Monday, 23 September 2013

Parallax Non-Art Fair: Different is better

The Parallax Art Fair (or PAF) was conceived and curated by the art historian and theorist Dr Chris Barlow.  Now in it's 8th incarnation, it will take place on the 18th-19th October at Chelsea Town Hall.

The PAF, "is a serious platform for international and national artists to present their work to national and international dealers, art industry people, collectors, critics and buyers without commission charges."

So what makes The PAF different to other art fairs?   The PAF is far more intimate than other fairs, and aims to be accessible for both artists and visitors, which means that recognised and well established artists mingle with emerging artists, giving them an equal playing field.


...the most exciting thing (he he) about this Parallax Art Fair is that I will be exhibiting!  I will be showing previous works, and also exclusive new editions to my Merwood family.  AND there will be a chance for one lucky person to win one of my new figures, 'Nova'.  Tickets are free and can be 'purchased' on Eventbrite.

If you would like to come along to the private view (17th October, 7.30-9.30pm) please drop me a line before the 11th October.

Saturday, 31 August 2013

Save Our Opuss

Having found an outlet for my poetry and story writing, I'm distressed to find out that it may be disappearing.

Opuss is an ipad app, an online community of writers - bloggers, poets, and authors. It is the easiest and friendliest way of publishing work and getting feedback at the same time. But...Opuss is now up for sale on Flippa, either we find a benefactor, or all our work will be consigned to an online trash can in the web-ether!

So what will you get if you win Opuss on Flippa?

  • The domain
  • The source code for the iOS app (objective-C)
  • The source code for the API (php)
  • Design assets
  • The database (MySql) which includes
    • 44,000 user accounts
    • 209,554 Opusses (works) amounting to 23,218,009 words
    • Opusses have been liked 1,166,076 times
    • The twitter account @opussapp (6000 followers)
  • This is a fantastic opportunity to make the Opuss network grow, with thousands of dedicated fans, and budding writers out there...

Help us out - spread the word - Save Our Opuss #saveouropuss

Friday, 16 August 2013

Littlehampton Arts Festival at the Putting Green Cafe

Little did I know that my day would be filled with old acquaintances, and childhood haunts!

Early light capturing the River Arun.
The Putting Green Cafe in Littlehampton has undergone a huge overhaul by one of my school friends, Clara. She has really transformed the food and atmosphere in the cafe, its a far cry from the cafe I used to go to as a teenager! Situated just a stones throw away from the beach (in front of the putting green) and also just accross the road from my childhood home. Sitting there talking to Clara, was a breath of fresh air, and Brenda (our RE teacher) and Linney were fantastic company too.

Take some time out at the Putting Green Cafe.

Clara created quite a surreal school reunion for her entry into the Littlehampton Arts Festival (20th - 27th July), showing my work, Brenda's photographs and Diana Stanley's paintings.

Brenda Gratwicke's photographs - something spectacular.
Diana Stanley's paintings of a serene Littlehampton.
Ino languishing in her glass house.

Wednesday, 31 July 2013

Kick Ass Meetup

Ever heard of Meetup? I hadn't until about a month ago, and it's been a breath of fresh air, realising that there are people out there with the same interests and goals that I have. Granted, having connections in London does help, but there are groups all over the UK and the world waiting to be discovered. And you get to go to some really interesting places, and meet great people...

After joining a few groups, I got an invitation from Sacha at Kick Ass Networking, and I thought, what the hey! Give it a go. The first event I attended was a the Google headquarters in London, what a great venue, especially for a geek like me ;) The event was a social networking and newsletter masterclass, well attended and brilliantly organised.


Next stop...sales and marketing :)


Sunday, 23 June 2013

Creative Synchromysticism - Giacometti to Ma

Giacometti -

One of my artistic influences is Giacometti; the simple forms and elongated lines which echo human shapes. Pinterest is my favourite new social networking toy, so while I was busy filling up boards with different artistic influences, Giacometti immediately sprang to mind.

Hasegawa Tohaku - Pine Trees
I found an image that reminded me of a conversation I'd recently had about a Japanese concept - the space in between spaces.

Ma -Negative Space

A simple and strange excerpt explaining ma on Youtube. 

Inkyo Masako - Light and Shadows.

Hakuin Ekaku - Ant on a Stonemill.

Monday, 8 April 2013

Three photos, one day

 Three snapshots of Dominican life taken around Saltadero and Cabrera.

Watching while the local boys jump into the pool below.

Village huts beside Saltadero.

The Cabrera coastline, wind and rain take hold.

Thursday, 4 April 2013

Anacaona (and a little nudge towards picjointer)

These past few weeks have seen me creating a few different pieces. I've started using driftwood from the beaches out here, and Anacaona is my first finished piece, carved from Dominican driftwood, in the Dominican. She was found near Cabarete, on a beach overlooking the kite surfers. Anacaona, Golden Flower, was a Taino chieftan in the 15th Century. She is a celebrated mother figure in Hatian society, and her influence spanned the whole of Hispaniola.

Note: Picjointer? A natty ipad app that allows you to put together photo montages...

5 reasons why you should get Photoshop Touch!

Since loosing my camera to the ravages of the economic downturn (would you believe it, I took my camera into Jessops to be fixed on the day they went into receivership) I have been using various methods for taking photographs. Using the ipad for this is a sinch, but what about editing photos? Enter Photoshop Touch.

At £6.99 it's way cheaper than the full version, it's easy to use, and the tutorials are a brilliant starting point. It can be used as a touch up and tidy tool. Having never really got to grips with the full version, it's a neat way to get started on creating, editing and just messing about with your photos!
Below is a series of photos with different effects, using the same base photo of Anacaona, my first Dominican figure.

