Argh! I’m so rubbish at updating ya’ll.
So what have I been doing? Well, I went back to Ukraine, and installed a show in a gallery with 5 British artists who were also on the British Council residency I was on back in September, but also the 4 Ukrainian artists who had been on a residency in Liverpool earlier on in 2016… I made a comic with conversations in from my travels, and a giant wall piece – 5m high, and 4m wide! I also sold my own ‘souvenirs’ that represented my own experience of the country and it’s people in the form of tea towels, keyrings, magnets, postcards and nesting dolls. I had a fantastic trip, and it was lovely to meet all the other British artists that were placed in different parts of Ukraine! Plus we got to stay at the amazing Hotel Salute – it’s an architectural marvel! It was also wonderful to meet up with my old Ukrainian pals, and go back to some of my favourite drinking haunts.
Photos by Kostiantyn Strilets for the British Council
I am hoping to get my comic printed soon, so I can get it in the shop for purchase! Keep your eyes peeled, and I shall deliver…
I have also been working on a new project up north, collecting stories from people with Dementia across Lancashire funded by the local councils. It will end up as a beautiful website that shares the stories through audio, film, drawings and photos which will be completed in September. For now, I’ll be travelling up north a few more times, and continue to listen through hours of audio to pick out the best anecdotes and stories !!
Work on my next graphic novel continues, but I’m hoping they’ll be some big news on that front in the next few months, so keep checking back.
Back in September I spent one month in the village of Muzychi, Ukraine on an artist residency funded by the British Council. I will be going back in March to install an exhibition piece in Kiev, it will be a group show with other artists who took part in the programme. I’ve been looking through the writings from my sketchbook from my time there, and thought I would share some on my blog…
This one is about how my host Alevtina(also an incredible artist) visited some residents in the village on the second evening of my stay:
September 2nd 2016
There are two other artists in the village aside from Alevtina; Vasyl, and Vasyl’s neighbour. THe artist next door to Vasyl paints countryside scenes of lakes and swans, hills, forests, and flowers.
“They are all copies” says Alevtina.
The walls are covered floor to ceiling with her work, whether hung up in wooden frames, or painted directly on to the walls. Her modest house is swallowed up by stunning scenery, sunsets, picturesque houses, Christian figures and sun flowers. She tells Alevtina to tell me that she never went to art school, and that she is self taught.
She argues with Vasyl. He has not brought her any paint.
“Paint is very expensive in Ukraine” says Alevtina.
Later we visit Vasyl’s home and studio. I discover he is not only a talented sculptor but he is also a great painter. Alevtina tells me that Vasyl’s artist neighbour does not know that he is a painter. She will want his paint for herself if she found out!
Vasyl’s work is stunning. His sculptures tower above me in his garden. A red circular shape stands prominent in his work space, as do metal shapes that have been strategically placed on the ground, ready to be pieced together. Vasyl walks us over to his studio. The shelves are filled with mini nudes, busts and characters. They look out at you and hold your gaze, and others are hung as of they are climbing the walls that are lined with equipment, it seems as if they are trying to escape their creators enclosure.
Sat on a small handmade wooden bench, we drink tea out in the garden. Vasyl shows me the brown sugar proudly as the sun sets into the forest.
“Brown sugar is a rarity in Ukraine” says Alevtina.
Please print and cut out the Muzychi money to use for payment on the bus, and for purchases at the event!
Будь ласка, роздрукуйте та виріжіть гроші для Музичі, щоб оплатити автобус та розрахуватися на заході!
RIght click, save and print | Клацнiть правою кнопкою мишки щоб зберегти та роздрукувати
The lovely Bill and Chris of Graphic Weiners interviewed me the night before I headed off to Ukraine to talk all things Stan and Nan. Give it a listen to hear my mumbled answers !
I will be presenting work created here in Ukraine in my Muzychi studio on the 25th September. Details below:
I’m now in Muzychi! – a village just outside of Kiev. I’m here for one month staying with the artist Alevtina Kakhidze. Ale and her husband Vova are lovely and welcoming people. They cooked me dinner in their garden last night where I discovered Mustard leaves – oh my goodness, if you haven’t tasted them, I recommend you hunt them down.. so delicious… My hosts have three dogs – Penelop who is a beautiful friendly playful soul, Deer who is quite poorly at the moment and enjoys chocolate, and Bukowski, whose name does him justice – he’s a little on the more aggressive side.
You can now follow me on instagram to see lots of photos! I’m crayonlegs of course, so look me up. More soon.
Oh and one last thing – I am going to this tomorrow.. If you didn’t know already, I really like dogs… Which is probably a good thing as they are everywhere in Muzychi!
So it’s been a little while since I last posted… I have been taking a much needed two week break in Croatia, but back on home turf and art-wise, lots has been happening, some of which I can disclose now! I am illustrating a new book from the marvellous Joanna Grochowicz who has written a smashing account of Robert Scott’s tragic journey to the south pole entitled ‘Into The White’ for older children with Allen and Unwin. I have also been selected as one of six UK based artists to spend one month in the Ukraine as an artist in residence. I will be in residence at the artist Alevtina Kakhidze studio in the village of Muzychi for the whole of September – very exciting indeed. Expect plenty of posts from me! And more exciting news as and when I can reveal!
In the meantime – here’s a little drawing from my sketchbook. Dubrovnik Airport from above:
It was also comic of the week over at Broken Frontier. They said some lovely things including:
“[Stan and Nan is] a beautifully thoughtful piece of storytelling brought to life with a distinctive visual honesty, this is a fine addition to the Cape comics library and one that marks the emergence of a most promising new voice to watch out for on the UK scene.”
Read the full review here
TONIGHT: We celebrate the publication of my first graphic novel, Stan and Nan at Gosh Comics from 7-9pm. If you’re in the area, come and say hi! You can now buy a copy from all good book stores and across the interwebssss! Wahoo! Do let me know what you think. Recent reports have indicated it’s a bit of a cryer. Sorry if I make you cry!