The trick is to be one!
In 2013, Salendine Nook High School won the Guardian Newspaper’s ‘School We’d Like’ competition and was awarded £5000 in prize money to revamp the Blue Tunnel, which is a key linking walkway between different buildings in the school. See the initial post from The Guardian… The Guardian – Salendine Nook: graffiti art project transforms old walkway.
I was approached by the school in the summer of 2013 and was asked to facilitate a creative project consisting of a series of workshops based around the title ‘I CAN’. These workshops began in autumn term 2013 and ran through to March 2014.
The initial workshops explored the history and culture of street art and graffiti and looked at the myriad of artists whose work adorns the street of the world’s urban spaces. Particular focus was placed upon methods, techniques, colour use, image placement and characteristics concerning each individual artist’s approach and style.
We looked at everything from the huge typographic scrawls and intricate lettering styles of graffiti and the continued development and evolution of graffiti culture, to Wheat Paste posting, the Knit The City phenomenon, Banksy, The London Police, Shepard Fairey and many more.
The creative workshops were designed to produce a range of strong graphics, which were either hand drawn, painted, developed from photographic elements, made using collage techniques and indeed a mixture of all these modes. Strong emphasis was placed on different drawing techniques designed to loosen up the creative process and produce an unexpected quirkiness in the resulting graphics.
Students also explored the use of the light box to trace images in order to develop quick and strong graphic styles and to experiment with composition. There was also an emphasis on the significance of mark making, constructing textures using paint splats, printing with inked bubble wrap and other interesting found materials.
Sponged ink marks and small hand drawn elements like arrows, swirls, cross-hatching and all sorts of shapes and patterns were created in the exploratory process.
Out of the mass of graphics that were produced in the workshops, the students started to get a real and definite idea about which images they wanted to use in their final artworks.
The imagery was then scanned at high resolution and prepared for layering and colouring using Photoshop CS6. This allowed the creative process to be further investigated resulting in the impacting and beautiful graphics that were produced in the student’s final pieces.
The project was a wonderful journey of creativity from beginning to end and a lot of fun was had along the way.
I think the resulting artworks speak for themselves.
Check out the Guardian article here… The Guardian – How street art can boost learning and community engagement in schools.
This was a super project commissioned by the Guardian and funded by Zurich Municipal.
This was a lovely project at Rowley Lane. The children got to create lots of different illustrations using portrait photography as their starting point. Using textures, graphics and creative tablet apps to further manipulate the images, the year 2 – 6 children had some really brilliant ideas and moved between the creative platforms as if it were second nature.
The staff were really friendly and helpful too. I have always enjoyed working with this school.
Check out some of their artwork below.
Working as Artist in Residence with young people at Bradford Academy recently in the production of funky graphics across four large circular boards. The design challenge was based on the Academy Value Contract (AVC) that students agree to adhere to. It is always great fun working at this school. Both staff and Students are equally enthusiastic for the creative process.
All artwork has been digitally reproduced and is now displayed in the school.
Here’s a shore time laps film from the day.
What will it look like, sound like and feel like if all learners from BA work/play safe physically?
We will have the maturity to self evaluate our actions. We will not discriminate against other members of the Academy and we will be responsible for our actions emotionally and physically.
What will it look like, sound like and feel like if all learners from BA work/play fair?
We will be fair, respectful and make sure everyone is valued in the school community. We will ensure everyone is motivated and be part of a team. We will also be given opportunities and be equally supported.
What will it look like, sound like and feel like if all learners from BA work/play safe emotionally?
We will not judge others for their individuality and we will respect everyone’s opinions and thoughts by treating everyone how we would like to be treated.
What will it look like, sound like and feel like if all learners from BA work/play hard?
We will, to the best of our ability, give 100% effort with pride and enthusiasm. This will help us to find our personal balance between working, playing and relaxing in order to reach our full potential.
I have recently been working with a fabulous set of key stage 1 children at Gomersal Primary School.
Together we have been exploring all sort of drawing techniques and having a lot of fun with creativity.
Here are a handful of images that have been produced over the past few weeks. There have been literally hundreds of drawings made, all of which have been amazing.
Emerging artwork and graphics from the ‘I Can’ blue tunnel project at Salendine Nook High School, Huddersfield. There are some fabulous images being created, both in the form of digital graphics and hand drawn illustrations. I’m working with a great set of students who are producing some outstanding artwork in this urban street art regeneration project. More to come soon…
This was a fab project where a group of key stage one children got to
explore drawing and painting techniques using a variety of different mediums.
Exploratory drawing, fun with paint, charcoal sketching,
felt tip creativity and much more.
Making up animals, bizarre creatures and characters that one
might find at large in the Gomersal Kingdom.
We had a fabulous art room to work in!
Here is an article written by Hazel Saxelby, a teacher whom I have work closely with over the past few years at Batley Girls’ High School and Visual Arts College.
