Tag Archives: Diana Probst

Transformations: Art, and Meeting Face-to-Face

29 Sep

new-badge5

 

Supported with public funds by Arts Council England.

Supported by Norfolk County Council.

 

Pre-amble

Firstly,  let me share this link to the newspaper article that was written by The Lynn News in response to Transformations. It sums up the whole experience entirely: ‘ArtiPeeps King’s Lynn exhibition ‘rip-roaring success”:

http://goo.gl/4uNuUh

And here’s the Wordle I did of the Evaluation Sheet we had at the exhibition (click to enlarge):

 

Cloud 17

 

For me, the most interesting evaluatory word in real terms amidst all of the above is the word ‘Confused’.  This lone word is potentially a real point of growth and development for us. What we presented to a viewing audience was a huge swathe of material that nearly everybody appreciated in someway, but that maybe still needs to be contextualised more for better understanding.  It’s made me ask: do we need more explanatory information?; how can we best guide people around our projects? are we putting on collaborations or exhibitions?  These are big, fundamental questions that affect our artistic practice and future projects. These are all really great questions to be asking as we step into our next project.

 ——

Art and Connecting

When Transformations first started out as a project I hadn’t even thought of incorporating art or making it a multi-form project. It was going to be solely a poetry project. However, the power of juxtaposing one form up against another is undeniable, and the more that thought brewed the more the idea of bringing art in seemed inevitable. The art and the poetry could juxtapose, they could also mirror. Either way they would stimulate interest in different ways, broadening out the reach of our project. I never thought in my wildest dreams that in the asking and in the return I would get such a diversity of mediums, themes and styles. The level of skill too was beyond measure too. Also the mixture of emerging and professional creatives provided a really good balance.

In case you’ve forgotten here are all the Transformations pieces:

 

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7 of the 15 pieces were framed by us, with some of the artists (Rob Fitzmaurice,  Diana Probst, James Mackenzie and Heather Burns) delivering their art themselves. It was such a privilege to meet them for the first time and here they are with their pieces:

 

Rob Fitzmaurice an The Transformation of Hecuba, Book 13

Rob Fitzmaurice an The Transformation of Hecuba, Book 13

Diana Probst delivering her Book  picture

Diana Probst delivering her Book picture

Heather Burns and her Book 6 painting A Circle Unbroken

Heather Burns and her Book 6 painting A Circle Unbroken

 

Seven seems to have been our lucky number as 7 pieces of art were sold too: James Mackenzie’s The Moon’s Dark Shadow, which went to the Vice Principal of King Edward VII Academy, King’s Lynn:

The Proud owner of James Mackenzie's picture

The Proud owner of James Mackenzie’s picture

 

And Lili Morgan had her first ever picture bought…Here’s the red marker going on, placed by the owner:

 

The moment Lili's painting was sold

The moment Lili’s painting was sold

 

Both Kelly Occhiuzzo’s piece Echo and Narcissus was sold, and two prints of emerging artist Charle Redding’s print The Mortal Coil were also sold. We hope to build on this next year with a designated promotion zone where people can sell other pieces and exhibition prints.

Also the impact of the comic strip and cartoon orientated pictures was pivotal in the consolidation of our use of comics in what we do:

 

Teenager looking at Comic Strip

 

Schools' Day: KES Academy, King's Lynn, Sara Mena's Picture Strength and Disgrace

Schools’ Day: KES Academy, King’s Lynn, Sara Mena’s Picture Strength and Disgrace

 

The interest younger people showed in the comic strip material was obvious and a really good introduction to the material and to Ovid’s Metamorphoses. With The Nine Realms we will be having a designated Comic Corner, a physical comic and hopefully an animation of some sort.

Overall, a good number of us met for the first-time, and connected in real-time. I’m hoping that next year even more of us can meet and share in the collective experience. I’m excited to communicate our next project to a viewing and hearing audience in King’s Lynn and Norfolk, who now not only know who we are but also the quality of our work and our intention. In the not-to-distant-future I am hoping to put in place some sort of travel bursary to help creatives take part in our projects in real-time, so more of the collective can meet and see the impact of their work on others.

I shall be introducing our next large-scale project on Wednesday, and thank you, once again, for your interest.

 

All the very best.

 Nicky

 

Beauty, Deformation and Monsters # 5 The Halloween Edition

31 Oct

Pumpkin

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Lydia Allison our ‘Writer In Residence’ for the month of October.

..and a new Halloween Monster !

‘I often just write what I feel. I have a real interest in physicality/beauty/deformity as I think image impacts on everyone.  I’m particularly interested in how people see themselves and how that influences their appearance or physicality subconsciously/metaphorically in terms of their feeling or actively by self harm/eating disorders. And I’m interested in perceptions of beauty and body dysmorphia’.

____________________

Happy Halloween Everyone!

And to celebrate we’re not only offering you Lydia’s final poem focusing on deformation, specially written to pull the project together but also a new monster formed out of all the  poem illustrations by the artists involved in this project who have been inspired by Lydia’s poems.  You probably  haven’t seen anything like it before! This has been created by Sara Mena (you can see the image she contributed last week here).

