Thursday 13 December 2018


NEW WORK: #rambo

This is a project I’ve been attempting for a while. It’s taken inspiration from two separate incidents: one wild night in the Brazen Head in Dublin spent messing around with Facebook filters, and an old video piece by Al Pritchard featuring the climactic scene from First Blood delivered ‘en Español’.

Previous works have explored both emoji culture and online social media sharing, as well as re-appropriation of pop culture imagery. This project is something of a Dadaist approach to these different articles.

This work started off with a Facebook Messenger filter over a live video of First Blood. I made use of the ‘Medusa’ filter, with a head of snakes and a yellow forked tongue when the mouth opened. My initial thoughts were to have the work as a video piece, but after a few attempts, it became apparent that it was working better as still images. These stills were easier to edit, and using the post-processing of Facebook Messenger I ended up with some jpg files with filters, stickers, emoji, text and backgrounds.

When I describe these works on my website, I talk about the relationship between the film's core themes (depression, PTSD, and post-conflict mental health) and the blasé nature of millennial internet users approach to these issues. To those not overly familiar with the franchise, John J. Rambo is the typical gun-totting 1980/90’s macho man musclebound hero. The first film actually portrays him fairly different to this popularise image from the sequels, in that there is only one (!) death, and that it uses his mental health issues to explain his actions. It does this through horrific flashbacks from his experiences in a Vietnamese concentration camp, culminating in his eventual mental breakdown at the end of the film where he discusses in graphic detail how he and his squad were ambushed and mostly killed. I wanted this to feed into the work and be reinterpreted through the prism of self-deprecating internet subcultures such as r/meirl and suicide memes.

Friday 7 December 2018



I think I was living in Bath at the time, when Shane, an artist friend of mine, went to an exhibition opening with my brother. The exhibition was in a small gallery in rural Donegal, and I was familiar with it having been asked to play music there on a few occasions. The exhibiting artist was Neil Shawcross, a Lancashire native who had been living in Northern Ireland since the 1960s. Shane had the opportunity to speak with Mr Shawcross, who kindly offered a private tour of his new retrospective in The Ulster Museum. They arranged a date for the meeting, and Shane asked if I wanted to go up with him as I was to be back home that week.

So we both hopped on the Goldline 273 to Belfast and walked out from the Europa bus depot to meet Neil at the Ulster Museum. We picked up a bottle of Rioja on the way, to say thanks (Neil took great pleasure in informing us that the opening night of his exhibition had the most wine ever drank at the Ulster Museum and that they even had to go out for more when the supplies ran out). When we arrived Neil was great to chat with, we talked about art and the Tory Island painters as I had recently come back from a painting scholarship on the island. One of Neil’s friends and their daughter joined us, and we went off on the tour of the exhibition.

The show was a retrospect of his portraiture entitled 40 Years of Portrait Painting, with 34 life-sized oil on canvas pieces, displayed in chronological order. I was fascinated by his approach and the choices he made. I loved his use of pencil, charcoal and loosely applied oil paint to create these fantastic large-scale works. In one of the first in the series, he explained to us how he was experimenting with drawing a line along the bottom of the canvas to serve as the ground, his inspiration comes from observing how children paint pictures and also from outsider art (such as the previously mentioned Tory Island artists). I found this approach fascinating, and much of this has gone on to influence my own work in concept, technique and composition.

As we walked through the large rooms of the exhibition, a Primary School group was busy milling about. Each kid had a pencil and paper and was trying to recreate their favourite works for a class project. Neil walked up to one of the children, looked at their reproduction, and then signed it ‘Shawcross’. He then remarked ‘that's more like it now’. I doubt the child knew he was, but it was a genuinely nice gesture.

We finished up the tour and moved across the street to the William Conor Cafe, where I was completely astounded as to how many espresso shots Neil had in such short succession. Artist Clement McAleer joined us, offering myself and Shane up to attend a private view of his work in the Gordon Gallery in Derry. Before we parted, Neil offered to send us some books, which arrived a few weeks later, again, signed like he had done with the kids drawing.

