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Viewing: Blog Posts Tagged with: exhibition, Most Recent at Top [Help]
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0 Comments on EXHIBITION as of 4/26/2016 5:40:00 PM
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Starting to get ready for my exhibition at the San Ramon Lindsay Dirkx Brown Gallery. It will be open for the whole month of May! Two special events are planned for May 30. Yes, that is right at the heart and during the weekend of the huge WIND & ART Festival in San Ramon. More detailed news will follow soon.

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3. comix creatrix: 100 women making comics

Last night was amazing. The House of Illustration in London launched the UK's largest-ever exhibition of the work of pioneering female comics artists, in Comix Creatrix: 100 Women Making Comics.

Here's the striking poster by Laura Callaghan:

Do pop over to see the show, running until 15 May, just across from St Pancras stations (the one where you catch the Eurostar to France) and next to the glowing fountains of Central Saint Martins art college.

Speaking of France, this show couldn't be more perfectly timed. Curators Olivia Ahmad and Paul Gravett had been working with the House of Illustration to prepare the show for a long time, but it came right on the heels of a shocking announcement by France's top comics prize committee of an all-male shortlist of 30 international comics creators. What made it even worse was the board's surprise at public indignation and their follow-up explanations that there wasn't any strong female talent in comics, and general lack of supportiveness for women in the field. (You can read my article about that here.)

I only make comics occasionally and focus more on other kinds of children's book illustration, and go along to lots of social events dominated by women. But when I first started going along to comics events, very often I was the only woman in the room. Over the past ten years, this has changed so much, partly I think because of the coming-together of an arts & crafts movement with comics (look at comics by Philippa Rice and Isabel Greenberg to see what I mean), and comics moving away from being so entirely dominated by superheroes.

But there have always been women making comics, and the women who've made them have had to fight against all the odds that male comics makers struggle with (mostly do to with not getting paid enough), and also being marginalised by comics lovers who didn't care to look outside of their own very focused spheres of interest (Marvel, DC, 2000 AD, etc). But to pretend talented female comics creators don't exist makes some people VERY angry, such as comics expert Stephen Holland at Nottingham's Page 45 bookshop, retweeted here by comics legend Kate Charlesworth (who for a long time drew the comics for New Scientist magazine):

(Here's the Comics Beat article Stephen's referring to.)

So the best way to counter the Angoulême assertions would have been to set up a comics exhibition, just on the other side of the channel tunnel, rebutting that notion entirely. I can't even say how thrilled I am that this was already in the works, and here it is! I hope lots of men and women will go along to it; anyone interested in comics, drawing, illustration, storytelling, graphic design, history, typography, etc will find it fascinating.

Patrice Aggs was making comics long before I even moved to England, she makes comics with her son (John Aggs), and she's attended the Angoulême comics festival more times than I can keep track of. If they don't know who she is by now, they haven't been trying. It was great to meet her husband, Chris Aggs, who's a painter; I always see her zooming around on her own! She was always the last one to bed at Angoulême; the rest of us were dropping with tiredness and she'd still be up having intense conversations with comics people at 4am.

Here's Patrice's comics on display:

A lot of people know more about women in comics through Nicola Streeten, co-founded with Sarah Lightman of Laydeez Do Comics, an excellent series of talks (by anyone creative, not just women, but with a focus on women). Here's Nicola looking very fine with legend Suzy Varty in their matching lime greens.

Kripa Joshi goes back and forth between England and Nepal, and was in Nepal during the earthquake. The evening was great to get the chance to have a look at the anthology she and Elena Vitagliano have compiled to raise money for the earthquake victims.

(You can find out more about their anthology project together here.)

One of the cool things about the launch party was seeing people who'd been lauded in their field for ages, but never actually been featured in an establishment exhibition. There was some big-time excitement. I'm not even sure who this creator is (Claudia Davila, perhaps?), but she was totally lit up, I got all giggly seeing how excited she was.

Kate Evans was pretty excited, too, and I got a copy of her new book, Red Rosa, about Rosa Luxemburg.

Somehow I was so busy looking around in the exhibition space that I missed the speeches. (Oops!) So I never got to meet co-curator Olivia Ahmad. But here I am with Paul Gravett, who is one of the top people I can credit with jump-starting my career. He found me, probably at the first comics event I ever went to (a Yahoo group pub meet-up), and pointed me in the direction of David Fickling, who published me both in his DFC comic and with my first UK picture book. There's this notion that women in comics is a Women's Issue that only women will be interested in, but it's not at all; it's just as much about the thoughtful and clued-in men (Paul, Stephen Holland, David Fickling, etc) who encourage women and help us get pointed in the right direction so we can make comics that everyone might enjoy.

