Thursday, 26 March 2009

More Mural Workshop Activity!

The Workshops roll on! As we get closer to our deadline, things are starting to slowly come together. This comes as some relief really, but there is still a hell of a long way to go!
We've kind of got some idea of content and style of how the piece will look. It's quite hard to visualize something so big, when we haven't really nailed down any definite images. But through a bit of coaxing, the guys in the group have given us dribbles of input as to what they'd like to see on the wall.

Wednesdays session helped us develop an idea for how part of the background will look. We had a longer session this time, and it seemed to help the group concentrate for longer and sink their teeth into more of a challenge. As the session's have progressed, the groups skills have developed more and more. Tom (Sutcliffe) has been giving them useful tips in spraycan techniques, and encouraging them to not be afraid of using them. This week we got them to use some great ink markers to do more detailed work over large blocks of colour.

It's really encouraging to see these guys really start to develop these skills, and to see them really enjoying the process of creating! I was beginning to feel like they weren't getting any enjoyment out of the sessions, but it's great to see them pushing themselves more as time goes on. We've had to push them a bit as to what the concept of the wall is going to be, but that's part of our job as artists to help them generatetheir ideas!

We have a Consultation Day coming up on Saturday in the Town Hall in Truro with the local residents to give their thoughts on the project, and to give us some ideas of their own! We've got to show them all of the stuff that we've produced so far, and to get them involved, only to a certain extent! Hopefully we won't get to much negative feed back from them, and hopefully we won't have to rethink the whole thing!

Let's just hope that a few people will turn up! We had an article in the West Briton Newspaper today, with a lovely photo of the group and some of their work behind them. The article was to advertise the fact that we are holding this Consultation Day, and to get people to come along. It's gonna be a long day, but it'll be worth it in the end to help with development of the final piece. You can check out the article here

I've just noticed that they've got mine and Tom's names mixed up! Dunno what it is with the papers down here, they can never seem to get anything right! I am now Tom McIvor and Tom is Mat Sutcliffe, hahaha!

We've got 2 workshops next week, trying to double our output as the deadline looms! Might be able to post up some mock ups of ideas of the whole piece by then too. Check you later!

Tuesday, 10 March 2009

Mural Workshop - 2nd Session

Yesterday we moved the workshop to the Dracaena Centre in Falmouth. It was a bit harder for the group to get to, so i wasn't expecting a big turn out! Surprisingly though, there were more in this group than the one in Truro last week.

Me and John Mackenzie, who works for Addaction and organised this whole project, picked up 2 lads from their social services house in Camborne. These 2 guys had been quite vocal in last weeks session about some of the things that they'd been getting up to, and about what trouble they'd been getting into! I don't think it's appropriate here to mention any incidents, but lets just say i'd started to wonder about who and what i'd got involved in! John had explained some of the kids backgrounds, so i knew what i'd agreed to, and to be honest no one had displayed any behavioural problems in last weeks workshop.

We got to the Dracaena Centre in Falmouth, with the possibilty of some problems arising between the 2 lads in the back of the car and some dodgy locals in the area! Luckily nothing arose, so we could get on with setting up the workshop in a large sports hall at the centre. I'd set the group a task last week to try and draw and develop a character for this session, and the results weren't that great! The one girl in the group who i'd had high hopes for, had done her task but she wasn't pleased with what she'd produced. Her drawing was technically very good, but wasn't really the kind of thing that i'd been looking for! I'm probably guilty of having a preconcieved idea of what we're trying to achieve, but i'm finding it hard to get any of their own ideas out of the group. At the moment i've just had to concentrate on showing them how to transfer their ideas from a small piece of paper, and putting it up large on a wall. This session was mainly an attempt to try and get them used to working on a bigger scale, and not just doing little doodles on an A4 piece of paper! I took a couple of designs that Beth had done of eyes, and showed the group that they don't have to be quite so literal in their way of thinking while working on ideas. Once i'd done an A3 drawing of what i wanted to put on the wall, i then showed the group how to scale their image and then transfer it onto the wall.

