Posted on Leave a comment

Photography on a postcard: Urban Contemporary vs Street Photography

A selection of postcard-sized images in the Art on a Postacard Urban Contemporary vs. Street Photography auction for the Hepatitis C Trust 2019

Visit my gallery

For the last three years, I’ve been invited to submit mini artworks for a secret auction by Art on a Postcard www.artonapostcard.com. This brilliant art charity raises money for The Hepatitis C Trust’s campaign to eliminate hepatitis C in the UK by 2025. http://www.hepctrust.org.uk/

It works like this. Famous and emerging artists are invited to donate postcard-sized (10cmx15cm) original, images for auction. Over the years Art on a Postcard have had postcards donated by Sir Peter Blake, Damien Hirst, Harland Miller, Gavin Turk, Rachel Howard, Gilbert and George, Polly Morgan, John Wragg RA, Stephen Chambers RA, Michael Craig-Martin, Chantal Joffe, Cecily Brown, Grayson Perry, Julian Opie and Jeremy Deller. The cards are displayed to the public in a gallery exhibition and, simultaneously, on online auction site, Paddle8. https://paddle8.com/ 

The twist is that although the names of all the contributing artists are published as a list, you don’t find out which artist produced which work until after the auction is over. You have to guess.

Trying to match artists to their pictures in a kind of artistic Whodunnit is part of the fun, and with bids starting at around £50, there is a chance that you could buy something from an artist that you probably could never ordinarily afford.

Here is one of Art on a Postcard’s Facebook videos from a previous auction in which Director, Gemma Peppé previews some of some of the cards and entices potential punters to guess the artists. https://www.facebook.com/ArtonaPostcard/videos/1819606894762754/

‘We have a group of men who pride themselves on knowing who everyone is, even the more obscure artists’ she says. ‘But last year they got the Marina Abramovic totally wrong! And another year, the money went everywhere because nobody could work out which was the Damien Hirst, and a huge amount of money went on a picture of a pig by a relatively unknown artist, because bidders decided that was the one.’

Last year’s Art on a Postcard raised £81,000 for the Trust.

The fight against Hepatitis C
Hepatitis C is a virus that is transmitted from person to person by infected blood. 90 per cent of people with hepatitis C have contracted it through injecting drugs with contaminated needles. Others will have got it perhaps from having tattos or medical treatment abroad, or in the UK, pre 1991, from infected blood products. https://www.infectedbloodinquiry.org.uk/

To eliminate the disease by 2015, everyone who is affected needs to be found, diagnosed and treated. Drug treatment has improved greatly in the last few years, and as more people are cured, there are fewer people with hepatitis C to infect others. ‘It’s that last ten percent who are the most difficult to reach,’ says Gemma Peppé. ‘General awareness campaigns just don’t work. People don’t really take any notice unless hepatitis C is already on their minds. And they’re not going to pay any attention to material that is aimed at drug users, if they just injected drugs once, years ago at university, because they wouldn’t see themselves as that. But people do engage with Art on a Postcard and it just might reach that target group.’

Gemma discovered that she had hepatitis C fourteen years after contracting it in 1988. While she was ill she started working for The Hepatitis C Trust on their celebrity-led awareness campaigns but after being cured in 2013, she regained her energy and, in 2014, launched the first Art on a Postcard auction, with a colleague.

Since then Art on a Postcard has gone from strength. Gemma now produces a fine art postcard auction each November – that’s the one I’ve contributed to – and two photographic auction events. One auction takes place as part of Photo London, held each May at Somerset House in London. The Hepatitis C Trust is the official partner charity.

Photograhy on a Postcard 2019
And being launched today is another annual photographic auction Photography on a Postcard, which features contemporary urban art and street photography. https://www.artonapostcard.com/spitalfields-2019

This year the auction is curated by street artist Ben Eine and street photographer Dougie Wallace. It features over 600 images by some of the most collectable and interesting contemporary urban artists, including Anthony Lister, Vhils, Ed Kashi, Melanie Einzig, Shok1, Sandra Chevrier, Nick Thomm. View the list of participating artists and the auction catalogue here https://www.artonapostcard.com/spitalfields-2019

If you are interested in getting involved, the Private View is on 2nd July Central Mezzanine at Old Spitalfields Market, 16 Commercial Street, London E1 6EW. At this event, Art on a Postcard will join forces with Jealous Gallery https://www.jealousgallery.com/ who will be live screen printing and releasing an iconic Ben Eine ‘S’ for Spitalfields.If you would like to attend the private view, you can but tickets here https://aoap.eventbrite.co.uk.

Bidding on all artwork starts at £50. And to help you to find a bargain, Old Spitalfields Market have published a guide to the hottest names to look out for https://oldspitalfieldsmarket.com/journal/how-to-pick-up-a-work-by-a-world-famous-artist-for-as-little-as-50?fbclid=IwAR2x8F7pjQ267c-G750lCZUIDeQJ4z4QvpDMlyuCwNpN4vuD0-N-BLfBelA

The exhibition continues at Spitalfields until 7th July. If you can’t wait or you can’t get there, the auction itself starts today and runs until 10 July 2019. You can browse and bid on Paddle8. https://paddle8.com/auction/art-on-a-postcard. And on Saturday 6th July, Art on a Postcard will be curating five stalls in Old Spitalfields Market and will be joined by the artists Sara Pope and Rugman. So do pop along there if you get the chance.

Look out too for other Art on a Postcard events too. They’ve done one off-events such as Art on a Ukulele and there is an annual car boot sale, which has attracted artists like Tracy Emin, Peter Blake and Gavin Turk. ‘The trick is to get a destination artist,’ explains Gemma Peppé. ‘The year we had Harland Miller, people started queueing from 2pm the day before.’

And if you miss out on the auctions there is always the Art on a Postcard shop, where you can buy boxes of postcards https://www.artonapostcard.com/art-on-a-postcard-boxsets and limited edition, signed prints, of pictures from previous auctions. You might recognise this bloke https://www.artonapostcard.com/duncan-grant

 

 

 

 

Posted on 1 Comment

What a relief – a blog about lino cutting!

Visit my gallery

Last weekend I did a lino cutting workshop at Northfleet Central, Northfleet Big Local’s community centre http://www.northfleetbiglocal.com/  After a short demonstration, everyone got going and produced some amazing work – see the slideshow below. Thanks to Mandy Wooding and Mandi Knight for the photographs.

Don’t worry if you missed the workshop, I’ll be running another one at St Andrew’s Arts Centre on August 11th, 11am until 5pm-ish. Tickets are £10, including materials. Proceeds will go to the Cafe 84 Community Christmas Dinner fund. https://duncangrantartist.com/2019/04/07/only-261-more-days-until-christmas-time-to-think-about-lunch/ If you want to come to the workshop, please let me know as soon as possible, as places are limited. More information here: https://duncangrantartist.com/event/lino-printing-workshop/

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Lino cutting is a type of relief printing. It developed from wood cutting, which was the main way of illustrating books before hot metal etching plates were used.

Lino (linoleum) was invented and used as a floor covering in 1863. It’s a natural product made from solidified linseed oil, pine rosin, ground cork dust, sawdust, and chalk. The name was coined by Frederick Walton who combined the Latin word for flax, ‘linum’ with the Latin word for oil, ‘oleum’.

The lino cutting technique wasn’t really used by artists until the 1900s. Some of the first examples of lino printing as art came from artists in Die Brücke, Germany, where the technique had previously been used for printing wallpaper. In 1911, ‘linoleum art’ by Vojtěch Preissig made its first appearance in a gallery in New York City.

When Picasso and Matisse used lino cutting in their work, it became an established professional print medium.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The lino cutting technique is quite simple. I start by cutting my lino squares. Because it is a natural material, if it is cold, lino can be brittle and break. So I work with two pieces at once. I sit on one to warm it up while I work with the other.

Lino is a great medium for printing because, once it is warm, it is soft, pliable and easy to cut. Also, unlike wood, it doesn’t have a grain so you can cut in all directions equally easily. Before you start to cut, sand the lino gently with a fine grade sandpaper. This helps the ink to stick and makes it easier to get a consistent result when you print.

In the UK , lino was made in Kirkcaldy, Scotland by the Nairn family. It is still used as flooring in hospitals and prisons because it is so durable and hardwearing, but it has been largely superseded in by vinyl and laminate flooring for domestic use. This means it is now quite difficult to get off-cuts to use for artwork, although there is still a major lino stockist in East London. You can, however, buy alternatives to lino in art shops. So, for example, children often learn relief printing using ‘dry point’ on thin polystyrene tiles.

Anyway, once you have your lino ready, you cut your design with sharp V- or U-shaped tools. Be careful, lino cutting is a blood sport! Remember, the uncut (raised) areas are a reverse of the image you want to print.

