YORK Open Studios 2020, the chance to meet 144 artists at 100 locations over two April weekends, should have started with a preview this evening, but the annual event has been cancelled in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic.
However, with doors sadly shut for the April 17 to 19 and April 25 to 26 event, CharlesHutchPress wants to champion the creativity of York’s artists and makers, who would have been showcasing their ceramics, collage, digital, illustration, jewellery, mixed media, painting, print, photography, sculpture and textiles skills.
Each day, in brochure order, five artists who now miss out on the exposure of Open Studios will be given a pen portrait on these pages, because so much art and craft will have been created for the event and still needs a new home. Addresses will not be included at this time.
Meanwhile, York Open Studios artists are finding their own way to respond to the shutdown by filling their windows with their work instead. Look for #openwindowsyork2020 to locate them. “If you see one in your area while taking your daily exercise, take a picture and let us know,” they say.
Lu Mason, multi-media
IN her latest work, Lu is looking at how we connect as human beings, using the theme that we are all cut from the same cloth.
“My installation consists of one long series of paper figures, all connected to each other, all cut out from the same roll of paper: More Alike Than Different,” she says.
Lu has had an unusual journey to where she is now as an artist. She worked for many years as an occupational therapist, but she always painted patterns for her own enjoyment and had a small business making rag rugs.
Fifteen years ago, she started making cut-paper mobiles, since when she has enjoyed putting her work in public places in the form of installations, as well as creating mobiles using Perspex shapes over the past year.
“I make site-specific work, in collaboration with clients,” she says. “I’m interested in doing installations, residencies and workshops and I’m now producing a range of brooches made out of Perspex too.”
Lu was one of the 2020
York Open Studios multimedia bursary recipients in a
scheme set up to enable artists to create experiences such as digital works,
installations, films or performances for the annual event. Take a look at
Nick Kobyluch, drawing
NICK’S pen and ink drawings explore line, form and colour through both landscape and portraiture work, most of his final pieces originating from drawings initially done in his sketchbooks.
Born in Bradford, he moved to London to work as a freelance illustrator for design, editorial and advertising clients, from the Observer and the National Lottery to Barclays Bank and Oxford University Press, after completing his BA in graphic design at Hull College of Art in the 1980s.
Over the years, he has moved away from commercially commissioned work to pursue his own interests in drawing, motivated by a desire to experiment and evolve as a line artist, favouring the pen, “the most unforgiving of mediums”, over pencil and charcoal.
The urban environment inspires Nick. “I love cities and the way they represent in complex physical form the many ways we interact as individuals and as a society,” he says. “It’s all there in the odd juxtapositions, hidden corners and strange compromises.”
He names Frans Masereel, George Grosz, Edward Bawden, Eric Ravillious, Richard Diebenkorn and David Gentleman as artists he “comes back to time and again”. “All share a mastery of line and form,” he says.
This would have been his first year as a York Open Studios exhibitor: the latest affirmation of his desire to “keep moving forward” as an artist. Contact him via firstname.lastname@example.org.
Michelle Hughes, printmaking
MICHELLE is a printmaker and graphic designer, creating linocut prints inspired by nature and the great British countryside.
“I love exploring the countryside by bike or on foot, camera in hand, capturing ideas for my next prints,” she says.
Once back in her garden studio, Michelle makes simple but stylised silhouettes based on her photographs, then cuts these shapes into lino. She hand-prints with an etching press, using oil-based inks to create tonal blocks of colour.
For 25 years, Michelle designed homeware and fashion ranges for large corporate companies such as Disney, George Home at Asda, Arcadia and Shared Earth. In June 2016, she took the leap of faith to set up her own business, initially in graphic design, then printmaking, bringing together her love of craft, photography, colour, nature and exploring.
“I’ve always loved working with my hands and making things,” says Michelle, who also holds workshops in her Holgate studio. “I like the spontaneity of making marks with the tools, the quality of line and the graphic style of the final print. It enables me to distil the landscape down into simple lines.”
Michelle has designed a series of a dozen linocuts, A Landscape Speaks, for the National Trust property Sutton Hoo in Suffolk. Learn more at michellehughesdesign.com/.
Lucy McElroy, painting
AFTER 15 years as an art teacher, Lucy balances her time between the “joys and challenges of being a mother, teaching part-time at All Saints RC School and spending time developing her own practice in her home studio”.
“Traditional techniques enable me to create a true likeness of my subjects, while exploring ways to capture beautiful and emotive moments on paper and canvas,” says Lucy, who studied fine art at the University of Leeds.
She works in pencil, pastel, charcoal and oil on canvas and finds time for a few portrait commissions each year, undertaken in between her own creative projects.
This would have been the first year that Lucy had participated in York Open Studios. View her work at lucymcelroy.co.uk.
Ian Cameron, painting
IAN’S artwork is created using crayon wax rubbings, vibrant Brusho-coloured washes and Indian ink drawings, embellished with collage and watercolours to create a multi-layered effect.
“I love to draw in my sketchbook,” he says. “I usually draw with a black gel pen and often use watercolours. Sometimes I rub over embossed surfaces such as manhole covers with a wax crayon and then paint over with a colour wash to create a resist effect. The final picture has a great deal of depth brought about by the different layers or levels.”
Ian developed an interest in art “quite late in life”, at 50 to be precise, in 2003 when he attended GCSE Art evening classes. A-level studies and an art and design foundation course at York College ensued.
2020 was to have been his seventh year in York Open Studios, exhibiting 30 new works created in the wooden studio he built in his back garden. For more info, visit ifcameron.tumblr.com.
TOMORROW: Fran Brammar; Geraldine Bilbrough; Ruth Claydon; Jacqueline James and Jean Drysdale.