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10 June 2012

Back to Jamaica Street Studios! 2012

Where has the year gone? How deja vu, every time I write on this blog it seems like its about Jamaica Street Open Studios! Well, like it or not, its that time again when I embark on my usual trip to what remains one of my favourite annual art highlights of the year.
Three floors, over 42 artists and everything from painting, print making, illustration (from comics to graphics), craft, stage set design, animation, sculpture and more. It was great to go back and see how the artists whose work I have seen the previous year have since developed their work, as well as seeing the new artists to the studios, for example, Anouck Mercier (whose drawings are exceptional). Compared to my recent disappointment of the Spike Island Open Studios
Jamaica Street did not disappoint me, and so far in my three years of visiting them, it never has. The reason for this I think is that Jamaica Street is what you'd imagine art studios to be, to be blunt, it 'does what it says on the tin'. You'd imagine to find art, which it has in abundance and well, (obviously) artists, and they're there working, making mess and doing what artists do, making art!! Horaa! No revelations there, but so pleasing to see so much great work on the walls in their studios and with the artists on hand to talk to if you want to. Its a real 'working' space, lively and always inspiring. At the risk of repeating myself for the third time, it is my pleasure to say, 'I look forward to seeing it again next year!'

Brilliant paintings from Karin Krommes depicting aeroplane engines/ejector seats but presented with titles like 'Reign' (not a reference to the Jubilee but still convenient timing) the seats take on different meaning and context (side by side, as shown above they act almost like his/her portraits). Whilst I stick by my opinion that a lot of photo realistic style painting leaves me feeling a bit cold, (despite admiring its technical abilities) I think that Krommes does use it in a different way, where she takes what is a fairly unfamiliar subject matter (as plane engines are) and puts it out of context in a way that reminds me of some of Magritte's paintings. It is for that reason that I personally really enjoy her work.

In situ on my own bookshelf, my very own 'from little seeds' owl. Hand made by Helen Williams and each one is completely different. It looks a little lonely on my bookcase away from its larger owl family at Jamaica Street Studios still at least its in good company (sort of) with Iain Banks, Bukowski, Papillon and Salinger amongst others.
Sculpture from Jan Blake. I think this is made from pulling apart the inner layer in cardboard boxes (the bit in-between that's kind of full of holes) Anyway, I admire that someone noticed it as a material and has turned it into something that is a lot more visually interesting than the original cardboard box it came from.

Intriguing surfaces in the work by Vera Boele Keimer. It was a friend of mine that introduced me to her work, and I find the experimentation and inventiveness in the techniques and painterly processes that Vera uses to be really inspiring in showing the sheer versatility of paint as a medium.

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