Thursday, April 29, 2010

More iPhone collages


iPhone collage

I'm taking another short break from Such Tweet Sorrow, to catch up with sharing some more of my recent iPhone work with those of you who don't visit Flickr.

Burnt Offerings is a collage of several flowers and flower pattern photographs, taken in Montparnasse Cemetery in Paris.


iPhone collage

Attachment is the title of an on-going series that I'm working on: exploring memory, sentiment and lies in family relationships. As in The Juliet Journals, I'm creating images from the perspective of imagined characters, but in this instance, I'm also inventing their stories. As is often the case with my iPhone work, I made many versions of this piece and finally settled on this one as it best suggests the fragmented and fragile nature of desperately clung-onto childhood fables.


iphone collage

A Boy's Own Story was made following a trip to STEAM: the railway heritage museum in Swindon, Wiltshire, where I had been drawn to take photographs of the mannequins used in tableaux that depict aspects of work and recreation in the age of Steam. I wondered what other narratives might occur once the inanimate figures were extracted from their museum settings, so I took close-up views of figures and faces, from different viewing angles than those naturally imposed upon visitors by the positions and arrangements of displays (whilst at the same time, trying not to attract the attention of the museum's staff and be guided-off the premises for suspicious behaviour). This image is a collage of two photographs: the young lad was originally enjoying the view from a train carriage window, as he travelled with his mother and sister to an unknown seaside destination; the scantily clad lady was extracted from a photograph that I took by pointing my iPhone down the viewfinder of an antique What The Butler Saw Fairground machine.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

The Juliet Journals: Sleeping With The Enemy


digital collage 12ins x 12ins

At some point during last Friday or Saturday, depending on which time zone they were in, followers of Such Tweet Sorrow: the Twitter-based re-telling of Romeo and Juliet, finally witnessed the eagerly-anticipated meeting of Shakespeare's star-crossed lovers. This being a version set in contemporary Britain, and all that, 16 year-old Jules Capulet had no sooner clapped eyes on OMG! OMG! OMG! The Most Beautiful
Boy In The World, than she was inviting him up to her bedroom for a night of enthusiastic love-making, edited highlights of which were relayed via Romeo's mobile phone. Personally, I would have swiftly shown the boudoir door to any lover who engaged in post-coital Tweeting, but maybe I'm just old-fashioned. Could it be that today's teenagers, raised on a diet of reality TV, have no problems with the live-broadcasting of their sexual encounters? For all I know, Jules might have been mortally offended if Romeo hadn't let the rest of the world know what a great time he was having. Being a typical, self-centered teenager, Jules choose meeting up with Romeo, for round two of Strictly Come Shagging, over going down to London to cheer on her sister Jess ("Nursey") in the London Marathon. This rebuffing of family-solidarity did not go down well, but it paled in comparison to what came next. "So which one of you muppets stole my sister's cherry?" raged Tybalt, and indeed, some of us had to suspend our disbelief: how could Jules have engaged in so much intimacy with Romeo and not discovered his surname? When Jess spelt out the truth to a disbelieving Jules, was it really by mistake, or was Big Sis getting her own back? The news that Romeo is a member of the reviled Montague tribe left poor Jules so dazed and confused that she lost the will to Tweet. Meanwhile, Romeo, bereft of his new playmate, skulked around at home like Puff the Magic Dragon: his spirits so low, that even his mate Mercuteio, Tweeting surreptitiously-taken photos of female decolletage could not cheer him up. Whilst on the subject of Mercuteio: Twitter is currently all-a-jitter with anticipation of this popular character's impending demise. As those who already know the story are aware: Mercuteo's youth is indeed a stuff that will not endure.

The collage posted here is the right-hand side of a double page, the left hand side of which contains Jules's journaling but it is not yet complete and ready to post.It may have to wait until later, as the action over at Capulet Towers is moving swiftly on and really must try to keep up.

The previous journal page can be viewed HERE

Friday, April 23, 2010

The Juliet Journals: Butterfly's Ball


Digital collage 24ins x 12 ins

This morning I woke up with a MASSIVE zit on my face
I feel like such a minger! I have SO TOTALLY hated being 15
It feels like a nothing age when you are not a girl
any more but not a woman either.
On Friday I will wake up 16 and suddenly
Everything will be different. I am SO excited about
my party! Even if I still feel like
an ugly grub I can put on a mask and

This is the first time I've worked on companion pages together: both image and journaling. At some point, I shall spend more time re-working the font to make it look more hand-written, but it's a job to keep up with the young people as they dash towards their inevitable fate. This page is already a few days out-of-date: today is Jules's sixteenth birthday and this morning, before going to school, she Tweeted happily about her new mobile phone and how excited she is about tonight's party, which is to be a masked ball. The entrance rules stipulate home-made masks only. Laurence Friar has gone up in my estimation, as he has miraculously, and some might suggest, unbelievably, managed to get Romeo to make a mask without yelling "THIS IS SOOOO F*CKIN' BORING!!!!" and storming back to his comfort zone of Xbox and internet dating. Romeo believes that he has just found THE ONE in an online chat room but, unless Jules has been up to something that she hasn't shared with us (which would be completely in character for a girl of her age) we, of course, know better and so are eagerly awaiting tonight's famous, romantic encounter.

My sixteenth birthday was a long time ago but I do remember the frustration of being 15: still very much a child but feeling oh-so-grown-up and ready to fall in love. If I could go back and give some advice to my 16 year-old self, I'd tell me not to take life so seriously or be afraid to make a few mistakes: not that my mother and grandmother didn't give me that sensible advice at the time, it was just that, of course, I knew far, far better than they did...

