Friday, 16 December 2011

Sheep, dreams, animation and sound art

Yesterday I was disappointed to discover I hadn't been successful with the Bend In The River commission. However, feedback was that the curators liked something better. So my career balances on the whims of curators' preferences. Saying that makes it sound even more ephemeral than ever, but having attended the AIR Insights curator's talk at Surface gallery recently, I know what I mean! I will apply again another time, and go and see this work they liked better when it's shown in March.

I have other projects to do, and am making an animation for a competition deadline in February. The set is coming together, but have run out of resources for the time being. So leaving it until after Christmas.

This is for Sheep Stings and Harryhausen animation competitions respectively. I plan to make a simple stop motion animation, referring to basic animations I used to make during my college days instead of doing the work set by tutors!

Meanwhile, I couldn't resist becoming involved in Apparatjik's new project 
An invitation to create sound art or attempt to become some kind of pop/rock star by remixing their album would be better if Magne didn't make it sound as though he wanted "fans" to work for free while they all sit around drinking glogg. But then, they've already put a lot of effort into creating the stems and given them freely for us to play with, Apparatjik is truly a situationist attempt to break the normal paradigms between musicians and "fans", whether that's in an economic or creative sense, either way, it seems something is happening, and it isn't as if we get nothing in return for contributing to their projects. We get free music created by them, and being able to input into the creative process of such high profile musicians, as an artist myself, is a creative exchange with merit. 
I love working with them, but I did point out the irony of asking us to work for free while he (Magne) has been hanging around with Damien Hirst! I don't have the funds to go to Oslo to attend the private views at his gallery that I've been invited to. 

I would LOVE to see Magne's current show at Stolper and Friends. It's called "Echo" and looks really good.

Apparatjik are planning to tour again next year - London is on the list, and London is easier to get to than some of their European venues, so hoping to meet with them and share ideas to work together properly.

And what was I inspired to create?? 
Well, it so happened that my cousin has lived in Denmark for a year now, and seemed to miss English eccentricity to the point of sharing on Facebook a link to the Sewell Sampler, with snippets of Brian Sewell, the art critic recently mocked by Vic Reeves during the Turner Prize.

So I have created this bit of mischief:

Which has made Apparatjik's Don't Eat The Whole Banana rather more fun!

I do plan to create something properly. Have a play with sound art. The animation might need a soundtrack anyway ;-)

God jul and Merry Christmas, see you in 2012!


Here are all the tracks I made:

Superpositions/The Particle - Hello if you've come here from Frequency blog!
This is Apparatjik's "Superpositions" with added sounds recorded from Alex Posada's The Particle at Frequency Festival, plus a sneaky bit of Philip Jeck ;-)

Dot Comma S.H.I.R.K.A. Dot 
Apparatjik's .,,. (Dot Comma Comma Dot) remixed with classic 1980s Franco-Japanese anime Ulysses31.

Apparatjik's Gzmo with Olivier Messiaen's "Chants d'Oiseaux" played on Lincoln Cathedral organ by Charles Matthews at Frequency Festival, and re-edited.

Don't Sue Warhol's Banana!
Apparatjik's "Don't Eat The Whole Banana" critiqued by art critic Brian Sewell, and then re-edited to relate to an article about Andy Warhol's Banana

Signs Of Daydreaming
Apparatjik's "Signs Of Waking Up" with a few cuts from unreleased A-ha tracks from the CD that came with "The Swing Of Things: 20 Years With A-ha" by Jan Omdahl. Some might recognise the riff from "Go To Sleep", and a reference to Philip K Dick. 

Wednesday, 7 December 2011

I've been busy with a number of things, mainly being distracted by invitations for events and discussions! I've been to Nottingham for an AIR Insights meeting, then an EMVAN drop in session, and I was recently invited to talk at AIRTIME at Lincoln University. I had to leave early, as my son was having his braces fitted at the dentist! Between all of this, I've been trying to organise things that seem to be taking a lot longer than I'd like. I wrote a proposal for Bend In The River and sent that, to do animation in X Church, but have no idea when I'll find out if I was successful, and it'd be useful, because there are a wealth of animation competitions out there that make me want to do animation again! It's like some kind of instinctive urge, and I have no idea where it comes from, other than some really dodgy stop-motion experiments we did when I was 17! Yesterday there was a HarryHausen competition in my inbox, then Tessa Farmer's animation at the exhibition A Blind Python With Jewelled Eyes has made me really want to get on with making animation again:

Friday, 25 November 2011

I didn't get around to illustrating Borges further, as I was invited to some events for Frequency Digital Arts Festival, for which I've blogged here and here.

I've also been busy organising other things, and was accepted for Cash For The Community funding, so I've been promoting this.