Tuesday 13 November 2018


When I was in school and starting my A-Levels my art teacher, Declan Forde, recommended I apply for a scholarship to Tory Island to spend some time with the local painters. To apply, I had to make a piece of art about the island. Having never been, I asked my father for some information about it and he pulled out an old RTÉ  documentary about Derek Hill on VHS. Hill was an English painter who frequented the Donegal island on long painting trips and encouraged the locals to take up painting themselves. With this newfound interest, I searched 2002 google for some images of Tory Island. I settled on painting from a striking photograph of the famous 'T' stone cross. If I recall correctly it was an acrylic painting on that strange canvas board stuff, slightly abstract and expressive but enough detail to know it was Tory Island. I submitted this for the scholarship and was successful.

Tory Island is perhaps the most remote island off the coast of Ireland that is still inhabited. Lying some 10 miles into the Atlantic Ocean and measuring approx 3 miles long and 1 mile wide, it is a desolate and barren island of great beauty and isolation. No trees grow on Tory, for the wind is too strong, and the great high cliffs make for outstanding vistas. Derek Hill was known to have said that every rock on Tory was worthy of painting, and when he first starting making work there in the late 1950's he was approached by James Dixon, a local fisherman. Dixon, of no formal training or understanding of art, argued he could do better. Hill gave him some paints and, thus, the Tory Island School was born. Dixon went on to influence a number of locals to take up painting, including Anton Meenan, Ruairí Rodgers, and Patsy Dan Rogers (King of the Island).

The school of art can be typified as naive or outsider paintings, with a focus on local happenings, landscapes or mythologies. The execution is often simplistic, with perspective and orientation not commonly found in the regular art canon. For example, important historical events are often painted to mimic a bird's eye view of the scene. Like many other artists before me, I was fascinated by the approach to the work, the use of text in the image, the different tools utilised in the mark-making process and the need to fill the entire composition with detail.

In the Summer of 2003, I made the journey out to Tory Island for a week of painting and playing music on this scholarship. I was accompanied on the ferry across by a few other eager teenagers and Jim Hunter of the University of Ulster. The King of the Island, Patsy Dan Rodgers, met us as we landed and welcomed us to his island. Over the following days, I spent some time learning about the local island, the legends and about the art community. Patsy Dan took me out to do some painting on the coast. He told stories about how he used to add little things to his compositions and didn't mind if it was 100% authentic so long as it suited the painting, which now seems like an obvious idea but had never occurred to me as a teenager. He was also willing to bend the rules, unafraid to use unorthodox materials such as boot polish in his paint for 'a blacker black'.

In the following years, I often returned to Tory in the summer, camping there with my friends for weeks at a time. No internet, no phones, just time to reflect, paint, write, play music or drink beer. When it was sunny it was the best thing ever. When it rained it was a different story. I got to know the locals pretty well, and always looked forward to getting back over. The last time I went was to play a gig with my rock band. There was a mini-festival on the island called 'Rock on the Rock' and somehow we got asked to come and play. I'm not totally sure our weird brand of blues & metal went down so well but we at least had fun. I haven't been back since.

I'd always wanted to own one of Patsy Dan's paintings, as they are both amazing little pieces of art, full of his idiosyncratic approach to painting and his outlook on the world, and also to remind me of those amazing summers on the island. My journey to obtaining on was not easy. Having not been able to get back to Tory Island for many many years, I looked to see if I could get some online, perhaps through Ross's auctioneers or somewhere else. I eventually found a website selling a painting, but after attempting to complete the purchase, nothing happened and it fell through. It wasn't until a year or so later that I stumbled across the website again, and noticed that the payment method was PayPal. I pressed 'buy' again but immediately cancelled the order. In doing this, I managed to see the email address associated with the online gallery selling the painting. I contacted them about buying some work, and after a few months, I actually got a reply.

It wasn't from anyone on the island but luckily enough it was from someone who had a direct contact with the King. I eventually received some photos of Patsy Dan's most recent work, which had been shown in Dungloe, and asked to have one of his paintings sent over to me in Wales. This took another few months but by the end, I finally received my very own Patsy Dan Rodger's painting of Tory Island, complete with boot polish black.