If you missed Jules's last journal page, you can find it HERE

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Recent iPhone work





These have already been posted in my Flickrstream but I thought I'd share them here too. All were taken and processed on my iPhone 3GS which is the only camera I now use.

Monday, April 19, 2010

The Juliet Journals: Secrets Of Sixteen

Secrets Of Sixteen: Mixed Media Art Journal Page By Jules Capulet Aged 16

digital collage 12ins x 12ins

I am nearly 16
Secret thoughts within me
I really want to have a boyfriend and fall in love
But what if I loose him like Mum?

I'm really enjoying the process of creating journal pages whilst assuming another persona: an exercise in exploring the role of artist as actor. It is very like designing a costume but even more intense and involved, as when I'm working on a page, I not only have to inhabit the character but also attempt to express their creative language, leaving my own as far behind as I can whilst at the same time, using my personal artistic judgement and technical know-how to oversee the operation. Today I thought back to the time just before Christmas when I ran collage workshops with groups of sixteen year olds and this helped me to focus more clearly on how Jules might make her pages.
As I'm intending each page to have a companion containing extra journaling, I'm not crowding these first ones with too much text, just laying out themes.
Friday is a big day for Jules: her 16th birthday and she is planning her party. Over the weekend, she tweeted "I've been thinking about like...turning 16 and like...getting a bf know..."Doing It"...Advice anyone?"

Jules's last journal page can be found HERE

Sunday, April 18, 2010

The Juliet Journals: Stronger than Death


Digital collage 12ins x 12 ins

detail of journaling

Who do those bastards think they are?
I hate all Montagues
They killed my mother
Now they want to destroy my life
But I won't let them
I am a Capulet and I am stronger than that

Over at #suchtweet, the the air is ripe with hormonal activity: Jules is having a Sunday morning lie-in but the lads were out on the razz last night and are now nursing hang-overs. After some serious fisticuffs, Romeo went home with bleeding knuckles and, not for the first time, Murcuteio has woken up next to a young woman who's name he doesn't know or can't remember. Meanwhile, poor LaurenceFriar is fretting over what to do about the growing level of violence between the young people who frequent his Fair-Trade cafe. Personally, I think he should leave well alone and stick to making lentil burgers: there is no doubt that these children hate each other with an intensity and energy that only adolescence can muster and Laurence's Middle-Aged-Hippy aphorisms are falling on very deaf ears.

Lovely Jules has deep, unresolved emotional issues surrounding the death of her mother, ten years ago, and her vulnerability makes her an easy target for bullying at school. It probably also means that she's not going to be very good at choosing boyfriends. It's all too horribly predicable...

If you missed the first of Jules's journal pages (and have no idea what I'm writing about), you will find it HERE

Thursday, April 15, 2010

The Juliet Journals


digital Art Journal page 12ins x 12ins

For over twenty years, in what now seems like another lifetime, I designed sets and costumes for the theatre. During my last residency, I developed a bit of a reputation for work that was regarded locally as "avant garde", which actually just meant that I approached plays in unexpected and therefore potentially challenging ways (at least, to local theatre-goers). On one memorable occasion, a punter called our box office to enquire whether a forthcoming production of Macbeth would be "done properly". When the bemused ticket salesperson enquired how this might be defined, the response was "with people wearing tights". Our version of Macbeth (which, for reasons of traditional Theatre superstition, shall henceforth be referred to as "the Scottish Play" in order to avoid any chance of an iPhone-black-out as I blog) featured actors covered in gallons of fake blood and wearing very little else; a backcloth that could have been said to resemble the knife-mutilated private parts of a female body; and a fair bit of simulated sex. It wasn't a perfect or particularly subtle re-telling of the story and fans of historical hosiery almost certainly hated it but the young people in the audience totally "got it".

As I write this, actors from the Royal Shakespeare Company are "performing" a version of Romeo and Juliet in which tights will, almost certainly, feature only in a scene during which "Laurence Friar" engages in some form of drug-induced fetishism or "Mercuteio" rips the scanties off his latest party pick-up. The story is unfolding over six weeks, in real-time, via Twitter and we, the audience, are regularly invited to respond to the characters' personal dilemmas and vendettas. Last night, "Jess Nurse" asked us how she might cheer up her younger sister "Jules" who had been bullied at school. My suggestion was that they should put on their PJs, snuggle up on the sofa under a cosy duvet, with lots of chocolate at hand, and watch a good DVD. Jess later tweeted that they had done just that and watched Twilight. Result! I had forgotten what fun making theatre can be! I've declined "Mercuteio's" request to join "Team Montague" and chant abuse at the "Crapulets" because what I really want to do is put his head down the nearest virtual toilet, which is where most of his dialogue appears to have come from. This is, of course, exactly as it should be: the yoof of today eh?

Being inside the characters' heads makes for an exhilharating ride and I hope that every drama student is following this exciting experiment: and that includes YOU, nephew Dan! My creative response has been to make a series of digital Art Journal pages, based on Jules's tweets, as if she herself is doing the journaling. It's an interesting challenge: what is the visual language of this lovely but grieving 16 year old girl? How might the ways that she expresses her feelings develop as she falls in love? My first piece is posted here: Jules had just made her annual video to her mum and posted it on YouTube. My intention is to make a companion page to the one above. incorporating Jules's words, but in the meantime, you can watch it HERE. I'm off to catch up with the latest on Twitter: when do this lot take thier Equity breaks?