TODAY should have been spent visiting other people’s homes, not staying home, on weekend two of York Open Studios 2020.
From tomorrow, art will be on the nation’s TV sets as Grayson’s Art Club “battles the boredom of Coronavirus lockdown by taking viewers on a journey of art discovery” in a six-part Channel 4 series.
From his London workshop, anything-but-grey artist Grayson Perry will encourage the British public to create their own art while in isolation, built around six themed shows that will climax with an exhibition of viewers’ art.
Been there, done that, will continue to do all that art-making, might well be the resourceful attitude of the 144 artists and makers at 100 York locations after the Covid-19 pandemic strictures turned York Open Studios into York Shut Studios.
Over the past four weeks, CharlesHutchPress has determinedly championed the creativity of York’s artists and makers. Each day, in brochure order, five artists who now miss out on the exposure of Open Studios have been 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.
The last five are being profiled today, when you also can visit yorkopenstudios.co.uk to take your own Virtual Open Studios tour, wherein artists show their studios and workshops, favourite processes, answer your questions, and display pictures of their new work.
“Search for #YorkOpenStudios anywhere on social media or follow your favourite artists to see more,” advises the YOS website.
Anyway, time to discover more about…
Marcus Callum, painting
MARCUS is a British-Australian contemporary figurative painter and digital artist who specialises in realist portraiture.
“Fusing traditional techniques with a contemporary aesthetic, my work conveys a sense of psychological insight and is designed to provoke an emotional response,” he says. “Buddhism, meditation, hypnosis and our understanding of the subconscious mind are influences on my process and subject matter.
“Characters reflect on increasing anxieties over impending global crises and wonder if, by each of us becoming more conscious, we may discover individual and collective hope.”
Trained in Sydney and New York, Marcus won the Dame Joan Sutherland Award in 2014; Australia’s third richest portrait prize, the Black Swan Portrait Prize, in 2015 and the Shirley Hannan National Portrait Prize, Australia’s premier award for realistic portraiture, in 2018, when he also was a finalist in the Sky Portrait Artist of the Year.
Marcus previously worked between Sydney and London; now York has come into his life. He was long-listed for the Aesthetica Art Prize, whose 2020 exhibition opened at York Art Gallery before the Coronavirus lockdown, and he would have been exhibiting in York Open Studios for the first time. Visit marcuscallum.com for more info.
Robert Burton, textiles
ARTIST and academic Robert tells stories in textiles, fibres and cloth, utilising print and found objects in narratives of people, lives and things.
“I explore themes of memory, loss and transformation through fibre, fabric making, print techniques, drawing and broad approaches to image making,” he says.
“My artworks cross the threshold of disciplines in a conceptual dialogue between the innovative use of analogue, contemporary and emerging techniques.”
Rob’s work has been shown all over the world in solo exhibitions, biennial and group exhibitions, whether in Britain, the United States or Eastern Europe. Last year, he exhibited in Ivano-Frankivs’k, Ukraine; Vilnius, Lithuania; Madrid, Spain, and Haachst, Belgium.
He regularly collaborates with the international screendance collective WECreate to produce costumes for video, dance and installations. Find out more at robertburton108.myportfolio.com.
Jo Walton, painting
ARTIST, upholsterer and interior designer Jo’s paintings are abstract, inspired by horizons, whether rust-prints on paper and plaster, combining rusted metal with painting, or seascapes on gold-metal leaf.
Her artwork reflects her childhood in Australia and her days as a young woman spent sailing oceans, from the Mediterranean to the Caribbean.
After many years of travelling, Jo returned to England, studying fine art at Bradford University and now exhibiting all year round from her York studios, Rogues Atelier, an old tannery in Franklins Yard, Fossgate, that she shares with jeweller and fellow York Open Studios exhibitor Emma Welsh and textile artist Robert Burton.
Jo, whose work features regularly at Terry Brett’s Pyramid Gallery in Stonegate, would have been taking part in York Open Studios for a sixth successive year.
In her “other life”, Jo is an upholsterer, initially learning her skills from making cushions and sail covers for yachts in her time living in Greece. She gained her City and Guilds qualification in modern and traditional upholstery and has taught the subject for many years for City of York Council.
“Occasionally, my skills have the opportunity to blend into a ‘huge blank canvas’: interior design,” says Jo, whose first public design commission was for Space 109, the community arts centre she founded in Walmgate in 2006.
Her second was to convert three empty shops on Bishopthorpe Road into Angel on The Green, a bar and café and home to comedy nights and exhibitions that had to “flow with a solid theme throughout”. “It was quite a step to move on to a bar from a community bar,” she says.
In between, Jo created the Rogues Atelier studios, where she takes on upholstery commissions and runs upholstery and cushion-making workshops. Her latest design was for the interior of the Bluebird Bakery, in Kirkgate Market, Leeds. Complete the picture at whatjodidnext.com.
Emma Welsh, jewellery
EMMA, a professional jewellery designer with 11 years’ experience, is now a resident artist at the Rogues Atelier studios.
She designs traditionally made silver, gold and platinum pieces, her latest work exploring jewellery with a practical use in the form of vessels with various purposes.
Emma has a keen interest in developing her skills, embracing ancient principles as a means of deepening her relationship with the materials and tools she works with.
She completes bespoke commissions, repairs and re-modelling of existing jewellery into new designs and offers bespoke tuition in York, most notably her wedding-ring workshops. Head to emmawelshjewellery.uk for more details.
Northern Electric, multi-media
NORTHERN Electric received a York Open Studios 2020 multi-media bursary to present a tale of loss at the Arts Barge, Foss Basin, York, over the two weekends.
The bursary “enables artists to create experiences such as digital works, installations, films or performances as part of the Open Studios”.
Presented by York storyteller, performance poet and theatre-maker Katie Greenbrown and artist Peter Roman, with a score by Christian Topman and Chris Moore, their latest multi-media presentation “takes us back to when the Ouse teemed with working barges, you knew your place or else – and jazz was the devil itself”.
“We specialise in creating and delivering multi-media storytelling pieces that combine spoken-word poetry, art and live music,” says Katie. “Our recent work includes Magpie Bridge for Apples & Snakes to mark the 50th anniversary of the first Moon landing in July 1969; Green In Our Memory, for City of York Council’s First World War commemorations, and Rust for the 2019 Great Yorkshire Fringe, in collaboration with Arts Barge and York Theatre Royal.”
After the cancellation of York Open Studios 2020, what will happen next to the new Northern Electric piece? “We’ve completed it, so we’re thinking of trying to do a digital screening,” says Katie. “We just need to chat with Hannah [West] and Christian [Topman] from the Arts Barge about the possibility of doing that.” To keep on track, visit facebook.com/northernelectric.
TOMORROW: After York Open Studios/York Shut Studios 2020, the CharlesHutchPress art focus switches to the Blue Tree Gallery, in Bootham, York, now hosting an online exhibition in aid of the NHS.
Looking ahead, York Open Studios 2021 will run on April 17 and 18 and 24 and 25, with a preview evening on April 16.