Back home now and finally putting my feet up. It's been an intense and wonderful two weeks with the brilliant folk in Riba Roja, Catalonia, Spain. The project for me began when I was visiting my friends Sarah and Chris back in April this year. They were telling me about an art project they were involved in with the local town hall; Riu d'Art. It was to be its second year calling out for public art proposals for the village. Having never written an art proposal or created any public art in my life, I really wasn't sure how to go about it but I'm so glad I did. If you ever get the opportunity to do something like this, grab it with both hands, it's a truly great experience.
My proposal was to develop my newly acquired welding skills and so I decided to create a steel sculpture. After a bit of research I found out Catalonia and Scotland share an equine national animal as well as desire to be an independent country by part of their populations. Combining these ideas, I created a chimeralike creature composed of a donkey and a unicorn. The title to the work is in Catalan, "La Sumera i l'Unicorn" (The Donkey and the Unicorn) signifying parts of the Catalan and Spanish feminine noun of both "sculpture" - "l'escultura/la escultura" and female donkey "la sumera" as well as the masculine unicorn - "l'unicorn/el unicornio". The sculpture was formed as a steel rod frame and found objects from the village, including from a recent demolition site of two houses in the village. After a good rummage I found various wheels, wire mesh and even a coffee pot that I used to fill out the sculpture. I felt in some way it will keep a part of those houses alive as part of the village. As a side note, during the demolition of the houses, they found a secret cavern. It may have been an underground cellar but they are gong to investigate it further so it will be interesting to see what history they can find in there.
A wee pictorial synopsis of the work going on during the project and the inauguration below.
I'd just like to thank all the people of the village of Riba Roja, for their welcome, kindness and enthusiasm. Thank you to Fransesc and all at the ajuntiment for all their hard work and everything they did for us. Thank you to Albert for letting me in to his workshop, letting me abuse his tools, time and space and for all his help. To Josep, Miguel and Pepe Lu for your kindness and efforts. To all at Potas and Pizza Art, thank you for feeding us so well. To the beautiful Anna and Phil who always make the world seem so light and bring so much colour, it was great getting to know you better. To the lovely Olly Hall, who brought nonsense, fun and slight danger when climbing pylons, it was wonderful meeting and getting to know you. And special thanks to Sarah and Chris who always bring such amazing happenings together. I'm so glad I know you and have experienced all these wonderful things with you. You're beautiful people.
Was pretty exhausted when I got home late on Monday night but no rest for the wicked as I had an exhibition to put up on Wednesday. Just a small one in the 13th Note, entitled "Goddesses". Thanks to Tom, wonderful framer, for giving me a hand in with frames and Hazel for helping me hang. Had a wee soft opening last night and a good catch up with loads of mates who I haven't seen in a while. Was just lovely. The exhibition is on until the end of July so plenty of time for people to go have a gander.
So that is it. All done and dusted. Sculpture in place, workshop tidied up, flown home, exhibition up and opened and now sitting on my arse doing nothing. Think I'll do this for a little while...
As I type, the rain is lashing down outside on this August afternoon and I've given up contemplating camping at a deepest, darkest Ayrshire wedding this weekend. Sleeping in the car it is... Even though it's been a pretty rubbish summer (again), I've been very busy dotting about the country in a Highland Coovan, at a summer job working for Visit Scotland, enjoying the brief sunshines we have had. It's been great seeing more of my home country and has made me want see more. Buzz word of the year is "staycations" and I think we should all do more of that.
Otherwise the other things that have taken over my life recently was a wee exhibition I organised, with the help of my pal Marcus Hislop, called Bowie at Mohair. It started as an idea to do a tribute to my favourite pop star who sadly died this year, David Bowie. We had the most amazing preview night for a pop-up weekend exhibition above Mohair barbers in Glasgow on the 5th Aug. It really couldn't have gone better. We had live music, sold a bunch of artwork, made a over £2600 for two charities (Beatson Cancer Charity and New Rhythms for Glasgow) and everyone had a brilliant time. I still keep getting compliments on how good a night it was and how much everyone thought of the exhibition. AND when are we doing the next one? Um, maybe wait a bit until I'm fully recovered.
It was blooming hard work but I'm so glad I did it; for Bowie, for the charities, for myself and for my painting as I have had a bit of a hiatus on that front recently because of everything else I've been up to. And I even sold one of my pieces at Bowie at Mohair so I'm dead chuffed with that.
The exhibition is now showing in the 13th Note (Bowie at Mohair at 13th Note) until 28th Aug so if you haven't had a chance to see this brilliant exhibition, get yourselves along now!
I'll be hanging up my Coo wrangling reins at the end of the month to start a new college course. In September, I'm embarking on a two year HND in Model making for the Creative Industries to really hit this prop making thing head on. It'll take a bit of getting used to being a student again but I fully intend to take advantage of my student discount wherever I go! So, be prepared for more model making nonsense from now on.