Archive for the ‘art’ Category

Exquisite? ‘Wake Up, Freak Out, Then Get a Grip’

Thursday, October 2, 2008

I watched this thanks to Ray Ison, and was mightily impressed with the quality of the animation and the sound effects.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

I found myself wanting more!  I’d love to see the team that created this apply their talents to lots more stuff.  It strikes me this medium can work incredibly well as a storytelling and educational vehicle. Very nice song at the end.

Now for my critique.  On the whole, the narrative was cogent, but the intense relaying of scientific information seemed to cater more for a science-literate audience.  I felt the scripting and narration left quite a lot to be desired.  The narrator skipped quickly between concepts, leaving non-scientists like myself befuddled and breathless, and needing to rewind the animation to work out what was being discussed and to catch up.  It seriously denigrated my experience of what could be a stunning project.  I dearly wanted a simpler script and much, much clearer transitions between each science-spiel segment.  And less jargon. (Interestingly, the animation’s creator conceived the animation as an old-fashioned piece of unilateral communication.)

I’m curious what you think and how you feel about it.  Comments and insights welcome.


London lights – three photos, one day

Thursday, January 31, 2008

Covent Garden

At the London Transport Museum

Light Sculpture at the Royal Festival Hall

Fifteen suggestions for more creative thinking

Monday, November 26, 2007

From Drew’s Marketing Minute, this entry by Tim Siedell, creative director of Fusebox Brand Marketing Consultancy and author of the bad banana blog

Thinking is hard work. When you’re up against a deadline or facing a declining sales chart, it gets even harder. Whether you’re a business owner or a creative professional, here are some steps you can take to get even bigger and better ideas.

First things first, however. It’s a process.

Creativity is not a magical act. It’s a process. Scientists, authors, musicians, and other creative professionals who have studied such things have broken down the creative process into five basic steps:

  1. Gathering information for the task at hand
  2. Thinking through various solutions
  3. Walking away from the problem
  4. Getting an idea
  5. Testing the idea

Yep, walk away.

No doubt, the most surprising aspect to this process is step 3. When you think about it, however, you’ve experienced this firsthand many times. Frustrated by a project, you walk away in disgust. Hours or even days later, you come up with the perfect solution seemingly out of the blue. It’s the clichéd shower experience. Your subconscious is an idea machine.

Ten Steps to Bigger Ideas Now

1) Give yourself a target.
The more concretely you define the problem, the more energy you can focus towards a specific solution.

2) Mange the process and deadline.

Don’t allow yourself to move onto the next step until the current one is finished. And build time into your deadline to walk away.

3) Find a comfort zone.
Surround yourself with the creature comforts that make you feel most at ease.

4) Attack the white bull.
Hemingway feared the blank page. He called it the “white bull.” If Hemingway can fear the start of a project, you can, too. It’s natural. Attack your fear head on.

5) Free-associate with abandon.
Robert Frost called an idea “a feat of association.” Smash thoughts together. Write down words and see if they connect. Mash, smash, and crash.

6) Actively search for inspiration.
Look into other industries or unrelated fields for sparks of inspiration. Search the web. Look for items that spin you into new directions.

7) Aim low at first.
Nervous about a deadline? Frustrated? Get an easy solution onto that blank page and you’ll loosen up and feel more confident.

8) Forget about it.
Seriously. Go to a movie. Take a walk. Move on to another project.

9) Go to sleep.
Research shows that a good night’s sleep leads to bigger and better ideas. Let your subconscious go to work.

10) Be willing to kill your babies.
Don’t fall in love with your ideas. Try to get as many ideas as possible and then test them without prejudice at the end.

Five Steps to Bigger Ideas Long Term

11) Break out of ruts.
Pick up a trade pub from a different industry. Eat at a new restaurant for a change. Listen to new music.

12) Be a sponge.
The more stuff you have in your brain, the more material you’ll have to work with the next time you free-associate.

13) Keep your radar up.
Actively look around you. Carry a journal to record little nuggets of inspiration.

14) Gain confidence.
Confidence is key to any creative person. The more you employ the above steps, the more your confidence will grow.

15) Collaborate.
Working with others will help you grow your ideas exponentially.

Now it’s your turn. What steps or tips have you found effective when it comes time to be creative?

The Woodland of Wishes

Monday, November 5, 2007


This is the postcard-size version of the invite, posted before: my favourite.

The Wishing Trees are go!

Thursday, October 18, 2007


Kitchen apple

Saturday, September 29, 2007

When I bought my flat, there was very little to dance with joy about regarding its kitchen, save the light, airy space (for an idea, see here). So I set to the drawing board with a little help, arrived at a scheme, and had it completed just in time for a family, Christmas Eve meal – they liked it (the kitchen, that is). It’s turned out to be a jewel in the crown of my property-development career. A friend visiting said, if ever you need a job, invite your future employer here and ’nuff said’ – the flat would be sufficient as an interview. Nice of him…

Well, I’ve at last got round to installing a picture above my cooker – a print-out (on multiple sheets of A4) from a scanned-in postcard of a painting by Sir Terry Frost. Having ordered some toughened glass to put it behind, and the glazier providing some silicon-gel glue free of charge to stick it, I needed a way of holding the picture in place against the wall whilst it dried – I had to rush out so couldn’t stand there holding it myself.

