Unfashioned Creatures by Keith Bloody Mary can now be experienced at Wigan Steam in all its glory. Following the launch of the exhibtion, the artist behind the exhibtion was kind enough to share what she learned during her residency…
What I have learnt from my residency at Wigan STEAM (by Keith Bloody Mary)
Cutting out images takes longer than I thought… a lot longer
Trains between Wigan and Manchester are often delayed, but have got me from A to B in the end
Doing a shout out for magazines yielded some amazing and also some weird results, and questions – why do people collect old magazines? What was on the pages that were cut out? Why oh why would you ever buy OK magazine? (thank you to everyone who’s weird habits helped me do my work!)
I’m not ok with cheating (I lost a foot and it pained me to google one)
On that note… talking about collage can sometimes sound really creepy!
I feel guilty when I go to a Greggs in a town know for its pies (which I did for the 6 days I was here)
CreatePrint (down the road) and MMU print services are amazing and dealt with my demands and strange images perfectly!
If you drop paper cuttings on the floor, and then try to clean them up, they will never be fully gone – (I found a tiny ladybug image on the floor just as we finished setting up)
If you ever need inflatables, ask your friends if they have any – you’ll be really surprised what comes out of the closet
Vinyl lettering is a pain to put up – and being cocky about it doesn’t help
People who do collage workshops are better than me at collage!
Wigan STEAM and the people who work there are awesome
I make some seriously weird work
Aslo, as many of you might know, as a part of the residency Keith Bloody Mary delivered two collage workshops, where the members of public were invited to create thier own unfashioned creatures. You can see there results in a digital zone here:
You can experience Unfashioned Creatures by Keith Bloody Mary at Wigan STEAM until September 1st.
With just over a week away from the launch of ‘Unfashioned Creatures’ an exhibition by Ketih Bloody Mary, we took some time to ask Keith a few burning questions we had in our head during her residency… and she was kind enough to shed some light on them, so here we go!
Right off the top, the questions we are all want to ask… In your practice you go by the name of “Keith Bloody Mary”, can you tell us the story behind it?
Back in the day I founded a collective, and worked with a bunch of lovely people. It was called No Official Name. For a couple of years we made publications and put on events in places (mainly pubs) in Nottingham. For our launch we got everyone who came to choose there own ‘No Official Name’ – where you pick the name of your fave creative for the first name and your fave beverage for the second name! One of my fave artists is Keith Tyson and I must have been making myself a few hangover drinks back then, because I don’t drink Bloody Mary’s that often now!
I thought it would be funny to use the name for my artwork, stay a little bit anonymous – its more fun that way! It reminds me to not take the art world so seriously! I think I get away with more things being a ‘Keith’ too!
What role do you think art plays in our everyday life’s?
I always make a distinction between art and creativity! For me, Art is the stuff that’s bought, sold, debated over, shown in white cubes, and trends because of the likes of Saatchi – it’s essentially part of a business. Creativity is all around us, it’s humming made up tunes, using social media, knitting baby clothes. Art can be creative and creativity can turn into art!
I don’t want to say something corny, like it’s important for the soul or anything like that – but it’s definitely fun to be creative! My favourite art gets me laughing in an art gallery and makes me break the silence – that’s what it’s all about for me personally – giving me a good giggle!
Bonus question time: What book are you currently reading and why?
I’m not a massive fiction fan, so I’m mainly reading stuff for my MA. Having said that, I’ve read Frankenstein for that (hint hint, that’s where the title for the exhibition comes from). I like graphic novels and zines when I have time to read! I can’t wait to read the two I’ve just bought… Afterman: A Zoology of the Future by Dougal Dixon – which as far as I can tell is a fictitious sort of encyclopaedia of future animals – the illustrations look mad. I also can’t wait to read Daniel Locke’s ‘Out of Nothing’ – I met him at a zine fair and I think we love each other’s work! I’ve also just ordered an illustrated book by James Lovelock (a ninety something ecology philosopher) – he’s got a dismal outlook on the future of the world but he laughs all the time! He’s my kind of man!
‘Participatory art’ and ‘collaborative practice’ are some of the hottest terms in the arts as of late, what is your view on their value, and is it something you personally encounter a lot in your practice?
I’ve worked in learning and engagement teams since graduating and believe very much in collaborative, peer-led projects and all that good wholesome good stuff. I’m not sure how I feel about art academics deciding that that way of working is the next big thing – but if it makes artists and curators involve more people – it can’t be a bad thing!
