Sunday, 24 April 2011

Melanie Tomlinson at the Bluecoat

Just back from a flying visit to Liverpool stopped in briefly at the Bluecoat and was fascinated by the sculptural pieces by Melanie Tomlinson in the Bluecoat Display Centre.

Trained as an illustrator at Birmingham Institute Melanie creates images using traditional materials gouache etc and then applies them - prints them onto sheet metal from which she then creates these lovely three dimensional pieces. There were also a number of wall mounted pieces in box frames as well as the three dimensional works shown here. Her work seems to allude to some kind of narrative, or personal stories. But I was taken with the idea, that you can try and capture something of the magic, and amazement of seeing a wild animal like a deer in the wild.

There is also a resemblance to automata in these sculptures, I understand she has made automata in the past (I think?). It is interesting that illustrations can be made then applied to another surface using a print process then something more can be made with them. The print process used on the sheet metal looks like the sort of process applied to tin toys in the past. But the whole objects were quite intriguing.

She exhibits with textile artist Rachel Howard until the 7th May so you better be quick. There is a press release available here:

Wednesday, 13 April 2011

Creative Industry Statistics

I was musing, and getting annoyed, about the undervalued contribution that the Creative Industry sector makes to the UK economy today - don't ask... Lets just say it followed one of those "how come the UK Government is cutting all teaching funding to Creative higher education" discussions.  This government truly are idiots...
I decided that the Government themselves must have stats on this? And so I was directed via google to the Department of Culture Media and Sport to some national statistics from 2008:
Did you know that:

Advertising earns the UK - £7.8bn or 0.7 % of the gross value added (GVA is the amount earned for the UK economy) and employs 299,000 people.
Design earns the UK - £1.6bn 0.2% of GVA and employs 225,000 people.
Publishing - £10.1bn and 1% of GVA employing 236,000 people.
In total the Creative Industries including Art, Music, TV, Digital, Designer Fashion etc is responsible for earning the UK economy £59bn about 5.5% of total GVA employing 2,278,000 people. You can see tables of the stats by clicking the title link.

There are 14,000 design enterprises in the UK and a similar number of Advertising enterprises. There are some 2million creative enterprises in total in the UK, making up about 8% of all businesses in the UK- so where is the sense in cutting all teaching funding to education in the Arts and Design, where are the designers, visual communicators, and more to the point illustrators of the future going to come from?

This government are a bunch of IDIOTS!!!!

Show and Tell

There is an exhibition, curated by Martin Salisbury, at The Ruskin Gallery Cambridge School of Art from the 20th April - 12 May 2011 called SHOW AND TELL.  It celebrates the tenth anniversary of the MA in Childrens' Book Illustration at Anglia Ruskin University; "The Picture Book Makers: Leading Artists From Around The World" exhibition will include works by Axel Scheffler, Alexis Deacon, David Hughes, and John Lawrence. 
As well as these leading names in British publishing, the exhibition will introduce artwork by artists from further afield whose books have not yet been seen in English. These include Fabian Negrin, winner of this year's Bologna Ragazzi Award for non-fiction illustration, Kazuno Kohara and leading South Korean artist Sunkyung Cho.

Elephant Magazine

Picked up a copy of this magazine "Elephant" yesterday a hefty quarterly magazine about Arts and Visual Culture and its a bit of a hefty price, but plenty of content for your money.
This is issue number six (how have I missed it?)
Interesting Q and A style interviews with illustrator Christine Berrie well known for her drawings of collections of banal objects and shopfronts it was interesting to note, "...I often find that my personal projects and my commissions overlap. Many of my clients approach me after seeing my personal projects and require something similar."

Printmaker and illustrator Jonathan Gibbs who runs illustration at Edinburgh is interviewed too. He is a printmaker - mainly wood engravings. "What is the most important thing you learned at university? One had to find a path from disparate influences and varied tutorial advice. For me drawing was the dominant element." Jonathan Gibbs is represented by CIA (see the side bar link).

There are other interviews with illustrator Si Scott: "I'm not anti computer at all, I just love creating things by hand."

and Japanese illustrator Nomoco, as well as a fascinating interview with designer Coralie Beckford- Smith about her design work for Penguin's cloth bound covers. The main thing I find linking these studio section interviews is the importance of drawing and craft!
The magazine has a real variety of work and depth of coverage. As well as these articles that are directly about illustrators, there is also a section about Tokyo based artists, and an article about the position of women in design, some interesting figurative painting too. All in all a good read available from Magma and all good bookstores it says here...

(All works copyright the named artists and designers)