Friday, 23 July 2010

Part D

Final project:

Plan: My own project involves taking small train figure models of people and place them around Sheffield, imitating real life situations mixed with scenarios which might happen between tiny people in a giants world. To lead a project that involves the whole group I will ask my group for ideas to try out with the models I have. Also to help choose final photos.

I got inspiration from a picture book called 'Little people in the city' by Slinkachu, where he takes figurines and places then around London in their own little narratives. Slinkachu’s work is classed as ‘street art’ and he uses super glue to get his little people to stand up. Looks like tricky work!

These little people and their scenes could represent human interests and just typical life, mimicking us. I’ll build my photography skills with this project too. As the people are so small, it can be difficult to get them into focus. I have to think about composition too. I will try and do my shots when the weather is nice but so far for 'July', the weather has been rubbish. I’s the better the light, the easier it will be to take photos and get the images in good focus.

Doing my project:
I had Emily Foster - Site Young Apprentice Scheme volunteer - and Josh, assist me The first time I went out. They suggested ideas and what angle to get them at. I became what Vicky calls a ‘creative opportunist’ with the builders outside :) I made a fantastic photo next to them with my builder figurines with their tiny jack hammers, shovels and a bright blue porta-loo .

After evaluating my photos for the first time I went out I thought about how I could improve them. I looked at cropping, backgrounds and composition and could see how I could have improved them by moving a bit to the left or right and changing my focus. Getting these types of photos is incredibly hard as there’s so much to consider. Not only that, people stare at you when you sit down in the street and point your camera at what could be ants!

My next plan was to go out again but this time with Vicky guiding and assisting me. She really helped me spend the time to get better shots. I also added little cards as little signs to some of my pictures to experiment with something a bit different. It turned into a really good idea and added a new ‘surrealness’ to some of the imaginary narratives.

I think this project has been a great idea and I’m really pleased with what I’ve done. I had to think on my feet (or whilst lay on the floor!) and think carefully about getting the best shot. Sheffield’s great scenery is art in itself so that combined with the little people and then the signs, really got me to be very creative. I love the humour of it too - that deep inside us all we feel tiny and vulnerable and ant-like in a big city.

Part C

My interview:

I organised an interview with Emma Toss, founder of 'The old sweet shop' - a small store set up in a quiet area of Sheffield [Nether Edge]. The former sweet shop sells pieces of art and creative craft stuff by local artists. Emma is not an artist herself but I chose her because she has the skill and creativity to do something good for art – supporting and bringing together the work of local artists. She’s sold and exhibited many local artists such as Phlegm and Kid Acne. I saw plenty of their work when I went to do my interview. I even bought phlegm's Comic Issue 8.

I really enjoyed interview Emma. She was lovely and down to earth and it was inspiring to see something like that work in a small neighbourhood. Also it was a cross between a gallery and a shop and I liked that. It’s like an old curiosity shop and might appeal to more people than a normal gallery because it’s also a corner shop (it was a sweet shop before!)

1. This is Lucy Ratcliff interviewing creative entrepreneur Emma for Site Young apprentice scheme.
2. are the founder of 'the old sweet shop' in nether edge, firstly...what is it?
3. What's the story of how it came about? (why a quiet area like nether edge? did you worry it was too quiet?
4. How important do you think it is for local artists to be given the chance to have their work in a local gallery?
5. How do you choice the work you show and is it all personal taste?
6. How do you price work?
7. What is the most common genre of art in your gallery?
8. What types of things sell the best?
9. What is your favourite type of art and why?
10. What's the weirdest piece of work you've had in the shop and do you limit the weirdness?
11. What price brackets do you sell in?
12. Do you make your own art or get creative and does the shop inspire you?
13. Do you have any funny or weird stories around the shop that you can share?
14. How would a young or new artist go about seeing if they can exhibit their work in the old sweet shop?
15. Are you happy with the way it's going and what would be your wish if you could make any changes?
16. You offer the chance for visitors to have work commissioned by an artist? What's that all about?
17. Can you sell the gallery as a place to come and visit to people who haven't been in...3 sentences?

Part B

For my Part B of the arts award I combined viewing the exhibition and artwork at ‘The Old Sweet Shop’ with an interview with the founder, Emma Toss (see part C and my interview here

Vicky wasn't messing when she said it was just a corner shop - it was tiny! But when we went in it was a bit of a tardis, jam packed and we were greeted by the fragrant smell of burnt incense sticks that hit my nose and a smiling Emma sat at a cluttered wooden table with a bell and a black sleek laptop. The place was filled with paintings, prints, tiny treasures and nic-nacs. I wanted them all! While Vicky and Emma had a chat, I set about enjoying the show and taking pictures with the great Site Gallery camera. There was everything from big pieces of artwork hung up on the wall to tiny little canvases, handmade jewellery, tiny wooden draws and clocks, handmade cards, pots, cushions, soft toys, table cloths, notebooks, t-shirts, bags and even soap. The first thing that caught my eye was the neon pink sculpture of a human skeleton on a neon pink dogs body, with two ice cream cones for horns - the most talked about thing in the shop apparently. I can see why :)

I specifically chose this gallery as it wasn't just an exhibition. It sold the artwork that came in and has changing exhibitions. Emma also brought up the subject of money and how you should find out some knowledge of how much a gallery would charge an artist for exhibiting their work or you could be tricked into paying more than you should be. It also just wasn't based around one local artist, or one type of artwork - there was such a wide range and that made the store so interesting. Phlegm Comic, Kid Acne, Craww, Plain Jane, Faunographic, Pixelwitch and so many more artists and photographers work was displayed around the shop. Phlegm Comic's picture books are amazing and it was nice that I could actually buy what was being exhibited! I bought issue 8.