A few weeks ago, I, like many, was deeply saddened to hear of the passing away of Patsy Dan. He was a completely unique individual and I never underestimated how much he influenced my work as a young artist.

Bonus Content- short 1992 documentary about Tory Island painters with some amazing flute by Matt Molloy

Friday 3 August 2018


For an album that I bought as soon as it was released, I didn’t really get into this one until a good few months after. On first listen I really enjoyed the fact that there was a new Truckers album, that it was extremely political, and that the songs were good. Love the production, love the sound and arrangements. Just didn’t get into it as much as their earlier albums. In retrospect, I’d say it's their most robust effort since Brighter Than Creation’s Dark.

It wasn’t until I went back to Ireland in February to see my folks and for an Irish music festival with my bud in rural Donegal that I really dig into this genuinely excellent album. I had a great time back home, which was a heady mix of teenage joviality at the festival (getting stranded in a lock-in on the Atlantic coast, telling ghost stories in a graveyard with a bottle of rye, etc.) and the crippling depression of impending severe family issues.

When I fly home, it’s typically to Belfast or Dublin, followed by a 2 or so hour bus journey back to the border. There is minimal 3G/4G signal so, with that in mind, I download a few albums to listen to, rather than stream. One of which was American Band.

The album itself is one of their more concise efforts, at only 47minutes and 11 songs. Although it’s mostly heavy-hitting political stompers, there are a few more subtle tunes, like Ever South, which explores what it feels like to be an outsider and social outcast, travelling from region to region with the brand of a southern accent. When they played this live, we cheered at the bit about being Irish, but I assume it’s more of a subtle message about immigration and stigmatism than people would give the songwriter, Patterson Hood, credit for.

I recall reading the lyrics for What it Means as they were posted to the band’s Facebook page, just before to the release of the album. Drive-By Truckers have always been very left-wing and very political. From the very first album. I acknowledge that their lyrics often describe hardship and difficulties without directly addressing the causes or explicitly pointing fingers, but there are many songs where they straight up call out politicians. Fuck, one song is about Satan welcoming segregationist politician George Wallace to hell. When the lyrics of What it Means went up the backlash was divisive, typical of the polarising online vitriol of the pre-Trump election. I knew this was going to be heavy hitting album with a specific purpose. ‘Dance band of the resistance’ is a phrase that is used a lot with the Truckers. This album is the unabashed soundtrack of the resistance.

The album’s conclusion of Baggage had me an emotional mess. Right there on the spot, I googled the lyrics through broken 3G on the Ulsterbus 273 to Belfast. I was amazed as I read the song was inspired by Robin Williams, and his ultimately lost battle with depression. The song climaxes with an extended ethereal guitar solo over the chorus motif. When it ends, I’m left completely drained, sitting in silence, headphones in, on the bus.

Only one place to go from here. Hit play on the first song and just drink it in.

Friday 13 July 2018


This past year I have been thinking about the role of interactivity in my work. Typically, my digitally produced work compromises of two parts: the exhibited piece, and a digital download. To give two examples–Clifton & Postcards from Ankara.

Clifton was a reimagining of the Avon Gorge created for the Bristol Photography Festival back in 2010 via the popular multiplayer game Worms. A video capture of one CPU controlled match was displayed via a data projector in the gallery. With Postcards from Ankara, physical postcards were produced of five scenes taken from a game that I had created and exhibited as such.

When exhibited, my work regularly opts for a more curated experience. By that, I mean the work typically consists of either screenshot or video, within which I have personally constructed the path of the viewer. This could be through a screen capture of a playable scenario (which I have acted out) or using some software to generate a specific still image from the game. Each of these methods allows for a work that is non-interactive and exists in the traditional gallery space to be viewed, as one might consider a painting, photograph or video piece.

The interactive element has always been via an external download. In Clifton, the map I made for the work was available, via my website, to be downloaded and implemented with the user’s own copy of the game. In work where I have created my own games (such as Postcards from Ankara, etc.), copies of the game are also available to download in Mac & PC formats. Part of the attraction from this method of production & distribution is the running parallel with the nature of gaming in the internet age. People make things and post them on the internet, often for free (or at least pirated for free). I wanted to try and tap into this with my own work, as I believe that it's deeply ingrained in both the medium and culture.