And talking about clued-in people, here's Audrey Niffenegger, who doesn't let the confines of medium or genre limit what she does; she's succeeded in everything from comics to bestselling novels to printmaking to her work being staged as a ballet in the Royal Opera House.

Despite being fairly young, Isabel Greenberg has already created an impresssive collection of work and I'm a HUGE fan. She has this amazing way of bringing together a craft element with modern storytelling twists on old legends that's spectacular.

I loved being able to see old favourites at the exhibition, such as these Moomin pencil roughs by Tove Jansson:

And Posy Simmonds, who first inspired me to make comics with her Gemma Bovery book:

And another person who got me making comics was Simone Lia, with her Fluffy books about a rabbit that I found in a clothing shop in Brighton, when Simone was still self-publishing them through Cabanon Press. (The Fluffy books were later taken up by Dan Franklin at Jonathan Cape.)

Philippa Rice continues to inspire me with her innovative approaches to making comics, using non-traditional formats and materials and lovely storytelling (I think I've bought at least ten copies of my favourite of her books, We're Out, as gifts for friends.) Here's an interview I did with her about the book. And here's Karen Rubins having a look:

But it wasn't all familiar faces and work at the show. One of the great thing about the Angoulême debacle was the hashtag #WomenDoBD, which highlighted LOADS of female creators I'd never heard of. And this exhibition was like that. Lizz Lunney felt the same:

Check out this lovely piece by Aurelié William Levaux:

And I definitely want to get a copy of His Dream of the Skyland by Aya Morton. My top new find, I think.

A case of work by female comics creators from back as far as 200 years:

Hey, it's work by my former studio mate Ellen Lindner! Ellen was the one who introduced me to LiveJournal and its comics community, which shaped so much of what I know now. She edits a magazine of comics by women called The Strumpet, and lots of us at the show have had work featured in that.

It's one of my buddies from back in DFC comic days! Emma Vieceli and I have had lots of adventures, including a trip to Paris to exhibit with her French publishers. Emma used to organise the Cartoon Village at MCM Expo and she's one of the people everyone goes to when they want to know something about comics.

I really must go back to the exhibition for a longer, quieter browse. Besides all the displays, they have loads of interesting-looking books in the reading room.

The exhibition is aimed at adults, so while I think parents could bring older children, they should be aware that some of the content is graphic (but not horrific, I'd say) and that the frames might be hung a bit high for short people to read closely without assistance.

Three cheers for the House of Illustration and everyone who worked hard to make this show happen! You can follow the House of Illustration on Twitter: @illustrationHQ.

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4. John Shelley Exhibition at NNUH

This past month has been very hectic, not only with illustration work, but also setting up another major exhibition, a career retrospective at Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital.

The exhibition came about immediately after my return from Tokyo. The hospital Arts Project at NNUH was running a series of workshops for children "Supernatural Garden" run by visiting artists from the University of Tsukuba in Japan, headed by Professor Yasuyoshi Saito and Dr Herb Fondevilla. I'd met Herb some years before in Tokyo, the hospital was very keen to link an exhibition of my children's book illustrations (especially those published in Japan) with the workshops.

The central corridor is a busy thoroughfare through the hospital, used by staff,
patients and visitors. I hope that the illustrations offer a brief imaginative escape
from what can be for many a very traumatic experience.
The Boat in the Tree (2007, Front Street)

Emma Jarvis, Hospital Arts Co-ordinator, says: “Our colleagues in Japan take a different approach to art and John is a great example of bridging the gap between the two cultures, allowing East to meet West. The illustrations will allow patient, staff and visitors to be reminded of their childhood, looking at detailed illustrations of well-known stories and provide something that everyone can enjoy no matter of their age or gender. The exhibition is a great and very rare opportunity to explore another world through an internationally recognised and award winning artist’s work who lives right on our doorstep, making it the perfect partnership.”

Two of the 4 volumes of Hans Christian Andersen Tales
(Hyoronsha 2004-5).
Various exhibition pieces, and illustrations for novels (Hawaiian Big Daddy 2003,  
The Deptford Mice 2005)
There are over 140 pieces of artwork on display, in 11 large wall mounted display cabinets dotted along the length of the hospital central corridor. The majority of work is children's book illustration, covering almost 30 years of my career, from my first trade picturebook The Secret in the Matchbox (Andre Deutsch/ Farrar, Straus & Giroux 1989) to my very latest Stone Giant (Charlesbridge, 2014).
From The Secret in the Matchbox (Andre Deutsch / FS&G 1987),
passing through two prints for Disney Japan to The Cobbler and the Elves
(Oki-na Pocket magazine, Fukuinkan Shoten 2007)