This was one of the most enjoyable exhibits I’ve ever been too. It was really relaxed in the shop and I felt I could enjoy the work at my own pace. It also made me feel really proud and inspired by Sheffield’s creative talent. I didn’t know these type of shop and gallery mixed places exist and I think there should be more of them! I loved the atmosphere as it was cosy and there wasn't a blank part of surface in the store. It had no main theme so it would appeal to a wide range of people, and the lighting gave the store a warmer, relaxed atmosphere and so the photos I took were lovely.

Day nine

INDEPENDENT WORKING ALL DAY AGAIN, which is good as I needed to finish everything. Kim helped a lot with discussing the Arts Award writing up and I edited my interview with Emma but left a lot of the 'ums' in as it sounded more natural. Got a lot of writing done but it stressing me out that the internet isn't working though (as it helps if i can listen to music while I’m working). Plus I need to be able ot post my work up!

Day eight


We were on the computers for 40 minutes before we set off on a mission. We had to take the cameras that Vicky had given us to take photos of 'hidden Sheffield’. Whatever we wanted that to mean.

We all met up in the peace gardens at 11:20 with Vicky and a Apprentice volunteer called Lucie (journalism student I think) to help out. We were then led through the cathedral cemetery to Bank street gallery - where we greeted by twelve very peculiar and different themed deer heads :S mounted on the I know what you’re thinking......these weren't some random deer heads that just hobbled up to the door to say hello and welcome, I mean, they were beautiful and not so beautiful 'deer' heads. Made from everything you could possibly imagine. Even rubber gloves!

My favourites were the ones made completely out of seashells, one with taps for antlers and one decorated with rope and lace. One made of bits of wood and another made with a gorgeous turquoise material with a gold embroidery and dangling off the antlers were pieces of pretty thread with pieces of broidery and sequins. Some of them made me laugh to myself though.

After lunch we came back and went into a room full of taxidermied rabbits, foxes, ferrets and badges, and a video of the artist (Susanna Gent) doing taxidermy on a fox while she was swigging away on a can of lager. NICE. We all laughed a bit at how gross and how forward she was being regarding the dead fox, just flopping it about. But then she took off the foxes head using pliers........I think we all gagged a little then. She then decided to pass round one of the rabbits that had been a road kill, that was half flattened. I almost dropped it. I admired her for it though, I wouldn't have the guts (haha guts).

We then saw an artist who was using a projector to help him draw twelve favourite postcards pictures on to a wall. Very cool I thought. Then me, Josh and Bryony then went down to the riverside gallery with photographer Jacqui Bellamy a.k.a Pixelwitch herself to show us her 'Latrino Gals' work (women photographed in toilet cubicles!). I loved the staged one as they were neater and the lighting on them was better.

Day seven


Quite relaxing day to be honest. Just mainly writing, writing writing.

Wednesday, 21 July 2010

Day Six


Tired. Half - asleep. MORBID - As I found out Jessy had called us on Facebook, hahahaaaa : ) . About half ten we literally went down the road to Yorkshire Art Space where we were shown around the exhibit and studios. On display were the ceramic works of ceramicist Emillie (I can’t remember her surname!). There were plates and vases with paintings of local places around Sheffield. I liked the vases because they were big and chunky, not slim and tiny like you’d expect a vase to be. We also went into a silversmith’s workshop which I’d never experienced before. She was taking part in a contest where the prize was £10.000 but she wouldn't be paid for doing it. So it was all or nothing.

Later a student from Doncaster called Emily came in. She did the ongoing side of the Apprentice Scheme and was about to go to uny to study photography in Sheffield! She was witty, funny and was very talented. She showed us her work and it ranged from photography to sketches of nudes. As me and Josh were gonna focus on photography, Emily supported us around town but mainly around the winter gardens and just around the streets, seizing any possible opportunities that we could use to do our project work.

One idea of Emily's and mine was to place a tiny post box and a little person that looked like he was putting something into the post box, on top and next to a real post box, while I got Josh to appear to be posting something. We took a close up shot of the figurine and the post box, then a wide shot of the real life post box next to the figures. It looked absolutely tiny in comparison, and seemed very comical. Some of my shots weren't really focusing on the little people, but more on the background, but that's okay as Vicky said she'd be taking me out again and it’s all part of the learning process to see how I can improve.