I found this dual method of curation and exploration to be beneficial. Being able to dictate someone’s experience of my work in a gallery setting allows me to set the boundaries, to let as much or as little to be shown, and also to create limitations within the work. This entirely suits the work and the environment. When exhibiting digital work, or more specifically Game Art, there is inherent difficulty in how to go about it. There can be problems with computers, Game Art can be made from badly hacked together mods and glitches, how to introduce interactivity in a meaningful way? I have experienced some good and bad examples of this, the worst perhaps being a sign apologising as the work was unable to function. There are many benefits to showing a non-interactive piece, especially with Game Art.

In some ways, allowing a digital download of the work is somewhat similar to a magician revealing their tricks, or, in traditional art terms, a painter exhibiting their sketches and studies. I’ve always been fascinated by the processes of artists, and especially love when galleries and museums curate both finished pieces with unfinished or preparatory works. Indeed, in many of my created gamescapes, it is possible to move the camera around and find mistakes, optical illusions and tricks, or to simply walk off of the edge of the playing area and fall endlessly.

The idea of a self-playing game was something I had been investigating. This started with changing my once interactive Schooldays Over into one that could simply be left and watched. I read an article (tongue in cheek) describing how people would soon no longer have time to dedicate to playing video games, and that a self-playing game would solve this conundrum. There are further examples of self-playing games exhibited in the traditional white cube space.

I’ve felt that my digital work is very much implicative of my paintings. It is perhaps through this lens that I am drawn to the non-interactive method of exhibition. I like to think of my digital pieces as ‘living landscapes’, and plan on proceeding with this duality of exhibition and download.

Thursday 5 July 2018

Curation of my work for Sideways into the Distance

Galerie RDV, Nantes, 23/06/18-27/07/18


Pascal-Michel Dubois
Lara Davies
Victoria J E Jones
Jason Rouse

The curator of the show, Pascal-Michel Dubois, had two of his own pieces that he wanted to position on opposite walls. The prints were of 180-degree photographs, taken in an abandoned play park in the valleys. This method of displaying entirely suited the two prints, but it wasn’t long after hanging had commenced that it appeared to also work well for my Digital Border triptychs. As the show developed, it became clear that also hanging Pascal’s two opposing prints in this same method would be immediately gimmicky. We refrained from showing those two pieces.

I was particularly happy with how my two triptychs had enough breathing space and also how they occupied opposite walls in the gallery. I plan on experimenting on how this might be applied to my other work (video/games) and how this might be implemented with a dual monitor or projection. Upon reflection, I might guess my fascination with this method came from seeing Willie Doherty’s famous Re-Run Derry bridge piece at the Irish Museum of Modern Art in my formative years.

My third work in this show was to be a pre-recorded video, played back on a projector or screen. In preparation for this, we had contacted the gallery via email to confirm if they had a display and a projector. This was correct. I was planning on using the screen for some video work to compliment my di-bond panels. Pascal had intended on projecting a video animation piece onto the floor via a roof mounted data projector. As the show developed, Pascal decided against showing his animation.

There was a small problem with me using the display, a 1080p HD television, in that it had a built-in ’foot’ which made it unsightly for wall mounting (as you’d typically expect in an exhibition). After searching the back room for tech, we found one other display, but this was a rather old 4:3 monitor that wouldn’t match the cleanness of the rest of my work for this exhibition. To remedy the situation I tried taking apart the monitor but found that the foot had been somewhat difficult to remove without risking significant damage. We asked a nearby gallery (Galerie PARADISE) for help, and they were able to offer us a larger display. I was happy to take this or opt for the projector, but Pascal thought that the current monitor was the perfect size and any larger would dominate the room (he was right, of course).

I stopped short of taking a saw to the extended foot, for fear that it might make it look worse, and compromised. I felt that the positioning of the cable down the wall helped to negate any issues, and Pascal reassured me that perhaps the clientele of Galerie RDV was used to this display and found no problem with the extended foot.

