Critique 8th Feb

Every week foundation team up with the degree students to critique each others work. I love to see what my fellow students are working on as we are all so busy getting on with our own work that its easy to miss what others are doing. I was particularly interested in seeing some work by the degree students and today one of them decided to show off their work. First of all the representative showing their work has to decided just how honest they would like the critique to be and it is measured in strength of a curry. A korma is a light hearted critique a Bhuna with side of chips is a slightly tougher critique while a Vindaloo is the toughest critique you can have. (no holds barred).

The first to show his work was one of the degree students and he chosen to receive a vindaloo critique. He had taken a book he purchased by a Contemporary Photographer. The Photographs were taken of a variety of  different nude poses exposing different Gender, Age and sexual orientation and the book appeared to be vandalised. The student talked through what he had done, explaining he had started to black out sensitive material in the image portrayed and the Tutor thought it best to look at the book first. The student then went on to say that he got bored with what he was doing and was running out of time and decided to write in the corners instead. The tutor was gasping and shaking his head while looking at it and begun to ask questions that the student couldn’t answer without back tracking and confusing himself and us but what was worse is that the student wouldn’t take responsibility for what he had chosen to black out or write saying it wasn’t his words but the words of others. The tutor was not happy to let the book go around the class for fear of offending people which actually made people more inquisitive. Eventually the book was shown to us. Instead of going into to much detail about the piece of work it was not received well with the students who were critiquing. There was a lot of sexist, Ageist and negative quotes and he was the one who came under scrutiny instead of the work. It wasn’t that he had destroyed the book as much as him not taking the responsibility for what he had written and not understanding that people don’t see things the way he can see it in his head. We can only see what he has done and written and that’s why he has caused offense.

It was a heated critique and one that was talked about for days after.

We were then shown two more fad students work. One student who hadn’t really done very much but was given the right advice to take him on further and another who had taken some really lovely photographs and done a lot of work around confessions and we struggled to critique her because her work was so good.

Today was the first time I really saw the benefit of these critiques. I learnt how important it is to have a good concept and a good understanding of what you are trying to achieve in your work. I learnt how not to expect everyone to understand your views and agree with them and to always take responsibility for what you do. To listen to advice good or bad and own it and learn from it.



Photography and Photoshop

I love taking Photographs, mostly of my family when they least expect it and my surroundings . I love the unusual such as the change of colour in the sky when a storm is coming or the drama from a field fire in France. Since I became a student on Fad I think nothing of  stopping the car to take a photograph of something. However this isn’t always possible so I set up my phone in the car windscreen to enable me to take pictures on the go.  I hate it if my camera or phone are not available. Here are a few I have captured recently.

I have been experimenting with Photoshop and taken some of my images that I have drawn by hand and  some photograph’s  and added colour effects to otherwise black and white pictures. I really love how the effects have added depth, life and warmth to the images. It has inspired me to try and create them using lino printing and casting techniques.

London trip.. Victoria and Albert museum, The London Coliseum and The Tate Gallery.


Day 1

After a tiring but fun double decked bus journey from the sleepy early morning of Blackburn to the hotel in London we made our way via tube to the Victoria and Albert Museam and stopped just outside the station tunnels for a group photo to capture the spirit of the day. The aroma of chestnuts in the air the cold bite of winter coming and the hustle and bustle of rushing commuters and tourists going about their day.


The Grand entrance is stunning with the clashing blue and green mould blown glass’Rotunda chandalier’ designed and made by American glass sculptor/installation artist Dale Chihuly in 2001 which is on loan to the museum set inside the dome ceiling. I had already come across the work of Dale while researching artists and sculptors but I didn’t realise just how large and impressive they really are with the masses of curly elongated twists of coloured glass they remind me of the moulding balloons entertainers make animals out of. I started my tour in the cast collection, viewing sculptures from period Artists such as Grazie Giambologna and Michelangelo.

I really loved this piece by James Delou made in 1873 of a peasant woman breast feeding (nursing) her baby. This is something considered a controversial subject in society today. Mothers have to defend their right to breast feed in public places, it wouldn’t have even been considered to be anything but a natural way to feed a baby.


The building was huge, it had tall ceilings and stone walls and floors,  glass banisters to the stair cases and walls to make the most of the light and corridors leading you off in every direction, it was easy to get lost in the building and in all the amazing artifacts on display.

It was unfortunate that i didn’t have time to explore everything the V&A had to offer but I took many photographs. I would like to visit again.

Then we went to The London Coliseum in the West end for a tour backstage of the National Opera house. We were shown a detailed model of the stage and it was explained  to us how a new model is made for every production. How it is made and the logistics involved in the making and how crucial it is for the model to be present and correct for every performance.


Backstage we got to see the wardrobe department, and where the props and sets are stored. and it was explained that most of the costumes are made off sight but occasionally repairs need to be made on sight. We also got to see the Royal box and the Royal suite that was used as a dressing room when Glenn Close starred in Andrew Lloyd Webber’s musical Sunset boulevard. It was a great experience and we were lucky to have the opportunity. We then went to Jamie Holman’s Gallery exhibition.

