2012 was an eventful and busy year, and somehow, updating my news blog just got away from me. I added some new images to the portfolio section of the site, all illustration and design, but without proper explanation of what they are and why I made them. So before I get on to what’s coming up in 2013 in my next posts, I thought I’d catch up by putting 2012 properly behind me.
I started 2012 with a new series of night cityscapes that I’ve been wanting to get me teeth into for a long time now, which will involve painting layered images and reflections. I want to develop a new complexity to these images that will at first confuse the eye, but become readable to the viewer the longer they look. It’s more than just a cheap ploy to get people to stand in front of the work longer, but I do like the idea of getting something more from an image the more you come back to it. I don’t want the viewer to digest an image and move on after just a few minutes.
After finishing the first of these images, Deptford Lights, I put the series on hold to do some commissioned illustration work for the cover of Rebecca Sams’s e-book Love London Hate London (available through amazon.com), and sample illustrations for a great new children’s book about battling cancer while raising young children called The Daddy Haircut, which happens to be written by my sister, Nicole Scoubes. This project is currently being submitted to publishers and is on my agenda to continue in Summer 2013.
During this time, I also slipped in a couple quick design jobs. The first was a tattoo design for a friend based on the cover of one of his favourite albums, Michael Jackson’s Dangerous, in which I incorporated references to other classic soul and R&B bands such as Earth Wind and Fire, Heat Wave and Evelyn King, as well as a massive black panther in homage to the Michael Jackson’s The Way You Make Me Feel video. The other was a series of t-shirt designs for the annual Copa Lagos Beach Soccer event.
In late summer, I agreed a 6 week slot for a solo exhibition in South London’s Dulwich Village, at Jane Newbery Gallery (www.janenewbery.co.uk), to open May 16th 2013. I immediately began work on pieces for the exhibition, which depart slightly from the comlex nightscape series I started the year with, in that they widen the focus of style and subject to include a greater variety, but still revolve around the central theme of urban landscape, and generally retain the somewhat sombe atmosphere that I like to project through my work. I’ve tried to narrow in on scenes that anyone might see while walking around a city, looking, and taking notice of something that seems special or beautiful, yet understated and unremarkable in terms of its normality. Paintings for this exhibition are still being produced. As I write this, I have around 10 complete pieces and a few more in progress, ranging in size from 30.5 x 30.5 cm (12 x 12 in) to 120 x 150 cm (47 x 59 in). I aim to have at least 13 ready to display by opening day.
Other plans that are on the works include an application to the Heritage Lottery Fund for a Project tentatively called The Deep South – Images and Performances exploring the heritage of Deptford, Southeast London. If the grant is approved, work on the project will begin in late summer 2013, and will involve a collaboration between myself and 2 of the leading Performing Arts teachers/examiners in the UK to bring together visual and performance elements. The idea is to engage students in schools local to Deptford in the history and culture of the area through exploring the great visual characteristics in the immediate surroundings, and the rich historical stories that have made it what it is today through performance. For my part, I will initially be producing a large canvas (approx. 2.4 x 3.7 meters – 8 x 12 ft) portraying a historical view of part of Deptford with some of the local art students. Through this, I will teach them about visual research, photography, preparing to work large scale, materials, and expressing themselves visually to a deadline and a specific brief, and hopefully give them a practical idea of the reality of a career in the arts. The performance element will be done using the finished painting as a backdrop, and will tell the story portrayed in the image. The final performance will be held in Lewisham Library, who are also acting as our historical partner for the project. Based on the success of the initial piece, we will pursue a second grant to scale up the event, using the same concept, but done with multiple images and performances, and involving more students.
In August, I took a short trip to the States to visit family, and make a stop in New York City for the first time. I was inspired by the overwhelming visual complexity of the city by both day and night, and photographs I took while there have been the basis of one painting for the Jane Newbery Show called Hell’s Kitchen, but will also inform a number of others that I will paint for the series I initially put aside, full of reflections and overlapping images.
…And finally, I’ve been hosting a tumblr page for the past year called Exquisicity: The Exquisite City, where I upload artwork, photos and found images that either I have created, or just come across, but all of which inspire me in some way, loosely based on the same core theme that I address in my paintings, the exquisite city! Please follow me on twitter for more up to date information and general art/music chat.
As always, thank you for checking in, and please leave your feedback, or contact me directly if you have anything you want to share.