Move over football stickers! York illustrator MarcoLooks launches Print Swap for fellow artists with exhibition finale at Rural Arts

York artist Marc Godfrey-Murphy: Launching MarcoLooks Print Swap for artists on Friday

YORK illustrator, printmaker and erstwhile CBeebies animator Marc Godfrey-Murphy, alias MarcoLooks, is launching a Print Swap from Friday to bring together artists across Yorkshire and beyond.

Marc is inviting peers and fellow illustrators and artists who sell their work online – “even if it’s just an Etsy shop with two or three listings,” he says – to take part in the MarcoLooks Print Swap to share and support each other’s work.

Applications to join the Print Swap will be open from April to June. Artists involved should send Marc a batch of their prints, then in return, they will receive a selection of new prints from the other artists taking part.

To celebrate, at the end of summer, when the swap finishes, the Courthouse at Rural Arts, North Yorkshire’s only professionally run cross-discipline arts centre, in Thirsk, will be home to an exhibition of all the prints in the Print Swap. 

Marc has been selling his prints, cards and stationery items in York since 2018. Now, sensing there sometimes can be a turf war among artists who might create similar work, he felt inspired to set up the print swap to encourage and strengthen the sense of community over competition. 

“The lack of events over the past year has driven me to create something community focused for indie artists to get involved with,” he says. “It’s also my 40th birthday this week, so what better way to celebrate than all coming together to share our work with each other, and what better way to finish the swap than by showing all the prints that have taken part at the beautiful Rural Arts in Thirsk?

“I’ll be co-ordinating the print swap, so everyone taking part receives a portfolio of prints from the other artists taking part. They can hang them in their studio and hopefully be inspired by them and connect with the other artists whose work they might be unfamiliar with.”

The Print Swap is launching on April 16. Any artist can take part in the print swap, providing they sell their work either on their own website, at events, or through a platform such as Etsy or Folksy. For more information, visit Marc’s website at marcolooks.com and click on “Print Swap” from the top menu.

Here CharlesHutchPress learns more from MarcoLooks about his Print Swap.

How widely will you be spreading the reach of Print Swap?

“The MarcoLooks Print Swap is really aimed at indie artists based in the UK. That being said, I belong to a couple of international art groups, and I know that some of my artist friends from across the world would be keen to get involved.

“Leaving them out feels against the spirit of the connection and collaboration I’m trying to create. So, it will be open for anyone wishing to get involved regardless of location. I’m hoping, though, that I’ll be seeing a lot of my York-based artist friends getting involved to help represent one of the best cities in the world!”

What made you choose this model for the Print Swap: straight swaps, as with football stickers, rather than any financial exchange?

“I often swap my work with other artists. It creates a heavier sense of value on the work somehow, like it’s become more of a gift exchange, than anything to do with money. It feels more special.

“Having taken part in similar exchanges before, it’s really exciting when you look through the prints you’ve been sent and the thrill of falling in love with an artist’s work who you’ve never heard of before. It’s like a Secret Santa for art prints.

“There will be a small admin fee to take part, which largely covers return postage costs. In the past, I’ve taken part in exchanges which have charged up to £20 to get involved, but I wanted to make it as accessible as possible.

“Being a small business, I know that every expense counts so I didn’t want to create any financial barriers to stop other artists – with their own indie businesses – from getting involved too.” 

Marc Godfrey-Murphy at a York Printmakers show

On which date is your birthday? 

“I’ll be turning 40 on Thursday 15th. Eeek! I really wanted to do something special to mark the occasion, so this is it! Age is just a mindset though, right?”

What exhibitions do you have coming up this year?

“Right now, my focus is on getting back to art markets and making a success of the MarcoLooks Print Swap. I always update my Instagram with any shows that I’ll be taking part in, so be sure to follow me over there (@marcolooks) for all the latest updates from me.”

Will you be taking part in York Open Studios again in July?

“Sadly, I didn’t get accepted into Open Studios this year. The pieces I submitted ‘for the judging panel’ were from an ongoing set of monotone, abstract line illustrations based around the themes of body image and eating disorders among men in the LGBTQ+ community.

“They told me the idea didn’t feel developed enough. That feedback stung a bit, to be honest, especially considering the issue is seldom brought to the table, but hey.