The talented artists collaborating in Lydia’s project alongside Sara have been Gary Caldwell (whose art work went out in our first post here) and Amanda Santos (whose art work went out a fortnight ago here) and Diana Probst (whose art work you can see here).

We hope you’ve enjoyed the juxtaposition of words and images over the weeks, and a big thank you to Lydia for providing the artists with such a rich source of imagery and themes. We’ve enjoyed having you and your poetry with us. I really hope the connection will continue. And another BIG thank you to Gary, Amanda, Diana and Sara for their terrific artwork, which you can see collectively transformed below.

______

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Final monster_artipeeps_lydiaallison

Our Collaborative Poem Monster

Claws

by Lydia Allison

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Claws 2

Please click on the poem image to enlarge if you need to 

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Writer’s Biography

‘I’ve been writing for a couple of years and am currently in my final year of my BA in Creative Writing. Two years ago I thought it would be a miracle for me to string lines into poetry, but quickly fell in love with it and proved myself wrong. My real passion lies between the border of poetry and prose.’

lydiaallison.wordpress.com

https://twitter.com/LydiaAllison13

. .

As always, your responses to either Lydia’s poetry or the art that has been created would be very much welcomed!!

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Happy Halloween from the other monster too!

grand_monster_complete sara

Beauty, Deformation and Monsters # 4

24 Oct

Deformity

 Lydia Allison our ‘Writer In Residence’ for the month of October.

..and the ever-changing Halloween Monster !

‘I often just write what I feel. I have a real interest in physicality/beauty/deformity as I think image impacts on everyone.  I’m particularly interested in how people see themselves and how that influences their appearance or physicality subconsciously/metaphorically in terms of their feeling or actively by self harm/eating disorders. And I’m interested in perceptions of beauty and body dysmorphia’.

____________________

Here’s the fourth of five poems on deformation by Lydia Allison illustrated this week by artist Sara Mena.  You’ll also find the third instalment of our ever-morphing, dastardly collaborative monster. This drawing is being collectively produced and passed from artist-to artist week-by-week- all contributing to one image.

The artists collaborating in Lydia’s project alongside Sara have been Gary Caldwell (whose art work went out in our first post here) and Amanda Santos (whose art work went out a fornight ago here) and Diana Probst (whose art work you can see here

So….each week you’ve been presented with a new poem and two new images/artworks (one illustration & one growing monster) today is the final poem and monster completion before the grande reveal next week of a new poem by Lydia especially written for the culmination of this project and the final collaborative version of the monster in situ for Halloween on the 31st.

______

claws_saramena

Claws by Sara Mena

Please do click on the image to enlarge-it’s worth it

scars

by Lydia Allison 

.
like lapped scum from waves
fish scales the shape of nails biting flesh
soft grey of freed blood
fractured vein
lightless shadow under skin

.
weight of sleep and sheets
a mercury circle of brine slides from one eye
to the other eye

.
swollen face of a stranger
empty body full of colour

.
raised lines like child’s writing
fake letters link
breaths wait to stagger pain

.
the legs
the chest
body set
hollow nest

.
still and patient
not to find anything

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The Monster:

... with legs…or are they….here are Sara’s additions:

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grand_monster_complete sara

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 He’s amphibian….who’d of thought…

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Writer’s Biography

‘I’ve been writing for a couple of years and am currently in my final year of my BA in Creative Writing. Two years ago I thought it would be a miracle for me to string lines into poetry, but quickly fell in love with it and proved myself wrong. My real passion lies between the border of poetry and prose.’

lydiaallison.wordpress.com

https://twitter.com/LydiaAllison13

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Artist’s Biography:

 “HI I’m Sara Mena, i’m a freelance illustrator and 2D artist and very positive with life and with the things I love. I was born in 1985 and although I have a BA in Graphic Design I was always drawn to the visual arts and illustration and decided to go that way. I like to work in paper and digital, usually mixing those two. I’m passionate with expression and emotion in paintings and drawings and I like merging media to find new ways of expression and to convey responses. At present time, I’m doing figurative work, science art and also art for videogames. Sometimes I work in some art exhibitions. I’m glad to be able to work with such different areas, they make me use different techniques and make me think in particular ways, that helps me grow and expand my art.

http://saramena.com/

https://twitter.com/_saramena

You can find more of Sara’s art in a previous feature on ArtiPeeps, Interactions and Intersections’.

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The monster is sticking with Sara until next week so she can put him into a context for the big reveal…Be very,very  afraid…or not…

Lydia’s final poem especially written for the culmination of our project will be out on ArtiPeeps next week for Halloween –Thursday 31st October.  

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As always, your responses to either Lydia’s poetry or the art that has been created would be very much welcomed!!

Beauty, Deformation and Monsters # 3

16 Oct

Deformity

 Lydia Allison our ‘Writer In Residence’ for the month of October.