As we were working in a sports hall and couldn't paint directly onto the walls, we got them to transfer their drawings onto large sheets of paper. After an initial shaky start, the signs became far more encouraging as the group got to grips with working on a larger scale. Some of the guys started by transfering their drawings onto acetate, and then projecting them onto a wall with an OHP. Some of the other members of the group were a little braver, and even started off by drawing freehand. And some even used a mixture of projector and freehand! As an exercise in creating ideas for the final mural in Hendra, nothing was really achieved, which was slightly disappointing. I think this is just me worrying, as the time scale we have to finish a final design to submit to the council, is to to say the least rather tight! But as an exercise in improving the groups drawing skills and awarenes of scale, then we had achieved quite a bit. As with any session like this, as soon as you get everyone motivated and ready for action, time catches up with you and it's time to pack up and wind it down!

At the end of it, there were some nice pieces of work started. Next week, the guys get to have a spray can workshop with Tom Sutcliffe, which will be interesting to see what results come from that! The following week, me and Tom get together with them and see what ideas are possibly emerging. I think me and Tom are gonna have to give them a little bit more direction if there is going to be any input from them in the final piece. We've really got to try and give the council a really professional proposal which is simple and striking at the same time. We really are going to be up against it time wise, and we also have a consultation day with the local community at the end of the month too, to see what ideas they have about our proposal! I just love it when even more random factors are thrown into the equation!

John's arranging for a local paper to get a picture of the group taken in front of some of the images being produced from the workshops. One of the lads didn't seem too keen on this idea, and if one of his stories is correct about his antics, then i think it might be a good idea to keep his face out of the public eye! I don't think it would be a good idea to have irrate enemies coming down to the park where the site for the mural is, we've got enough obstacles in front of us without any any fights kicking off while i'm up a scaffold tower! And i don't think our budget will stretch to paying for police protection either! Haha, i don't think it will come to that, but you can't help daydreaming sometimes about worst case scenarios! I can just see it now, me and Tom half way up ladders while there's a turf war kicking off behind us!

I'm kind of gutted that i'm missing next weeks session, i wanted to see what colourful designs and antics come up! I just hope Tom can coax a little bit more out of them, and can keep himself out of trouble! Good luck mate!

Wednesday, 4 March 2009

Hard work with the kids!

Yesterday i gave a workshop to a group of troubled teenagers about mural painting and character development!

I didn't really know what to expect from these guys, as it was my first time meeting them and didn't know anything of their backgrounds or problems. I'm doing these worshops with them to help them create some characters and get them to try and eventually paint them up large on a wall. All this is in preperation for a final piece which will include their designs on a public wall in Truro, which is the capital of Cornwall.

It was only a small group yesterday, but still heavy going! The group consisted of 15 - 17 year olds who were all living in Social Service Housing and who were all assigned a Care Worker who helped them with any problems. Their own particular problems ranged from armed robbery, assault with a weapon, teenage pregnancy and domestic violence! It took a while to explain exactly what we were trying to achieve, but once i'd shown them a few examples of the type of thing we were trying to achieve, they seemed to pretty keen and proceeded to crack on with doing some drawing and getting the ball rolling!

Listening to their stories while they were working kind of made me sad at the shit that they have to deal with at such a young age! These guys just seem to be getting lost in the system with no help from any family, just their care worker and the people in the houses that they've been placed in. It's going to be interesting to see how this group develops over the next few weeks, and how their creativeness develops too!

Next week, we're moving to a bigger venue where we can start translating some of their ideas to a larger scale. There's gonna be a few more kids coming along who couldn't make it this week, so there's going to be more unkown factors thrown into the mix! I'm just hoping we can get enough out of these kids to come up with a finish piece in time, the wall we will be painting on is 36 metres wide and 5 metres tall...... so we've got a lot of wall to fill.

Busy, busy, busy! I've just finished printing some shirts for a friends new skateboard company which is called Ekta. They're some sweet designs and the shirts look really cool. Printing some shirts for a friends horse riding school next, and then onto some of our own shirts for Rimo-to, which is my own clothing range!

Here's one of the new shirts, which is a new colour way of an old design! Got some proper new designs coming real soon!

On top of all that, i'm trying to do some new designs for my own paintings too! My studio's a bit of a mess at the moment with all the projects that are going on, so if i get any spare time i think i need a bit of a tidy up! What do you think?

Ok, i think i'd better get on with the big clean up! I'll keep you posted on how the workshops develop and how the kids progress with their skills!

Cheers for now, take it easy!

Mat x