Testing in the studio

I feel there’s been a post-studio stall as I muster the other areas of my life to some sense of order. The reality is while the making has momentarily paused, my thinking hasn’t. I’ve been hungry for relevant texts (or at least those which intrigue me) and have spotted a few. One, The Three Dimensions of Freedom by Billy Bragg and another, Against Creativity, by Oli Mould. While not directly related to the work both will, I hope, sit nicely alongside it.

Other small steps have been taken too – locally testing a dark mode for my website, an email here, a conversation there – all gently moving things along. So while I may not have made something physical or tangible with my hands it doesn’t mean I haven’t been working on my practice.

And this – actually recognising my progress – is easy to overlook. Although I feel there’s still much to do (and there is, it’s not just a feeling) it’s good to stop for a moment and switch from the “I haven’t done enough” type of thinking and see what I’ve achieved.

Observations, questions and actions from the week in the studio


Painting back the studio wall

  • It takes a couple of days to install the wall work.

  • Find the price of getting vinyl cut.

  • Explore alternative methods to vinyl – can I pre-cut in tape the shapes I need?

  • A two colour wall work is an option but will increase install time by a day. This will also increase cost. Use projector to only paint the “white areas”.

  • Be confident in how much / how little I install in the space.

  • A single small work can hold a wall.

  • Think about the dialogue between the works in the show. Positioning affects the conversation.

  • Confidence, confidence, confidence.

  • What if I only presented two works – one wall work and one small painting?

  • Scale of mark in relation to the object.

  • Scale of one work in relation to another.

  • A magazine page pinned to a wall could be more than enough.

  • The magazine blackout forms are anchored, the ones on blank paper are not.

  • Take the blackout forms from the magazines and reproduce them in other mediums with / without a background.

  • The significance of the magazines (or not).

  • The importance of the act of erasure (or not).

  • Concentrated works.

  • Pieces working from a distance and up close.

  • Same song, different parts / harmonies.

  • Gesture / mark making as the common denominator.

  • The practicalities and restrictions of the install time.


Wall work progress.

Wall work progress.

Wall work progress.

Wall work progress.

Wall drawing progress in studio 30 at Toi Pōneke
July 2019

Observations so far:

  • One litre of paint isn’t very much, but will have to be just enough for testing.
  • Pre-cut vinyl may be a way to speed up the install process. It will also improve the accuracy of translating the original drawing from digital to analogue.
  • Time spent painting is fraction of the install time, though drying and curing times extend this.
  • While the blue (named Elvis) feels right for this test piece, it could be too heavy over several walls, moving from joyous to oppressive.
  • It’s great having a studio space again, to have somewhere to go to make work.
  • I really want to take the tape off.

Testing, testing


Studio 30, 8 July 2019

Needing a wall to test some ideas on I’m fortunate enough to be back in my old studio space for a couple of weeks.

During this time I’ll trial ways of executing a new wall work, explore combinations of work and if possible, find out how far I can push what I can do on the wall before the work fails.

After the first day, I’m pleased the work is beginning to look and feel coherent. Progress has been slower than I’d like but such discoveries are the reason for testing.