..and the ever-changing Halloween Monster!

‘I often just write what I feel. I have a real interest in physicality/beauty/deformity as I think image impacts on everyone.  I’m particularly interested in how people see themselves and how that influences their appearance or physicality subconsciously/metaphorically in terms of their feeling or actively by self harm/eating disorders. And I’m interested in perceptions of beauty and body dysmorphia’.

____________________

Here’s the third of five poems on deformation by Lydia Allison illustrated this week by artist Diana Probst (See her biography below). You’ll also find the third instalment of our ever-morphing, dastardly collaborative monster. This drawing is being collectively produced and passed from artist-to artist week-by-week- all contributing to one image.

The artists collaborating in Lydia’s project alongside Diana are Gary Caldwell (whose art work went out in our first post here) and Amanda Santos (whose art work went out last week here) and Sara Mena (whose art work is still to come).

So….each week you’ll be presented with a new poem and two new images/artworks (one illustration & one growing monster). You’ll be introduced to each artist as we go along too.

______

Cauliflower Heart

Please do click on the image to enlarge

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Cauliflower Heart

by Lydia Allison

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You see them, don’t you?
These little scars just below
where my bra sits?
In the right light they shine like new
You noticed my fingers
blackened at the tips
nails hard
feeling gone

.
I know, I’m trying not to slouch, but
can’t you see the ropes?
Woven thick
and reaching
down?
All these tendons from tired knee
to toe are old rubber bands
I can’t reach any more
stretch…….. leap……fall
best foot worn

.
these stitches run like ladders pulling holes
but not everyone can see like you
they see: red wine purple teeth
cheshire cat grin
but not the split fruit skin,
and under it all
the hard tissue grows.

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Writer’s Biography

‘I’ve been writing for a couple of years and am currently in my final year of my BA in Creative Writing. Two years ago I thought it would be a miracle for me to string lines into poetry, but quickly fell in love with it and proved myself wrong. My real passion lies between the border of poetry and prose.’

lydiaallison.wordpress.com

https://twitter.com/LydiaAllison13

.

Artist’s Biography:

 Diana is a young artist in Cambridge, who is continually surprised that people will pay her to do what she loves.  She likes beer and being paid on time.  She has illustrated two books and a lot of bits of paper.  She wants to paint portraits, takes commissions, and drinks tea like it is water.

http://dianaprobst.com/

https://twitter.com/DianaProbst

You can find more of Diana’s art in a previous feature on ArtiPeeps, Ask An Artist.

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The Monster:

with Diana’s additions

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grand_monster

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The monster was passed to Sara Mena today. She’s fiddling with his appendages as we speak….

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Lydia’s next poem will be out on ArtiPeeps next week-Thursday 24th October.  You can also check-in then and  see what stage our cheery monster is at too!  

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As always, your responses to either Lydia’s poetry or the art that has been created would be very much welcomed!!

Beauty, Deformation and Monsters # 2

10 Oct

Deformity

 Lydia Allison our ‘Writer In Residence’ for the month of October.

..and the ever-changing Halloween Monster!

‘I often just write what I feel. I have a real interest in physicality/beauty/deformity as I think image impacts on everyone.  I’m particularly interested in how people see themselves and how that influences their appearance or physicality subconsciously/metaphorically in terms of their feeling or actively by self harm/eating disorders. And I’m interested in perceptions of beauty and body dysmorphia’.

____________________

Here’s the second of five poems on deformation by Lydia Allison illustrated by emerging Artist Amanda Santos (See her biography below), and the second instalment of our ever-morphing, dastardly collaborative monster. This drawing is being  collaboratively produced and passed from artist-to artist week-by-week all contributing to one image.

The artists collaborating in Lydia’s project alongside Amanda are Gary Caldwell (whose work went out in our first post here) and Diana Probst and Sara Mena (whose work is to come). So….each week you’ll be presented with a new poem and two new images/artworks (one illustration & one growing monster) and you’ll also be introduced to each artist.

______

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Blood Gold by Amanda Santos

Please do click on the image to enlarge

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Blood Gold

by Lydia Allison

.

it drags the veins as it flushes and trudges
heavy and sludgy, it reminds you
of energy and time and waste

.
it weighs
and stretches the fibres
the skin
until she is numb
and unable to see
the leaves that shimmered
now gather around the rich tree root trunk of her heart
like cholesterol snagging in corners
and shutting valves like doors.

.
the key
a bright speck that navigates the brain
or abides in the green retina of the left eye
he noticed once

.
and hurts? can you not know?

