Tag Archive: Shropshire art

Jolly Good Show!

Oswestry Show! All pix from Freja.

Thanks to everyone who helped make yesterday an excellent day at the Oswestry Show!

A very big thank you to Louise Hudson and D.R.E. & Co. Accounting, who kindly offered us half their pitch after hearing me talk about Art Works at the Oswestry Chamber of Commerce meeting. Thanks to Jim Heath, Judy Greaves, Jas Davidson, Diana Baur, Rob Baur and Freja who helped get everything set up at a very early 8am in the morning. And thanks to all the Inside Out artists who stopped by and drew, painted, sketched and carved in front of the marquee. Particular thanks to Freja for the invigorating and delicious chocolate/coffee/rum fairy cakes – which vanished so fast I almost didn’t get any!

Everyone was very complimentary about our set-up – and, I think, surprised at the link-up between an accounting firm and an art group. It was an extremely successful partnership – D.R.E & Co. got something interesting in front of their marquee, and Inside Out got a chance to exhibit at the show for free. Not only were we highly visible, and gave out loads of leaflets about the group and our projects – but we also came away with a handful of commissions: proof that if you get yourself out there and make yourself visible, that people will – and do – take an interest in you and your work.

We all had a great day – despite the fact that at quarter to four, the heavens opened and we were hammered with rain and hail. More importantly, we had a very successful day, too. Thanks again to everyone who made it work – and let’s start making plans for next year!


Painting for Rowanthorn

The Death of Tigranes - John Swogger, 2011

Paintings and prints for Rowanthorn beginning to collect. This is mine – not framed yet. There’s a little bit more about it on my own blog.

I’m working on getting some foundation students from North Shropshire College to show some work there. I’ll be hanging work sometime in the next few weeks.

If anyone else is interested in exhibiting in Rowanthorn, there are still some of the 50x50cm spaces left. Leave a comment if you’d like a slot.

Another “Art Works” day at Fine Line Tattoos

"Matthew", Aug. 18th 2011 - first illustration for "Art Works"

I’ve just had another great day at Fine Line Tattoos as part of the “Art Works” project. Showed Stuart and Rena the work I’ve done so far – the illustration page I showed at the Notebook Meeting yesterday. They were really taken with it (and thought the picture of Keith looked just like him, which is a relief!). Spent the afternoon with Stuart on the reception desk, watching and drawing all the people who came in with queries and ideas for tattoos. Interesting watching the kind of people-management that goes on.

So, less about the tattoos and the clients this week and more about the dynamics between the tattooists themselves. I’m in the process of working up my sketches into another “Thursday Sheet”, and will be posting that on my own blog once I get it finished.

Already can’t wait until next Thursday!

Banksy in Os!

Banksy in Os?

So what do you reckon? Banksy was shuttling back and forth between Bristol and Manchester, passed through Oswestry and decided to leave his mark? Why not? Isn’t Oswestry the art capitol of North Shropshire now? It’s certainly an interesting contrast piece to the new Footfall street art being painted opposite Wilko!

Or do we think that some enterprising art prankster has taken it upon themselves to reproduce the master’s work in a small rural market town just to see what happens? What is a real Banksy anyway? His actual handiwork, or his iconic images?

My money’s on the latter of these two possibilities, but I’m still willing to imagine that Banksy stopped off in Oswestry, popped into the Willow Gallery and thought he’d like to join the Oswestry art scene. For those of you who want to judge for yourselves, the piece is on the back of the old car hire/valet/petrol station just by the Whittington Road railway bridge.

I want ROA to do the front of the Guildhall next!

Bridgnorth Art Festival Gallery

Here’s a gallery of art on display in shops around Bridgnorth for their summer arts festival. Diana and I are going to try and go down at visit the town next week some time to see how they’ve organised things down there – and perhaps learn some lessons for Oswestry?

Bridgnorth Arts Festival 2011

I’ve only just discovered that there’s an arts festival taking place in Bridgnorth. For those of you that have never been there, it’s about as far from Shrewsbury SE as Oswestry is from Shrewsbury NW. It’s a nice little town – another one of those Shropshire market towns with an ancient lineage and long-standing importance to a rural hinterland. I suppose it’s best known for its funicular railway that links the High Town and Low Town. Surely the model for Oswestry’s own proposed monorail? 🙂

Anyway, the arts festival looks like a lively set of events, and it includes a 30-venue, 32-artist art trail around the town, which sounds like exactly the kind of thing started to do in Oswestry with “The Way”. There’s loads of stuff going on, and they’ve got a good online site which makes it easy to see what’s happening when and where. It’s clear that loads of different organisations and groups have come together under this festival banner too.

I’d be interested to hear if anyone knows anything more about the Bridgnorth Arts Festival – maybe it would be a model for the sort of thing we could do in Oswestry?