“So here I am now, creating more art-based opportunities, for more artists, with no auditions. Everyone can get involved, the only prerequisite is that you are a professional artist, which, for these purposes I’m defining as you sell your work, either in an Etsy shop, somewhere else online, or at live markets.” 

What MarcoLooks works will you be looking to swap?

“Ah ha! I haven’t created it yet. I know what it’s going to be, though. The Print Swap is open until the end of June, so there’s plenty of time to get creative. Each artist will send me six copies of the same print. Five will be distributed to the other artists, with the sixth featuring in the show at the end of summer/in the autumn.”

Will works be for sale at the Thirsk exhibition?

“Yes. I’m keen to support our community of artists wherever I can, so all artists taking part will have the opportunity to sell their print. They will have their details available for anyone looking to buy more work by an artist who caught their eye. It’s going to be great!

“The exact exhibition dates are yet to be announced.”

The logo for MarcoLooks Print Swap

This is how MarcoLooks Print Swap will work: 

WHAT: The Print Swap is open to all artists within the UK. The only caveat is you must be selling your work somewhere online, either Etsy, Folksy, your own website or at markets.

ACCEPTED MEDIA: Art print. Any paper is fine. There is no theme. Your name and social media handle should be on the back of each print, so your recipient will know where to find you.

PAPER: A5 (210 by 148 mm). Printed image size is up to you. You must provide six prints. If you want to submit part of a limited edition, that is completely up to you.

THE SWAP: A portfolio of five randomly selected prints will be mailed to each participant at the end of Summer 2021 (exact dates TBC). MarcoLooks will keep one print from each participant submitted to the exchange for exhibition and promotional purposes. Participants will be notified when all print swaps have been shipped.

PARTICIPATION FEE: £6 to be paid at  https://www.marcolooks.com/pages/marcolooks-print-swap

DEADLINE: Prints and all participation fees must be received by Wednesday, June 30 2021.

EXHIBITIONS: All submitted prints will be exhibited, in the autumn, in the Courthouse at Rural Arts, in Thirsk. Additional venues and exhibitions may be added along the way…watch this space!

REPRODUCTION: All participating prints will be put in a web gallery and may be reproduced digitally to promote additional exhibitions or future exchanges. Proper credit will be given to the artist on reproduction; no monetary value will be associated with reproduction.

​IMPORTANT: All prints must conform to the guidelines. Any prints that do not fit the guidelines will be returned to the artist. *£6 GBP participation fee is not refundable.

SHIPPING: Your complete edition of six prints should be posted in a hard-backed envelope. Prints should be mailed to MarcoLooks, Blake House, 18 Blake Street, York, Yo1 8QG, along with your order number and legible entry form. Prints will not be accepted without £6 payment. Payment is due no later than June 30.

SOCIAL MEDIA: As prints arrive, Marc will be uploading images to the MarcoLooks Instagram, showcasing the variety of work and artists joining the exchange. Follow the exchange on social media: Instagram @Marcolooks. Social media savvy? Hashtag your works in progress or completed works using the hashtag #MLPrintSwap.

More Things To Do in and around York and at home despite Cassandra Boris’s “six months” of masked-up misery. List No.15, courtesy of The Press

Fields And Lanes creative couple Mick and Jessa Liversidge head to the Easingwold Community Library willow tree for an open-air hour of poetry and song on Sunday

BORIS Johnson put on his serious face and hands act on Tuesday night to address the nation on the ins and outs of his Government’s latest Covid-clampdown measures: a stitch in time saves nine, Rules of Six, 10pm curfews and any number of other numbers that invariably add up to confusion.

However, Covid-secure, socially distanced theatre shows, exhibitions, cinema, comedy and concerts can continue, as well as home entertainment, of course.

Here, Charles Hutchinson tracks and traces signs of artistic life…with immediate results  

The Easingwold Community Library willow tree: Sunday’s setting for Fields And Lanes poetry and songs

Joint project of the week: Fields And Lanes Under A Willow Tree, Timeless Songs and Poems by Jessa and Mick Liversidge, outside Easingwold Community Library, Sunday, 2pm

INSPIRED by the “wonderful reaction” to the online streaming of their outdoor poetry and song performances in lockdown, creative Easingwold couple Jessa and Mick Liversidge present an hour of uplifting words and music in the open air this weekend.

