My books are now available here

I have made a few books, they are now available as pdfs

Happy Snail Art Residency

I recently spent 2 weeks doing an art residency at the lovely “Happy Snail B&B”, in the wetlands of Yilan County, Taiwan, this particular area is used half a year for rice growing and the other half, is simply wetlands, I’m sure there is more to it than that, the nearest city is Luodong. I spent most of two weeks recreating a map of the area onto a wall, also adding windy billowing plastic stripe to a sculpture created by a local art teachers students, and I made a piece on their main internal wall.

I asked about a theme for the main project, and “wetlands” came back, which was ideal for me to work with, as I often use nature as inspiration, so I went out and explored the area on a bicycle, took plenty of photos and drew some sketches of the local plants, but finally the plant type that I choose to focus on, was grass.

It’s great using nature as a focus for art, as it really allows me to study and appreciate the world around me, with it’s straight forward beauty and practicality. Nature is full of asymmetrical patterns, or repeating elements that are always a bit different, I like to use this in my art, to make patterns with holes, twists and distortions, but the pattern is always there.

After my exploration I started on the main piece, first I did a number of prints using grass and black paint, then I used the grass stub as a brush and drew blades of grass with that, next I cut around the two pictures, one I glued to brown paper and cut that out too. Initially I was going to select one of the grass images, but somehow I felt that the two could be used successfully, so glued both to the wall.

I decided to use corrugated card, I peeled the paper off one side, to reveal the grooves, this revealed a nice texture pattern of grooves, I continued with the straight edges, already present in the grooves, by cutting the card into almost brick like shapes, I was thinking about digital pixels there, but we do see buildings all around the wetlands too.

The yellow circles are made using paper, which I made at a “paper making workshop” in Taipei, at the Suho Paper Museum. I finally drew some thin lines, curving, looping and interacting with the various shapes, my idea here was to bring some unity, connecting different parts and a more subtle element that would be seen better close up, like a reward for taking the time to look.

I am currently staying at another hostel, creating a new collage piece, featuring some dragon characters I created, looking forward to sharing that soon.

Thanks for reading, Sam.

Interesting animations to watch

I love animation so I decided to share some great films I seen.

National Film Board – Canada

First this film was created with the support from the National Film Board of Canada, directed by Cordell Barker, it’s very good, nice aesthetically and well put together, https://www.nfb.ca/film/runaway/.

Next the Great Snit, a funny take on relationships, bizzare, crazy and imaginative, the style is rough and has a lot of depth.

Take a look at the many independent films on the NFB’s website, there are many interesting and well made films.

Phil Mulloy

Strange but entertaining, perhaps pornographic, but in a very crude style, so less of a turn on and more funny, and odd, perhaps there is a moral to the story, what do you think?

Classic Chinese Animation – 1960

This is impressive stuff, I like the fluffiness of everything, I guess thats down to the camera used and how the film has deteriorated over time.

and finally for this post on interesting animations, a film by Cyriak, he has many on YouTube, but I particularly like this monkey themed one.

I hope you enjoyed these, please let me know which one is your favourite, and any other great animations you may have come across, I’m always looking for new movies to be inspired by.

Thanks, Sam.

Beauty, what is it?

We humans are obsessed by beauty, but do we even know what it is.

Striving for that perfect look, through makeup, razors, brands, botox, expensive rejuvination creams and plastic surgery.

Meanwhile nature effortlessly presents it’s immense beauty, at every possible opportunity.

While we humans, eagerly displace our natural appearance for a manufactured, civilised, expensive one, following the fashion of our peers, all following the fashion of our leaders, and role models, who are paid, bribed or simply doing the same as we do, following the herd, an ever repeating loop.

We see the vibrant setting sun, a bird chirping and fluttering, the dance of light sparkling through water onto a wall, the flicker of a fire’s flames, dazzingly beautiful, effortless, perhaps that is what helps it to be beautiful, it just is, calm and relaxed.