Stone Giant (Charlesbridge, 2014) - These are facsimile inkjet prints, as the
artwork is still in Japan

Artwork from other books on show include Peer Gynt (1990),  12 no Tsuki-tachi (The Month Brothers) (1991), Cinderella (1994), Hoppy no Atarashii Uchi (1995), The Magic Umbrella (1999), King Smelly Feet (2002), Hawaiian Big Daddy (2003), The Deptford Mice (2004), my Hans Christian Andersen series (2004-5), Charlie Bone series (2006-7), The Boat in the Tree (2007), The House of the World (2008), Halloween Forest (2012), and Jack & the Beanstalk (2012). Also a number of independent works from exhibitions and other projects. So, this is quite a big show, with examples from the whole gamut of my career in children's publishing.

The Charlie Bone novels (Tokuma Shoten 2006-7), and work for a WWF tie-up
exhibition  Denizens  (1990)

King Smelly Feet (Andersen Press, 2002), and Hoppy no Atarashii Uchi
(Hoppy's New House) (Fukuinkan Shoten 1995)
Much of the work on show has only been published overseas and is displayed for the first time to the public in the UK. All the works are for sale, either as originals (in the case of stand-alone pieces) or inkjet prints (for book illustrations). The show will run until May 2015, so if you're in the area over the next six months and have a chance to visit the hospital do take a look.

Cinderella (Hikari no Kuni 1995), and Peer Gynt (Hyoronsha 1990)
12 no Tsuki-tachi (The Month Brothers) (Miki House, 1991)
The House of the World (a subscription-only picture book for Benesse, 2008)
and The Magic Umberella (Fukuinkan Shoten, 1999)
The Hospital Arts Project at NNUH works on diverse projects with the community, interior design, site specific arts, performances, workshops, exhibitions, events, gardens and more. It's funded by grants from organisations and charitable donations. For more information visit www.nnuh.nhs.uk/arts

Halloween Forest (Holiday House, 2012)
Jack & the Beanstalk (Fukuinkan Shoten, 2012)
My deepest thanks to everyone behind the show, especially Herb Fondevilla (Tsukuba University), Emma Jarvis (curator, Hospital Arts Project), Richard Drew (Director of Arts in Hospitals), Eloise O'Hare (Norwich Dandies) and Natsue Hayward (Centre of Japanese Studies, UEA).

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5. Terror at Dean Clough!

Luckily for me, it wasn't real terror, but Tales of Terror, a wonderful exhibition of beautifully detailed illustrations by David Roberts, which has just opened in the Illustration Gallery at Dean Clough in Halifax. John and I went along to the opening on Saturday, where we met the absolutely lovely David Roberts in the flesh (I think all children illustrators are lovely to be honest... but then, I am biased). 

I just love David's work and I especially love this series, because of the sinister edge to each illustration. It's often quite subtle but definitely disturbing. Wonderful stuff:

They were created for the Tales of Terror books by Chris Priestly, a Victorianesque series of horror tales for children. David explained that that's why the illustrations are created to look a little like the old etching plates from Victorian novels:

I also met up with my friends and fellow illustrators, Chris Mould and Lydia Monks. It was great to have a good old chin-wag. Chris has a permanent studio at Dean Clough (they do loads to support artists). I went to visit his studio a few years back: take a peek... Chris was also the curator of David's show (well done Chris - nice job).

Here we all are in the Dean Clough restaurant, after I had just finished scoffing down a rather yummy lunch (I was a little worried about my grin, visualising bits of rocket between my teeth and am very relieved to see that, if it's there, it doesn't show).

There are several galleries at Dean Clough, and all the exhibitions were opening at the same time, so we had a lovely afternoon, mooching around them all. I particularly liked Jo Brown's abstract paintings

Go take a look yourself. the exhibitions are up until January 3rd.

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6. Cheltenham Open Studios 2015

My work displayed at deepspaceworks for COS15.

If you follow me on Twitter or Facebook you will have seen that I recently took part in Cheltenham Open Studios 2015, a biyearly event, where nearly 200 artists across Cheltenham open up their homes and studios to the public.

My studio space at deepspaceworks Art Centre in Cheltenham is home to 15 other artists and creatives and, alongside the studios being opened up to the public, we had an exciting and diverse exhibition running alongside it including work from studio members and associates.

Patience the Hare in progress - photo by Anou Issa
Me, Brigitte and Laura at the private view - photo by Anou Issa

Check out more pictures of the exhibition after the jump...




