My Subject is War
An Exhibition of Animation and Illustration
18 July - 29 August 2015
Pyramid & Parr Hall, Palmyra Square South, Cultural Quarter,
Warrington WA1 1BL
This weekend my first solo show (eek!) opens in Warrington at Pyramid & Parr Hall (in the gallery at Pyramid). This year has been incredibly busy; at the end of 2014 I received some funding from Arts Council England to support a project that I was working on with Culture Warrington and Warrington Borough Council for the First World War centenary. This has pretty much been my life since January - workshops, lots of drawings, a vinyl installation, live art and now the final stage - the exhibition.
Since May I've been working on a new piece of animation for the exhibition - I wanted to produce something that celebrated Warrington in the First World War; I wanted to tell a story without focusing on a particular person or event - something that encapsulated everything that I've found out about the town during the war period. Surprisingly this came out quite easily - I wasn't too rigid with the storytelling. There were certain elements that I wanted to include - snippets from the lives of residents and things that were important to the town and from that a narrative naturally developed. I wanted to create a piece of work that the town would relate to and feel proud of but that would also inspire them to ask questions about their own families during that time.
As well as making a piece of work about and for my home town this was an opportunity for me to develop as an artist. Since graduating 5 years ago (!) animation is the one area of my work that has really been neglected. Time constraints and lack of resources have been the main reason for this and I've really missed making moving image work. My past forays into animation involved stop-motion, paper cut outs, paper mache models and some home-made looking (but brilliant) results. When I included an animation in my project proposal I didn't really consider how I was going to approach it - I just knew that I wanted to do it. I had an idea in my head of the overall look that I was aiming for and I had to just work out what to do from there. It's been a lot of hard work and I've learnt more than I would have thought possible in such a short space of time but it's finished and I'm so proud of it.
The animation will be on display at Pyramid alongside a selection of preliminary drawings from an earlier stage of the project. The exhibition opens on Saturday 18 July running until 29 August (check with the venue for opening times).
On Wednesday 22 July I'll be doing a short talk about the work at Pyramid as part of July's Arts Hub Meetup taking place 6:00-8:00pm.