‘Graphic Artist Mike Barrett (www.emelbi.com) returned again in 2013 to support our students with their coursework and exam projects. Mike is one of our ‘family of artists’ who has worked closely with staff and students to extend their design skills and develop their use of CAD, specifically using Adobe Photoshop. As a result of him returning year on year to the school, Mike’s extensive expertise is being embedded, in his absence, into our day to day teaching and we are finding that these skills can be passed on to students even more effectively.
Last year, he worked with both key stage 4 & 5 Art Graphics students. The GCSE students benefitted from Mike’s creativity and support as they tackled the controlled assessment exam. Each of the students approached the unit in their own way and developed exciting, personal ideas with professional results. Some students innovatively used new media and
technology, such as smartphones and Instagram to capture and begin developing their own imagery.’
Read the rest of the article here… http://www.batleygirls.co.uk/3036-2/
I have recently been working with the Pupil Referral Unit at Bradley, Huddersfield, delivering a series of digital illustration workshops using photographic manipulation and computer aided illustrative techniques. The children created some brilliant images. Here are some of the portrait illustrations from the workshops. Some lovely work and some great expressions!
Character Illustration workshop with Key Stage 1 pupils at Whitechapel Primary School.
This was a fantastic project from beginning to end. The children worked extremely hard and were diligent throughout. We also had a lot of fun in the process.
We set out to create some characters based on Heroes and Monsters. (I say we, because I joined in also).
The children came up with numerous ideas using Biro pens and A4 paper. They drew an immense amount of material and it was great to listen to some of the narratives that had begun to form based around the wild and wonderful characters that were taking shape.
The tricky part of the project was translating their favourite images from A4 paper onto A1 card in order for it to be painted. I was absolutely flabbergasted at the ease with which they were able to achieve this and in such a short space of time.
The paints came out and there was soon a hive of activity as colour brought extra depth to each of the children’s designs. At times there was such concentration in the classroom that you could have heard a pin drop.
This was a lovely school to work with. Fab staff and the children were brilliant. The results of their efforts are marvellous as I’m sure you will agree.
I do a lot of creative work in different schools over the course of each passing year and I am witness to some immensely fabulous talent on a constant basis.
Young people have such magnificent imaginations and amazingly creative ideas. They generally pursue these ideas without fear of failure. They step forward without the worry that they might not be doing it right or indeed without a thought that they might get it wrong. Without any anxiety, they vigorously march forward with their conceptions and create amazing characters, creatures, scenarios, stories, situations, worlds etc.
It is a pleasure to behold.
Recently a group of year 3 students from Gomersal Primary School created a character, each taking their inspiration from my work.
This was not a project that I was involved with at all apart from that fact that it was my work that was used as the catalyst for their fantastic creativity.
Upon visiting the school I was told about this project and was able to talk to the young people that had created these fab images. They kindly gave me permission to photograph the work in order to make this blog post.
Inspiring young people to use their imaginations and to have fun in the process fills me with an enormous amount of pride and purpose. Being able to impart the things that I have learned over the years and seeing young people connect, engage and run with their own ideas is something that I will never tire of.
All that said, I have to admit that the inspiration that I get from working creatively along side young people, is absolutely priceless!
These are the creations that the year 3 students at Gomersal came up with.
They are AWESOME!
During Monday 8th & Tuesday 9th July 2013 I ran a two-day workshop working with some fine young people form Bradford Academy.
The Academy is built around a ‘HOUSE’ system and each house plays a large part in the day-to-day activities within the school.
There were many quality designs and ideas produced and the difficult job was whittling it down and collectively deciding which designs would go forward to be used. One design for each house was eventually decided upon.
Over the two day workshop much fun was had in the interpretation of the designs using a vast amount of different mediums and techniques, some traditional and some completely experimental. The art room where the work took place was a hive of activity and much fun was had in the construction and creation of the four mural boards.
The young people involved were an engaging, committed, talented bunch of characters who were a delight to work with. The artwork that they produced on the boards was terrific and shall take pride of place within the school.
A fabulous project creating Heroes, Villains and the City in which they dwell, with year 4 and 5 children from Battyeford CE(C) Primary School.
The children were really engaged in this project and produced an enormous amount of work over a short period of time.
When discussing the project with them it was great to hear their ideas and emerging narratives based around the characters that they were creating. A lot of the time I think that I have a good imagination. It pales into insignificance when talking to and creating with young people!
This was a really great project with a huge amount of creativity. The children enjoyed it and I really enjoyed working with them.
Check out their work.
As part of North Huddersfield Community Arts Week I ran a series of mini workshops today working with young people from Ashbrow School and Birkby Junior School.
The workshop was based on creating digital graphics that would work well on skateboard decks. Mostly working in pairs, the pupils only had about 20 minutes to create these wonderful images.
They listened well, worked extremely diligently and had a lot of fun in the process. I was super impressed with the images that they produced. Awesome stuff!
