Received some rather exciting news the other day; the dates and venue for my first solo exhibition are confirmed!
I’ve been working with the wonderful guys at Somewhereto_ in order to find a venue that works for what I wanted and they’ve managed to find a brilliant one for me. It will be in Nunns Yard, a small redecorated and cleared out shop space with a huge window and the entire shop floor to call my own between the 21st and 24th of February. There’s a hell of a lot of planning to do… I mean a LOT and I have just over a month to do it all in but I’m determined to get it all done to the highest standard I possibly can. But I do have a few things already sorted, one of which being a name and a super nice looking poster…
The theme sort of formed itself and the name along with it. I was struggling to work out a theme or subject for the exhibition, I’d noted down a few in a blog post and a few others in a sketchbook but none of them seemed to stick. In the end, to move on with the project and sidestep the inevitable frustration volcano that would come of this, I just continued drawing and making work as best I could without a title. Soon enough, a common denominator made itself apparent and the running theme turned out to be peculiar or slightly out of the ordinary animals, hence the title; Oddly-Fauna.
As well as having a theme and title ready to go, I also have a venue booked and confirmed!
Nunns Yard is a small but wonderful gallery space down St Augustines Street in Norwich, no more than a 15 minute walk from the city centre. I collect the keys on the 20th and I could not be more excited to start hanging work and displaying everything else. There’s still a lot to plan, for example, there’s not much lighting inside the room other than daylight so I’ll need to consider how I’m going to light the work and maintain the overall appeal of the room (nothing too bright or ‘spotlighty’, very unwelcoming…). I’ll also need to get sourcing a table for the centre of the room and any other surfaces/chairs that I may need in order to fill the room out a bit. Fortunately, the room already has a long shelf surface as well as a bookshelf cunningly disguising a door.
There’s plenty of different surfaces I can play with here; the beams, windowsill, bookshelf, walls, shelf along the wall, all sorts to add work to and utilise to create an interesting and multi-dimensional exhibition.
I’ve started producing some work for exhibiting as well. No real material or technique theme making itself apparent, but sticking to the vague but fun theme of peculiar beasts is working well for me.
I’ve been able to generate quite a bit of work since confirming the venue dates, but of course no where near enough just yet. I want to start making some bigger works to break up all the smaller bits and bobs that will be on display. The only issue with the venue is that there isn’t a huge amount of wall space at my disposal; a lot of it is either window, uneven ceiling or bookshelf. This isn’t necessarily a huge problem, I’m not a massive fan of traditional gallery-style exhibitions anyway. As I’m sure I’ve explained before, I’m more of a fan of creating an atmosphere akin to that of a museum rather than a gallery But some larger pieces would definitely help balance out the space.
I’m also working on deciding what tangible, unhung pieces will be available to view. I’d ideally like to have copies of Lavish available to both flick through and purchase. I’m planning on bringing along the ol’ faithful Ugly Bestiary book as well, it fits in so well with the theme as well as it being one of my favourite pieces to date. With the door-bookshelf at my disposal I’d really like to have some more book-like items to display in it; so maybe it’s time to start thinking up some more quick, one off, mini book designs in order to fill this bookshelf out a little bit?
The space itself is so varied, with such a wide range of surface styles, heights, sizes, and materials I’m finding it a bit tricky to work with them all and yet still maintain structure and flow throughout the exhibition on as a whole. I’ve toyed with the idea of having complimenting objects on display as well as my own work, but I worry that this will turn the exhibition into more of a bric-a-brac setting rather than a place to view works of illustration. But for now, I’m trying to build up an inventory of lots of different pieces; framed works, prints, originals, books, zines, and hopefully some more. With a good sized body of work, I should be well armed to take on any of the surfaces at the venue and it’ll all flow nicely, but it’s not going to be a smooth ride… Lots of lying in bed worrying about what I’ve forgotten seems to be on the horizon for me. But it’ll all be worthwhile! (I hope…)