There were some further problems with the video itself. I had the game ready to go (for screen capture) and had done a small, short test before the show. Having only my laptop with me, I found it difficult to get the right settings in Unity for the game app. My MacBook Pro doesn’t default display at 1080, and unity automatically sets the window size to your current screen. I had to do some last minute code to overwrite this and export to a simple 1080 window, ready for screen capturing. I had some issues with this, as my little Mac was dropping frames all over the place trying to render out my game and screen cap simultaneously. This was remedied by both changing screen cap software and removing some of the in-engine visual effects such as vignette, noise, colour correction, and later adding these back in via Final Cut Pro and rendering there. This was useful too, to help get the optimum colour on the oversaturated monitor, and something that I couldn’t do so well if it were a live game direct from a computer–something to be aware of with my new experimental interactive work.

My videos typically don’t have sound. This is on purpose, but when you send a movie file to a tv without a soundtrack, it misunderstands and pushes up an error message at the start of every loop. I had this problem in the past, and couldn’t remember exactly how I remedied it–I think with some particular codec or similar. This time, I fixed it a little simpler by just adding an audio track in Final Cut Pro and then muting it, which worked. I also had issues with which video codec to choose, exporting multiple iterations and test videos. I didn’t download Compressor but I kind of wish I had at that point. Oh, and my final export was too big for the USB drive, and I needed to get another (thanks, Lara).

We had about 4-5 days worth of setting up, and although we didn’t need all of it, the cushion of time helped ease the problems. With thanks to Pascal for the first three images.

Wednesday 27 June 2018


Just got back from a fantastic week in Nantes and I'll have to do a proper write up of it for the blog soon. For now, I've dug out a short paragraph review I put on Facebook on January 2nd, 2016. This was one of the albums I had on rotation in France last week, and seeing as I wrote this original review while on a plane back to Wales in an equally reflective frame of mind, I thought it belonged here too.

[Album of 2015 for me has got to be Ryan Adams 1989. Re-recording the Taylor Swift album in its entirety was a great idea and came completely out of nowhere. I was dismissive at first but in reality it's just a wonderful record. Adams takes the upbeat radio-friendly girl pop to a dark and introverted place, with hints at Springsteen's sparse Nebraska album and Let Me Up era Tom Petty. At the end of the day the songs speak for themselves.]

Stay tuned for a Nantes post.

Tuesday 12 June 2018


I’ve been considering writing about this fantastic album for a while now. There is something so odd about finding a new artist who embodies everything you love about a very obscure and very localised music scene from the 1970s. I’m trying to get my head around how Canadian Colter Wall’s self-titled album could have ever gotten made in 2017.

Perhaps I should begin with my own experiences in this area. My interest in the 1970s Texas songwriters scene stemmed from my love of the music of Steve Earle. Earle was relatively big in Ireland. Look no further to Mundy/Sharon Shannon’s incredibly popular bubblegum cover of Galway Girl in 2008, which is still the 8th highest selling single in Ireland to date. Earle crossed genres between Country, Rock, Bluegrass, Folk, and dabbled in my background of Irish Traditional music.

If you follow Earle’s lineage back, you will find he cites his tutors in songwriting as two people: Guy Clark and Townes Van Zandt. As fans of Earle, myself and friends dug deep into his catalogue and eventually found ourselves watching the 1975 documentary by James Szalapski, Heartworn Highways. This film depicts the spawning of the Outlaw Country movement out of the folk singers in Texas at the time.

Heartworn Highways was a staple of our late night DVDs back in rural Tyrone, with outstanding performances and insights into artists such as Townes Van Zandt, Guy Clark, Rodney Crowell, David Allen Coe, Steve Young and, of course, Steve Earle. The more we watched this documentary, the more we dug deeper into the mythology and music associated with that scene, finding obscure CDs or bootlegs or cover versions and sharing around like it was pure gold. I even picked up one of my prized possessions around that time for about a tenner: a signed copy of Our Mother the Mountain, arguably Townes’ greatest studio album.

I want to say the hype for this music amongst my peers picked up around 2003/2004, with Earle’s performance in the Ulster Hall on anti-Bush The Revolution Starts Now Tour being a noteworthy high point. The band that I was in played a raucous F the CC at a gig immediately following that show.