Starting point, taken with the ipad.

A few scratches and sepia effect added to create an old photograph.
Comic book effect.


Using the comic book effect and adding acrylic paint.

Tuesday, 26 March 2013

A surprising find near Playa Caleton!

A search on Google Earth revealed a small bay near Playa Caleton.  After a few wrong turnings (one involving a friendly man with a gun) we found the natural bay, a perfect spot for snorkeling.  The surprise?  The coast here is one massive fossil of a coral reef...

Crystal clear waters near Playa Caleton.

Here there are huge fossils of the coral reef that existed here millions of years ago.

Tiny winkles have found a home in one of the fossils.

A geologists dream!

Friday, 8 March 2013

Isis in Villa Magante

Since I've been in the Dominican Republic I've been focusing my work on larger pieces. Isis is the first finished piece, standing at 40cm tall! She was found on Hastings beach on 21st May 2012, on a slightly cold, but hopeful spring day.

Hastings beach, down by Rock-a-Nore.  The tide is out and I'm ready for the driftwood!

Isis in the raw. 

I wanted to leave the impression of her hair, with just the hint of a pattern in the wood, leaving the rest to the observer's imagination.  Below is Isis in the Caribbean sun, miles away from where she was found, and bringing together three different cultures, from three continents!

So what do I know about Isis, well she's the Egyptian Goddess of magic, wife and sister of Osiris, and is also the namesake of the River Thames as it flows through Oxford. A lot of the iconography associated with the story of Isis and Osiris can be found in early Christian religions, where the figure of Isis suckling her son Horus, was transformed into the figure of Mary holding the baby Jesus. There are other striking similarities between the story of Jesus and that of Osiris and Isis as they both contain elements of death and rebirth.

Thursday, 21 February 2013

What's new in Samana?

After a week of settling in to my almost new life in the Dominican Republic, we decided to go on boat trip in Samana Bay to see the Whales.  There is a short window of opportunity to see these majestic creatures during the first three months of the year, when the whales return to warmer waters to mate and calve.

Arriving in Samana Bay on a scorching hot February day.

Leaving Samana by boat.

 We got our first glimpse of a male and female pair (the male later turned out to be 'Bat' after the researchers had identified him) within a few minutes of leaving the coastline.  And we stayed with this pair throughout our trip.

Our first glimpse of the male and female pair was a water spout in the distance.

Bat rolling and saying 'hi'!

Majestic to the end.

During our trip we got the chance to get close to the whales, some of the smaller boats daring to go even closer.  All eyes were scanning the sea to see where the whales would next appear.  One special moment was when the female breached, and we got to see her launch up in the air just metres away from the prow of the boat.  Plenty of people were lucky enough to get a photo - poor me, my camera jammed and all I got was a picture of the inside of the boat!

One last shot!

Leaving Samana Bay
Check  out more photographs at:

Monday, 11 February 2013

Work in progress...

I found this little piece if driftwood on Littlehampton beach along with a mermaid's purse a few months back, and started carving her while staying in Minehead during the recent cold snap.

The first stage was to decide the nature of the sculpture.
Next to mark out a rough silhouette.

More detail is added with the tail taking shape.
Now the head and arms.

How she looks now after a quick sanding of the main features.

Tuesday, 29 January 2013

Creative Synchromysticism...?

Synchronicity is the grouping of two or coincidental events into meaningful events. The idea of synchronicity was first postulated by Jung who wrote a paper outlining the principles of the phenomena. A simple example of this could be, perhaps you are looking through your facebook notifications and you comment on a friends status update, at the same time you receive an email from that friend, and on the same day you are out having coffee and your facebook friend sits down at the table next to you - all seemingly separate events, but put together, meaningful.

Synchromysticism is a recent phenomenon that has swept the internet and online conspiracy community. It is, "the art of realizing meaningful coincidence in the seemingly mundane with mystical or esoteric significance." -Jake Kotze, The Brave New World Blog. Synchromysticism aims to pull together different forms of media and esoteric knowledge to make meaningful connections. There are three main elements which take one form or another in synchromysticism - the occult, politics and the media. Synchromysticism aims to pull together these disparate worlds, to show the underlying collective consciousness of the world - the holographic principle of nature and the universe. A good explanation of synchromysticism can be found here.

Creative synchromysticism is a term I have come up with to describe a creative stream of consciousness, with a starting point and a journey into information, images and synchronistic occurrences. It can be used as an aid to open up creative channels, almost like an organic scrap book of ideas and images.

So why am I babbling on about this? Good question!
Well...I have an ipad, and some free time, and I started a creative synchromystic journey the other day that I want to share, and it all starts with pinterest and Giacometti...

Testing blogger with Blogsy

Using my new ipad has not been as smooth a transition from using a laptop and imac as I thought it would be. Oh yes! My first few moments with the ipad were infuriating, no firefox, no openoffice, most of the apps you get for free withhold their content so that you end up paying for it anyway. But finally I think I am getting somewhere, with the help of a few choice apps, and a little bit of money.
Take the blogger ipad app, yes you can use it to post a few words and photos, but that's all there is - no formatting. I was beginning to tear out my hair, until doing a search and I found 3 viable apps, two of which you have to pay for - so I plumped for the expensive option, a whole £2.99 for Blogsy. So far so good.

I also tried out a work around for reading/editing word docs, and tried out 'Documents', a free app, which can used for reading word docs, but not much else. So, fed up with having to use an online fix in the form of rollapp, I bit my tongue and went for 'pages'.

There is a lot more to the ipad, than a quick facebook and twitter fix, it just takes a bit of time to get to grips with what this thing can do, and perhaps it hasn't quite reached my expectations because of all the fiddling about and spending money on apps.