.
it hurts
it makes her shine
and now it pools
a small dam low
in her chest

.
it pools
small sac by sac
so when she breathes
it’s cold and half dead
and tastes
like blood

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Writer’s Biography

‘I’ve been writing for a couple of years and am currently in my final year of my BA in Creative Writing. Two years ago I thought it would be a miracle for me to string lines into poetry, but quickly fell in love with it and proved myself wrong. My real passion lies between the border of poetry and prose.’

lydiaallison.wordpress.com

https://twitter.com/LydiaAllison13

Artist’s Biography:

 “Hi, my name is Amanda Santos. I’m a junior in High School, and I only really got involved in art a year ago in my Art I class. Since then I have tried to learn everything that I possibly can about every type of art that I could find. I am still trying to find a style and a voice in the artistic world, but I’m on my way.”

https://twitter.com/AmandaS5454

You can find more of Amanda’s art in a previous collaboration on ArtiPeeps, Interactions and Intersections.

________________________

The Monster .

with Amanda’s additions

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Amanda's monster (2)

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The monster was passed to Diana Probst today. She’s shaping the monster as we speak….

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Lydia’s next poem will be out on ArtiPeeps next week-Wednesday 16th October.  You can also check-in then and  see what stage our cheery monster is at too!  

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As always, your responses to either Lydia’s poetry or the art that has been created would be very much welcomed!!

Beauty, Deformation and Monsters #1

1 Oct

Deformity

Introducing Lydia Allison our ‘Writer In Residence’ for the month of October.

..and The Monster!

I approached Lydia a while ago proposing that she could maybe take up a month long residency on ArtiPeeps and to my delight she said yes! It was Lydia who then came up with the idea of focusing on notions of deformity as she had written a number of poems about it. When I asked Lydia the question, ‘why deformity?’, this is what she said about her interest:

‘I often just write what I feel. I have a real interest in physicality/beauty/deformity as I think image impacts on everyone.  I’m particularly interested in how people see themselves and how that influences their appearance or physicality subconsciously/metaphorically in terms of their feeling or actively by self harm/eating disorders. And I’m interested in perceptions of beauty and body dysmorphia’.

And this is what Lydia said about herself too:

‘I’ve been writing for a couple of years and am currently in my final year of my BA in Creative Writing. Two years ago I thought it would be a miracle for me to string lines into poetry, but quickly fell in love with it and proved myself wrong. My real passion lies between the border of poetry and prose.’

It was very clear that Lydia could ‘string lines into poetry’ and she produced 4 poems focused around the body or parts of the body. We decided that it would be wonderful if these poems could be illustrated and, because Halloween is a coming, for the artists involved  to use the parts of the body fleshed out within her poems to inspire a Collaborative Halloween Monster too.

____

So what you’ll find for the next four weeks is one poem of Lydia’s illustrated by an artist each week and an ever- growing, ghastly Monster being created alongside it;  the nature of which, will gradually emerge bit by bit.  

This drawing will be collaboratively produced and passed from artist-to artist week-by-week all contributing to one image. The artists collaborating in Lydia’s project are Gary Caldwell, Amanda Santos, Diana Probst and Sara Mena. Each week you’ll be presented with a new poem and two new images/artworks (one illustration & one growing monster) and you’ll also be introduced to each artist.

Today’s images have been created by artist and illustrator Gary Caldwell who is currently living and working in Aberdeen, Scotland. Indeed Gary is also responsible for our ArtiPeeps logo on the sidebar. His graphics are always striking. 

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Print

You can find more of Gary’s art via http://www.flowland.co.uk/Contact

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Most People Start With The Skin

by Lydia Allison

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like back-washing a canvas
it is much easier to go brighter
or darker.
Try to remain as plain and smooth
as possible – make yourself
not like yourself
– do you want to stick out?

.
If they can tell you’re flesh and fibres
that you have pores
you sweat
think
eat mayonnaise
you have lost.

.
Learn to laugh
right
and to smile
right
how to talk
eat
who to like
OK
what to say
OK

and once you are there
consider all of them
consider yourself
disguised.

.

lydiaallison.wordpress.com

https://twitter.com/LydiaAllison13

______

The Monster

The head

Print

The monster’s head was passed to Amanda Santos yesterday. She’s adding body parts as we speak….

Lydia’s next poem will be out on ArtiPeeps next week- Thursday 10th October.  You can also check-in and  see what stage our cheery monster is at too!  

As always, your responses to either Lydia’s poetry or the art that has been created would be very much welcomed!!

‘Ask An Artist’- featuring fine artist Diana Probst

8 May

Q & A

DIANA PROBST

‘Someone looked at a work of mine and said ‘That is just like real life But! Better!’.  That’s exactly what I want people to think, and to have someone say so spontaneously was a joy.’ 

Diana is a young artist in Cambridge, who is continually surprised that people will pay her to do what she loves.  She likes beer and being paid on time.  She has illustrated two books and a lot of bits of paper.  She wants to paint portraits, takes commissions, and drinks tea like it is water.

 

Octopus by Diana Probst

 

Diana, Pick at least 20 From the following:

Answer in one -two sentences

1. Which living artist do you most admire?

Gosh, a tricky one.  I prefer dead people so I do not have to compete with them.  I think I most admire Howard Tayler, creator, writer, and main artist of Schlock Mercenary.  His life is centred around his professionalism; he has an unbroken run of twelve years of daily posts.  That makes me want to work more.  His art is not what I would draw or paint (although I have one of his hand drawn character sketches) so if I have to think of a living artist whose work inspires me?  No, it’s Howard Tayler.  @HowardTayler on twitter.