Artists at Work – initial meeting

Thanks to everyone who came along to the initial meeting of the Artists at Work project yesterday at the Willow – and here’s what we talked about for those of you who couldn’t make it:

  • The general object of the project is to establish links between individual Inside Out artists at local Oswestry businesses, creating a way for artists to explore the unique heritage of the market town, and to demonstrate how art can complement a working business by exploring various aspects of it.
  • The project should also emphasise how art can promote something like a business in a completely different way from simple advertising.
  • We’re going to work towards an exhibition of Artists at Work artworks in Oswestry in spring/summer 2012
  • We’re also going to look at creating a trail around Oswestry – similar to the one we’ve done for the Way – with artworks exhibited in the businesses we’ve linked with.
  • Shropshire Council’s Community Working team are very interested in our project, and we’re going to be exploring some other exhibition/presentation ideas such as:
    • An exhibition of the Artists at Work project at Shire Hall in Shrewsbury, as part of a programme of promoting Oswestry within the county
    • A small touring exhibition about the project to villages and communities in the area, again, as part of a programme of promoting Oswestry within the county
    • Taking part in regional and national initiatives by Shropshire Council to promote its market towns
  • Oswestry Footfall – the group who help organise community art exhibitions in empty shop-windows in Oswestry – are also interested in the project. Not quite sure how they would be involved, but they might be able to organise schools, etc. to do site-specific art projects about the history of various premises, etc.
We also discussed some of the practical issues involved in taking part in this project, and came up with some ideas to help those who would like to take part but are unsure how to start:
  • We’ll produce a general “cover letter” describing the project that artists can send or email to potential businesses/partners to introduce themselves and their involvement in the project.
  • Oswestry Chamber of Commerce already know about the project, and we’ll make arrangements to make a presentation or have a meeting with the Chamber to describe the project and find out whether they know of any businesses who might be interested in partnering up with an artist.
  • Frank Triggs will contact the West Midlands and Mid-Wales Manufacturing groups to see if they might be interested in this project. If there are artists interested in exploring more formal artist-in-residence arrangements, we can help point towards existing national and regional schemes that can provide funding, advice, support, etc.
  • We’ll continue to schedule regular Inside Out get-togethers for all artists involved/interested in the project to talk through problems, experiences, etc., etc. Eventually, as various work gets underway, it would be good to invite some of the business people involved to come along as well and tell us how they think the project is going.
  • We’ll also post a rolling list on this blog of which artists are linking up with which businesses and how they’re getting on – hopefully this will encourage and inspire people who are a bit tentative about getting started.
Finally, it was generally agreed that we didn’t want this project to end quickly – people were interested in it being a long-term or rolling project, so any exhibition or trail that we do in spring/summer 2011 won’t be the end of this project, but simply something to initially work towards.
And as a kind of general point, several people confessed they had problems talking about themselves and their art, particularly when it came to promoting or “selling” themselves and what they did. We discussed the possibility of some kind of workshop or round-table session to talk about “how to talk about your art”. Who else would be interested in this? Maybe we can organise something for later in the summer.
Okay, so that’s about it. We’ll keep everyone posted about what’s going on and how the project is progressing – this blog’s the best way to keep up to date, so make sure you check back here often!

New project: Artists at Work!

Art Works!

We’re launching a new Inside Out project in Oswestry which we want to use to foster collaborative relationshipsw between artists and local businesses.

The project – called “Artists at Work” – aims to create links between the work and practice of local artists and the local business community. The project is designed to evolve to suit the working culture and methods of individual artists and businesses.

What this project will do is bring together artists to produce work inspired by a programme of collaborative, on-site working with a local Oswestry business – a sort of informal artist-in-residence relationship. As the project develops, we will be bringing in local trade and commerce groups in Oswestry.

What kind of work would the project be looking for? That’s totally up to the artists and businesses involved, but some suggestions might be:

  • works which document or record a business’ working practices
  • works which utilise a business’ working methods or materials
  • works which focus on employees, location or tools
  • works which explore patterns of activity, or relationships between customers and staff
  • etc.
We’d hope that artists would engage closely with their collaborating partners, perhaps designing site-specific or interactive pieces. Work in any media, at any scale could be incorporated – again, it depends how the relationship between individual artists and businesses evolves.
We’re giving everyone a few months to think about this project and how they might get involved. We’ll kick-start the project officially on Saturday, July 9th at 10:00am in The Willow Gallery cafe with an informal get-together of any interested artists/business owners.
If you’ve got any questions or observations – go ahead and comment this post. Hope to see you there in July.

Willow Spring Show!

Inside Out at the Willow Gallery

Great new exhibition has just opened up at The Willow Gallery. Their Spring Show features some fantastic painting, ceramics and sculpture. As usual, Faye has set out an extremely eclectic and diverse show – setting some extremely accomplished figurative works alongside bold abstracts.

Jas Davidson (BVA/Inside Out) and John Wragg (BVA/Inside Out) are in the main gallery – John with large, Op Art-like geometric paintings and Jas with the latest in his series of bronzes mixing the human form with natural textures. They’re joined by Rosie Davies (Inside Out), whose watercolour landscapes are moving further into abstraction of form and colour, and looking both crisp and free at the same time.

Jim Heath and Des Jones are also exhibiting in the Dunbabin Gallery & Community Room for the next three weeks. They are two of our three Studio A1 featured artists for April – Joan Santana is the third, exhibiting down at Studio A1 – and the first of what we hope will be a regular series of Inside Out artists exhibiting in the Dunbabin Gallery.

So although it’s a grey day on the Shropshire borderlands today, there’s plenty of bright art in Oswestry!

Geoff Armitage with MIP at Theatre Severn

Marches Independent Photography

Studio A1 member Geoff Armitage is exhibiting with other members of Marches Independent Photography at Theatre Severn this month, from Feb. 3rd until April 3rd. Good to see a local arts group exhibiting in such a nice venue! I’m heading down to the exhibition next week, and definitely looking forward to it – Geoff’s photographs in the Heritage Gallery in Oswestry were excellent – and, of course, he’ll be taking part in our own exhibition, The Way, in July.

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