I’ve loved doing workshops with people at Wigan STEAM – participants always make collages I’m jealous of – being able to have a zine available in the space during my exhibition that is made by a group of people I’ve worked alongside will be really lovely!
Looking forward towards the launch of your exhibition at Wigan STEAM, what are you most exited about in terms of this project?
Oh everything! I love making work, I love hanging out in the space with all you lovely people and watching the kids make star wars themed stuff – they’ve been having a great time which has kept my energy up!
I’ve never made this many pieces for one theme and never used (spoiler alert) black backgrounds, which I geekily find really exciting haha!
You work a lot with collage and words, is this something that happened organically, or is there a more deliberate reason behind it?
Organically is a really relevant word for the project haha! I’ve always collaged, but moved into more conceptual stuff for my degree – it was actually more sciencey looking stuff. I fell out of love with making art after my degree (many people do it seems) and stopped making for a bit. I thought I best get back into enjoying it, so I started to mess about with the medium I enjoy the most. With no context or reason to make work, I started off by making puns with the images and it kind of snowballed from there!
Beef Hula Hoops are my fave crisps at the moment!
‘Unfashioned Creatures’ by Keith Bloody Mary exhibition launch will take place on the 11th August at Wigan STEAM, 1pm-3pm. You can book your place here.
Hello, my name is Keith Bloody Mary and I am going to be Artist in residence July / August this year at Wigan STEAM.
I’ve just recently started making artwork inspired by science research but I’ve always had an interest in all things au naturale.
Earlier this year I worked with Cancer Research UK and enjoyed working with science researchers so much that I wanted to continue doing it, so I applied for the Natus Residency and now here I am preparing for it!
I’m currently studying for a Masters in Visual Culture, and so the work I make at Wigan STEAM will feed directly into my final piece of work and dissertation. I will be researching about the anthropocene and theories around the post human; making weird collage work to represent current biological research.
I’ve been working as an artist since I graduated from a Fine Art degree in 2010. During the last 5 years I have used photo-collage as my medium of choice, cutting images from magazines and pasting them together by hand, in the kind of way that would make Dr Frankenstein proud!
I’m hoping that the two workshops I’m hosting as part of the residency will introduce people who have never used photo-collage before to the punkesque medium, and introduce photo-collage experts to my own way of doing things. I’m looking forward to having conversations with everyone about the world once we’re gone (in a jolly way), and hopefully making some collaborative work that will be available to take away during the exhibition.
I work under the name Keith Bloody Mary mainly because it amuses me. I enjoy having a collaged name – if you come along to the workshops I’ll talk a little bit about where the name came from, and how you can make up your own artist name for the evening.
We’re excited to announce that the artist undertaking our Natus Residency over the summer will be Manchester-based Keith Bloody Mary. Alice Thickett, who works under the pseudonym Keith Bloody Mary, is currently studying for an MA in Visual Culture at Manchester Metropolitan University. Her work is most often found in bars, pubs, and illustrated zines – most notably she designed a cover and double page spread for Nottingham magazine Left Lion earlier this year.
Keith will spend a number of days working in the Wigan STEAM Gallery as an open studio, before exhibiting in August. During the residency, Keith will piece together collage relating to biology, genetics, and mutations much like a new age Dr Frankenstein. Through farming, industry and DNA programming, humans continue to change the planet bringing us into a new era called the Anthropocene. With a humorous twist, Keith will be investigating the research and biological experiments humans are currently engaging in that are having a direct impact on the earth.
‘we’re going to need a bigger boat’ 2018
Keith is also going to be running some workshops which will feed into her project, here’s your chance to get involved!
In ‘Cut, Paste, Repeat’, Keith invites you to create a new artist name for yourself before making collage pieces with a slight twist. Like conducting scientific research you’ll be using trial and error and (artistic) experimentation to piece together a collage using pre-prepared images. You can find out more information and book here: http://cutpasterepeat.eventbrite.co.uk
In ‘Frankenart’, participants will take the role of an artistic Frankenstein in this relaxed collage workshop. Use pictures of body parts and objects from magazines to make the humans of the future. Every creature, cyborg and mutant will be used to put together a zine, which will be available for people to take home during Keith Bloody Mary’s exhibition in the gallery in August. Find out more information and book onto this one here: https://frankenart.eventbrite.co.uk
You can visit Keith Bloody Mary’s open studio from Tuesday 17th July – Tuesday 7th August, and her exhibition from Saturday 11th August – Saturday 1st September. Additionally, you can join us for the exhibition opening on Saturday 11th August from 1pm – 3pm.
