Category Archives: TEN4 magazine

Jo Waterhouse

Grinding The Bar

 

From Concrete to Canvas to Spine to Wobbly Eyes with Jo Waterhouse  

When you meet Jo, or even read her book, you realise that she’s devoted her whole life to art, skateboarding and those who do both. A few years ago when she developed Crohn’s disease, she had to give up her day job and unfortunately her boarding. However, she was determined to do something which kept her mentally active and she set about establishing a website which combined the two passions.  

“I basically did all the content for it – tracked down artists, did interviews, did reviews and ‘what not’ on those two subjects: skateboarding and art. It was from there that I was looking at other books and thought, ‘wouldn’t it be really good if there was one book about artists who were skateboarders?’ I had a contact with Laurence King whose books I was reviewing anyway. They said ‘Do some sample spreads, summary of content etc.’ Also, I had work on the website which backed-up that I knew what I was talking about.” 

Laurence King gave the green light and Concrete To Canvas came out to muted reviews from the skate industry – but had a sensational reaction from the general public. 

“The majority who have picked up the book have liked what they’ve seen. It was in Amazon’s 1000 best sellers list at Christmas, which was amazing!” 

It’s gone so well in fact that Laurence King are falling over themselves to get Jo to write other books. She’s stuck to what she knows, and next Autumn Concrete To Canvas 2, hits the streets.  

“They asked me if I wanted a bigger format or more expensive paper but I want to keep it the same. The book was aimed at a really wide audience which included students and artists. Some design books can be about £25-£30, it was just £12.95.”  

After the writing deadline for the book is out of the way this December, she and her boyfriend (Chris Bourke from The Outcrowd) will launch Ours – housed in Chris’s skate shop, Spine in
Worcester.
 

“It’s a nice way of getting your own doodles and designs out there. We’ll do T-shirts, badges, stickers, little bags – whatever we think of really. The tagline: ‘It’s not much but it’s ours’ is about us carving out something for ourselves. We also want to do the catalogue as a zine and include artists. Coupled with that, we’re doing a wall of Chris’s shop; which is going to be the world’s smallest independent gallery!”  

If you look around Spine, you’ll also notice that everything from the PIN machine to the holes in the walls, has wobbly eyes above them. I ask Jo about them and her own eyes light up…  

“I’ve just got into the habit of sticking eyes above holes for my own amusement. Loads of people were telling me it was funny and then some artist friends suggested I do something with it. I’ve sent an e-mail to artists across the world and I’m getting them to send in photographs. I was thinking of doing an exhibition and calling it ‘objects are people too!’ I mentioned it to Laurence King and they just went ‘What?’ I’m just going to collect the photos and see what happens.” 

Jo Waterhouse is a true artist of modern times; promoting and pushing other artists but also living life as an artist herself. As I leave, she hands me some wobbly eyes. I take them with me and as I’m writing this I put them on my jukebox in my lounge. I hope she uses it in her exhibition… 

Useful sites:  

www.concretetocanvas.co.ukwww.thisisours.co.ukwww.myspace.com/concretetocanvaswww.myspace.com/objectsarepeopletoowww.spineskateboarding.co.uk 

 


Alicia Dubnyckj

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Paint The City 

Travelling with Alicia Dubnyckyj 

At a time when conceptual artists can employ a whole team to realise their vision, there is something special in knowing that a painting has come from one hand; the brush strokes on canvas are as unique as a finger print. Paintings still invite a human dimension to art, one fixed person perspective and direct emotional contact. It’s traditional, purist – with no trickery…   

Alicia Dubnyckyj’s subject matter is the modern metropolis, principally its buildings, often seen from new and exciting angles. Her process is also distinctly modern – with a flash of virtual magic. Photos are taken of the subject, scanned in to the computer, manipulated, then painted out. Conversely for Dubnyckyj this was an organic evolution, 

“I’ve always taken photos from when I was younger so this was just a natural process,” she takes a sip of her drink, her arms are flecked with paint, “For me it wouldn’t be enough to take the photos and just show them. I don’t show anyone the photos, not even the clients. They’re just the source material. Painting is what I do, it gets emotion in there. My mood when I was there affects the colours on the palate.”  

A striking thing happens when you take a closer look at Alicia’s paintings… you can’t! The way the image has been rendered by the computer means that up close, it’s just painted abstraction. Also, as Alicia points out, you end up seeing your own reflection in the gloss paint. 

“I just wanted give the painting its own personal space. Also, because my work involves cities, I think it was important to make them modern and urban, gloss seemed to suit that.” 

Part of the appeal for the public is that her pictures vividly transport the viewer to the  location. Often there is an personal emotional link, with the buyer frequently returning to a memory. In my opinion, this is why many of them don’t feature people at all. You can be alone in contemplation in a space. Over the years, Alicia’s attitude to this has changed,  

“I used to wait around until all the people had gone before I took my photos. Then I realised that wasn’t what the paintings were about – cities have people in. Gradually people got put back into the paintings…there’s one painting I did in Central Park. It’s a snowy scene and there’s this couple walking along. Quite a few people have thought it was them.”  

Alicia has now visited and covered eight cities in depth. November is her first retrospective show for Sarah Myerscough’s Fine Art gallery in London and will feature three pictures from each city. As her international horizons continue to broaden, so does international interest in her art. Her second group show will take place in Paris in October followed by a solo show next year. It will also be the first time she’s been represented by a gallery from outside of the UK. In addition to this, she will also be showing at art fairs in Strasbourg and Toronto. So where next on the painted map for Alicia? 

“There’s too many places! I really love Japan, I’d like to go back and explore more. I have got a list at home, it’s really sad!” 

As Alicia gets ready to fly back to the studio for some more furious painting to supply demand, I ask her whether she keeps a decent balance between work and vacation, 

“It’s always, always, research even if I want to go on holiday, it never ends up being that way. My partner Paul is always waiting for me and I’m like, ‘I just want to take this photo’ or ‘Can we come back at night?’ I always end up seeing the city through a lens.”