It’s difficult to say whether or not the internet helped with popularising obscure music, or whether it just allowed more people with obscure interests to openly and easily communicate. Although Earle has always held something of popularity in Ireland, Mundy’s Galway Girl cover certainly cemented it (ask any culchie DJ). I’m not lamenting the fact that Earle and his two mentors have gained in popularity, it is quite the opposite. I’m happy that more people are digging deeper into this amazingly rich music scene. It’s with this context that I’ll try and explain Colter Wall.

So imagine me, in Bristol’s Rough Trade shop, picking up a copy of this album on the recommendation of the sticker (and I love anything Dave Cobb gets involved in). When I got home and put the CD on I was blown away. This album lived and breathed that 1970s songwriter scene from Heartworn Highways. Teenage me would not believe that this kind of record could get released in 2017, that it would have gone under my radar, and that it would have been one of the strong recommendations of a local record store. I was amazed at how intensely developed his sound was for a first album, and how this recording captured that atmosphere with pin-sharp accuracy.

Let’s analyse a few of the songs. The opening Thirteen Silver Dollars starts as a relaxed story about an encounter with the police that picks up about halfway through with a Cash style stomp along chorus. Not only does this song reference Bluebird Wine, Rodney Crowell’s contribution to Heartworn Highways, but also Blue Yodel Number 9, the Jimmy Rodgers song Earle fans will recognise as appearing on Earle’s live album Shut Up And Die Like An Aviator.

The next track, Codeine Dream opens with a Townes-inspired picking pattern reminiscent of Townes’ version of Cocaine Blues. The song’s theme feels like a sequel to Townes’ classic Waitin Around to Die, in that it could be about the same character. If that wasn’t enough, Colter also sings ‘Sometimes I get to thinkin’/ Why wait around to die’.

Following that, we have Me and Big Dave, a lowkey story about two social outcasts. There is one line that reminds me of Our Mother the Mountain and Buckskin Stallion Blues by Townes. Compare the lyrics ‘So I reach for her hand, and her eyes turns to poison/ And her hair turns to splinters, and her flesh turns to brine’, ‘I heard her sing in tongues of silver’ with Walls’ ‘Their ears made of stone and their tongues made of poison’.

The next song, Motorcycle mentions Thunderbird wine, a  cheap & nasty fortified wine. The wine was a favourite with Towne Van Zandt penning Talkin Thunderbird Blues about the drink.

The album's centrepiece, Kate McCannon, a murder ballad that feels like a retelling of Earle’s bluegrass classic Carrie Brown (itself a very typical murder ballad) but set to the music of Ben McCulloch (minus the rousing major key chorus). There is another lifted phrase from a Townes song (Mr Mudd and Mr Gold) regarding the titular girl’s ‘long green eyes’, which I always assumed to mean greed/jealousy in the context of Townes’ song but perhaps just as a descriptive device in Wall’s.

The second half of the album features one song by Townes and one song that Townes had recorded. Snake Mountain Blues is played very well here, as is the duet of Fraulein with Tyler Childers.

Transcendental Ramblin’ Railroad Blues is similar to Earle’s Transcendental Blues in title only.

Altogether, I loved this album. My first listening experience was trying to figure out how to something that is so close to a 1970s Texas songwriter’s recording could be popular enough to arrive in my local record store. I enjoyed all the little references, audio and literary, to this period, and I’m sure I missed quite a few out. Looking forward to more from Colter Wall in the future.

Tuesday 5 June 2018


On the 25th of May, 2018, Ireland voted to Repeal the 8th Amendment. As the votes were being cast, I decided to take some photographs on the border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, along the Strabane/Lifford bridge.

The landslide victory for the Yes vote, one which shows how Ireland is finally ready to dump its image as a bastion of the Catholic church, also signifies just how backwards Northern Ireland is on this (and other) matters amidst extensive religious influence.

It’s difficult to discuss these images without taking into consideration the implication of religion as a political tool, one that now sees the ultra-rightwing party DUP now stubbornly at odds with both Ireland and the rest of the UK. I find this is particularly damning concerning the immediacy of Brexit: we currently have two weeks with no solution in sight. One can only hope that the current debacle will shine new light on the political darkness of Northern Ireland (on both sides of the religious divide) that was very much lacking in the run-up to the Brexit vote a few years ago.

