Having moved from the Old Print Works in January 2019 I draw portraits in my shared studio in Moseley School of Art. I surround myself with the finished drawn silk-screen and digital prints that are printed at the equally historic Birmingham School of Art in Margaret Street. The work is the result of my practice led PhD research into ‘Contemporary Portraiture: a digital and analogue journey’ that delves into the qualities, values and ethics of portraiture across cultures.
Three strands of work are currently being made: People involved in the Arts, Fellow Travellers and Art Readers and Speakers. All of which begin with smart phone photographs as the foundation for portraits of participants. Subjects are people I meet locally, nationally and internationally from the diversity of our communities.
1. Yuchen Yang, 2020. Silk screen drawn portrait,A2
Portrait of Yuchen Yang, Quanzhou based artist who went into lockdown before UK.
The portrait was made with the intention to take minds away from the fear and isolation of the virus epidemic. Initially it was printed on to cartridge paper with the direct look of the subject with full focus on the head, framed by the hair with no reference to any location. Subsequently I printed a portrait on delicate tracing paper with tears to the edges which all contribute to the impression of the precarious and unsettling situation of many Chinese people living in China. The print was hung with transparent ties on its own on in an empty gallery space. The display enhances the isolationist atmosphere while maintaining a direct identification with the artist. The drawn portrait was made from a photo shared digitally across the globe in a time of trauma. The bespoke analogue fine art portrait takes a place in a suburban western galley reflecting the human individual in an uncertain foreboding of the global pandemic environment.
Link to the background to the portrait which includes the first portrait of Yuchen, that was exhibited in ORT last year: http://printsanew.jonnieturpie.com/gifu-paper-printing
2. PhD Passion, Ian Sergeant. 2019. Two colour drawn silk screen print. 32x26"
This print is of fellow PhD Researcher Ian Sergeant who is also a cofounder of ORT.
The portrait was made as part of my drawn and printed portrait research and in this case celebrates Ian expressing himself as he presented his current thinking on the representation of black masculinity, in December 2019, at the Birmingham School of Art. From the audience I used a smart phone camera to document his expressive presentation as he passed in and out of the projector beam. This small digital image became the basis for a large scale drawn and printed interpretation. It is not a conventional portrait where the subject looks out of the frame to the viewer, but an opportunity for the viewer to identify with the subject as he passionately engages with his subject.
The portrait was made as part of the series: 'People involved in the Arts' before the rightful rise of #BLM. I welcome the opportunity to share it as a contribution to the greater visibility of the Black Community.
3. 'M is for Migration', 2020. digital drawing.
@studioolafureliasson @TATE In support of #BLM
M is for Migration was the first drawing in a weekly series begun in May 2020 following the tragic murder of George Floyd in Minnesota. It is a development of the series of 'Art readers and viewers' however focuses on people from the Black Community engaged in viewing art before Lockdown.
From a Lockdown series of portraits: 'When we could meet and share in art galleries'.