A little context: After spending the majority of my education believing that my future was in art, I graduated from a Hereford College of Art and Design in 2006 with a degree in Illustration. For the next two years i did numerous menial jobs to bring in the cash from working in a pub to folding box templates in a factory to putting points on people’s driving licenses. All the while i was producing illustration work and calling up art directors in London from my bedroom at my parents house (to little avail). In 2008 i got a part time job as a designer and printer in a photography business and, growing in confidence, set myself up as a freelance designer. At this time i moved into the ‘Live Work’ units in Burslem, the mother town of the Potteries in Stoke on Trent where i’m from. The Live Work units are 12 apartments which are let specifically to creative business people. Here i met scores of creative practitioners, business people and networking gurus that mentored me and circulated my name. Soon i was getting jobs here and there, and building a name for myself in the Stoke area. I kept my part time job going, freelance jobs were few and far between and money was tight, so i kept up the networking and bought cheaper food. In a slight state of despair i asked a fellow artist and neighbor in the Live work units- Sarah Nadin– if she had contacts or advice for me. She sent me to see Tina Ball at the Borough museum in nearby Newcastle under Lyme. Tina loved my work and recommended me for a public art commission coming up in the area, and suggested me and Sarah join forces on the pitch. We won the commission and have been working together as ‘Dashyline‘ ever since. Our partnership has since taken us up and down the country completing large scale artwork in the public realm. At the same time i was getting design jobs in my own right, posters, promotional campaigns, logo designs and a cover for a novel seemed to come through with little promotion. I guess when you release your services into the wild it takes patience to wait for a response. From November 2009 i wasn’t without a job to do which made my part time job a struggle at times, but the freelance money was not steady enough to quit. Until May 2011 i did the two jobs and saved money when i finally felt i had enough capital to survive freelance. Since then i haven’t stopped working and with Dashyline are booked up until January 2012.
My decision to go to Greensboro came quite organically. I was at my part time job, feeling tired and despondent and, due to a distinct lack of travel in my life (i’ve been on one long weekend to Naples in the past 9 years) i decided the best way to see the world would through my work. I searched for residences and came across Elsewhere. I loved the idea of the place- it was as if someone had taken my best case scenario and made it real. I excitedly clicked the link to apply and found that the 2011 deadline was the 30th of December, This was the 12th of February. Disheartened i sent them an e-mail asking when i could apply for 2012 and waited a long month for the reply. When it finally came i was overjoyed. They had looked at my website and decided i should come this year, no questions asked. I knew in that moment i had to quit my job, being part time i knew there would be no chance of booking off a month, and i had other work commitments which required days off too. Without a thought for finances i accepted the offer. Who wouldn’t right? We arranged my residency for September within the week. And now it’s finally here.
Just a bit about my work as a whole. Self taught in Photoshop, Illustrator, Indesign and After Effects, i’ve done a diverse range of work in the past, but what really interests me is collage. Inspired by my tutors Matthew Richardson and Emily Mitchell at Hereford i found a love for the medium which i’ve never lost. I think collage speaks of the world in the most innate way. Using historical, social and cultural visual reference as a starting point adds subtext to artworks and to me reflects a vital truth- that new ideas are simply old ideas, built on, rehashed and re-imagined. The visual effect of collage i think is timeless and has an effect on me which i struggle to intelectualise. Elsewhere, i think, with its almost endless stock of collage materials, will be the ultimate opportunity to rehash and re-imagine. I’m hoping this experience will take my technique to another level.