Cameron Morgan at The Art House A two week residency in Wakefield
Cameron Morgan FRSA
Learning disabled artists are under-represented in every area of contemporary visual arts; their work is not held in national collections and has little exposure in public galleries. Their particular aesthetic is not recognised and little researched, understood, documented or critiqued. There are a few notable artists who are change-makers. Through their talent and determination and the expertise of their support studios, their work is appreciated and reaches audiences. Cameron Morgan is a change-maker. He demonstrates a tremendous commitment to his practice; he is an accomplished painter, muralist, ceramicist and now printmaker. In 2015, Morgan was awarded a Commission from Unlimited and at Glasgow International 2016 he presented, to critical acclaim, an exhibition of new paintings “TV Classics Part 1”. In September 2016, he opened the exhibition “Put your Sweet Lips Closer to the Phone” at Tramway. “Put your Sweet Lips Closer to the Phone” is a limited edition of sculpted slip-cast ceramic telephones. For documentation of the exhibitions go to www.tvclassicspart1.co.uk. In early 2017, Morgan received a professional development award from Creative Scotland with a plan to spend the next year in the studio working alongside selected artist mentors. In June 2017, he spent two weeks in the impressive print studio at The Art House, Wakefield, working with printmaker Richard Marsden and artists Jim Ewen and Jason Pyper Davis. www.the-arthouse.org.uk www.creativescotland.com www.weareunlimited.org.uk
The Art House “The Art House in Wakefield is a visual arts development agency and a registered charity founded in 1994 in response to the lack of facilities for disabled visual artists. The Art House now provides studios and programmes offering time, space and support for artists and associates to develop their creative and professional practice. Cameron Morgan’s residency established a new partnership with Project Ability and was the first time The Art House had supported a learning disabled artist. Morgan worked alongside an expert print-maker and support artists in the print studio, each bringing knowledge and experience from their own artistic backgrounds to create an experimental space where ideas and new bodies of work could be explored and developed. This residency marks an important stage in Morgan’s career; working alongside and in collaboration with other artists, he has been able to test bold ideas and explore new paths in his work. The residency has also challenged us in how we support the process of making and presenting work, taking risks, testing expectations and encouraging debate.” Shân Edwards Artistic Director / Chief Executive
‘The Yorkshire Dales’ Edition of five, £120 (unframed)
‘The Plough’ Edition of five, £120 (unframed)
‘The Three Stooges’ Edition of five, £120 (unframed)
‘Sunset Over Mayer Sound’ (with JR Ewen) £200 (unframed) Opposite: ‘Windy Miller’ £200 (unframed)
‘Combine’ Edition of five, £120 (unframed) Opposite: ‘Untitled II’ & ‘Untitled III’ (with JR Ewen) £200 each (unframed)
‘Untitled I’ £200 (unframed)
‘Tractor’ Edition of five, £120 (unframed)
â€œI liked the residency, the studio space was amazing, lots of great equipment. And it was warm! I enjoyed experimenting with screen printing and also really liked the Yorkshire Sculpture Park. I was inspired by the big sculptures. I liked the sheep there too! For the more abstract prints, I enjoyed playing with colour. Dollops of paint on the screen and pulling down to make the print. It was a very good experience.â€? Cameron Morgan
Wakefield Residency, Week 1 By JR Ewen
“Seventeenth of June 2017, we arrived at the Arthouse Wakefield with real excitement and the beginnings of a Florida tan. We thought summer was over already. Two weeks in May is the same for everyone right? No, we’ve traveled 230 miles to a different climate and we’re amazed and scunnered at the same time. Cameron Morgan has been awarded a 2 week printmaking residency here in Wakefield and I’m his buddy, driver, assistant, fellow artist? It doesn’t matter, I’m the technician for Project Ability which means I do anything and everything and that’s why it’s a great job. This is going to be fun. The Arthouse is a young, handsome, brick building. It comprises of a new build, born in 2009 and a refurb of a Victorian listed library. 50 studio artists work here now and two more live in the fantastically accessible flat which even has a socket by the bed for your essential pillow vibrator. A great deal of money has been spent here, the facilities are fantastic, the light floods in everywhere and just as a bonus the roof doesn’t leak. Odd for an artist studio. The printmaking studio is kitted out with an auto-etching press, a laser-cutter, iMacs and silkscreens galore. It’s almost the Arthouse’s greatest asset but that has to be reserved for the workers here. The staff made us feel so welcome and Ian the cleaner made us laugh at 8am. Surrounded by bars, restaurants, the train station and The Royal Theatre, the Arthouse couldn’t get any more central. It seems the cultural quarter is important to this cathedral town. The Hepworth Wakefield is 15min walk from here. The Sculpture Park is the same by car and, oh boy do the people love that place! Heavin wi folk! I