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7. Joy Chu – Illustrator Interview

I ‘met’ Joy a couple of years ago through her FB page Got Story and love her contributions to the kid lit community. She has been curating a fabulous exhibition in Southern California and it is open for another ten … Continue reading

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8. Sketchbook Exhibition at The Point

I've got a mini-exhibition of my sketchbooks this month at The Point gallery in Doncaster. On Tuesday, I travelled there for a meeting, to finalise which sketchbooks I am going to have on display and to install them. 

For now, it's only a small display: just 6 open books in neat glass cases, set into the wall of the gallery. I chose various contenders to show to the curator at the gallery. I also needed to test out which would fit best in the spaces, which are only 12 inches square, which meant neither small ones nor long ones would work. 

Luckily they were perfect for A5 books, of which I have quite a few. We chose a selection of different subjects, for visual impact, but also to get across the idea that you can sketch anything. I was keen to show work in various media too, because for me, sketchbooks are about experimentation and having fun, rather than creating predicable results.

It was lovely seeing the gallery. It's not somewhere I was aware of before they got in touch, which is shameful, given how close it is. The Georgian front belies a very modern interior. It's more than a gallery too: it's an arts centre, with music and dance studios, as well as a lovely cafe (which was very good value - lovely coffee for £1!)

If you are thinking of going to take a look, you have until October 21st.

There is also currently an Urban Sketching exhibition on, with drawings by artist Terry Chipp. There's free parking for 2 hours on the street outside the gallery too. What more could anyone want?

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9. Exhibition: a Year in Sketchbooks

What a varied and interesting year I am having! Yesterday, I went to visit a gallery called Z-arts in central Manchester, where I am having an exhibition in the summer. It is the culmination of my year as Artist-in-Residence at the Morgan Centre. The timing couldn't be better: the end of my residency coincides with the 7th International Urban Sketchers Symposium which, of all possible cities of the world, this year happens to be held in... yep, Manchester. Perfect. 

The funding is still to be finalised, but we are quietly confident and so have booked the space. It is a lovely big area, divided into two sections plus a screening room. Ignore the tables and chairs in the photos - there were just clearing up from an event. 

I hope to have created about 50 pieces of artwork by the end of my residency, so there should be no shortage of material. 

Any regular readers to the blog will know that each piece is created as a concertina sketchbook, recording some element of the life of the students and academics at the Morgan Centre for Research into Everyday Lives. The plan is to pick a selection of these sketchbooks to exhibit, and also to blow up details and have them printed on huge AO boards, as well as a few big photos, to show the process. 

The gallery has an outside covered-balcony area too, which will be perfect for a July private view:

We have been wondering how best to mount my artwork. Each piece of my sketchbook artwork is 2 metres long, which is not something you want to glaze. I originally envisaged them opened out and flattened to the wall, but now it seems a shame to entirely flatten them out - I'd like to keep some sense of how they were created. 

I researched different possibilities and sought lots of advice. In the end, I found a really low-tech solution. Very cheap, but extremely effective - using tiny clips:

The idea is the have the clips top and bottom, running along the length of the book, nipping the artwork to the wall at the sketchbook creases. I pressed my handy technician into service and we tested the system in the studio:

We needed to be certain it would work and also that the clips would stay up. It looks great and has been up on the wall for 2 weeks now, with so sign of problems - success!

The show will go up at the very end of July, with an opening event on the evening of Friday July 29th. Come along!

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10. Harmony Exhibition: Private View!

We had our private view last night for the Harmony exhibition in Cheltenham. Here are a few photos from the evening, we had a great turnout! You should also check out the lovely Liz Clayton's blog for more photos. The exhibition will be staying open daily 10-5 until Tuesday 17th July.

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11. Harmony Exhibition: 11-17 July 2012

The GradGallery exhibition is currently open at The Gardens Gallery, Cheltenham. There's a variety of work on show, ranging from illustration to photography. There are originals and prints for sale and lots of lovely greetings cards and postcards to purchase.

Thank you to everyone who has visited so far, we have had some great comments and met some lovely people! Please pop in and say hello if you are in the area. I'll be there most days, we are open 10-5 until Tuesday 17th July.

These are a few photos of the exhibition:

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12. SketchDrool: Drawing and Eating!

Yes, following on from the regular SketchCrawl, then our SketchJam idea, we SketchCrawl North sketchers have coined another new term: the SketchDrool. It combines two of my favourite pastimes - drawing and eating!

Last Friday night, despite unbelievably torrential rain, a small group of us met up to go to the preview of a new exhibition of screen prints by Mick Marsten, at Pete McKee's A Month of Sundays gallery in Sheffield.

It was really nice stuff. We thought that the foul weather might put people off though, but the show was packed. It was nice to bump into several people we knew and chew the fat over a glass of wine and some nibbly things.

