Studio – Reflection

One day, I walked into my studio space.    I sat down, and looked around my surroundings.  The walls were dirty – my desk was a mess.  To be honest, it was a sh**h*le.  On the plus side, it was an opportunity to transform the space, and create exciting pieces of work.  Upon my arrival, I decided to take my coat off, placing all my belongings onto the desk. For a few minutes, I relaxed and drank my bottle of water.  This helped me feel refreshed, especially after rushing around, and being squashed in a lift for two hundred years.  In the morning, the studios are calm and quiet – you can literally drop a pin and hear it for miles.

Underneath my desk, I notice there was a tin of ‘emulsion paint’.  I crawled on my hands and knees, to reach for the tin of paint.  I used a pair of scissors to take the lid off.  Once opened, you could smell the fumes coming from the paint itself.  accidentally, I breathed in the fumes, and it rushed into my lungs.  A headache was coming on, a side of effect after inhaling the fumes.  Carefully, I put on a protective mask to cover my mouth and nose.  The paint was pure white, and reminded me of seeing landscapes covered in snow. On my desk, there was a large decorating brush. I decided to grab the brush, slowly dipping it in and out off the tin.  Quickly, I splash the paint onto the studio walls, applying two coats of paint, spreading it like butter – across the wall.

Once fully dried, I began to assemble, and organise the appropriate materials.  On my desk, there was a selection of pencils, pens, graphite, and charcoal.  Out of all these materials, the charcoal was screaming out to me.  My gut instincts, were telling me to reach for the charcoal, and use it.  Whilst picking up the charcoal, quickly it began to crumble in my hand.  I rub my fingers together, and see it had covered my entire hand.  Everything I touched, the charcoal would leave a mark. At first, this was a pain in the ass, until I learnt how to fully embrace this powerful material.

Charcoal is a delicate material, easy to snap, and break into a million pieces.  When it rubs across any kind of surface, it bleeds, and leaves a mark behind, this creates an extraordinary use of line.  Even the marking making samples are vulnerable, and easy to smudge across the surface.  Regardless, charcoal will always contain a sense of vulnerability.

Charcoal_edited-1.jpg
Nathan Walker, Charcoal, Digital Image, 2019

The charcoal represents an individual in many ways. In comparison:

  • We break
  • We snap
  • We adapt to survive
  • We leave traces of the past behind us, and move on
  • We are strong at heart
  • We are vulnerable
  • Our biological existence, is from mother nature itself

Working with charcoal, interprets the individual’s wellbeing, most importantly – forming a small part of our identity, and physicality.

Having selected my materials, I began drawing onto the studio walls.  I have no intentions on pleasing others.  I am far from perfect, nor the best drawer in the world. Overall, art has the power to inspire, and make change in the world we live in.  All I can do is be true to myself, and create a drawing from the heart itself.   Creativity can be both: a gift and a curse, depending on our individual intentions, and purposes.  At this moment in time, my drawings are intended to record, and reflect upon specific memories, by using a biographical approach. Creating a series of portraits, reflecting their personality, and individuality – becoming a celebration of life itself.

Overall, the drawing becomes a replica of time, capturing a specific memory – translating these emotions through mark making. The drawing becomes a form of communication, between the mind, and the mark making process.  Thus creating a visual journey, combining elements of time, emotion, and memory – together as one.

Advertisements

Derry – Londonderry, Halloween Parade, 2018.

 

IMG_1090
Halloween Parade, 2018

 

Reflecting back on my travels, I had the opportunity to visit Derry – Londonderry, in Northern Ireland, and watch the Halloween parade. Beautiful, hand crafted materials were used to create intriguing costumes, and props. References to folklore, magic, storytelling, history, media, and Irish culture, were evident. The participants; were full of energy, enthusiasm, and life – who performed astonishing.

Many people had travelled from all over the world, to attend this event, bringing a diverse range of cultures together. A sense a unity, love, and compassion, was witnessed at this event. Making Derry – Londonderry, a city of culture, and prosperity for all.

The crowds were full of cheers, and excitement. Watching the parade proceeded through the night. The Peace Bridge, was packed full of people, crossing over from both sides. Pubs, bars, and restaurants were also busy. Everyone was dressed up for the occasion, some costumes were well made – some must have taken hours, or even days to create! Presenters from local radio stations, were broadcasting everywhere in the streets, sharing their thoughts, and excitement for the event. It truly felt, like I was in another world – a place of creativity, and imagination, had come alive throughout the city.