This week I attended an AIR Insights event at Surface gallery in Nottingham, went to look at a potential empty shops space and discuss plans for that, and applied for Bend In The River for a new animation project, all the while following up trying to source funding for the Apparatjik project.

So I've obviously been busy, and my inspiration for illustrating Borges has given way to an offer of a free stall in the indoor market for the Christmas Market, and catching up with people again now that I have a new phone. Well, not new. I bought a handset and have a SIM only contract for a fiver a month, with the lovely Virgin mobile so back to normality as we get the court case going against Orange. 

Steep Hill has been awarded the best street in the UK accolade, so I've been doodling it for new Christmas card designs. 
Next week I've been invited to AIRTIME at University, and an EMVAN meeting amid preparations for the Christmas Market.

Tuesday, 11 October 2011


Despite my best intentions to follow up my Borges work with illustrations, I stupidly looked at Twitter and spotted an animation award asking for submissions, and found myself inspired to work on that instead. My ability to focus is subverted by the Orange fiasco, which has been ticking away in the background for nearly a year now, but which didn't raise it's ugly head until recently. It's causing a great deal of stress, added to which, with eldest son having embarked upon his G.C.S.E's and the passive stress I'm getting from that means that most of the time I spend convincing myself that the squirly stomach will go away, and that I'm not pregnant!! 
Laugh you might, but once I thought I was erroneously putting on weight, went to the doctor's to discover I was 5 months' pregnant. Experience (and stress) makes me slightly paranoid about these things occasionally. Considering I do not currently have a boyfriend, and spend most of my time avoiding the lustful advances of men (!) it isn't feasible I could be anything of the sort. 
Needless to say, the good news is that Ofcom are taking customer complaints seriously, and I hope that soon there will be a resolution to this issue, and that I'll receive compensation for the time and stress of dealing with them.

I sent a formal complaint 2 weeks ago, which Orange haven't replied to, yet they continue to send me bills for a service I'm now no longer able to use. 
As soon as this is over, I'll be going back to Virgin and will never take out a phone contract with Orange again. 

In other news, I'm working towards initiating artist-led projects for the LAN in Empty Shops spaces, and it's looking positive, but will know more next month.

Thursday, 6 October 2011

Orange / Excell / Ofcom scam

 I'm unfortunately engaged in a dispute with the corrupt mobile phone company Orange.
In August 2010 I was tricked into a cashback redemption contract via a company called Excell Communications, which went into administration in Dec 2010, and which no longer exists, leaving me with an extortionate contract that Orange refuse to nullify.
I was assured by Excell Communications that I would pay £15 a month, but have in fact had to pay £25 a month and more since the company went into administration. Worse than this, my time is being wasted by having to scan in bills to send to a company called Midland, who have been paying the cashback amounts... until now. What I wasn't aware of, and what wasn't explained to me, was that I have 12 months left of this no longer valid "contract" for which I'm expected to foot the bill to the tune of £62 - £63 per month. I wasn't made aware that the cashback arrangement was only for 12 months.
I obviously don't have that level of income to pay for this, so I have no intention of paying any more money to Orange, and will outline how corrupt their company is to be working with cashback merchants such as Excell Communications.
I've contacted Ofcom, but I've learnt that Ofcom are in cahoots with Orange, in order to make a lot of money causing people to go into debt this way, and doing nothing to help people that have fallen foul of these conmen.

I used to get briefs from Orange during my degree, so I did what any good illustrator does, and illustrated the situation as accurately as possible.

I should point out that Orange have already taken down other people's blogs for speaking the truth about this issue, so if Orange wish to silence me, I will not be bullied into taking down my own blog. If Orange co-operate and the matter is resolved without any more corporate greed or gaslighting, then all vexations will be removed, but until then, I will continue to fight as is my human right to speak the truth. 

If Orange pass on my details to a debt collection agency, then this image will be put up for auction on Ebay, where a large proportion of people will see what a greedy company they are.

Monday, 3 October 2011

illustrative experiments

I've decided that the first thing to work on for Borges illustrative work is a book cover illo.
So I wanted to draw elements from his narratives to give an impression of Borges' writings. The Penguin copy I have mainly consists of a 1930s style black and white image of a group of identical men standing with their backs to the viewer, all looking at a white square on a wall.
It does have a nice silvery background for the text at the bottom and the back, but Borges writes about mirrors, time, God, encyclopaedias, paradoxes, it's very Doctor Who, and there needs to be a sense of the futurism and postmodernism of his writing.

Google "hexagonal labyrinths" and most that come up are actually octagonal.