Afterwards, we crossed the road to Otto's restaurant, where we had booked a table for a drawing evening. I took along my Inktense watercolour pencils, my trusty waterbrush and just a tiny A6 sketchbook. I managed to grab one sketch for each section of the meal. 

Serious food-sketchers, like sketch-buddy Matthew Midgley, did their drawings before they ate, but I couldn't resist getting stuck in while it was hot, and only stopped to draw half way through.

As soon as my main course arrived, I realised that mushroom risotto was not the wisest choice... 

It tasted delicious but was mainly white, not to mention consisting primarily of impossible-to-draw rice! I was happy to stop and sketch though, as it was very rich and I was getting seriously stuffed.

While we waited for our food to settle, we had some more wine and moved places, so we could chat to new people and have new angles to sketch from. This is Moya, who I met at my clay modelling evenings:

After a bit, the waiter came to try and tempt us with the desert menu but, though puddings might have been fun to sketch, we all groaned and took the sensible option of ordering coffees instead.

It was great fun to try something a little different and worked especially well for having a combination of stalwarts like myself, Andrea Joseph and Matthew, but also some first-timers. 
It was a lovely evening and an idea I'm sure we will repeat. 

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13. The Willow Foundation: Encounter with an Anaconda!

Last year, I was invited to create a small piece of artwork for a charity auction and exhibitionStars on Canvas, in aid of the fantastic Willow Foundation. They sent me a little blank canvas last December but, since they didn't need it doing until June, I tucked it away on a shelf and... you guessed it: completely forgot it was there! They emailed me a couple of weeks ago and I felt really guilty, but luckily it turns out I am not too late.

Last time I did one of these, I had a bit of a disaster, because pastels don't really work on canvas. I ended up using oil pastels, but it was still not ideal. As it happens though, I recently bought myself some acrylic paints: I've been fancying having a go for a while.

Unfortunately I couldn't leap into action when I got my e-nudge from Willow: I was still frantically trying to get my Swap! artwork done, ready for Gullane to present at Frankfurt. That deadline has now passed and, though I am still working hard to get the rest of the artwork finished ASAP, I was able to steal a day this week, to get my little canvas done:

I chose an illustration from Class Two at the Zoo, as I thought that, since that book's been around a while and been on telly a fair bit, on Bookaboo, it might just be an image people would recognise, and so maybe fetch a bit more money at auction.

I decided to use the edges of the canvas to let people know what it was all about, but I have to say, painting the lettering took almost as long as the picture!! The project was really handy for getting a feel for acrylics though - it's my first try with them.

The idea is to sign the canvas and they sent a black marker pen, but I didn't want to put a great ugly signature across the front, so I initialled it in my normal way and signed the top edge instead. Hope that'll work for them.

There will be around 300 canvases in the auction, not just by artists and designers, but also by well known faces from the worlds of sport, music and entertainment. Bidding will open on 22nd November and closes on December 2nd (good timing for interesting Christmas presents perhaps..?). The auction culminates in a public exhibition at Maddox Arts, London W1, from November 29th until December 1st.

This is the 3rd Stars on Canvas auction. The first 2 events raised over £100,000 towards providing memorable experiences for people living with life-threatening conditions, such as cancer and motor neurone disease.

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14. Tokyo Wrap Up

I'm finally back home after a successful show at Space Yui in Tokyo.

Japan was wonderful for both daughter and myself, though it was very much a 'working holiday' for me. For the first month I was largely focused on meeting deadlines, producing work for the show and other such business, so not so many opportunities for socialising and enjoying the summer break. However the hard work was all worthwhile in the end, the exhibition at Space Yui was a tremendous success. My deepest thanks to Kimura-san and all the other staff at the gallery.

Setting up the show in the gallery (photo courtesy of Space Yui)
In addition to the artwork from 'Jack to Mame no Ki', limited edition prints and the original images drawn for the show, Space Yui also produced some T-Shirts from the unfinished artwork to my next book The Stone Giant. Although the artwork is yet to be painted in colour I had some scans of the ink drawings in black and white stage, which were perfect for the T-Shirt and made a very big impact on the show attendees.

In Space Yui Gallery modelling the t-shirts produced for the show
One of the numerous drawings developed from sketchbook images sold during the show
Legendary zoologist, TV personality and author Mutsugoro (Masanori Hata)
I didn't take many photos, but I've posted a very few snapshots of the attendees and more of the displayed work on my Facebook feed

Finally the exhibition was over and daughter and I were able to finally relax. Straight after the exhibition we were invited by my editors at Fukuinkan to the Nagano mountains to stay in a Besso (country cottage) and research our next book. It was a wonderful tonic after the stifling heat of Tokyo!