Once the parade had finished, crowds gathered around the ‘Peace Bridge’ to watch the firework display. An amazing showcase of fireworks, created a marvellous display, a fantastic way to end such an extraordinary event.

Regardless of geographical location, communities from all backgrounds have the potential to bring an event to life, through: teamwork, dedication, passion, communication, and creativity. Here, the people of Derry – Londonderry, have come together, and achieved huge success. It is the people, which make this city, a special place in Northern Ireland, and in Europe.

 

Fine Art – Introduction

sands of time_edited-2.jpgNathan Walker, True feelings, Digital Image, 2018

Fine art, is a multi disciplinary practice within the ‘art and design’ sector.  Painting, sculpture, photography, graphics, illustration, and installation, are one of numerous disciplines explored.  Unlike other creative specialisms, fine art has no limits, allowing many artists to question the world around them.  An artwork becomes a story, allowing the artist to investigate their chosen area of research, and communicate their ideas through a specific medium.  Regardless, an artwork will always contain an explanation behind the piece.

Career prospects

Many fine art graduates go into academia, art therapy, journalism, television, multimedia, heritage, and advertisement.  Some graduates work as full time artists, who exhibit nationally, and internationally.  Help is available for artists, from the government, providing a strong funding application is ‘satisfactory’.  Surprisingly, there are multiple careers graduates can pursue, having multiple skills such as determination, commitment, and a can-do attitude, will support ones career development.

University Education

There are no education requirements to become an artist.  In fact, many lead successful careers without obtaining any qualifications.  Although, many companies, and organisations, require applicants to hold some form of tertiary education.  Vacancies are becoming more competitive. Many individuals pursue university studies, in hopes to increase their career prospects.

Unfortunately, academia is becoming more corporatised, turning many students, and lecturers into robots – clouding their judgement.  In fact, achieving any qualification, is designed to meet the institution’s requirements.  A danger many art schools are currently facing.  It is important to find a balance between academia, and originality.  For students and lecturers, who study/teach fine art, must learn how to retain their original voice, and not allow academia to fully influence their way of thinking.  It is important to follow the system, yet knowing when to look beyond barriers placed by academia, is equally paramount.

Conclusion

Fine art can become a challenging discipline: opening up questions, discussions, risk taking, and creativity.  Overall, fine art has become an area of expertise, which allows artists to critique the world around them.  Allowing many artists to become resilient, and flexible in the creative industry. 

 

Why do artists read?

books.jpg

Nathan Walker, Books, Digital Image, 2018

As technology advances, further information becomes available for us to read online.  Books, journals, magazines, archives, e-books, and audio, are a few examples we can turn to, particularly for knowledge.  Social media platforms, and the Internet, are increasingly becoming part of our everyday lives.  As individuals, we use our mobile phones, tablets and computers, to access information. Although, technology comes with many advantages, our reading preferences, continue to adapt with the ever-changing world we live in.

Reading, allows us to absorb information, discover new knowledge, which benefits our creative practice.  As artists, is it important to observe the world around us – discovering new information through reading, allows us to gain a different prospective of the world we live in.  Creativity comes from our inner minds, giving artists the opportunity to produce, and create something unique in its own right.  Reading information from books, journals, magazines, archives, e-books and audio, fuels our creativity.   As visual learners, we gain a better understanding of our research, and know how to challenge certain topics, within our creative practice.

Overall, reading helps improve our writing skills in terms of: spelling, and grammar.  Allowing artists to produce professional applications for: exhibitions, residencies, grants, travel, and vacancies.  Having a strong body of work is important, although, our writing skills give a long lasting impression.

 

Love Story, 2018

P1010144.jpg

Nathan Walker, Pride, Digital Image, 2018

Everyone wants to be loved, bringing a sense of belonging, and security. As human beings, we feel a wide range of emotions. It’s part of our natural instincts, part of who we are as individuals.

Regardless of ones sexual orientation, love is a natural instinct.  Society, influences the definition of love, through: politics, religion, television, media, heritage, philosophy, culture, science, gender roles, history, fashion, literature, music, theatre, and the arts. Influencing how we should behave according to society.  For this reason alone, social norms are put in place.

Unfortunately, most cultures see same sex couples as odious, and their human rights denied.  Providing no support for the LGBTQI+ community in various parts of the world. In some countries such as United Kingdom, members of LGBTQI+ community are slowly being accepted, and supported within society, more work is still needing to be done.