Birkby Junior School Images
Carolanne and Ushna
Kian and Nabil
Ali and Reggie
Zahra and Raheel
Iqra and Allysia
Atika and Sadia
Faiza and Bilal
Muskan and Calvin
Ibraheem and Asad
Ashbrow School Images
Grace and Burhan
Zain and Jake
Jujhar and Troy
Ellie-rose and Tayba
Pharrell and Armin
‘Oi!’ – Hand Tufted Wool Rug – Collaboration Artwork
Not so long ago I teamed up with Andrew Warburton of Area Rugs www.arearugs.co.uk
Andrew is a highly skilled and experienced carpet maker using hand-tufting methods in the production of his carpets and rugs. He has been designing and making unique and exclusive hand-tufted rugs and carpets since graduating in 1988 with a first class honours degree in carpet design.
He was intrigued by the style and technique of my illustrations and thought that they would transfer well into a carpet design. He had seen an illustration of mine called ‘Oi!’ that he thought would work well and that would be both quirky and impacting. Andrew set to on interpreting the image with pure wool. The results are below.
The design is first sketched out to scale.
The wool is then worked into a type of man-made muslin cloth!
When the tufting process is finished the topside is then cropped to get an even pile.
This is done with a machine that works a little like a lawnmower.
Rugs can also be carved and sculptured by using a carving machine a little like the clippers used to sheer sheep.
When the rug has gone through all these processes it is then backed with a natural latex and hessian.
Rug Entitled: Oi!
Size: 1.7 by 1.2 Metres.
The result was absolutely outstanding. Andrew made an incredibly accurate interpretation of the original design, I’m sure you will agree!
A group of Gomersal Primary School pupils from years 3, 4 and 5 have just completed a workshop creating digital self portrait illustrations with some very striking results.
Based on photographic images of themselves, the pupils skilfully created these digital illustrations using a series of layers and other digital tools.
An alternative colour pallet was also explored for some of the digital colouring, which made for some very interesting imagery indeed. Further layering techniques were also looked at with the introduction of textures and various other incidents and elements adding further depth to their images. Here are the brilliant illustrations that they created.
Digital Illustration Portraits
Further Image Manipulation
I have just completed a lovely project at Battyeford CE(C) Primary School as part of the ‘Adopt an Artist’ programme in Kirklees. Working with 24 pupils, the project focus was on character development based around the theme of ‘Artemis Fowl’.
From the outset the pupils displayed an array of brilliant imaginations as they set to designing their characters. It was great to hear the many ideas and narratives that were developing with the stroke of each pen and swish of every brush. All of the pupils involved put their heart and soul into the project and it was fantastic and delightful to see such enthusiasm. I think the images speak for themselves. Diverse, brilliant, bold and majestic creations!
A lot of fun was had by all!
Adding the Details
The Finishing Touches
This project formed part of the celebration of Gomersal Primary Schools 100th year anniversary and also the pending move of the primary school up to the site of the middle school.
This was a brilliant project that involved the entire school. Over the course of two days, every child from every class from each and every year group was armed with a digital camera. With cameras in hand they were then asked to take photographs of the exterior buildings of both Gomersal Primary and Gomersal Middle School, paying specific consideration to aspects of structure, colour and building materials. Thanks to the efforts of the staff this logistical challenge during such tight time constraints went like clockwork. Not only that, it was a massive amount of fun. The children managed to take a whooping 4138 photographs.
There were then a series of workshops where the children came and discussed the photography and took part in the digital manipulation of the photographic imagery that they had produced. During this time their own ideas, personal stories about the school and the graphics that they created formed the idea for the banner graphic.
The ideas that solidified were:
Energy bursting out of the school
Something fun because school is fun.
Robot characters that represent the children.
Making building out of photographs.
Images that look busy.
A collage of the school made entirely from photographs.
Banner Detail #1
Banner Detail #2
Banner Detail #3
Banner Detail #4
Banner Detail #5
Photo Robot #1
Photo Robot #2
Photo Robot #3
Photo Robot #4
Photo Robot #5
Photo Robot #6
Photo Robot #7
Photo Robot #8
Photo Robot #9
Photo Robot #10
Photo Robot #11
The banner is now on permanent display in the entrance foyer of the school.
Here are a handful of illustrations made by year 4, 5 and 6 children from Birkby Junior School.
The project was to create digital character illustrations from simple beginnings and then to situate the characters in specific environments. In doing so each illustration took shape forming a basic narrative. It was really great to work with such an enthusiastic bunch. They bowled me over with their ideas and creative flair. I think their illustrations are fab.
This was a fabulous project to produce two large graphics that would form a permanent display within the school that celebrated the local community.
Firstly I spent a day with two large groups of children and parents photographing the local area and all the places that hold significance for the local community.
Thereafter, the children and their parents took part in a series of workshops exploring digital illustration and design techniques using simple design software. During these workshops they deconstructed the photographic imagery that they had produced and from these elements made a series of fantastic digital graphics.
The photos and graphics that were generated during the project made up an integral part of the final design outcome and were used to create two large images to accommodate two separate alcoves, which are now on permanent display in the school entrance hall.
A fabulous project! A lot of fun was had indeed.