Seren in Kobuchizawa with Roa and Yuriko
Finally back in Tokyo I was just in time to enjoy the release of Jack to Mame no Ki on 10th September!

Fukuinkan section in the Tama Plaza branch of Yurindo Bookshop. Jack gets centre stage!

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15. BLOOM 8th - 14th May

This lovely image is the poster for an upcoming exhibition I'm involved in this May entitled BLOOM. The show is taking place at the beautiful Gardens Gallery in Cheltenham, where I have previously exhibited with the lovely GradGallery collective.

The exhibition will showcase the work of five creatives including myself, Sophia Bloxham, Liz Clayton, Emma Ridgway and Katie Thomas (who designed this fabulous poster!). Please click on their names to visit their websites/blogs to check out their work. There will be a variety of illustration and design on show and, as always, there will be lots of lovely prints, originals, postcards and greetings cards for sale!

Hope you can make it along to the exhibition, please pop in and say hello if you are in the area!

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16. Sketchbook people live in a cafe this month

Some of my sketchbook characters decided to spend the month in a wonderful cafe called "Ninas Café Klatsch" here in Hamm, Germany. I took them there last night so they can watch Ninas guests having delicious cupcakes and soups for the next 4 weeks.

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17. A Culture-Fix Gets Me All Inspired

We seem to have had quite a lot going on lately. You know, when your head starts buzzing, because you have too many different things on the go? To be fair, much of it is good fun and hardly feels like work at all, but still - I reckoned we were ready for a few days off.

So, when John and I were invited to go and stay with my uncle and aunt in Beaconsfield (between Oxford and London) for a few days, it sounded like a grand idea. 

It was lovely to catch up with my folks (and being looked after for a few days is always nice). We also took advantage of the location to visit some galleries. 

We went to an exhibition at the Ashmolean on the way there, where I discovered (in my ignorance) a painter I hadn't heard of before: Chaim Soutine. I just loved his crazy, frenetic paintings of Ceret.

On another day, we visited the RA Summer Exhibition. I have not been for a few years. It's a mixed bag of course, but the wild variety of work on show is part of the appeal. I particularly like how it was hung this year, with paintings and sculptures reflecting themes and styles back and forth. There are always pieces to love and hate, but it's never boring. 

We walked from the Royal Academy to Tate Modern. My Aunt and Uncle went to see the Matisse Cut-Outs show, but we had already seen that (wonderful by the way), so we pottered around the standing collection, which is always rewarding, as it's so well put together.

On Day 3, John drove us to the Dulwich Picture Gallery. I was desperate to see the Art and Life show, as I love the work of Alfred Wallis and Ben Nicholson. I didn't know Christopher Wood's or Winifred Nicholson's work as well, so it was a surprise that her work in particular really stood out. I think it was the most inspiring exhibition I've seen since the extraordinary Hockney show at the RA.  

We spent ages inside the gallery, then I spent ages in the shop, deciding which book to take home with me, to keep the inspiration alive. The exhibition catalogue is really good, with excellent reproductions, so I treated myself. 

If you have never been, the Dulwich Picture Gallery is a fabulously green and calm oasis, tucked away in the midst of the busy, grubbiness of South London. It was a beautiful day too, so we had lunch outside then I sat on the grass and did some quick paintings.

It was a good thing the exhibition was so brilliant, because the drive back to Beaconsfield was diabolical and went on for ever, through rush-hour traffic (poor John was a quivering wreck).

On our last day, we all went out for a lovely walk in the sunshine, along the bank of the Thames, out near Cookham (Stanley Spencer country - another of my faves). It was fun eyeing up all the mega-expensive houses on the far side of the water. When we came across these cows cooling themselves in the river, I had to ask people to hang on for 10 minutes, while I did a quick sketch:

Our wonderfully relaxed walk ended up by chance at a village show, where we had an ice cream and watched the dog show: always good for a giggle. And then, all too soon, it was time to start for home. 

Thank you so much to Bill and Anne for putting us up, feeding us and generally making our stay so lovely.

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18. 'In the Shadow of Giants' Exhibition at Space Yui

I'm currently in Tokyo again, preparing for my upcoming exhibition at SPACE YUI in Aoyama. The show runs from 21st-30th August, and will be chiefly showing original artwork from my recent picture book Stone Giant (Charlesbridge/Komine Shoten), plus there will be other original artwork on sale, copies of the book, prints and Tshirts. If you're in town please drop by the show! I'll be at the gallery from around 2pm daily.

Space Yui is open 11.00am-19.00pm daily (closed Sunday). Nearest stations are Gaienmae and Omotesando on the Ginza line.

After the close of the show at Space Yui, the exhibition will be re-shown for another week at a new gallery Yui Garden, set in the relaxed environment of Seseragi Park in Nakamachidai, Yokohama. However I'll be on my way back to the UK by then so won't be in the gallery.

