Tuesday, 12 January 2016

Ping Pong Light Box

A little over two years ago I was commissioned to work on designs for the new Ping Pong restaurant, next to Wembley Stadium, North London. For anyone that doesn't know much about Ping Pong, they're an international restaurant chain that specialise in Dim sum. For this project I worked in conjunction with Andy Martin Architects

Part of the brief involved me creating a 1930's Shanghai influenced mural for one of the internal walls, and hand painted wall panels for the ladies and gents toilets (that's English for Restrooms). 

However, the piece that I most enjoyed working on during the project was a massive, 20 metre-long light box designed to hang from the ceiling, in the centre of the restaurant. For this I came up with a predominantly aquatic themed design, incorporating drawings of jellyfish, octopuses, fish, seaweed, and weird forms, morphing together. 

Unfortunately, as is often the way with these sort of things, the final dimensions of the light box ended up being very different from the ones that I was originally given to work from. As a result, the flow of the eventual design on the light box ended up being a bit of a compromise – cobbling together smaller elements of my proposed design. Because of the tight build schedule on site, and delays with materials from the building suppliers, I didn't get to actually see the light box being installed, or even its eventual colour scheme. In fact, it's only because I recently came across this photo of it online, that I actually got to see it at all.

To give a rough idea of what I was thinking, when I was first handed the brief, I've included three of my early working drawings for some of the panels that make up the light box.

Thursday, 7 January 2016

Artist's Finds #2 (Thames Embryo Leaping)

Returning to my obsession with found materials, this is my second post on what I'll probably end up calling Minimal Intervention Pieces - found objects that I don't feel that I have manipulated enough to actually claim them as my own artworks, but which I feel have artistic merit in their own right. Maybe I shouldn't be so concerned with what is or isn't art; after all, the act of selecting and isolating an object from it's original environment for the purpose of presenting it as something of value is surely enough to repurpose it as art. Or maybe I'm wrong. Regardless, here is the second piece in my collection of interesting finds.

I've called it Thames Embryo Leaping; partly because I found it whilst mudlarking along the South Bank of the River Thames, here in London, and partly because it reminds me of an embryonic (or partially formed) animal, leaping. As I'd stated in my first Artist's Finds post, I find some of these found objects to be perfect as they are, so there is little need to alter them in any way. The only alteration that I did to this piece was to dry it out, wax it, drill a hole in the bottom and mount it on a black metal display stand.

Because I was so fascinated with this bit flotsam, I found myself sketching it over and over. Here you can see a painterly sketch that I made of it (along with a piece of bone that I also found whilst out mudlarking), painted over one of my Spidey Pods screen prints. There's no specific reason that I chose to paint an image of Thames Embryo Leaping over Spidey Pods (I wasn't deliberately trying to draw any correlation between the two) other than the fact that there was a slight defect in this particular Spidey Pods print, and I was curious to find out what it was like to paint and draw over the top of it.

I do have a love of drawing and painting over existing things – especially old books. There's something very engaging about working on a surface that already has a history. Also, when a surface has a mid-tone or tonal colour shifts, you have something that you can play with. You can go lighter and darker from the off, something that you can't do straight away from a blank white page.