The show will be Covid-safe and socially distanced; tickets are free, with a pay-as- you-feel collection afterwards, but must be acquired in advance on 07526 107448 or by emailing ecl.generalenquiries@gmail.com.

Giles Shenton…will go to any lengths to promote his one-man show Three Men In A Boat

Three is a magic number: Three Men In A Boat, Kick In The Head Productions, Milton Rooms, Malton, Sunday, 2.30pm

GILES Shenton takes the helm for 95 minutes in Kick In The Head’s one-man/Three Men show, a “rip-roaring barrel of fun” wherein he plays writer Jerome K Jerome and everyone besides in a delightfully ridiculous tale of men behaving badly while messing about on boats.

Shenton invites you to “join Jerome as he recounts the hilarious story of his boating holiday along the magnificent River Thames with his two companions, George and Harris, and Montmorency the dog”.

Justin Moorhouse will stay in his house to perform his Your Place Comedy set from the living room on Sunday. Shappi Khorsandi will surely not be needing armour to do likewise from her place

Living room laughs: Your Place Comedy: Justin Moorhouse and Shappi Khorsandi, Sunday, online at 8pm

IN the fifth of six Your Place Comedy shows live-streamed from their living rooms into yours since lockdown, Justin Moorhouse and Shappi Khorsandi form the digital double bill introduced remotely by compere Tim FitzHigham.

The virtual comedy project has been organised by Selby Town Hall manager Chris Jones in liaison with nine other independent North and East Yorkshire arts centres and theatres, with donations welcome after each free screening to be divided between the still-closed venues. You can watch on YouTube and Twitch with more details at yourplacecomedy.co.uk.

Top Of The Hill, acrylic on canvas, by Debbie Lush

Exhibition launch of the week: Debbie Lush, Featured Artist, Blue Tree Gallery, Bootham, York, and online at bluetreegallery.co.uk, Saturday to November 7

TEN new works by Devon landscape artist Debbie Lush go on show at Blue Tree Gallery from this weekend.

The former freelance illustrator, who ran a Somerset country inn for 13 years, draws inspiration for her vividly coloured coastal and rural landscapes from her walks with her dog along weather-beaten coastal paths, across muddy footpaths, through gateways and over fields and farmland.

“I love the act of brushing blobs of paints of varying thickness in bright colours on a surface, one over another, to assemble landscapes,” she says.

Uninvited Guests invite guests to Love Letters Straight From Your Heart at the SJT and on Zoom. Picture: Jonathan Bewley

Antidote to isolation: Uninvited Guests’ Love Letters Straight From Your Heart, Stephen Joseph Theatre, Scarborough, and on Zoom on October 1, 2.30pm and 7.30pm

THEATRE company Uninvited Guests will construct a “completely digital, wholly personal and wonderfully live experience” at the SJT and on Zoom in “very different” afternoon and evening shows.

Performed by Jessica Hoffman and Richard Dufty, Love Letters Straight From Your Heart invites the audience’s words, song dedications and stories – sent in earlier – to the stage where they are given a new shape, look you straight in the eye and offer to dance with everyone in the room.

Only 45 tickets will be sold for each show to maintain intimacy, but any number of audience members can sit at screens to watch what unfolds in 60 to 75 minutes.

Giant story: Riding Lights Theatre Company go online for Christmas

Latest Christmas show to be confirmed: Riding Lights Theatre Company in The Selfish Giant, storytelling theatre on film online, for primary schools

YORK company Riding Lights say, “We can’t come to you, but we can still bring exciting entertainment into every classroom with our online version of The Selfish Giant.

“The Giant is angry. He’s been away for a long time and returns to find children playing in his beautiful garden!

Every day after school, they come and run about, laughing and playing games under the blossom on his peach trees, listening to the delightful songs of the birds. So, he puts up a big wall and an even bigger Keep Out notice to put a stop to all that. Then winter seizes the garden in its icy fingers.”

Riding Lights ask primary school to book the online show via: https://ridinglights.org/the-selfish-giant-no/costs-and-booking/.