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19. Radiology and Egyptology: insights from ancient lives at the British Museum

Egyptian mummies continue to fascinate us due to the remarkable insights they provide into ancient civilizations. Flinders Petrie, the first UK chair in Egyptology did not have the luxury of X-ray techniques in his era of archaeological analysis in the late nineteenth century. However, twentieth century Egyptologists have benefited from Roentgen’s legacy. Sir Graham Elliott Smith along with Howard Carter did early work on plain x-ray analysis of mummies when they X-rayed the mummy Tuthmosis in 1904. Numerous X-ray analyses were performed using portable X-ray equipment on mummies in the Cairo Museum.

Since then, many studies have been done worldwide, especially with the development of more sophisticated imaging techniques such as CT scanning, invented by Hounsfield in the UK in the 1970s. With this, it became easier to visualize the interiors of mummies, thus revealing their hidden mysteries under their linen wrapped bodies and the elaborate face masks which had perplexed researchers for centuries. Harwood Nash performed one of the earliest head scans of a mummy in Canada in 1977 and Isherwood’s team along with Professor David also performed some of the earliest scannings of mummies in Manchester.

Tori Randall, PhD prepares a 550-year old Peruvian child mummy for a CT scan, by Samantha A. Lewis for the US Navy. Public domain via Wikimedia Commons.

A fascinating new summer exhibition at the British Museum has recently opened, and consists of eight mummies, all from different periods and Egyptian dynasties, that have been studied with the latest dual energy CT scanners. These scanners have 3D volumetric image acquisitions that reveal the internal secrets of these mummies. Mummies of babies and young children are included, as well as adults. There have been some interesting discoveries already, for example, that dental abscesses were prevalent as well as calcified plaques in peripheral arteries, suggesting vascular disease was present in the population who lived over 3,000 years ago. More detailed analysis of bones, including the pelvis, has been made possible by the scanned images, enabling more accurate estimation of the age of death.

Although embalmers took their craft seriously, mistakes did occur, as evidenced by one of the mummy exhibits, which shows Padiamenet’s head detached from the body during the process, the head was subsequently stabilized by metal rods. Padiamenet was a temple doorkeeper who died around 700BC. Mummies had their brains removed with the heart preserved as this was considered the seat of the soul. Internal organs such as the stomach and liver were often removed; bodies were also buried with a range of amulets.

The exhibit provides a fascinating introduction to mummies and early Egyptian life more than 3,000 years ago and includes new insights gleaned from cutting edge twenty first century imaging technology.

Ancient Lives: New Discoveries is on at the British Museum until the 30 November 2014.

Heading image: Mummy. Public domain via Pixabay.

The post Radiology and Egyptology: insights from ancient lives at the British Museum appeared first on OUPblog.

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20. Exhibition in Tokyo

Here are a few shots of my current show in Tokyo, many thanks to those who offered advice on printing, here's how these smaller images worked out after painting.

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21. Tokyo Exhibition report: In the Shadow of Giants

I've just returned from five heady weeks in Tokyo, soaking up life back in the old metropolis, the place I lived for nearly half my life. Every year daughter and I go back to Japan, usually in the summer, every year we return with new and unique experiences, the only constant being the humidity and the constant murmur of cicadas, though this year there were several unseasonably cool spells amidst the swelter.

It's wonderful to explore familiar locations, see old friends and family, but I also had a very busy schedule of preparation, culminating in a ten day solo exhibition at Space Yui in Aoyama, followed by another seven day show (currently still running as I write) at Yui Garden in Yokohama.

The front porch of Space Yui

No matter how many years go by my fascination with Tokyo remains undiminished, I try to be as busy as I can when we go back, it's a city that demands purpose and direction. As I no longer live in Japan I find that without such direction and with daughter mostly staying with her grandparents I start to feel an emptiness, ponder too deeply on the past and other topics best left alone. No, move on, on, always onwards! Like the city itself, my relationship with Tokyo is constantly evolving, the journey continues.

Hanging day at Space Yui with gallery owner Hideyo Kimura
It's On!
It's been busy, inspiring and very encouraging. The exhibition, still on at Yui Garden, centres around original artwork from my recent picture book Stone Giant (Ishi no Kyojin in Japanese), from which visitors can order Neograph prints (giclée art prints overprinted with a fine silkscreen to prevent oxidation and deterioration of colour, rendering prints that are virtually indistinguishable from artwork). I also created several smaller pieces of original art specifically for the show.