Regardless, human civilisation never created love. This natural instinct was created by nature itself.   Before the human race, love has always existed, and will continue to exist beyond humanity.

Click Image for full view.

 

Chinese Version – Translation: Bryon Xiao, 2018

爱情故事,2018年

 每个人都希望被爱,爱能带来归属感和安全感。作为人类,我们感受到各种各样的情感,这是我们天性的一部分,是我们作为个体的一部分。

 不管人们的性取向如何,爱是一种天性。社会通过政治、宗教、电视、媒体、传统、哲学、文化、科学、性别角色、历史、时尚、文学、音乐、戏剧和艺术等影响爱的定义。影响依据社会的要求,我们该如何做。仅仅因为这个原因,社会规范就已经到位。

 令人遗憾的是,大多数文化认为同性伴侣是可憎的,他们的人权被剥夺,世界各地的同性恋、双性恋、跨性别者和酷儿等性少数群体(LGBTQ +)社区得不到支持。在英国等一些国家,LGBTQ +社区的成员正在慢慢被接受,并在社会中得到支持;还有更多的工作仍然需要去做。

 无论如何,人类文明从未创造过爱。这种天性是由自然本身创造的。在人类产生前,爱情一直存在,并将继续超越人类而存在。

Teddy_edited-1
Nathan Walker, Relationship, Digital Image, 2018

 

 

Individuality, 2017

Click image for full view.

Nathan Walker, Individuality, 2017

Nathan’s practice focuses on photographic pieces of work created in three individual series.  The photographs are based on himself, his mother and her wheelchair, interpreting their filial relationship and their individuality.  However, reflecting a time when his mother used textual materials to support his wellbeing, her wheelchair also reflects his mother’s vulnerability.

Textual materials reflect back on his troubled times with Autism, the world around him became overwhelming, frustrating and confusing.  Simple every day materials from glue to fabrics are handmade and used in the photoshoots to present a time when material calmed his mood.

Photographs are created within his mother’s home, a place were the meaning behind the work has taken place over time.  Working with natural light allows Nathan to shoot portraits/self-portraits of his mother, her wheelchair and himself.

Upon completion of the photoshoots, editing processes are utilised to manipulate colours and shape through photoshop.  Engineering the use of shape, reflects his mother’s opinion of how he perceived the world differently, becoming an important part of his creative process.

URL Link: Nathan Walker

My reflection upon Northern Ireland

Since beginning my studies in Belfast.  I noticed many cultural differences between England, and Northern Ireland.  There is a mixture of British, and Irish culture, making Belfast an intriguing place to visit.  At first, the accent was extremely difficult for me to understand.  Through time, I gradually gotten used to the local dialect.

Money 1_edited-1.jpgNathan Walker, British Currency, Digital Image, 2018

As part of the United Kingdom, British sterling, is Northern Ireland’s currency.  Each note reflects upon the heritage, and culture of Northern Ireland.

Through certain areas, British, and Republic of Irish flags, are proudly flown across Northern Ireland.  From personal experience, I have never seen so many British, and Irish flags in my life.  Many British, and Irish flags, can be seen on: streetlights, fences, houses, windows, posters, and graffiti.  Some locals wish to remain part of United Kingdom, others wish for a ‘United Ireland’.  At present, Northern Ireland has no parliament; due to political reasons.  In Belfast alone, many streets show political views through: street art, posters, and memorials.  After speaking to a number of local residents, mixed emotions were commonly expressed.

Peace wall_edited-1.jpgNathan Walker, Peace Wall, Northern Ireland, Digital Image, 2018

During the Troubles, peace walls divided Catholic, and Protestant communities.  In the near future, I hope the Northern Irish Government, will one day remove these barriers.

Although, despite political tensions, Northern Ireland, is now in an era of peace.  Since the Good Friday Agreement (1998), many years of violence had finally come to an end.  Economically, Belfast has quickly grown, and developed into an exotic city. Throughout the year, many events take place in Belfast, a sense of unity, and belonging, is strongly felt in the capital.  Having worked with a local arts organisation, I was lucky to participate in good relations, and promote community integration through art.

 belfast.jpgNathan Walker, Belfast City, Northern Ireland, Digital Image, 2018

In conclusion, Belfast has become a hotspot for the creative arts, becoming unique from other cities in the United Kingdom, and Republic of Ireland. Transforming into an exciting place to build connections, relationships, and experience new horizons. The arts sector in Britain, could learn many things from Northern Ireland’s creative industry.