No traditional queue at York Barbican when Daniel O’Donnell tickets go on sale tomorrow. Booking is online only

Looking ahead to Irish gigs at the double: Clannad, York Barbican, March 10 2021 and Daniel O’Donnell, York Barbican, October 21 2021

CLANNAD are booked in to play York Barbican on March 10 on their Farewell Tour, but let’s see where Boris Johnson’s new Rule of Six Months’ More Misery leaves that show. Fingers crossed, we can wave goodbye to social distancing by then to enable bidding adieu to the ethereal purveyors of traditional Irish music, contemporary folk, new age and rock, led by Moya Brennan.

Meanwhile, tickets go on sale at 9am tomorrow (Friday) at yorkbarbican.co.uk for Kincasslagh crooner Daniel O’Donnell’s return to the Barbican on October 21.

And what about…?

A visit to Duncan Lomax’s new photographic exhibition space, Holgate Gallery, opening officially from tomorrow in Holgate Road, York, to show work by the 2016 York Mystery Plays official photographer and political satirist Cold War Steve.

The York Printmakers Virtual Print Fair, running until October 4, with daily updates at https://www.facebook.com/YorkPrintmakers/

York Printmakers make their mark in online summer exhibition run by Pyramid Gallery

Jane Duke: One of more than 20 York Printmakers members on show online

YORK Printmakers are taking part in an online exhibition put together by Terry Brett for Pyramid Gallery, Stonegate, York.

More than 20 members of the association have submitted work for a show that will run until September 6, with more works being added daily.

On show at pyramidgallery.com are works by Carrie Lyall; Jane Dignum; Emily Harvey; Judith Pollock; Charlotte Willoughby-Paul; Lucie Ware; Michelle Hughes; Bridget Hunt; Chrissie Dell; Jane Duke; Sally Clarke and Jo Ruth.

See, linocut print, by Lucie Ware

Exhibiting too are Marc Godfrey-Murphy; Lyn Bailey; Lesley Shaw; Russell Hughes; Gill Douglas; Shaun Wyatt; Janice Simpson; Adi French; Greg Winrow; Sally Parkin and Patricia Ruddle.

“As a response to the Covid-19 social-distancing measures, Pyramid Gallery is open only to one person or group at a time,” says Terry, the gallery’s owner and curator.

“So, here is the show, for you, from the comfort of your sofa and laptop, or mobile device. Oh, how things have changed, and so much technology has been developed and embraced!”

Carrie Lyall at work in her studio

Putting his salesman’s hat on, Terry says: “Here’s the thing…if you enjoy looking at pictures on a screen, do you need them on your wall? Of course you do!

“On the screen, you can only properly see one at a time. There’s no creative effort on your part, so you cannot feel part of the creative process that is art. When you position pictures on the wall, however, you’re engaging with the space – your space – and the artwork.

“You’re creating a new artwork from those two elements. You are the artist, just as much as the creator of the artwork you have purchased and the designer of the building. You are not merely a purchaser of someone else’s work, but are a fundamental part of the creative community that creates art.

Beach Huts, Mudeford, linocut print, by Marc Godrey-Murphy

“Artists need you. You give affirmation of their artistic endeavour. You inspire them to create more art. You enable them to be artists. The art is not complete until it has been chosen and arranged in its space.”

For this show, the gallery commission is reduced. “That means the artists can either sell at a lower price or receive a bigger payment for work sold,” says Terry. “The artists will deliver or send the items as they are sold.

“Pyramid Gallery will promote the artists via our newsletter, website and social media all through the rest of summer.”

Wind Whispers, collagraph print, by Sally Clarke

Terry adds: “Although we will not be displaying the work in the gallery, we would love to know how you display the work when you place it in your house. Please send us pictures and we’ll put those online as well.”

Founded in 2015, York Printmakers are a diverse group of printmakers with a passion for print and a shared love of meeting each month at The Knavesmire pub, in Albemarle Road. 

Members use a variety of printmaking techniques, such as lino and wood cuts, collagraphs, screen printing and etching, to produce original limited-edition prints, covering a wide range of subject matter, with styles varying from illustrative to abstract.

In a closing message to art lovers, Terry, the Pyramid Gallery team and “all the wonderful artists in York” say: “We are all in this Corona thing together. Hopefully, art and creativity can help us all through.”

York FC Crowd, linoprint, by Shaun Wyatt