My name is Liz Chapman; I am a Wigan-based artist and associate artist at Cross Street Arts in Standish. I studied Art and Design (Fine Art) at both college and university and have a BA Honours degree in Art History. I enjoy creating art work, delivering art workshops and occasionally curating exhibitions. I work with digital technology, helping people get online and coordinate an Arts Council England funded digital art project called D:Circus for Wigan Libraries.
I love the arts, travelling, science, heritage, textiles and nature. My greatest artistic inspiration comes from looking closely at the natural world. I have inherited many of my interests from my family. Some of my earliest memories are of visiting museums and spending time in our garden with my family. I have also inherited their keen interest in continuing to learn; when I draw and create art work, it inspires me to find more information about nature and I’m particularly interested in learning how to identify plants and birds.
My art work uses a range of media to explore and document the world around me. I experiment with digital media, photo, moving-image, fabrics, pen and pencil to recreate the qualitative elements of my everyday environment. My art work is an attentive exploration and intends to express my fascination with science and nature; through abstraction and highlighting the patterns, weave and weft, colour and shapes that often go unnoticed in the world around us. I take inspiration from artists such as Paul Morrison, Angie Lewin, Yayoi Kusama and Edith Holden, who was made famous by the 1977 publication of her Nature Notes for 1906 under the title The Country Diary of an Edwardian Lady.
I recently exhibited my (first ever!) solo exhibition Florum Machina at Wigan STEAM. I was super excited to see an advert in the summer of 2017 for the opportunity to hold an exhibition at Wigan STEAM. I chose to exhibit there because I love the work of Wigan STEAM and have an interest in art, science and technology. My exhibition is named after the Latin for flower machine. ‘Florum Machina’ presented an interactive sculpture, alongside a series of botanical illustrations which informed its creation. Inspired by the machines and contraptions designed by cartoonists Rube Goldberg and W. Heath Robinson, centrepiece of the exhibition ‘The Flower Machine’ is a blend of the organic and technological. My drawings were based on historical botanical illustrations of wild flowers and plants found around the UK. The usage of Latin in titling the show pays homage to these original illustrations.
I’m currently contributing on an artist-led collaborative platform via Instagram called Objectivity Works, which provides a curated space between objects and artists. I have been working with a small headless figurine creating video and photographic works responding to the idea of lost and found objects. I will hopefully be exhibiting more art work later on in the year as well. More about my work and what I do can be found on my website www.lizchapmanarts.tumblr.com and on Twitter and Instagram @LizChapmanArts.
Having worked as an Art Therapist in the NHS for twenty years, Clare returned to education, completing a Visual Arts MA (distinction) from Bradford College in 2013. She now works from her studio in Holmfirth West Yorkshire, and at Hot Bed Press in Salford.
“I’m interested in ‘cultural lag’ in terms of human understanding and advancing technology. It’s easy to feel fear, frustration and a sense of being left behind, as our lives become increasingly mediated through machines.
I work directly with nineteenth and twentieth century coding technologies such as music box discs and IBM cards. I collage plates together with different streams of redundant coded information. Through play and research during the physical process of printmaking, I reference the place of technology in our collective thoughts and imaginations. Obsolescence, loss and change are imbued within the work, along with a sense of reverence to the past and its people.
Socio-cultural evolution is much slower than technological change and cultural manifestations of technology often outlast their material use. Part of my interest lies in the cultural messages encoded within the artefacts. An example of this is found in the phrase ‘Do Not Fold Spindle Or Mutilate’ which was printed on IBM punch cards. This emotive statement became a metaphor for alienation and dehumanisation as part of American 1960’s counterculture.
Cyberculture theory offers a useful way to think about the relationship between bodies, minds and machines.
‘……. things get faster, smaller, more useful, more user-friendly, and this is a good thing – or so one particular type of storytelling says. Other stories less often told, reveal the trials, the resistances, the accommodations and negotiations involved in living with new technologies’ (David Bell, 2007).’
These images speak to a societal shift from manufacturing industries towards the service, knowledge and information sectors, and of the culture lag that is part of this narrative. Non-material culture continues to evolve much slower than material culture. Ideas, beliefs, values and social norms change more slowly than technology.