Tuesday, 22 January 2013

Siobhan Tarr - The Mystery Mosaic Tour

Siobhan Tarr - 2013 Destination Unknown
Siobhan Tarr has always been one of those pleasant mysteries for me. An artist who I have worked with for two years since Nottingham's Lighbite exhibition in February 2011. I've exchanged numerous emails with her and she telephoned me once from her home in Germany, totally confusing me by talking with a Euro-Antipodean twang but we've never met in person.

Siobhan is primarily a mosaic artist but obviously has a flair for design and a keen sense of humour. Like many artists she posses destructive traits. She starts her artwork by smashing up plates and cups and decapitating porcelain figures. Although this might make her feel better, it is not the sole reason and is part of her overall system of working. She finds inspiration from the piles of porcelain chaos and her sometimes chaotic family life as a mother to then create order through her beautiful artworks.

(second from left) Siobhan's magnetic artwork
Rarities 2011, Hastings, England

Siobhan has exhibited widely in Germany and the craquelure of her work spreads slowly around the globe, but that isn't anything too unusual for this well travelled artist. Siobhan was born here in England (Maidstone) before moving to Australia. After a life-changing encounter with a handsome German backpacker she was destined for a life in the land of Lederhosen rather than skimpy swimming trunks. Now she's happily ensconced in the little village of Seefeld, near Bad Oldesloe, Germany with her husband and 3 children.

Siohan Tarr - Headline artist
In 2011, after we'd finished a mammoth year of exhibiting over 1,000 magnets on the streets of the world I hit the internet looking for new adventures and formats in public art. I stumbled across another mystery, a series of German towns had been invaded by a night time artist who had placed....yes you guessed it.... mosaics in public places. As I read about it on the popular Landsberg Blog one place name seemed vaguely familiar, that of Bad Oldesloe....now could it be?
So I contacted the local council and they directed me to their site specific map.
Right place but was it the right artist.....?


My romantic heart had blurred my usually canny judgement. This was an underground mosaic art movement whose web stretched across the whole of the world. If Siobhan had been the 'Goldfinger' of tiled art then surely I'd have been inducted into this clandestine fellowship, with my street-art credentials.
So this meant Siobhan Tarr wasn't the 'Banksy of Bad Oldesloe'. Drats!
Back to reality and Patternotion.
Siobhan has kept up her air of mystery with her latest submission 'Destination Unknown' (top of the page)
She says
"This year, once a month, one of our family of 5 will plan and
organize  a day out to who knows where. 
 You can´t beat a good old mystery tour,  there´s a special thrill in not knowing
where you´re going or what´s in store .
 Lots of unknown fun and adventures to be had by all."
I'll be looking forward to hearing about where they all end up!
Hopefully I'll get a knock on the door one day, I'll be the last stop on the mystery tour and I'll get a chance to meet Siobhan and her family.

Wednesday, 9 January 2013

Robert Good - Art, Yes, No Way, Yes!

Robert Good - Affirmative Action
Many of you will know Robert Good's work already, just a few weeks ago he graced the front cover of our first publication FreedBook with the excellent 'Affirmative Action'. Books seem to be the natural playground for his ideas and once again he makes us think 'Yes' with his current submission to Patternotion.
Good is fascinated with society's need to impose order and to construct systems, and his work deals with the frailties of language and the attendant possibilities for art.
He is an artist and recent convert to conceptual art who works with image, text and installation to explore the boundaries between visual and verbal, theory and practice, art and life. He is a recent MFA graduate and the 2011 winner of the Searle Award for Creativity.

Robert Good - Patternotion Submission

 I first met Robert while participating in his thought provoking public art exhibition Text and Context in September 2012. He was brave enough to join myself and SMartwalks as we walked 8 miles through the streets of Cambridge, carefully attaching magnetic tweets to metal surfaces.

He told me about one of his current themes working with largely forgotten Pelican paperback images and authors. Taking books from the last century and juxtaposing them within our current digital framework. There was a suggestion that he's even reincarnated these authors on twitter. You could be cynical about this, thinking that Robert is playing the classic irony card but spend just a little time with his work and you'll find at its core there is humour, celebration and most of all optimism.

AL (left), RG (right). Photo H.Wells

As if to reinforce this point we walked past his installation on the Cambridge streets. And yes you guessed it, Robert Good had released another 'Yes' into the world.
And yes it did feel like the real thing.
I could feel the force.

And true to his name I felt better because of Robert Good.


Thursday, 3 January 2013

Mark Lomax - The Art of Waiting

Mark Lomax - Walking and Waiting
  This is an exciting time for me, as the 1st February 2013 deadline slowly approaches, the artwork for the Patternotion book arrives in my inbox.
Part of the inspiration for this book was the work of Mark Lomax.
An artist who I've been lucky to exhibit with since the early magnet installation at The Arndale Centre, Manchester called Freezchester in 2010.
Mark plied his trade as an illustrator and photographer during the 1990s before moving north to Scotland. He is now a part-time lecturer at Inverness College. His  industrial style was honed in part by his collaboration with experimental electronic band Attrition. Whose dark waves of sound emerged from the 1980's post-punk world of an unforgiving industrial Coventry.
He is a excellent artist whose rich ideas take him happily from 2 dimensions to 3 and back again. Although each photo is created as a stand-alone work, when grouped together the individual elements compliment and enhance each other to create something new with power and narrative.

This is what Mark wrote about the system for the Patternotion book -
“Walking and waiting” records the frustration and boredom of waiting for someone who is three quarters of an hour late for a meeting.  The pattern created, with its zig zag rhythms and sense of movement, documents the erratic pacing and growing concern I was experiencing at the time.  The images for this composite were taken using an ipod, this has since become my camera of choice."

He's definitely an artist I'll be keeping an eye on in the coming year and hope that we'll be exhibiting together for a long time to come. 

Check out his photo work at