Friday, 23 November 2012

Wakefield by John Welding

Poster Ad for the exhibition

Just got back from the printers ordering the prints for the Wednesday night ArtWalk. I will now have sleepless nights until Monday when they should be ready for collection and looking beautiful. In the meantime here is a bit of blurb to explain what's going on...
The illustrator John Welding started using the Wakefield Civic Society Blue Plaques to make his unique diary pages in an attempt to make personal memories and record the changing environment where he lives and works. His drawings are a mix of illustration, comic strips and words and the Blue Plaques were ideal as a starting point and drawing catalyst for this new body of work. 
The pages are drawn in a comic strip or picture book style, which John is known for with his previous diary projects. Sometimes the artist features in person or sometimes as narrator in an autobiographical role, taking the viewer through his daily experiences. Sometimes there is something profound to say, more often than not it’s just an everyday observation, but then it is the everyday that link us on a personal level. 
Extremes of Hi and low tech methods go into making the pages. The research is where the story or experience is initially created using a camera and sketch book at a particular site. Back at home, layouts are created with Photoshop and a Light box. More traditionally, and for John more enjoyably, the finished pages are made drawing direct with dip pen & ink and watercolour and even a bit of collage thrown in for good measure when things go wrong. 
John Welding has exhibited with Wakefield Art Gallery and illustrated The Battle of Wakefield for Wakefield Museum. He has illustrated 35 semi-permanent Street banners in and around Agbrigg & Belle Vue. He has contributed to the national children’s comic The Phoenix and collaborates with The Faceless Company on Wakefield community projects.

Wakefield by John Welding
A series of personal illustrated dairy pages in an exhibition of enlarged prints and original artwork inspired by the vantage points of the Wakefield Civic Society Blue Plaques

The work can be seen at the Wakefield Civic Society, Wakefield Media Centre, 19 King Street as part of the Wakefield ArtWalk held on Wednesday 28th November 2012  5-9PM.

View Larger Map

Thursday, 15 November 2012

Saturday Morning in Town

Another one of those illustrated diary pages

The sun is low this time of year, catching the tops of buildings with angled shafts of light and shade. The building where Monkey used to be is a favourite of mine, detailed with a cornucopia of columns and swirls and over the top detail. I could never afford their clothing but went in a few times, pretending to look at clothes but really looking at the brickwork, staircases and floorboards.

Across from there is another clothing shop of distinction, Frank Birds gentlemen's clothing and next to that The Black Rock pub, the ornate tiling of the Black Rock reminds me of another pub I don't go in much further down Westgate, the Elephant & Castle.

Sunlight is in full effect on the Marygate side of of the Barclays Bank building making the red brick glow in a way that only autumnal light can make red brick glow. I have arranged to meet Helen in Deli Central, we were at the gym at the new Sun Lane Leisure earlier on and now scrambled eggs on wholemeal toast with a cup of black coffee beckons.

It's such a nice morning I wait outside taking photos of the water feature in the newly refurbished Bull Ring, trying to catch the play of morning light and water, unaware that Helen has arrived early, waiting inside and wondering where I am. Where I am is texting her, wondering where she's at. I lost concentration, my bad!

Bit of an update to that last post...

Detail showing the stone dragon on the Monkey building

My friend Jan had mentioned in a comment about spotting dragons on the Monkey* building. Yes I had potted one but it was a bit difficult to make out with my eyes. I did the above drawing from a close up from one of my reference photos, and even then it's got a lot of guess work in it's make up.

I like these stony gargoyle additions, who ever commissioned the building wanted to show off their wealth and standing in the community but why the fascination for decorating buildings with fantasy animals? Unless it's not  a dragon but a dog, a dog would be a bit boring, dragons on the other hand are fiery and there to protect and show power and are part of a bigger mythology. So there, I have answered my own question.

* Please excuse the term Monkey building, I did research into trying to find out the buildings name but the closest I got to was 21 Bull Ring, the internet is focused on businesses that run from there.

Wednesday, 7 November 2012

Line Work

Dip Pen and Ink line work

These panels are a continuation from the 29th October which can be seen here.

Light boxing...

My light box is home made. It's a piece of clear perspex screwed to a frame with a disassembled fluorescent tube desk lamp underneath, it works for me.

Saturday, 3 November 2012

Bishopgarth 29th October 2012

I was in a sensitive area so drew the things I knew
Using the Wakefield Civic Society Blue Plaques as destination points for drawing has hit a bit of a snag. Bishopgarth, where the next location on my list is, contains Police HQ, Children's Day Care Nurseries and a Public School. Maybe roaming around with a camera and a note book in today's heightened fear of 'stranger danger'* is not the best of ideas. So, I drew a few things that I was familiar with. The official description of what I am doing with these pages is something like this...

Wakefield by John Welding 
A series of personal illustrated dairy pages. 
John Welding is a freelance illustrator of stories who knows Wakefield, after 13 years of treading its rain lashed streets he needed a stimulus to see the town in a different way. In September 2012 he started using the Wakefield Civic Society Blue Plaques as entry points to make his unique drawings, a mix of illustration, comic strips and words. The point being not to slavishly copy the building the plaque is attached to, but treating the Blue Plaque as a destination. To take in a 360 degree view of what is in the vicinity and to record what was happening at that particular point in time. This exhibition is proud to present selected pages from the start of the on-going project.

I cycled through the area scouting for the Blue Plaque but couldn't find it, the area is quiet and there seems to be a lot of empty grand Victorian houses, empty or up for sale. A sign of the economic times? I ended up going up a small one track road (Long Causeway) and into a park area with trees for company, to rethink my approach. I decided to be brave and retrace my route. I found a Blue Plaque, one that's not on my list 2 Bede House, so I took a photo and made a few notes, then cycled out of there as quick as I could - it's too quiet for me around here.

I make notes with dip pen and ink when I can, it slows me down and makes me think.

* Public perceived threat from child molesters, criminals and terrorists.