I was always drawing. Give me some paper, give me an old telephone book, hell, let me loose on my bedroom wall and I would draw on it! (which indeed I did, it had a lovely scene I like to call 'Dinosaur Utopia' around it's entirety, my Mum and Dad were very understanding towards the creative soul). Such was the pattern of my childhood when I was an artist before I was an 'artist'.
I drew cats, mermaids the occasional A Team reference, made up historical scenes and girls, always girls! Girls in big dresses, girls with huge boobs and hair, girls with punk attitude and killer heels. Above all, girls with glamour. Nothing much has changed, it's just now I can officially call it art because I am offcially an artist.
That is one of the reasons I am so excited about Top Bunk! a new show taking place in the Cornerhouse Cafe-Bar next month. As the press release states;
Artists don’t tumble from moulds in institutions, the innate spark is not taught but fanned to life beneath catalogue-bought duvet sets and candlewick throws. Sprawled across the floor or hunched over a hand-me-down desk, doodles become sketches, words become poems, wild imaginings scurry for shelter at the back of the wardrobe; soft, pink and glistening, yet to form a hard shell to deflect the criticism that awaits.
Top Bunk! is a Cornerhouse Projects exhibition that seeks to capture the spark of enthusiasm before it bends to fit the restrictive moulds that await; from academia to peer review and the cost of living. No subject is unsuited, no method discouraged. A range of responses include wistful juvenilia, rampaging robots, melancholia, psychedelic daydreams, teen-fan adulation, the allure of adulthood and beginning of sexual fruition.
I am showing two pieces in this show, which I have also helped to curate alongside Bren O Callaghan Cornerhouse's Visual Arts Programme Manager. The first is the pin up girl for the exhibtion; my portait of Layla as seen in the poster, who encapsulates the quinisential 1950's idealised teen. The second is a new piece inspired by my many hours studying the 1970's Jackie Annuals I was given as a child. They were from a bygone era even when I was a kid but I used to love reading them from cover to cover; taking in the problem pages, and fashion tips, loving the picture stories with their super glam illustrations.
A photo of 'Jackie' in progress, prints of the finished piece can be seen at Top Bunk!
'Jackie' is a painting I created remembering those 70's style hints and Bay City Rollers posters mixed with the awkward feelings of first love and trying to fit in. Being not quite completely formed as a person but doing your damnedest to stand out while not standing out too much. For me, this painting is a girl waiting to be noticed, standing in a field on a Saturday morning watching the boys play football, while her new heels sink futher and further into the mud.
Top Bunk! runs from 12th Oct to 13th Nov at the Cornerhouse Cafe-Bar featuring limited edition affordable prints and will coincide with this years Sketch-O-Matic...more details to follow!
Cornerhouse: 70 Oxford Street Manchester M1 5NH