visited Yorkshire Sculpture Park about 15 years ago when two friends married on the grounds. It was beautiful, but now, when Cameron and I visited it, it’s evolved and attracted the biggest names in international sculpture. There are new galleries, cafes, and installations all over the place (as well as plenty of sheep). People love it. The art, picnics under a tree, the walking. But the art - there is just so much of it now! It’s the first time I’ve seen work by Ai WeiWei. Twelve Bronze zodiac heads. Like totems to worship, and worship people do. I watched. Arms raised in adulation, a photo taken from every angle, data sacrificed. And then as Cameron did, the people bow and grovel in search of the best low angle shot. I don’t mind the selfies and wanting to record everything but I was wondering if this kind of human behavior was what Ai WeiWei intended all along? As Cameron fluttered around the zodiac heads, I stood back and watched the pilgrims. After the long hot walk past the boat house with no water, past the lake with too much, we took a rest at James Turrell’s Deer Shelter Skyspace. I’ve always wanted to see this master’s work and it didn’t disappoint. Stepping through the door into the underground space immediately removes you from brea-ing sheep, crowds of people and constant heat. A space of contemplation and coolness where the focus is the square hole in the high ceiling. Bright cerulean blue square as perfect as a new watercolour pan, wetted for the first time with so much promise. The square sky doesn’t change today but I can still watch it forever. This is my idol, pure colour. Tony Cragg’s retrospective was simply stunning. Beautiful complex forms, with the maker in me trying to unlock their secrets of construction. The simple framed drawings which accompanied the sculptures were enlightening. Even the most complex of structures begin with a drawing. Drawing always comes first, and it’s what we’re doing today. In the Arthouse printmaking studio Cameron sits drawing his idea of a combine harvester. It will be one of many that will be produced today in preparation for tomorrow. For tomorrow we meet another of the locals –the screen printer- who will guide us through the cultural quarter and help us on the way to express the love of the combine through paper and ink. And if it doesn’t cool down soon I’ll be dreaming of Turrell’s Skyspace, praying to the zodiac, and making plans for a pilgrimage to our temperate rainforest we call home all the while I’m topping up my Floridian tan.”
“Tuesday 20th June: we started the day meeting Richard Marsden -the screen printer- who would be working with us exploring the process. We jumped straight in, turning Cameron’s picture of the combine harvester into a 4 colour print. This involved quite a lot of preparation of scanning editing and colour separation on the computer. Printing the images onto acetate. Coating the silkscreens, then exposing them, and finally, washing and drying the screens. Next, Cameron mixed some ink and taped up the excess areas of the screen. Now we were ready to print and 10 sheets later we were done. The first colour of the combine was done. We stopped for lunch and in the time we had left we made some experiments using tape. Set a shape with tape on the back of the screen and then use ink to make some interesting colour prints. We learned how the ink mixes on the screen and how to mask off areas like a stencil. Wash up time and that was our first day with Richard. We had a break and then came back for the rest of the afternoon. Cameron worked on a new drawing of an agricultural windmill or water pump as they were used, and I made some experiments with paper stencils. We decided to make Cameron’s drawing into a stencil and started cutting it up. It felt good to be thinking up ideas and just doing it. Just a few hours ago we didn’t have the confidence to do that. Now it felt natural, like we knew what we were doing. And it worked, we got a good print from the paper stencil. Wednesday started with the aim to complete the combine harvester. Another 3 colours to print. Because the ink was water based and because of the weather, the ink dried quickly so we could over print after about 40 min. The finished edition of 10 prints were just stunning. A major achievement in so little time.
In-between the colour printing, when Richard washed the screens or prepared the next one, Cameron got on with developing the windmill print. He traced on top of the print where highlights should go and then made another paper stencil. This time with a grey ink. It was coming on really well. We removed the stencil for the final print just to see what would happen- a ghostly image of the windmill appeared. Later on Cameron would draw on top of this print to create a fantastic finished piece. After a very busy day, it was time for dinner. We tried the Thai Street Food Wakefield and it became our favourite restaurant. On Thursday the plan was to do another of Cameron’s drawings. This time of a tractor ploughing a field. We were going to do 3 colours in just a few hours. With screen printing there are always test prints before the good paper goes in. we had built up many such prints and they were overprinted with each new colour. The result was a stack of chaotic and beautiful prints which could easily go into the coming exhibition.