It took me ages to construct this labyrinth, but it works. There's one true path to the central hexagon, all other paths are false. It isn't like other simple labyrinths, where it's really just one path. The spider's web design seemed obvious; why no one has invented a labyrinth based on that before is odd. Etched into silver card it shares the beauty, delicacy and intricacy of its design, with a slightly space age edge. 

Wednesday, 21 September 2011

"Fictions" Exhibition

Helen Dearnley
Labyrinths 2011
18 September – 24 September Gallery @ St. Martin’s, Lincoln

This new body of work marks a departure from previous themes in my art practice, an instinctive move towards more sculptural and architectural work illustrating the writings of Jorge Luis Borges. My conscience wrestles with the fact that I initially intended to create a series of illustrations, so the work is a memory expressed sculpturally, as sculptural illustrations. Illustrations will develop from this work.

From the Garden Of Forking Paths, I have expanded upon the original text to incorporate personal memories of feeling at the moment my father died, that I was transported to the Pavilion Of The Limpid Solitude, which became a greenhouse, a labyrinth, a memory and an encyclopaedia.

My earliest memory of Dad is as perspicuous as the glass panes of the veridian pavilion in which it resides, running through seemingly endless greenhouses as darkness pursued seditiously through those vast steel and kryptonite prisms.
The greenhouses were composed of an indefinite and perhaps infinite forest of steel and glass, each rectangle multiplying the perception of space by its repetition, with beds of plants growing within, and interspersed with irrigation channels that broke up the consistency of the horticultural flower beds, where growth is perpetually illuminated by the twilight of the next greenhouse. I inferred from the greenhouses that they were infinite, those glass cathedrals of Mother Nature’s son.


All prints are digital imagery on mirror board with foil
“Fauna Of Mirrors” and “Funes The Memorious” 2011

“The Pavilion Of The Limpid Solitude” 2011 Mixed media

“The Garden Of Forking Paths” 2011 Found objects

“Fauna Of Mirrors” 2011 Foil, Chinese lantern, text from Jorge Luis Borges

“Funes The Memorious” 2011 Foil, rebound book

“The Alicanto” 2011 Found objects

Helen Dearnley 2011 character from "The Garden Of Forking Paths"

Helen Dearnley 2011 
"Funes The Memorious"
Digital print on mirror board

Helen Dearnley 2011 
"The Fauna Of Mirrors"
Digital print on mirror board

Helen Dearnley 2011
"The Pavilion Of The Limpid Solitude"
Found objects

Helen Dearnley 2011 character from "The Garden Of Forking Paths"

Helen Dearnley 2011 Untitled

Helen Dearnley 2011 
"The Fauna Of Mirrors"
"...the Fish was a shifting and shining creature that nobody had ever caught but that many had said they had glimpsed in the depths of mirrors." Jorge Luis Borges "The Book Of Imaginary Beings"

Helen Dearnley 2011 
Found objects

Helen Dearnley 2011
"The Pavilion Of The Limpid Solitude"
Found objects

Helen Dearnley 2011 
"Funes The Memorious"
Found object - reappropriated diary

Helen Dearnley 2011 
Mixed media

Monday, 12 September 2011

Holidays, Research trips, and upcoming Fictions exhibition

It's been some time since my last exhibition, and I realised I hadn't blogged since then. I've been busy applying for various art events without much success, and it saddens me that these events are promoted as hosting very talented artists, but as I'm never included, that makes me think this is untrue, which is a negative thing. So I keep quiet, rather than post negative experiences, and wait for something more positive to happen.
The main problem I seem to have is having very ambitious ideas for work that require more funding than is available. 
I feel that I possess a wealth of creativity and artistic expression just waiting to be discovered, that needs investment to make it all a reality.

I've been off work over the summer holidays concentrating on my other full time but otherwise unpaid job of being a single parent. I've had the expense of brand new school uniform, as the school has gone to an academy, which is Kafkaesque for making parents spend what savings they've made not on a holiday, but yet more school stuff.
The most I could stretch to in this age of austerity, or as I call it: government sanctioned financial abuse, was a trip to London to see the Serpentine Gallery Pavilion designed by Peter Zumthor

The above photograph was expertly taken by my son Brett, 
aged 12

The Pavilion was recommended by Apparatjik via twitter/Facebook, and I also visited the gallery to see 

Michelangelo Pistoletto 
The Mirror of Judgement 

which runs until 17th September.
It was the pavilion that inspired me, as I'd been busy in my studio creating work for the upcoming LAN "Fictions" exhibition this September, for which I wanted to move away from previous work and illustrate the writings and theories of Jorge Luis Borges
However, I've found myself making small scale sculptures, and in particular, the Pavilion Of The Limpid Solitude, which is from the essay The Garden Of Forking Paths. 
For this, I imagined the pavilion as a greenhouse, a book, a labyrinth, and a memory. 

