Some boxes and switches found in an abandoned power station in France
My blog has been neglected a little of late, much like the hoovering in my house, this is mainly because all available floorspace (in my house) has been taken up with metal panels in order to get them ready for exhibition time next week.
The preparation involves all manner of intoxicating chemicals, industrial spray paint, lacquer (thats the varnish and not the drink) and contact adhesive which is especially potent. Ive found myself going out for walks late in the evening to try and clear my head a little, but most of that is done now and its just left to fit the frames together ready for hanging.
The press releases went out and nice printed cards which have met with very little success, it always surprises me how difficult it is to get any engagement from arty folk, its probably half due to my lack of experience with marketing, something that I have always found difficult and probably due to the amount of stuff that get sent out to people, Still – I hope they were responsibly recycled. In contrast to the tumbleweeds from some of the galleries, there has been some really positive responses which really makes all of it worth it and I think that the opening night is gearing up to be a very interesting night.
The opening reception is next Thursday (5th September) at the Tobacco Factory in Bristol and I will be there to show and answer questions about the work.
The North West Pacific Railroad was started in the late 1800s as an enterprise between the Santa Fe and Southern Pacific railroads
it was in 1995 when the Southern Pacific officially sold the last of the line and the trains stopped running north of Willits where my journey began…
Actually, my journey began in San Francisco, on one heck of a windy and very very wet day, I wasnt impressed especially coming over from a windy and wet England and expecting some sunshine!
Having upgraded my hire car to a 4×4 (just incase I would get blown off the Golden Gate bridge) I set the footwell heaters to MAX in an attempt to dry off my soaking feet and legs. I made my way out of the city and headed North, up to Willits.
The rain had been pretty consistant on the drive up the interstate road although there were no torrents of water for the 4×4 to contend with and my feet were at least starting to dry out (canvas trainers were not the right footwear for this occasion and would find themselves being discarded before my flight back home)
The trains which I had traveled to see stood looking lonely on an overgrown patch of track and surrounded by… yes… a metal heras fence *damn*
I made the most of this distraction but it was very disappointing, it was too close to the trains as well so it was difficult to get any images without it in view.
There was a maintenance engine around to the rear which wasn’t part of the big ring fencing and I got some shots of this, but it was the engines that i was truly after.
I was at this point thinking that the day was going to be one for failures.
The journey back (having soaked my feet again in the wet overgrowth and boggy ground around the trains) took me to my final destination for the day.
It was on this route that I came across road closures (upon road closures) due to flooding, so much for escaping the water, and yes even closed to 4x4s! *refund?*
By the time that I had gotten to the trains, walked down the tracks and ignoring the warning signposts and a very excitable dog, the weather had cleared and the blue sky was giving way to a softer tint as the sun made its way towards the horizon.
It was here that the day would get better
The orange light fell on the earthy tones of the rusty hulk and made the engines almost glow!
The trains are stationary with only fields and the rolling hills surrounding it, a solemn air as i walked around the train taking in the views and taking the photos as the sun set further into the horizon
So the moral of this day was that, even if the day starts out with torrential rains… sometimes it pays to stick with it.
The second outing while in San francisco was on the last Saturday, driving in the opposite direction this time over the great span and impressive structure of the Bay bridge.
By the time I had arrived at the destination, the blue skies were no more as a thick bay area fog had swallowed up the whole area, if a covert entrance was actually needed then it would have been perfect.
A short walk by the train track and I could see the massive storage towers emerge from the grey.
I was getting accustomed to soggy feet by now, my choice of footwear for this trip was frankly ridiculous and my canvas trainers would have to be disposed of later on that day.
The cement works was reduced to a ruin consisting of the towers, a circular barn type building and 2 larger buildings which would have been the main building, now just walls and foundation structs.
The fog gave the place an eerie and claustrophobic feel, especially when you are wandering around alone in the silence. My camera set to monochrome mode, I went about trying to capture this sense of solitude.
The floor of the barns interior was covered with a thick layer of sludge, I had given up trying to keep my feet dry by this point though, the roof in contrast though was dizzying, a spiders web which looked almost kaleidoscopic with the grey sky visible through the deteriorated wood.
The day was wet with a continuous drizzle and the early morning drive down to the coast was a long one. The first photo stop proved to be a no-go and so it was a a great relief to see inside (and the dryness) of this place. It was used for fixing boats and a lot of the place had been stripped.
There was another workshop which had been taken over by pigeons – lots of pigeons
The colours in these workshops were bright in places, even in the dark corners and beneath the muted light coming through the broken windows.
After climbing up an external staircase and pushing the large heavy metal door, and it opening out into the vast empty space which looked like the interior of some alien outpost.
The outer pathways all converged in the centre with what looked to be a large round funnel dropping into the stagnant water below.
Looking up and the walls drew in on themselves before opening up to the sky above. The echoes in this tower were amazing, every footstep, crunch and shutter click rebounded around and around your head seemingly following the curves of the tower up and up.
I spend a lot of time preparing the aluminium with tender loving care… ok more like meticulously ruining it with sandpaper, kitchen cleaners, spray paint and more sandpaper before shoving it though my humble inkjet.
Having my prints along side traditional printing methods and some truly amazing pieces of work is really exciting.
I cant wait to see the exhibition.
neo:printprize is an open exhibition inviting work from artists of all ages and nationalities who practice contemporary visual art in the UK and intends to raise awareness of new trends and directions in printmaking by showcasing excellence and innovation in contemporary British printmaking.
Over 400 entries were received from all over the UK, from artists working in a variety of print media. An exhibition showcasing all shortlisted artists will be held in neo:gallery22, Bolton.
Thursday 13th September – Sunday 28th October 2012
Opening Times: Thurs – Sun, 11:00 – 17:00
The Market Place,