2. What is your first creative memory?

Drawing a person with proper shoulders in primary school and comparing it to the stick figures.  Really bad shoulders, I should add, but I was always trying for realism.  Nobody seemed to think it was all that special, though.

3. Which one of your paintings are you most happy with to-date, and why?

My self portrait.  It has twenty one days of work in it.  I want to make pieces as skillfully as possible, and the work I put in on that one makes it better than any other I have done.  The biggish version is at http://dianaprobst.com/2011/07/17/self-portrait-in-oils-day-21/img_1632 .

4. If you could be any other artist who would you be and why?

Why would I want to be anyone else?  There are seven billion people on this world.  I am one of them.  Go away, read Grey’s ‘Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard’ and then think about the question.  But if you insist, someone well off and happy.

5. What single thing would improve the quality of your artistic life?

Having my own studio set up as I want it.

6. What is the best piece of advice you have ever been given about being an artist?

It was the best bit of advice I have been given to date.  “Pull yourself together.”  It encompasses all the other bits.  But ‘work when you do not feel like it’ and ‘do that again, it’s not good enough’ are pretty close.  If I had to narrow it down, then it is to sit down and damned well work even though the thought of putting a mark on paper makes you sick.  Even when you dread it and self-doubt is strangling your love of what you do, do it.  That feeling passes.

7. What does it feel like when you’re painting?

Cold.  My bladder is often full.  My studio is unheated, and I drink a lot of tea.  A lot of people have tried to draw out some notion that it is a very spiritual thing.  I have no idea what they are talking about.  I can be satisfied with my work, but most of it is calculation.  If I am mentally masturbating over how lovely it is to be arting, I am not doing the job of making /this work/ as good as it could be.  I’m failing if I rub my feelings all over the canvas.

8. What do you think art is?

Hrrm.  I know what /fine/ art is.  It’s what I do.  I produce things where the only value is in their beauty.  I do not seek to make you question anything other than what an item might mean in context, or how I managed an effect.  In a wider definition, art alters your emotions, in a direction planned by the artist but along a route you take yourself.  You might totally ignore her direction, in fact.

9. What would you do if you weren’t a painter?

Hmm.  Another toughie.  I think I would have learned some computer language or another and be trying to make a living at that.  I like puzzles, and things that do exactly what you tell them to do, but with interesting combinations.  I could be fooling myself, though.  I might be on the dole telling people I could have been a contender.  I might be an astronaut.

10. Which other art form do you admire and why?

Poetry.  It is a compression algorithm for emotion.  You can tell people how a feeling is, in a way they understand.  ‘Love holds me captive again, and I tremble with bitter-sweet longing’.  That’s Sappho, who was very good at writing down feelings.  I admire poets who can stir a feeling in me.  It’s a real skill.

11. What has been your biggest artistic disappointment?

Another tough one.  I have failures, but I do not think any of them stand up.  Ask me again the first time I let down a client.  That will be a big one.  Until then, I just have things I have learned from.

12. Where do you work?

The Cambridge Art Salon, which is in Romsey, next to Mill Road.  For non-locals, that means the food is good.  We are off the main road, though, so the gallery part has little passing trade.  There is a stein of studios at the back. The building used to be a motorcycle shop.  I work in the MOT bay.

13. Do you work from life, from photos or from your imagination?

Yes, yes, and yes but with help.  I can do all three, and all three are different.  When working on a particular effect from imagination, I can go furthest wrong, but I like to keep trying.

 14. Where do you get your inspiration from?

Grrr.  This question always annoys me.  Inspiration is not the important part.  The important part is that after having an idea an artist puts in a brickton of work.  So if I decide to do (heavens help me) another still life in glass, I will set it up and draw it and tweak it.  I have far more ideas than I ever have finished works.  Everyone has ideas.  Whiskey costs money.  So here is something far more useful.  How do I /filter/ ideas?  I look at whether I can do it.  I look at whether it is likely to sell.  I look at whether I have all the right tools.  I sketch it a bit.  If I still have enthusiasm and can see it working, I put it into the easel or the painting table.  Ffeh, inspiration!

15. What moves you in life, what irks you?

Big question.  People treating each other badly irks me.  I admire a calm understatement more than a scream of joy.  I like good food, being warm enough, and remembering how bloody lucky I am.

16. Where do you feel art is going?

I have no idea.  I am out of touch with most modern art, and that is the sort of art that goes.  Apparently the style I work in is getting more popular again as people find bankruptcy in modernity, but I do not think that is the case.  Styles always eventually rebel against teaching, and even when teaching says ‘everything is art’ it can still move in unexpected directions.  All I know is what I do.

17. What do you think the role of an artist is?

I am going to answer this as a fine artist.  It is to get the result that represents the highest amount of skill I can put into making something look good.  I want to make it look better than anyone else.