However, I did intend to create a series of illustrations, but my concentration has lost focus due to a dispute I'm unfortunately engaged with with the mobile phone company Orange.
I'm considering whether to include this in the exhibition, in the same way that Tracey Emin showed her "Bed" after being asked to exhibit work and being ill. Barbara Walker made work to highlight how her son kept being stopped and searched by police for what she thought were racial motives, so this kind of work can have a powerful effect. It isn't what I intended to exhibit at all, and I'm not entirely sure whether I should give Orange or any of these companies associated the publicity, but I am being adversely affected by it, so I wish to make my opinion clear.

Friday, 15 July 2011

How To Build A Universe That Doesn't Fall Apart Two Days Later (Flow My Tears, A-ha)

The exhibition entitled "How To Build A Universe That Doesn't Fall Apart Two Days Later (Flow My Tears, A-ha)", Alley Cafe, Nottingham, 2nd June - 4th July 2011

Entitled "How To Build A Universe That Doesn't Fall Apart Two Days Later
(Flow My Tears, A-ha)".
I've been invited to exhibit work for an exhibition at Alley Cafe in Nottingham 
for 1 month. This will be retrospective work of my A-ha-themed illustrations.
The title relates to the science fiction author Philip K. Dick, who recounts in the
essay entitled "How To Build A Universe That Doesn't Fall Apart Two Days Later" 
how he wrote a novel "Flow My Tears, The Policeman Said" in which he later 
"met" in real life characters from this novel, and how he recounted the story to
a priest, the priest told him that his coincidental experiences were exactly the 
same as in the Book Of Acts in the Bible.​uild.htm

In my work, this relates to my experiences of collaborating with, and encounters 

with Norwegian band A-ha.
In his novel "Flow My Tears", a celebrity wakes up to find he is completely 

unknown to the outside world...
There are several layers of simulacra contained therefore within this, following 

from research for my degree show. I keep thinking that my A-ha related work 
will finish, (especially now they've finally retired) but similarly strange 
coincidences keep occurring to me since I started illustrating their comic book 

The cafe will hopefully invoke the spirit of the original Take On Me video, and 

work will be for sale.

Feedback from the guys at Page45 comic shop in Nottingham was that the comic was funny, which is good, because that was its intention.

Other feedback has been that the comic is high quality print, and comments included from Facebook above. The comic is available to purchase from me at £3 plus p&p, contact me if you'd like a copy. 
It is available to view only online here.

Wednesday, 25 May 2011

I'm very excited to say that I have copies of my comic "The Unreal God And Aspects Of His Non-existent Universe" updated for 2011 and will be available for sale at Alley Cafe, Nottingham @ £2.60 a copy :-)

Monday, 16 May 2011

How Bazaar!

The Alley Cafe show is looming, so I hoped to raise some funding at the Engine Shed on Saturday for How Bazaar!! Here is my stall:

Made some sales to keep me in tea (!) Not quite as much as I'd hoped, but it was fun, and for a good cause!!

No sign of any celebrities, apart from a Christer Karlsson lookalike.

Thursday, 5 May 2011

S02011 Festival Skegness

Yesterday I frantically wrote a proposal for SO Festival in Skegness and was successful!!

So I will go to Skeggy to discuss this with the organisers on Tuesday with a vague idea of having an I Scream Van based on Edvard Munch's "Skrik". I like the idea of juxtaposing English seaside kitsch with Nordic darkedged gothic noir. 
Because it's Lincolnshire this will most likely be made out of straw.....

Not entirely sure yet!! But I'm quite excited!

Thursday, 21 April 2011

Upcoming Solo show!!

Please go to this link and support my upcoming solo show!!

The more funding raised, the better this will be!!
The lovely Jimmy Gnecco said he hopes to drop by if he's in town!!

Here is the Facebook page with further details:

Sunday, 3 April 2011

UnCut Conference and Lego Light Space Modulator for Apparatjik

I've just finished reading The Yellow House by Martin Gayford, which made me Google Earth Arles and want to go there.

I've not been as productive lately. I had to move house. Being a single parent is becoming impossible lately, never mind trying to get some art work done.
Basically, it's the government and their particularly nasty ways of persecuting me for doing the job of two parents at the same time whilst developing a career. 

I recently attending the UnCut Conference at MadLab in Manchester:
Here I speak about how the cuts are affecting me as an artist and single parent:

I also took the trouble to make this ad:
because I'm keen to challenge what I see as direct financial abuse.

Despite their efforts, I have managed to have work exhibited in Berlin, which I would feel more pleased about if I could've gone to see it, but here it is:

My set on flickr is here.

In other news, I have a solo show coming up in June, here are the details: