Katie Jo Anderson

Artist based in South West Scotland; interested in people, places, materials and collaborative practice.

Month: June, 2015

Art according to Lockerbie Academy Year 1 Pupils

Hunting for some paper to use for stencils last Friday (as you do – my studio is a veritable stencil den with very little floor space and a lot of oversized stencils… more on which another time), I came across the notes from my last days discussion at Lockerbie Academy during my residency earlier in the year with Spring Fling.

I asked the first year students I’d been working with a couple of questions about art as we had been discussing during my five weeks in their classrooms, and the answers suggested that first years are indeed far more intelligent and clued in than many would give them credit. It was real honour to work with such a wide and varied bunch of young people, some of whom, with any luck might yet find themselves on a journey of curiousity, questioning and learning.

bob and roberta Art makes Children Powerful

A favourite from Bob And Roberta Smith

1. Why do we have art in public spaces?

(The residency saw us creating work as part of a large permanent work, in the foyer of their school – a semi-public space in many ways, and their most influencial public art work was the recently installed Lockerbie Sheep outside the town hall as part of town redevelopment works).

To make it look cool

To Represent something

To tell a story

To commeorate an event or person

To make spaces more interesting

To represent something about our town

For people to share opinions about

As a landmark

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That’ll Learn ‘Em. Kid Acne.

2. Who do we make art for?

(My favourite obsession, audiences and the why’s of art making. This one a little difficult for a lot of our first years, who had never been encouraged to make work other than for sake of it, but were now being asked to donate their artworks for the good of the schools collection, to very mixed responses – rows were had over the collective artwork over individual ownership and authorship.)

Friends and family.

To inspire people

To look at

Everybody – the public

The community the work is in

Yourself.

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Image: Barry Young

3. What is art for?

(Always leave the biggie till last!)

Expressing yourself, telling a story.

Leisure. (A real live 11 year old said leisure).

As a Hobby, for happiness.

Makes you happy/peaceful.

To make money.

Learning.

Making places not look boring.

Emphasise things – how we look at things.

Exciting – exploring, learning.

Expressing emotion.

Showing our creativity.

Imaginative.

Because we enjoy it.

Fun. Entertaining.

Do what you love.

Money and fame.

Spontaneous.

Commemorative.

Communication – sharing opinions.

Beyond Doubt into Love with The Stove Network

Sometimes things start small.

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Really small. Like the time we were asking members of the Young Stove to envisage what The Stove could be for them and Lauren came up with this wee drawing. It’s lived on our wall and we’ve loved it a lot. It even came to The Stove when we moved back in and his it’s own new spot on the wall. That sort of love.

The Stove has quite a lot to say, but we are often just as interested in what everyone else has to say. If Dumfries could speak, what would it say? Cue speak bubbles (which are EVERYWHERE if you hadn’t noticed):

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We asked about. We asked on Twitter, asked on the streets, asked our friends, families, asked our favourite cafes, and then asked some more folk for good measure. Responses started to flood in, and orange bubbles started to appear across town. What places have the loudest voices? Big thanks to Herald Moxie and members of the Young Stove for championing the speech bubble conversations. More speech bubble conversations available on The Stove website here and here

What of these calls-to-arms could we sign up to? Which of these speaking shop fronts or town-centre-icons could give a slogan for Dumfries?

Time to call in an expert. Our expert on hand for this particular project was talented and patient printmaker and artist Sarah Keast. An island of calm amongst apparent chaos, the Stove turned ship sailing in a wild afternoon of frenzied t-shirt printing.

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The Young Stove proved themselves to be the real stars of the moment, an unstoppable tide of ceaseless creative energy in a slightly chaotic afternoon that saw near 140 t-shirts printed in four hours. On a school day. (Yes, really.)

In the end there were a selection of nine designs, none the clear winner.

Be Inspired By What You Didn’t Think You Would Be.

Be the Action!

Beyond Doubt Into Love.

Clean Up Your Act.

End the Ghosttown.

Let Change Happen.

Practical Acts and Good Craic.

Reclaim the High Street.

#saveme.

Beyond doubt

Beyond Doubt Into Love may well be a t-shirt for a moment in time, a fleeting gesture of an aspirational young movement in an otherwise sleepy town. On the otherhand, it could be a stance against the indifference, the naysayers and the ay’ beens. A call to action that says now is the time, and here is the place. One things for sure, this design in neon pink went down a treat and is already sought-after.

This is less of an end, and more of a beginning – keep an eye out for speech bubbles: once you start noticing them, they tend to pop up all over the place…

#GetDumfriesTalking

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To read the blog in full and in it’s original context, head on over to The Stove’s blog where you can stay up to date with all the latest cool happenings in Dumfries – do it now, here

Fabric

As part of this years Spring Fling, Marjorie Lotfi Gill was appointed as their first ever writer-in-residence, collecting, encouraging and writing the words of many across the Spring Fling weekend. My ever patient mentor Isabell, brought me along to one of Marjorie’s final sessions held at a weekly writers gathering in Edinburgh in response to various works by Isabell, Geoff Forrest, Joyce Woodcock and Kirstin Pilling. I have to admit to getting a bit distracted, but there you go:

In a new age of hipsters on penny-farthings, wearing home knit and carrying wooden cased i-phones – are these rural makers the new romantics of our time?

With a change in fashion comes a new vogue for the handmade –

– people-made –

– hand-of-the-maker –

over factory workers and lost childhoods to the darks of mass production in forgotten cities.

It’s all too easy to romanticise the maker in their rural idyll, weaving/felting/carving/polishing by the fire – the materials a call for the return to the land – the land that time forgot?

The history of material distilled, through the mysterious hands of the maker. But there are no mysteries, only ancient traditions, flecked with contemporary desire for spring-summer collections.

The craft maker.

The long developed skill of craftsmanship and its associations of human hands and natural (/nurtured?) materials, bent and shaped to the will of the maker – time bent, and time learnt.

You can read the interpretations of others on the Spring Fling blog here