18. What do you think your work contributes?

Skill.  In a direction.  I make work that looks better than a photo, if I can, or I might as well be a photographer.

19. What techniques do you use?

I am primarily an oil painter, so colour selection is…  Look, can you ask me this as a whole totally different question?  I have whole blog posts on this.  I can make a good picture in ink, pencil, oil, watercolour, or charcoal.  So far I have only made one work in clay.

20. Are you self taught or trained?

I had a tutor for a bit over a year.  That gave me enough information about what I wanted to and should learn, and I went off on my own.

21. What is most important to you the subject of your painting or how it is executed?

The two are usually linked, but the execution is always the thing that makes a painting.  That includes arrangement of the subject, though.  Still life or portrait or whatever, you have to make choices as part of the execution about what the subjects should be or do.

22. What aspects of your work do you think you could improve?

Most of them.  I have been a pro for two years.  Marketing is a problem for me, and that is part of the job if not part of the artistic work.  If there is one thing, it is my mastery of shape and outline in tonal painting.  If I could paint with better accuracy that would make the works faster.  I have to check and re-check a lot.  A millimetre can be a big distance.

23. What’s the biggest compliment that’s ever been made about your work?

Someone looked at a work of mine and said ‘That is just like real life But! Better!’.  That’s exactly what I want people to think, and to have someone say so spontaneously was a joy.

 24. What’s the biggest criticism of your work that’s been made?

Usually, I get criticism I ask for.  ‘needs more shadow there’ or ‘warmer onthe central part’.  I guess the mass criticism of sending off a lot of pictures to people who did not bother to write back saying ‘thank you but no’.  That annoyed me for a few days.  Far worse is people who applaud everything I do, when I think some is crap.  If they applaud the bits I think lack skill, that means it is harder to feel good when they like other things.

25. What’s your favourite period in art history and why?

French Academy.  Because Bouguereau’s Nymphs and Satyr.

26. What’s your favourite colour and why?

Favourite colour?  Not sure.  Favourite oil paint?  Ultramarine.  It goes on in layers and builds up to richness and depth.

27. What are you reading at the moment?

This eMail.  But I seldom pick up a book without finishing it.  I just re-read The War of Don Emmanuel’s Nether Parts.  I have a couple of watercolour and art books on the go, but I dip into those for help rather than reading.  Can I wave a flag here for Saladin Ahmed’s Throne of the Crescent Moon?  It might just win a Hugo award, and if not it is still worth reading.

28. Who is your favourite poet?

Ezra Pound.

29. What works of art would you own if space and cost were no object? 

Most of Bouguereau’s works.  The Peplos Kore.  A Klein blue canvas.  The Tate Modern once had a great big machine that was just a machine.  I’d like that, and The Artist’s Breath from the room it was next door to.  Venus Surprised Bathing.  That was worth a city state’s national debt, and they refused to sell.  I’d want the original, though.  Richelieu at the siege of Rochelle.  One of my friend Susan’s works, A Windy Day in Cambridge.  All of the art.  I want all of it!  And a hangar to keep it in.

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To see more of Diana’s work or follow him try these:

http://dianaprobst.com/

https://twitter.com/DianaProbst

Diana’s latest collaboration with poet/writer James Knight is available here

>>

If you would like to take part in ‘Ask An Artist’. Do get in touch via the comment box or via @ArtiPeep

FreeSpace: Poet/Writers James Knight and Richard Biddle

5 Mar

Welcome to ArtiPeeps’ latest initiative FreeSpace whereby we offer 3 post slots to any creative who has taken up a Weekend Showcase. Within these 3 spaces the creative can do whatever they like, and stretch the slots time-wise however they like to. And here taking up this offer, in the first of their 3 slots are James Knight and Richard Biddle

The nicest people you’re never likely to meet…or…How ‘Time Lines’ came in to being…

About a year ago, I began using twitter to promote a now defunct business. I quickly realised its potential for connecting with like-minded others, and put it to work. I found the immediacy of its feed both addictive and seductive.

As a struggling poet, creative writing was never very far from my radar. So one day I had an epithany ‘what if I used the tweet as an experimental platform for poetry.’

It wasn’t long before I found out that there was already a seam of creativity out there. It was called, among other names, #microfiction and there were quite a few people at it. @echovirus12 was one of the first nuggets I found.

EV12 is the brain child of @jeffnoon. It is a constantly changing evolving narrative that involves a number of different writers. In simple terms, each writer/member has the choice to respond to the previous tweet by echoing some element within it, and there is one golden rule: you cannot follow your own tweet. It’s genius, a kind of modern day exquisite corpse. I immediately wanted to be a part of it.

In my searching, I also found the amazing @virulentblurb by the incredibly prolific

@kneeledowne who uses twitter like no one else on earth.