Day 2


We were lucky enough to experience a beautiful and historical walk from Somerset house to the Tate Gallery and I enjoyed taking snaps a long the way.

The Tate Gallery wasn’t quite what I had imagined. The building from the outside resembles a factory and the Tall chimney resembles India mill in Darwen, inside it is so much bigger than it looked, it was a bigger than a football stadium and quite overwhelming for my tired feet. I didn’t see it all and I could have seen more but instead went for a coffee and had the opportunity for a chat about the Fine Art Degree at Blackburn with Jamie Holman.


I photo shopped some of my images from the trip. I really enjoyed the Trip and look forward to the next one.



Photoshop, manipulation, illusion, photography. 

I recently attended an open day at Blackburn University  where Jamie had put together a Lecture and shown us images of his work. Jamie had merged some old photographs of Belfast and some Photographs of Blackburn and so it inspired me to see what I could create with some of my Photographs that I had taken this year. I had a good look through my photographs archived in my Dropbox to pick out what I may be able to experiment using.  I think the results could be better if done properly on photoshop pc or mac but i am using photoshop apps on my Samsung tablet at home.

I used a close up of a blackboard taken at the local park as my background, a picture of my daughter who had been swinging on a upright roundabout and the Neon sign installation by Bertrand lavier taken in Blackpools Neon exhibition.  


I had some photographs of my son running towards me at various stages as he came closer and decided to use all of them to show some movement like a train on the tracks. Black and white image taken in my Document the day photographs of a crumbling old house

Son day train.

Looking at it now I think I can improve it by leaving the last image on the tracks and making it look like he was going under rather than over the bridge.

Here i used various Neon typography taken from the Blackpool Neon exhibition on a photograph taken at the playground. 

Illuminated and grounded.

An image taken in France of a courtyard vertical view, my son watching a stick float down a muddy river and a Blue door to the decades vintage shop in Blackburn.

Plane dreams. reversed son photo and a French  plane captured putting out a field fire.


The marble white lady meets bronze Mr Grundy. Document the day and Blackpool sculptures merge.

More Neon at the park.


I am quite pleased with what I have done with the photographs considering I did them on my tablet. I think they would look much better using photoshop on the Mac’s at college so I will be able to edit them and refine some of the detail. I have attempted to give some of the image compositions names as suggested by Jamie Holman and Sean Dower.

I took a few Photographs on a recent London trip and have tried to Merge some of these together.

A Thames Victorian Lamp post as we walked down the river to the Tate and a the Picture from within the Tate.

A photograph of a lone boat and a couple on the side of the Thames with the Robot on display at the Tate.

Personal statement

I really didn’t know how I was going to even start my Personal statement, I just knew what not to put in and what not to say as highlighted in the recent lecture from my Tutor and the visiting lecturers. After expressing my concern that I had nothing and didn’t know where to start my tutor Kim sat down and we started to chat, she asked me a few questions like why did i come on the course? what made me want to leave my job? and some other questions. I was happy to answer and after a good 10 mins she said ‘there now write it down and you have the beginnings of a personal statement and what you have said will make me want to read it.’

So here is my First Draft.

After Tutor feedback and some rewording and tweeking it was suggested to add some Artists that inspire me so.this is my second Draft.

Not quite as painful as I thought it might be, I had some fantastic support from my Tutor Kim and so I am really happy with it. Next thing is I  need to send my UCAS form, build up my portpholio of work and hope I get an interview and get in.

Jamie Holman, Band member, Writer, Artist, Lecturer. 

I am very lucky to have access to the creative brains of talented and experienced tutors and lecturer’s on my Foundation Art and design course at Blackburn college and one of these tutors/ lecturers is former Tompaulin band member and The Saatchi gallery magazine writer Jamie Holman. Jamie was born in 1973 in Scotland but was raised and works in Blackburn and is currently Programme leader BA (Hons) Fine art at Blackburn college/ University. As a student in the 90’s Jamie moved to London and was never comfortable there “what I knew was I come from a wonderful place I hate”.  Jamie achieved a BA (Hons) and a MA from Chelsea School of Art and was Tutored by  Conceptual artist Gillian Wearing and has recently had his own solo exhibition at Derbyshire Space,  London. Jamie recently did a talk at Blackburn University about his latest works exhibition and his early works in performance and moving image which he exhibited in Bloomberg New contemporaries 1996 at Tate Gallery Liverpool and Camden Arts centre London.

Even now much of Jamies work comes from what he values and when he explains how he came up with an idea it always has a narrative behind it. I really like it when artists have a story or a reason for making a piece of work. I find it easier to see how the pieces communicate. It seems like the narrative  helps in forming the idea that creates words of a song, a story, a lecture, an article or a piece of Art that Jamie creates. Jamie confesses to being  “a realist”.