Thursday 31 May 2018


 I exhibited some new work in Bristol’s The Island gallery as part of the third group show from the MFA in Cardiff School of Art & Design. This show was entitled Things I Wish I’d Known, and I think having a title and theme for this show helped us to bring it together a bit more than what we’d been previously doing.

The blurb for the show was as follows:

'Things I Wish I’d Known is an art exhibition featuring current Master of Fine Art students from Cardiff School of Art and Design. The group show brings an honest exposure of things we wish we’d known; exploring the often eschewed aspect of development and personal growth as an artist. Within the show, there will be a variety of works in different media from both local and international artists.'

My statement responded:

'This show marks a departure from my usual practice of work based on 3D computer games. It is the first exhibit of my exploration into both sculptures, via 3D scanning/printing, and into photography with the accompanying supporting image.

As an artist who typically utilises and manipulates software for developing games, I imagined that transitioning to 3D model software would be somewhat similar and easy to pick up. I was very wrong. My prior experiences creating digital worlds did not prepare me for the inherent difficulties with this new toolset. Ultimately, I went through 7 different pieces of software until I found one that was both easy to use and had enough complexity for what I needed to achieve.

The end result is a number of printed copies of a shell casing. The original object was a friend’s family heirloom; a relic from the 1970’s conflict in Northern Ireland, fired from a paramilitary weapon. The act of duplication is to try and describe the importance of passing on family stories, but also how intergenerational trauma is still an issue in these post-conflict communities. There are a few copies that I have modified to try and point towards what it means to have an unfaithful copy, referring to misinformation and especially important regarding the conflict in Northern Ireland.

A recent photograph from the area is adjacent to reference the graffiti sloganeering of kids contextualised via post-conflict paramilitary glorification.'

Overall, I’m relatively happy with how my work holds up in the context of the space. I arrived to set up the show with two images on paper and a box full of 3D printed replica shell casings. It wasn’t until a few of the other pieces had been displayed in the space that I decided to use a plinth against the wall for my tiny sculptures. My initial thought was to present these on the floor, but the floor was pretty messy, and I felt that they might get lost amongst the splashes of white paint down there. Perhaps if I had more of the shells produced (like 200 or so), it would have worked better. But elevating them on this plinth worked well, and brought them nearer to the double image I had included.

I had the photograph printed off and tacked to the wall via map pins. The image itself was on a standard A3 portrait page, with the image composed towards the top of the page. I intentionally used this typical format and wanted the white space to draw the attention down towards the 3D printed pieces. In retrospect, this was probably too much, and somewhat unnecessary. Perhaps even the image as a whole was superfluous, but at least this was a good experiment to do.

In the future, I’m not sure if I will do much more 3D printing, with a new focus on reinterpreting 3D topographies as before, but I think documentary photography or video might play more of a part in contextualising my scenarios. The next group show is in Penarth Pier Pavillion and will be followed by the MFA show in Cardiff School of Art & Design in September.

Included below are a few more images I took at the exhibition.

Friday 4 May 2018


A few years ago I decided to make some box art for an old favourite of mine, the DOS game SkyRoads. I was using the emulation software Boxer, which displays your game collection on digital shelves with the big box art front and centre. It was about this time that I realised that my virtual copy of SkyRoads didn't have a cover, and after a little searching around the internet I discovered that, as the game had not received a proper commercial release, it never had a physical box.

So I made fake box artwork for this game as a bit of a fun design project in an airport waiting lounge, and after uploading the results to this blog I promptly forgot about it. That is, until recently talking about SkyRoads with a friend, after which I  googled it to find out some piece of information. When the search came through on Google, my faux-artwork was right up there at the top of the page. From this, I decided to do a little bit more digging to see if it had appeared anywhere else.

I was pretty amazed at what I found next: someone had edited and printed out my box art to fit their copy of SkyRoads (including the yellow sticker). I wonder if they knew it was not the real artwork and just my little afternoon project? Will there be any long-lost boxed copies of SkyRoads appearing on eBay with extortionate prices? Who knows?

You can read my original blog post here.