Originally starting life as an experiment to write an ongoing fantasy novel via the medium of Twitter, the Blurb has now mutated into its own website. ‘

http://www.virulentblurb.com/index.html

I started writing, what I hoped were absurd, strange and darkly-humoured tweets and it wasn’t long before my work was noticed by the extremely talented @jamesknightbad, whose creation ‘The Bird King’ I had just discovered. His alterego, @badbadpoet had created this mythical character.

How did the Bird King come to be in James’s head in the first place? Maybe Loplop planted him there: a bad seed sown in the soil of dreams. Maybe a mythical being called Crow was responsible. To this day, James is unsure. We will probably never know.’ 

James and I seemed to share a similar proclivity for the absurd and the surreal and it wasn’t long before we were regularly communicating and RTing each other’s outpourings. This mutually respectful appreciation led to James inviting me to contribute to his latest project, an anthology of writing by poets & dreamers who were using Twitter as a portal through which they could birth their latest ideas; like me, they were using Twitter as a testing ground/sounding board.

 A few months later and the dream has become a reality. Amazingly, James coordinated, collaborated and self-published the book that is now called ‘Time Lines’

Self-publishing anything always involves risk but above all it requires ‘guts’ and a belief.

 Time Lines’ is ambitious, it is international. It combines the writings of poets from the USA, UK, Australia and Mexico.

 Five of the writers, including myself are members of @echovirus12. Yes my desire to become a contributor/member of EV12 came to fruition.

 Time Lines’ is ‘out there’ literally and figuratively. I don’t want to say too much about it here, other than, I am proud to be a part of it.

 Not being one for self-agrandisment, I hope that if your’re reading this, you’re curiosity has been aroused and that you will make the step towards supporting our venture by clicking on the link below.

http://www.lulu.com/shop/james-knight-and-richard-biddle-and-aksania-xenogrette-and-mina-polen/time-lines/paperback/product-20696993.html

 Finally, James and I are now collaborating on another project @cosmologgorhea. In short, it’s an ‘epic’ mythopoetic, prose poem inspired by creation myths, surrealism and the big bang theory.

 We take it in turns to tweet, building-up an imagistic wordscape. Each tweet has to include 3 words that have been chosen in advance by the person who last tweeted. We have no idea where it will lead us. Who knows, perhaps one day we may actually shake hands but if we never, ever physically meet it doesn’t really matter, our minds have, our words have and our cyber-selves have. In today’s social-networking age, remarkably, this can be all we need.

 

James Knight

I make bad dreams in the form of poems, stories and pictures. I am a member, with acclaimed author Jeff Noon, of experimental writing group @echovirus12. I am the bad, bad poet

Website: http://thebirdking.com/

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The Madness of the Bird King is a poetic picture book for grown-ups. It presents the reader with the enigmatic Bird King and his world, in a poem made of twelve fragments, each with an accompanying watercolour illustration by Diana Probst

In constructing our little book, Diana and I wanted to offer the adult reader the feelings of delight, wonder and joyful terror that young children experience daily, when immersing themselves in picture books like The Gruffalo and Where the Wild Things Are. Much of that rich emotional experience is a result of the potent combination of text and image; the magic of The Madness of the Bird King is generated by the connections and disjunctions between my words and Diana’s beautiful pictures, which are not illustrations in any traditional sense. Although each painting was inspired by a Bird King fragment, we have not paired them up. Indeed, some of the pictures were inspired by tweets that didn’t make it to the finished poem.

What follows are the first three parts of our twelve part work. In the book, my text appears on the left hand page, and Diana’s illustration appears on the right. The Bird King himself may sometimes be glimpsed, fleeting between the two.

I

The Bird King is mad again.

He caws

through empty midnight streets,

moulting tar-black

feathers.

Bird In Flight Original Artwork by Diana Probst

Bird In Flight Original Artwork by Diana Probst

II

The Bird King’s wings:

stiff machinary

cobbled together from wire

wood,

corrugated iron.

But the feathers are real, seasonal:

Spring: urinous, downy.

Summer: purples, scarlets.

Autumn: rust-tinged greys.

Winter: a widow’s fan.

Original Artwork by Diana Probst

Original Artwork by Diana Probst

 

III

The Bird King spends much of his time

asleep on a throne of lightbulbs,

dreaming of love.

Waiting in the wings: his retinue of electricians.

Sometimes he wakes,

jovial.

His laughter breaks glass,

frightens animals.

He cackles and crackles on his electric throne.

Original Artwork by Diana Probst

Original Artwork by Diana Probst

Copies of the book can be purchased here

Find out more about Diana and her work here

You can read Diana’s account of her work on the Bird King book here

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This one is called:

Grandma’s Eyes or 13 Unpleasant Stories, Invented for the Purpose of Terrifying and Mystifying.

1. She found the book at twilight in the silence of the forest. It was bound in red leather. When she opened it, the pages turned into moths and fluttered in drunken spirals, aspiring to the moon.

2. Grandma’s garden has gnomes, roses, a lovingly mown lawn. But her greenhouse is home to a thousand desperate twisted things, gasping, blind.