With so many “natural” looking make ups and mimicry of the normal way of things, all at a high price tag, but we cannot simply be natural, we are sold an image we can never attain, a natural beauty more beautiful than nature, but however we try we can never attain, every new product seems to only briefly bring us there, only to leave us desperate for more of the same.

Perhaps it is just about the habit, instilled in us, that an effort must be made for a social situation, to be clothed, clean and presentable, in our concrete surrounds, with our mud free plastic coated foods, doing unfulfilling tasks that leave us to seek fulfillment in appearance, attention from others.

Nothing so much wrong with these things, except perhaps the lose of ourselves, the lose of our time and resources given to simply being socially acceptable, or the image of what that might be, if we can only get there, we are undeniably a social species, and we achieve such great things, thanks to our collaborative efforts.

But I suggest we should be constantly questioning what we are doing, do these things help us progress, or are they an expensive habit, an addiction to a way of thinking that simply fixes us in a way of acting, that presents nothing new, nothing except for the profit of a few, absorbing our creative energy, but without the satisfaction of computer of completing something and gifting it to others.

Are we democratic towards our own thoughts, able to object to what we think, to stop and make changes, that suit us better, or are we non-questioning, stuck on what we have already been doing for umpteen years, change is unthinkable, following the herd writin our own heads, a flock of thoughts, constantly flowing like a river, we cannot even see the slow flowing places, where we could get our orientation, connect to our intuition and look at the river objectively, and at the many rivers presented to us by y he many voices, especially those that annoy us the most, our mentors, instead we object, complain, but make no actions.

If we are not able to be democratic, and humble, towards ourselves, to be wrong and change direction, listen to our own gut and other voices that disagree with the thoughts we may have, we may talk democracy but we are not democratic in ourselves, and are simply a part of the seemingly general way of thinking, of having an opinion based on ego attachment to dogma, labels and idiologies and not facts, we are not democratic because we will not listen to those we disagree with, we cannot be empathetic, we only want to associate ourselves with the agreeable, that is more inline with communism, or whatever other idiologies that we may feel are of more benefit, but ultimately being unable to listen to the disagreeable with empathy just brings more of the same, people not feeling empathy.

Thanks for reading, Sam.

Recycled Plastic Animals

I have seen these recycled animals scattered around Taiwan, it’s great to see this sort of initiative, Taiwan is pretty good (as far as I have seen so far) at recycling plastics, there are trash trucks that collect the recycling and a guy sits in the back sorting through everything, you cannot simply leave bags on the road side, you have to hand them to the person inside, or for general waste, you have to put it in the crusher yourself.

I’ve noticed that there are no bins in most public spaces, I wonder what is the idea behind this, some kind of strategy for deterring excessive use of convenience foods, or maybe its to encourage people to eat at restaurants or in their homes not the street.

After looking into it, on various forums, it seems the policy here is to limit peoples household waste, by fining those who leave it on the road side and as a side effect people would dump it into public waste bins, causing sometimes large piles of trash, so the government simply removed them, forcing people to reduce their waste.

Thanks for reading, Sam.

Taipei Artist Village

I have been here a few times seeking some exhibition, but only today did I find one, it has always seemed to hold a lot of potential so finally it is nice to see a show here.

Peace is definitely on the agenda in Taiwan, with Peace Square in Taipei, and these representations of it, nice work, balls seem to be fitting for democratic ideas, as they are round and involving, and normally used for team sports.

I have applied for a residency here, so fingers crossed.

Thanks for reading, Sam.

Street Art Everywhere

I am impressed by the street art I see, all over Taiwan, here are some examples in Taipei, of photos which have been applied to telephone exchange boxes (I’m guessing that’s what they are).

and the one below is a more impressionistic style, I think this was in Luodong City, on the East of Taiwan, these are everywhere.

I particularly enjoy the impressionist style of painting such, as the one above, I feel it allows the viewer to fill in the gaps and gain a better sense of a shared art form and experience.

Thanks for reading, Sam.