Next you spread a thin layer of ink on a glass plate. I use a glass chopping board from Lidl. Then, you ink up your carved lino with a roller, called a brayer, and then place it on to a sheet of paper, holding it carefully in one position. You need to press down evenly. I do this by hand, using a metal spoon, pressing it all over so I get an even print. Some people use a printing press. This YouTube video gives a good introduction.

I’ve been lino printing now for about five years – I’m not sure how long really. I like it because it is so ‘hands on’.  As a teenager I was always whittling away, turning bits of wood into animals and other objects, and it’s really the tactile nature of lino printing that appeals to me. It allows you to put your ideas directly into your hands as you carve your design and, although you’ve got to concentrate, it’s relaxing because you’re not thinking too deeply, you’re just there in the moment with your design. As far as the prints go, I quite like the monochrome effect and also that sense of never quite knowing what you’re going to get when you peel that first print off the lino.

Here are a few of the limited edition prints I have done and which are for sale in my gallery.  There are loads more. Just go to https://duncangrantartist.com/product-category/prints/lino-cuts-prints/. Specific links to the image feaured at the top of this blog and the three you can see here are given below.

 

The image featured at the top of this blog is Fear of Falling it is part of a series I did about the Tube https://duncangrantartist.com/product/fear-of-falling/

Those above are:
Washing Day https://duncangrantartist.com/product/washing-day/
Octopus https://duncangrantartist.com/product/octopus/
Shipbuilding https://duncangrantartist.com/product/shipbuilding/

UPDATE (18/6/19)
Interesting article on the Times today The artists who printed the modern world – Cutting Edge: modernist British Printmaking at Dulwich Picture Gallery https://www.thetimes.co.uk/edition/times2/the-artists-who-printed-the-modern-world-cutting-edge-modernist-british-printmaking-at-dulwich-picture-gallery-rbm9s3rtz 

Posted on 1 Comment

Can you judge a book by its cover? Maybe…….

Visit my gallery

I’ve known about this for a while but had to keep it stum. But now it is in the public domain, I can tell you some really exciting news.

One of my Liberty SMALL TOWN fabric colourways (see main blog picture above) has been chosen by publisher Faber and Faber https://www.faber.co.uk/ for fabric covered edition of their 2018 Booker Prize winning novel, Milkman by Belfast-born author, Anna Burns. Burns has also just been shortlisted for the 2019 Women’s prize for fiction https://www.womensprizeforfiction.co.uk/reading-room/news/revealing-the-2019-womens-prize-for-fiction-shortlist. The new edition of Milkman will be published on 5th September this year.

If you’re interested, the book is available for pre-order from a number of booksellers. Here is the Amazon link https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/0571355072/ref=cm_sw_r_fa_apa_i_A6.3Cb0ZE38XS

I’m not sure that the image that they’re using at the moment will be the final cover. I’m expecting some more information nearer to the publication date, but look out for my Small Town design on the publicity when it’s launched.

Have you read the book? I’ve just started reading it on my holidays. I think its pretty good. Quite experimental, so for instance, none of the characters have names.

The online reviews are mixed. Here is what the publishers say:
In this unnamed city, to be interesting is dangerous. Middle sister, our protagonist, is busy attempting to keep her mother from discovering her maybe-boyfriend and to keep everyone in the dark about her encounter with Milkman. But when first brother-in-law sniffs out her struggle, and rumours start to swell, middle sister becomes ‘interesting’. The last thing she ever wanted to be. To be interesting is to be noticed and to be noticed is dangerous. Milkman is a tale of gossip and hearsay, silence and deliberate deafness. It is the story of inaction with enormous consequences.

More news on the book when I get it.

If you haven’t seen them already, here are the links to my fabrics on the Liberty website:
DUNCAN GRANT https://www.libertylondon.com/uk/search?q=duncan+grant
SMALL TOWN https://www.libertylondon.com/uk/search?q=small+town

Originals of my Small Town Ink Drawings and digital prints are available in my Gallery:
ORIGINALS https://duncangrantartist.com/product-category/original-artwork/drawing-ink/
PRINTS https://duncangrantartist.com/product-category/prints/ink-drawing/

And talking of artwork, I’ve just added some new pieces for June, to the gallery on my website  – originals, lino prints and digital prints – some of them are recent, some have been around a while and you may have seen them before. Do pop in and have a look. http://www.duncangrantartist.com/product-category/new-artwork/