This is the solution I arrived at: table leg secures ladder; ladder wedges in bread board; bread board weighs against glass –

Et voilà: one nice apple picture to complete what was an empty space. (The kitchen scheme was based on the green out- and white in-side of an apple.)

The camera lens, by the way, has distorted the straight lines of the wall-mounted shelves.

Where the wishing woodland shall be –

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Taken from the church clock tower back in May, which is roughly what it should look like when the sculpture trail goes live next May in 2008. Make a wish and tell it to the trees at the wishing trees website!

Make a wish, have a dream…

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Have you ever blown out birthday cake candles, or tossed a coin into a pool of water, and made a wish?! Even just a little wish? Well, here’s your chance to revisit your wish-making urge and do just that. I’ve created an online portal, a ‘wish-making website‘, that enables you to make a wish!

The site was set up in order to create a ‘wishing woodland’ art installation – consisting of wishes contributed by anybody (that’s you) tied to trees in a growing woodland. (Set up with database expertise provided by Chris Mewton at PC In Our Time.) The only cost to making a wish is the thought and time involved.

The installation, which goes live next spring, will be part of a rural sculpture trail in the village of Bergh Apton, Norfolk: the village’s fifth, with previous ones having taken place in 2005, 2002, 1999 and 1997. The last trail in 2005 attracted over 10,000 people over six days (three weekends), and raised over £50,000 (c.$100,000 at today’s exchange rate) for charity; here are some pics –


You can see more photos by some of the previous trail’s visitors here, uploaded to flickr.

The sculpture trail has been one of many initiatives in the village. Despite being a post-agricultural rural community – and being a small village of 400 inhabitants, separated and spread out by over twenty miles of road – something ensures its people come together and do lots of stuff. Alongside their Arts Committee, they have a conservation and wildlife trust; amateur dramatics and visiting professional performers; a rolling programme of creative workshops; regular yoga clases; a history society; a committed church congregation; concerts; quiz and chips evenings – you name it and they will almost have it! The village’s sense of community is tangible and so I wasn’t surprised to encounter this photo on flickr –

There’s lots going on in Bergh Apton‘, originally uploaded by Pigsaw – whoever ‘Pigsaw’ (great name) is.

The theme of the 2008 sculpture trail is Balance. Here’s the village’s website blurb –

The theme of Bergh Apton’s next Sculpture Trail is the concern, all over the world, that man’s hand is behind the changing climate of our mother Earth. What mankind thinks he wants, rather than what he needs, is bringing us perilously close to what environmentalists call ‘the tipping point’ – think of a pair of scales or a seesaw – even the smallest extra weight will cause it to tip.

In twelve garden locations in the village, we shall encourage sculptors to show works that ask how we balance the needs of mankind against those of the other species with which we share this Earth, and the needs of the planet itself.

This small country community and its sculptor friends do not have solutions to the problem. But, together, we and visitors to the Sculpture Trail have voices that may be heard by those who do!

Nice, eh?! My woodland installation idea plays on the ‘suspicion’ that there could exist a reciprocal connection between our deepest yearnings, desires and wishes and the wider (what some call the ‘more-than-human’) world. Is there something you most desire? If so, take a short ‘click trip‘. And if you’re wanting a really worthwhile day out or weekend away (my experience has been that there’s something a bit Field of Dreams about the trails), Balance is being held on

  • Saturday 24th and Sunday 25th May
  • Saturday 31st May and Sunday 1st June
  • Saturday 7th & Sunday 8th June

in 2008, and is open 10.30am to 6.00pm each day.

Crouching Nude

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Taken with my mobile phone’s camera – they didn’t sell a postcard of it at the Estorick Collection, to where I ambled for lunch yesterday.

The collection is very manageable and well chosen (with a nice cafe); I didn’t come out with a sense of cultural indigestion! It’s dedicated to C20th Italian art, particularly the Futurists, a group of early C20th artists and writers who gloried in the great industrial technologies that were transforming European landscapes and lives at the time: electricity, cars, machines, speed etc. Their founder, the poet Filippo Marinetti, wished to do away with the old – including museums and galleries, ironically! Little did he realise that his vision would become so devastatingly realised with the First and Second World Wars.

I liked this sculpture, by Emilio Greco. Its simple classicism stood out for me from the Cubist-inspired Futurist paintings, with all their technicolour, ‘divisionist’ shards of mechanised movement. She seems so vulnerable, crouching, protecting herself – as if from C20th onslaughts – with slight hands and fingers splayed like growing twigs.