The recent works of Artist Jamie Holman were inspired by the  Film ’71’  set in 1971 Belfast Northern Ireland about a young british soldier (Jack O’Connell) who becomes separated from his unit during a riot in Belfast. Some of the filming took place in Blackburn April 2013 and Jamies media students got the chance to be extras in the filming. The film was released in 2014 and Jamie watched it, only then realising the similaritys between the story told in ’71’  and a story closer to home.  Jamies own Father was a young British soldier and was shot in the Belfast Riots so the film struck a cord and Jamie begun to look through old Photographs he had inherited of his Father in Belfast. Taking Photographs in and around Blackburn Jamie merged them with the nostalgic photographs and created a series of prints and a commisioned piece for the Saatchi Gallery magazine. All the pictures I have included in this blog have come direct from Jamies website.


A C I D  H O U S E  I N T E R N M E N T  I N C I D E N T

 B l a c k b u r n  2 0 1 6   w i t h  B e l f a s t  1 9 7 2  d e t a i l

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J U S T  W H A T  I S  I T  T H A T  M A K E S  T H E S E  H O M E S  S O  I D E A L ?

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Screen print incorporating photographs of Belfast 1972 and Blackburn 2015

J U S T  W H A T  I S  I T  T H A T  M A K E S  T H E S E  H O M E S  S O  I D E A L ?

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Screen print incorporating photographs of Belfast 1972 and Blackburn 2015

C A R R Y  T H E  N E W S

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Commission for The Saatchi Gallery Magazine Art and Music Winter 15/16 issue.

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“I was invited to use the magazine as a space in which to make a new piece of work.

Carry The News is a fictional account of the day my father was shot in Belfast. Using T.V. listings, the top ten, found photographs and my screenprint, “Just what is it that makes these homes so ideal?” I propose an anonymous narrative, in what could be either Belfast or Blackburn.”

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   carry the news 1

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During that time in Belfast the women would warn the men that the soldiers were coming and bang their dustbin lids on the concrete. This inspired ‘Monument’ the sound captured within a heavy sculpture where concrete met galvanised steel.  3 Internal casts of galvanised steel dustbin lids.  Ciment fondu- Aggrigate concrete -Mortar

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” if they banged the lids, we smashed their windows with our rifles”


 EditJamie purchased a rubber bullet case and made pot versions of the the rubber bullets that were supposed to be harmless and printed them with a popular dinner service design of the time and look so much better than they are photographed. 

17 people were killed in Northern Ireland by members of the security forces who were using rubber or plastic bullets (also referred to as ‘baton rounds’).  Eight of the 17 killed were children. All but one of those killed were Catholics. (

S E V E N T E E N  P I E C E  S E R V I C E

P o t t e r y ” r u b b e r  b u l l e t s “

w i t h  d o m e s t i c  d i n n e r  s e r v i c e  d e c a l

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Also during the Riot’s ‘Riot sticks’ were used and Jamie created a replica of a  Riot stick from fine bone China changing the hard exterior for something delicate so the easily damaging becomes easily damaged.

Jamie made a series of time consuming but Beautiful photographs of the Dustbin lids he had purchased. called ‘Rough Music’ they were all given names taken from the streets of Belfast and Blackburn.

R O U G H  M U S I C  

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F A L L S  W A T E R  D R I V E – O P E N S H A W  D R I V E

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C – T y p e  p r i n t    1 0 0 0 m m  X  1 0 0 0 m m

M a p l e  F r a m e   24 m m (face)  x  3 8 m m (depth) moulding

U V  p r o t e c t i v e  g l a z i n g

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E V E R Y T H I N G  S T O P P E D  –  F O R  T O P  O F  T H E  P O P S

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“On Thursday nights, the riot would stop when Top of the Pops was on T.V.”

Three 1970’S Milk Bottles

Laser etched with promotional photographs of “Pans People”

and photographs etched on Plaster with a laser cutter.

T H E  K I D S  R O U N D  H E R E

L a s e r  c u t  d r a w i n g on plaster

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B A N K  T O P

Laser cut drawing on plaster

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I really like most of Jamies pieces because I can see them used in the right interiors and environment. I love the C-Type prints ‘Rough music’  the most with Falls water drive – Openshaw Drive my favorite and I did my very best to try and obtain a poster of it but unfortunately I failed.  I could even see the internal casts being used but more as a garden sculpture or stepping stone.

I will definitely take inspiration from Jamie and would like to Photoshop some of my past photographs with my most recent ones. I also hope to have an inspired narrative behind my work because I think that’s why I loved Jamies work so much. The narrative behind it made the work and pieces so interesting.


When we went on our trip to London we were all really excited to see Jamie’s work in person. We were welcomed with drinks and Jamie had to be filmed closing the successful exhibition after being on show for the best part of Two months . Jamie talked about his work and about making the Pieces, his inspiration and about what was successful and unsuccessful and then gave everyone a chance to ask questions afterwards.  I am pleased we got to see his exhibition in person, it was inspiring to view how the film inspired an idea and a fantastic series of Contemporary Art.