Tuesday, July 29, 2008


A few people have asked me if I was going to do any kind of write up on the process involved in putting together this body of work, so here we go.

Putting together a solo exhibition of work is something I've been wanting to do for a long time and The Reliance in Leeds seemed like a great place to do so. I was actually offered an exhibition slot last year but it wasn't suitable due to buying and house (and all the 'fun' associated with getting a mortgage and moving!).

Earlier this year, though, I was finally able to nail down a timeslot in which I thought I'd be able to produce enough work and so started planning. This was a key part of what I wanted to do: book the exhibition slot before produing any of the work.

By drawing up a schedule and forcing myself to work to it, I hoped to come up with plenty of happy-accidents, spontaneous ideas, and challenge myself to keep things moving forward, using ideas from one piece to provide the momentum for the next. I didn't want to get bogged down with too much prep work, and instead wanted things to feel sponaneous, like the project was moving forward under its own steam.

Though sometimes hard, this process was very rewarding -- I found I would persevere with an idea that I wasn't initially keen on and once I had worked through the rough patch, I would end up with work I was much more satisfied with. Not only that but I would be coming up with new ideas while working on something else, and furiously scribling down sketches and notes to refer back to.

Aesthetic wise, the idea was to create a link between my client based work and my personal work, so some of the prints contain rearranged elements from gigposters, or are based on sketchbook imagery while working on client based projects.

When producing a poster or other imagery for a client, a lot of sketches and other ideas will be produced during the process, so this was a good way to more fully explore these. In some cases, I would attempt to 'recycle' an existing image by using it in a different way, for example I used the bottom portion of my Gallows poster, turning it upside down and having the rope of the noose form the stem of the roses on the piece 'Gallows Rose'.

As you will see from the pictures, the process of production is the same as how I usually work. Hand inked illustrations, scanned in and cleaned up in Photoshop and Illustrator and then output as colour seperated, film positives, ready for the screenprinting side of things. I did mean to keep a record of the number of hours spent drawing, at the computer, in the print studio, etc. but quickly lost track!

Bearing in mind I have a full time day job - producing the work and getting it all professionally framed, etc. pretty much took up all of my free time over the couple of months I spent working on this.

At the time of writing this, all the prints are still on display at The Reliance Bar & Restaurant, here in Leeds. One of the prints was also chosen to be part of the Open Artists Exhibition at the Leeds City Gallery, and will be on display there during August.

An online gallery of the Hiddens prints can be viewed here: www.armyofcats.com/art/hiddens

And this also has a full set of process pics. Here are just a few of them: