep my actual exhibition as a bit of a surprise for when it's fully complete, so I won't be sharing too many photos of it today. I will say that I'm still continuing with the theme of experimental typography which has evolved into using techniques such as crochet and knitting to make letterforms. Over the last 2 weeks I've been locked away creating what must be hundreds of little wooly letters - but I don't want to give too much away! All will be revealed very soon and I'm working my fingers to the bone to get it finished by next week. 
I realise this has been a very quick insight into what I've been doing with myself these past few weeks but I hope you all understand! There isn't too much completed new work to share but I still want to document the process of this project and I think the exhibition preparation is a big part of that. I can't wait to share the finished results of the show as well as photographs from the private view later on in June. One last final push!

*Sneaky preview!*

Painting 20 Summers of Jazz

Recently I received the very exciting news that Manchester Jazz Festival are going to be using a piece of my work across their marketing campaign for their 20th anniversary celebrations this year. Yesterday, the design went live on their website and in the coming weeks there will be lots of physical marketing too, from catalogues, CDs and badges to bus station posters around central Manchester.

The event itself is a 9 day long showcase of contemporary jazz from the north west of England and beyond. So far it has hosted over 4,900 artists, had 200,000 attendees, commissioned 17 new pieces of music and is Manchester's longest running music festival. 2015 will be their 20th annual event and they have teamed up with a company called Marketecture to design their advertising campaign - 'Celebrate 20 Summers of Jazz'. Students from my foundation course at Manchester School of Art were asked to listen and respond visually to one of a set of 20 jazz tracks. The track I was assigned to listen to was 'Makanitza - Gankino Horo'. We could choose to work in any medium and size we felt appropriate and I chose to work in oil paint.

In terms of my process, quite obviously I began by listening to the track I had been given from beginning to end. My knowledge of jazz music is incredibly limited, however I feel as though this helped me in creating the most raw and honest response I possibly could to the music I was hearing. There were no limiting pieces of information or facts to hold me back, I simply locked myself away, put the track on repeat, and made art. The key for me was never to think about what I thought the jazz festival wanted me to make. As far as possible I wanted to forget that this was for a brief at all. Only then could my work be a true and honest response to the music. Allowing myself the freedom to create honestly was my main focus, rather than making what I hoped they would like. Aside from this, the idea behind the painting was movement and vitality. The first thing I immediately thought of when I heard the music was a far away marketplace, and I wanted to capture the spirit of this rhythm with swirling motions and bright vibrant colours. On a personal level, it was such a refreshing change to make a painting based on sound an emotion. My university work has been very typographical/design based recently and it's been a long time since I spent time with just a canvas, paint and my thoughts.

This has been my first ever experience with working on a live brief in the industry and I am so grateful for the experience, and the fact that my work has been chosen by 'folk who know what they're doing' is such a huge compliment. To have my painting out there online for the world to see and see my name printed on the 'partners' page is surreal. I can't wait to share some of the physical marketing on here once is trickles down into my little hands. For now though, I have added some screenshots of the online visuals and below is a computer generated mock-up made by Marketecture of the kind of thing that will be popping up around Manchester in the coming weeks (where the colours are will be replaced by the image of my painting). I feel so lucky to have been given this opportunity and it makes it all the more exciting that the results will be on display around my home city this summer. So if you happen to live in Manchester - keep an eye out!

Manchester Jazz Festival runs from 31st July - 9th August 2015

You can check out their website for more information about the event (+ see my work!) here:

5 Things To Consider When Setting Up Your Creative Space

Many of us dream of having our own creative space, but sadly we don't all have the luxury of an entire room to dedicate to our practice. It may be that you are limited to just one multi-use desk in your bedroom, but any sized space has the potential to be somewhere creatively stimulating and beautiful and it certaintly doesn't have to come at huge expense. Here are a few pointers to get you started with creating an inspiring place to work in, no matter how small your workspace or budget. 

1. Good Lighting
Make sure your desk is close to a good source of natural light and get your hands on a bright desk lamp for all of those late nights. This point is pretty self-explanatory - you need to be able to see your work in its full beauty! Good lighting is also essential if you plan on taking photographs in the space. 

2. Storage 
You'll need to seek out some practical storage options to keep all of your materials and bits and bobs organised. Having said this, 'practical' does not have to mean ugly. It's really important that your desk is a place that invites you to stay and work, potentially for long periods of time. Make it as beautiful as you can and it will become somewhere that you love and look forward to working in.

3. Pin-board
Go 'old-school' with your very own physical Pinterest board! Get yourself a pin-board and use the space directly around you as a mini gallery. Think of it as a place for you to start collections, play around with arrangements and kick start your inspiration, all of which can be especially useful in times of creative block. You don't just have to stick to existing artworks either, pin up something of your own which you're really proud of, surround yourself with scraps of materials, colours, inspiring quotes or magazine cuttings.

4. Folding Table 
Particularly if your space is limited, a folding table can be incredibly useful for the times when you just need to spread out a bit more. They are available pretty cheaply and are easy to store under your desk space. It's great to have some extra working space that you can just whip out and put away whenever it's required.

5. Comfy Chair
For me this is a must. We all know that art and design can be a lengthy process, so make sure you've got a nice comfy chair to work in. If you can't afford a whole new piece of furniture, even just a pretty throw or cushion can add new life to an old basic chair. After all, you want to be able to sit back and enjoy the experience of sitting and working in your beautiful new space!

I hope these tips help you with creating an inspiring space for you to work in and enjoy. What are your studio essentials? And do you have any tips for making the most out of limited space? I'd love to hear your ideas as I'm always looking for ways to bring new life to my workspace!