I’m just over half-way into my residency at The Art House, Wakefield.

Starting to think about where the work is heading and how it’s going to be presented for the final ‘exhibition’ at the end of the month.

It’s nice to in slightly unknown waters.

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Variations on a theme.

From my residency at The Art House, Wakefield.

All ink and water on A3 paper.

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Some drawings produced during the first eight days of my residency at The Art House, Wakefield.

I’m using the time and space to have a bit of a departure from my usual practice. Rather than building something I’ve decided to concentrate on drawing, at least for now. As I haven’t really done this for a long time I thought the best thing to do you be to just dive in and not think too much about what it all means. If I hesitate and worry too much about whether it will work or not I’ll never start.

The initial idea was to create drawings in a similar way to how I create sculpture: the materials are straightforward, there are a set of simple rules or processes to carry out, and repetition, resulting in very simple yet evocative forms.

These may lead to sculptures, they may be works in themselves, they may be discarded. For now I’m having a lot of fun just making things without worrying too much about having to have ‘results’.

All are ink and water on A3 paper.

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Multi-storey car park overlooking Wakefield Station and Prison.

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The first few days of my month-long residency at The Art House in Wakefield have so far been mostly relaxing, reflective and constructive. I’m planning on using the time and space provided to reflect on my practice and experiment with what might happen with having a studio space (I haven’t had a proper studio space since I graduated in 1998). So far I have spent time exploring Wakefield (see photos), visited the Hepworth Gallery, and popped over to Leeds to the Henry Moore institute and Leeds Art Gallery.

On my second night, after all the staff had left, and while I was cooking myself some dinner, the fire alarm went off. This alarm is loud and insistent, and not the kind that goes off if you wave a tea-towel at it. At first I think it is my fault and that the alarm is unusually sensitive as I am only making pasta and definitely not burning it. I take the pans off the hob and switch the rings off anyway and go exploring. I bump into a studio-holder who just happened to be cooking as well - and he has burnt something.

Neither of us know how turn the alarm off so I phone my contact for The Art House; Simon. He doesn’t know either, but he can get in touch with someone who does. He also tells me that the alarm is linked to the fire station and, as we finish our conversation, the fire brigade turn up. They need to find the alarm panel, which I discover by phoning Simon again. The alarm panel has a locked door on it and the firemen do not have a key. This key is probably in the office, which is locked and alarmed. We are then joined by a woman from the security company who was also automatically notified. She does not have a key for the panel either. Satisfied that there is no fire the fire brigade leave.

I get a call from Neil, the operations director of The Art House, and I explain where we’re at. He tells us that the key for the panel is in the office and that the security guard can get us in there and disable the office alarm. We go to the office, go in, wave the dongle at the office alarm panel, nothing happens. The office alarm goes off, joining the fire alarm. We decide to come back to that. We find the key cupboard, find the fire panel keys, go back to the fire panel, unlock it and finally switch off the fire alarm. We head back up to the office (it’s alarm seeming relatively gentle in comparison) and the security guard inputs a code to switch it off. It is quiet. Sighs off relief all round.

I can get back to my dinner.

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The walls have started to go up. It’s beginning to take shape. Now the area is enclosed it’s really made a difference to how the space feels - it’s changed from being just a stack of pallets to a proper structure.

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After Day Two I’ve used 100 pallets.

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I started building Recovery Room in the loading bay of BPN Architects in Birmingham today. You can follow my progress on this Blog, Instagram or Twitter.

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Coming soon: West Bromwich Connections. A short research project looking at reuniting the town centre with Dartmouth Park.

The project is run by Multistory and involves six artists. We will be looking at ways of improving the connection between the two locations through public works, waymarkers, signage and other interventions.

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Work for the Public Inquiry is taking shape. After having spent a day collecting and assessing information from people I discovered that although people didn’t initially like The Public many have now come to love it. ‘I hated it at first but now it’s growing on me’ was one of the responses that stuck out. In response to this I decided to make something grow on The Public - a kind of happy fungus.

After a bit of trial and error I have developed a series of ‘spores’ made from heavyweight paper left over from Will Alsop’s piece for the exhibition. These are being clustered underneath the walkway that snakes through The Public.

Here is the progress so far.

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Updated 19 January 2018

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