Book of prints, and artwork from Stone Giant
Some of the smaller images created especially for the show

The Librarian
Wolves in the Forest
The gallery staff have been supportive beyond measure, Space Yui is a key part of my platform in Japan, the care and encouragement I receive there is inspiriting and progressive, all credit due to Kimura-san and her team.

Opening party, with guests including Komine Shoten editor
Tsuyoshi Yamagishi (left) and picture book creator Satoshi Kitamura (right)
Opening party - with Togo Kasahara, designer Hiroyasu Murofushi (I & I Inc) and Takeshi Fujisaki
Opening party, with illustrator Satoshi Kitamura (background),
curator Taiko Nakazawa, Tomoe Furuhashi and DJ Young Richard
The show at Space Yui began with a busy opening followed by a regular stream of visitors, I was quite overwhelmed by the large number of attendees. Signed copies of the Japanese edition of Stone Giant (Ishi no Kyojin) sold out within the first few days and had to be re-stocked by publisher Komine Shoten.

Signed copies of the Japanese edition Ishi no Kyojin
There were several highlight successes, the biggest being news of several competing offers for the Japanese rights to my next US book Crinkle, Crackle, Crack!. Written by Marion Dane Bauer (who also wrote the 2012 released Halloween Forest), the US edition is due for publication through Holiday House next year. I'll post more about the Japanese edition when details have been confirmed.

With art director Susumu Yamada (Tokyo Planet Design)
With members of SCBWI Japan
With Emi Noguchi
With my daughter and photographer Hitoshi Iwakiri

The exhibition is now on at the fabulous new gallery Yui Garden in Nakamachidai, Yokohama. In a building created by and for an architect's design office that overlooks Seseragi Park, the setting, interior and atmosphere is simply exquisite. If you're in the area before it closes on the 8th please do drop by.

Entrance to Yui Garden
The show at Yui Garden
It's been a wonderful summer. Many thanks to all the gallery staff and visitors to the exhibition!

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22. "SAIL" Exhibition

Hello everyone!

It's been a few weeks since I've stopped by here..! I've been busy organising work for several upcoming exhibitions, the first of which is "SAIL". It's taking place over a couple of weeks in May at galleries in both Cirencester and Cheltenham. There will be a huge variety of different creatives exhibiting and should be an exciting show! There will also be plenty of art works, prints and cards avaliable to buy if you wish! If you live locally, please pop by and say hello!

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23. 1973

A letter to SGJ, circa 1973.
Pen and ink 13cm x 18cm. Click to enlarge.

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24. come a little bit closer

My poor little blog has been rather neglected of late. I do have a good excuse though; I have been very busy. Last weekend I was exhibiting my work, along with some other local artists, as a part of the Derbyshire Open Arts weekend. It was a great weekend.

We turned Catriona's little barn into a lovely exhibition space, sent out the invitations and waited to see if anyone would turn up.

I was amazed by how many did. A huge thanks to everyone who went off the beaten track to find us. They came from far and wide (hey Louisa!) to see the arty loveliness our little barn had to offer. I'll post some photos when I get them back from Snappy Snaps.

Before the event I assumed I'd have three days to do lots of sketching. But, no chance. We were busy throughout which was great because there's nothing that makes me happier than sharing my sketchbooks with people.
You know up until quite recently the only artistic community I've been involved in is an online one. Being a part of that community has been amazing, and life changing, for me. It has enabled me to set up a blog, encouraged me to keep drawing, supported me in becoming a professional illustrator and always been there for advice on all sorts of things.

I had not, however, been involved in a local community of artists. In fact, for a long time, nobody even knew I was drawing like a maniac at home. It was my exhibition in Buxton, last summer, that brought me to the attention of a local audience and then everyone knew. Joining Sketchcrawl North a little while later made me realise the great things that come from being part of a group.

Exhibiting with this group of talented and generous artists over the weekend was a joy. I'm so happy that I've connected with a local arty community because you get good things from being with people. People who share your passion. So reach out because we are, after all, just chubby babies floating in a sea of tissue paper.

Check out the amazing work by my exhibtion mates; Catriona Hall, Sandra Orme and Rob Wilson. And a big big thanks to the photographer, and my friend, Lynne McPeake for everything she does.

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25. Meeting my Publisher

I got up bright and early to catch the 7.30 train to London on Tuesday morning, to meet my brand new contacts at Egmont (publishers of A Lark in the ArkBaby Goes Baaaaa! and Baby Can Bounce!). 

They've had a big change-round over the last few weeks. By coincidence, both the editor of picture books and the pre-school editor left within a couple of weeks of one another, so Egmont took the opportunity to have a rethink. Instead of 2 parallel editors, managing different titles, they've rolled the 2 lists into one under the control of a new Editorial Manager, who works to assist an equally new Publishing Director.

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