The final edition of the tractor was finished just as the photographer arrived so Richard decided to make another colour experiment print. Making a shape with tape on the screen Cameron then literally threw ink at the screen. Almost got the photographer too! He made some great prints with bright, bright colours. Again in-between printing the tractor we worked on the windmill print. Cameron made a third stencil for which we printed in pink. He also over drew another of the ghost prints. They turned out great, and with that Thursday was done. Friday started early. It was my last full day with Cameron. I would be going home on Saturday and Jason Davis would be coming down to take over my duties. Richard wasn’t working with us today so we had to carry on experimenting on our own. Cameron and I worked together, using everything we had learned, to make hybrid drawings and prints. We started with some quality paper, Fabriano Rosapina, and using watercolour, graphite and ink, made some paintings which were all about mark making and colour. Then we tore them up. We prepared the screen with a landscape format and attached strips of tape. Cameron mixed some bright colours and then we started printing. At first on fresh paper and later on the torn up paintings. We over printed some twice, and on some prints used Cameron’s tractor plough image as well. It was a really fun day and we got what we wanted -the happy accident. It turned up everywhere. The paintings we torn up were printed really randomly, however when we fitted them back together in 2s and 3s it worked so well. They were meant to go back together. We were really pleased, the creative gods were blessing us today. We cleaned up the studio and as I sorted out all the prints we had done over the 4 days, Cameron started over drawing 2 of the prints. He created a couple of gems. And with that we were done. A nine hour day. My legs were aching. I needed a sit down and a cold beer. I got both. It was a real pleasure working with Cameron and I really enjoyed our chats in the evenings over food and beer. I’ll miss Wakefield as well, the Arthouse staff and the sun. Time to go home.”
Wakefield Residency, Week 2 By Jason Pyper Davis “A great second week with Cameron in The Art House, Wakefield! We had three very successful days in the studio with the hugely talented Richard Marsden, finishing off prints, and started two new ones. The drawing Cameron made after our trip to The Yorkshire sculpture park was turned into a five colour screen print. Quite the task, but not only did Richard and Cameron manage to get the colours separated and screens made, they also managed to make many great prints from the screens. The colours chosen really worked well and popped. Cameron now knows every stage involved in making screenprints, from simple 2 colour prints right up to a massive 5 colour print, and loved the whole process.
We also managed to have days out to The Yorkshire sculpture park, Barbara Hepworth museum and the beautiful city of York, I’m sure these will inspire many more pieces from Cameron in the future. I must admit it wasn’t all so cultural as we also spent an evening watching Wonderwoman in the cinema and each morning started with a swim. All in all a great week! So many new skills added and inspirational artwork seen.”
Tutoring Cameron Morgan By Richard Marsden “Teaching Cameron Morgan at The Art House has been a thoroughly enjoyable experience; Cameron, Jim and Jason are all excellent, enthusiastic and highly motivated artists and I’m sure we have all learnt something from the six days spent working together. After demonstrating every stage of the screenprinting process on the first day, we were soon creating a variety of prints and Cameron, Jim and Jason soon had the hang of it. The Art House provided a brilliant space to work, with great facilities. Having the space to ourselves and a realistic materials budget allowed us to maximise our output in terms of the quantity of work produced and the two weeks were very productive, mainly due to Camerons distinctly prolific practise. Wanting to show Cameron the opportunities that screenprinting can provide in terms of creating both representational and abstract images, we began the first day by separating the colours of one of his drawings and exposing these on a screen. I taught Cameron how to align prints using tape as well as an acetate sheet for precise registration; along with this I also taught him how to use paper and tape stencils, which lead to the creation of equally successful but much more experimental prints. By the end of the first day Cameron’s screenprinting skills had developed massively and he was able to produce flat, well printed images and was aware of the basic physical process of screenprinting. In total we managed to print a 4 colour A3 print in an edition of 10, a 3 colour A3 print in an edition of 10, all on cartridge paper; a 3 colour A2 print in an edition of 5 on nicer Somerset paper and another A2 edition of 5 of a different print but this time, 5 colours, while at the same time using each image to overprint on several sheets of A3 paper which created complicated images of many layers in many colours. This ability to produce various different prints quickly is one of the many benefits of screenprinting and Cameron embraced these opportunities with energy and interest. We experimented with using weak inks and colour blends but some of the most interesting works were the prints Cameron continued to work on using paint and pen. Cameron, Jim and Jason created between them a wide variety of fantastic work and experimented with the process of screenprinting thoroughly, despite only having two weeks. Given more time it would have been interesting to collaborate more and create prints using images created by all artists involved. Overall the project was an excellent experience, for me and hopefully for Cameron, Jim and Jason and even I was surprised at the amount of work we managed to create between us, overall a fantastic experience with even better results.”
For more information contact: Project Ability, Trongate 103, Glasgow, G1 5HD 0141 552 2822 email@example.com www.project-ability.co.uk Scottish Charity No: SC005226
Many thanks to Creative Scotland, The Art House, Richard Marsden, JR Ewen and Jason Pyper Davis.
Â© Project Ability, 2017
Published on Jul 24, 2017
Project Ability artist Cameron Morgan spent two weeks at The Art House, Wakefield, where he experimented with screen-printing.