3. She pauses before the door to the forbidden room. The apple-shaped doorknob is warm, smooth. In her other hand: a key like a snake’s tongue.

4. Grandma sips a cup of tea. A broken wolf stares at her from the prison of a picture frame.

5. The curtains of her eyelids are the forest. Denser and denser into the heart, into the wet darkness, into the house of phantoms.

6. Grandma’s teeth are knives, hatchets, crenellations, the serrated canopy of the endless forest.

7. When she breaks the mirror she swoons into a long, restless sleep. Her lips turn to rose petals, her hair to snakes. Her sex becomes a seashell. Put it to your ear: listen to the mermaids murmuring in an ocean of blood.

8. Red roses proliferate in the Kingdom of the Wolf. Grandma’s skull is a cave. Inside, you’ll hear the voices of the dead.

9. In her heart is a mirror in whose surface you may catch a glimpse of the witch, an apple, a rose bush, a broken sword.

10. In Grandma’s eyes you’ll see a red moon, red shoes, secret flames, the howling storm. She shows her bleeding palms to the heavens.

11. Opening the door to room 13, she finds herself entering a candlelit bedroom. Her double is sitting at the dressing table, smiling at her own reflection.

12. In the Medusa coils of Grandma’s floral wallpaper: the statue of a wolf.

13. An axe, a grin, a labyrinth of trees. The girl, now a woman, writes her name in blood on the mirror of the moon.

.

And this is: 

Dinner for One

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I made the film a few years ago with a couple of exceedingly talented people, but we ran into some copyright problems with the soundtrack soon after it was uploaded to YouTube. So I approached  Adam Wimbush  who composed some terrifying music for the Bird King last year (See here for more details) , and asked if I could use a section of his piece Realms as the soundtrack to Dinner for One. He agreed, and when I added his music to the film it was as if he’d written it especially for our horrible little piece. I’ll say no more. You can see the film  and enjoy the combination of sound and image yourself. I’m the one in the suit, by the way.

.

Richard Biddle

Just

Picture this happening continuously –

In his mildew-ridden study, pocked with mouldy black stink on the walls, he struggles to word the paper with thought. Blank pages lie before him like prayer flags awaiting a tornado.

At his back, books ranged on makeshift shelves chatter claptrap at him, trying to distract him from his task with their half-muttered theories and better poetries.

An idea forms in this memory like sucked bones giving up their sparse meat, a tongue-snapped taste that lasts as long as a snowflake.

Ghost-seeking torches hover their nervous beams over graveyards. Moonlit ouija boards anticipate the spelling out of death. Municipal murders, suicide rumours, scare-legends…

…In an abandoned toilet, where a boy’s body was found swinging, they dare each other.

Suddenly he realises that residing within his aging limbs there is a poltergeist. He decides to become invisible.

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Minutiae

This is a symphony to be conducted with a pin, a moment to be replayed again and again and again.

Like a throng of winged ants leaving their dead queen, these letters leave me, an exhaled silent trail. Pips, delicately planted so as to grow into fruiting trees. Or, is each word a tiny coffin making this whole text a burial site for dead thoughts, an insignificant graveyard.

What will become of this effort? Will it be cast aside like a rotten fish, left to fester in maggoty juice? Will each vowel metamorphose into a tooth, each consonant merge to form a fleshy tongue and will this alphabetic mouth be able to talk?

More likely that the autopsy will reveal death by natural causes and not the last scribbled scrawl of a suicidal scream.

Whispers, that’s what these ciphers are. Shadows cast from the mind to the page, lit by a moon the size of a penny.

Retrace the steps and you will find heaps of scrunched up paper, each one an undiscovered planet frustratingly tossed into the air in an attempt to find an orbit, failing and falling back down to terra-firma with a whimper.

Read this treatise and think of the tiny things, the details; a match before it ignites, a mosquito before it bites and a splinter waiting to catch your skin with its irritating twinge.

Paper cuts, snagged nails and kisses of betrayal, this is a novel to be read through a microscope, a symphony to be conducted with a pin.

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Nightly

Dressed in a suit of soot, tar-gloves and tar-shoes, a charcoal walking stick and a lump-of-burnt-wood-hat, it carries a cave on its back, a cave where secrets are stored and fetish is found. Sometimes the cave is a mouthful of ink and the fetish a lithe tongue, darting in and out, licking the light to darkness.

Its smell is burning tyres and its voice a chalkboard nail scratch, whispering screams, cutting dreams, penetrating.

It is a fat, on its back, black beetle, a malignant cancer, and a barrage of dubious bruises.

Unable to escape the liar’s essence, the murderer’s stench and the rapist’s desire, it rolls its solemn heart through the lonely body of every nocturnal hour. Cursed by the sun, this is where it must stay, firmly lodged between the witches and the stars.

A fox scratches at a wire fence, its snout catching the panic of a chicken. On a country lane, a car crunches a badger’s bones to pulp.

https://twitter.com/littledeaths68

http://writings43.blogspot.co.uk/

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