Archives for posts with tag: punk

Crate One. Photomorph and collage, 2009. Copyright Greg Howes.

 Greg Howes continues his story of artistic evolution, the third in a three-part series. The first installment is here, and the second is here.

The next stage in my artistic evolution came when I started to arrange objects in advance of a shot, and then rearrange them for each separate shot. I used various arrangements, sometimes groups of objects such as shells or leaves, sometimes even people to give my work a theme or location.

The Ethereal Garden. 2009, photograph. Copyright Greg Howes.

This brought even greater control of my pictures. I suppose this was when they became “designs” in the true sense of the word, rather than myself “capturing” random images and working on them without altering them in situ. That said, I still use random selection as the possibilities are infinite.

History Today Yes SD. Collage, 2010. Copyright Greg Howes.

Whilst we are on the subject of natural selection… I now felt that I was armed with a new-found power of expression, and I started to return to my punk roots. I blended punk sloganeering (which had so inspired me in my adolescence), collage, and Darwin’s theory of natural selection into the mix. This seemably at first unlikely brew was based on the idea that punks (I use the term in the English sense of the word) were some sort of cultural (and visual) mutants that nature and society needed to inflict upon itself in order to grow and evolve. This notion also involved a “back to the future” type approach (call it a “throw back”) portraying an inescapable need to connect to our primal anthropological urges for decoration and tribalism, and our (and natures) need for constant adaptations to a changing environment.

I cannot deny that part of my motivation for unleashing this conceptual mix into the world was the irritating rise of the great enemy of the intellect “Creationism”, which in my opinion has as much relevance in the modern world as the Flat Earth Society. How ironic is it that my love of collage started in an erratically attended Baptist Sunday School for the under 8s.

KK22. Collage. The first that Greg made during his current course. Copyright Greg Howes.

Presently I feel that the artistic world is my oyster. That’s why I am currently engaged in a part time mixed-media course at Gorseinon College, Swansea south Wales. This has allowed me to stretch myself even further and offer me yet more new food (no not that type, Natasha) for artistic thought. I now use photographs/collage/wall filler/glue/paint/saw dust in my art and it is always new and exciting. Whether I am learning huge amounts on the way I am not so sure, but I am just happy to be experiencing, expressing and experimenting. I find this infinitely more satisfying and much more fun than the learning of lessons, anyway.

 I doubt whether my need to create will ever leave me, as there are so many rivers to swim through and way too many inspirations for just this one life… so here’s hoping I come around again and again and again……..

Moods. Photograph, 2010. Copyright Greg Howes.

Thank you, Greg, for sharing your sources of inspiration and your story with us! May this world of art and nature contunue to inspire you for years and years to come.



Punkwrr. Collage, photomorph, slogans. Copyright Greg Howes.

Greg Howes continues the story of his art, inspirations, innovations, and fearless creation. Please see yesterday’s post for the beginning of this story…

I moved to Carmarthenshire, south-west Wales in 1990, where fortunately I was able to continue my horticultural career. Shortly after that move I began to combine my love of plants and my passion to create something a bit different. I started to make pictures and designs from pressed flowers, leaves and grasses that I found growing locally. This medium allowed me to be creative whilst expressing my love of the plant world in all of its different shapes, forms, colours and textures. Moreover, I didn’t feel that I had to apply the more traditional methods to make interesting art.

Mantra. Photomorph, clematis. 2007. Copyright Greg Howes.

I spent many hours and days making pictures in this fashion. Looking back I used to spend hours and hours on a single card which was probably thrown away within a week of the recipient receiving it, but the main joy for me was in creating something new and out of something readily available, beautiful, and free. I still have one or two small pictures I made at that time, but how I wish I had photographed some of the designs that really worked well. One in particular I can remember had a background of pressed white poplar (Populus alba) topside up, this gave a mottled lake finish to it, a single passion-flower, (Passiflora caerulea) as a centre piece, surrounded by small blue flowers and a tiny amount of foliage from love in mist (Nigella damascena) plant.

Serenity. Photomorph. 2008. Copyright Greg Howes.

I bought my first computer in 1997. It had a very basic photo morphing facility which I never used because I did not have a digital camera at the time (nor, I suspect, did many others). Things changed about a year afterwards when I bought myself a scanner and started fiddling with old, already developed photographs of friends and family. Being an avid countryside walker, I then started picking bits of fungi and lichen up and scanning to see what they looked like morphed with my computer software. This did make for some interesting results; though I must confess I did not enjoy wiping off the squidgy mess from my scanner afterwards. It’s interesting that we can see beauty in sweeping landscapes and flower gardens, and even in singular blooms, but the beautiful intricacies of some of nature’s most useful foot soldiers go largely unnoticed.

JKL LM. Collage and photomorph. 2007. Copyright Greg Howes.

 

The real change for me artistically happened in around 2005 when I bought my first digital camera. Upon reflection, it seems much more like ten years ago rather that five as I have spent so much time with it ever since. I soon found that the ease to get a reasonable-quality picture, with a minimum amount of fiddling about, was very seductive. I then managed to get myself a copy of Microsoft “PhotoDraw V2” which was a rudimentary photographic design software which was produced some years earlier. However dated it was, it opened up new horizons for me and allowed me to create at will. This change fortunately coincided with my joining of the “Social Networking” site called Myspace. I found that this site gave me an ideal platform on which to display my work whilst also getting the opinion of friends and other artists alike.

 

Originally most of my photographic art work came from the natural world, which I would then morph and play around with colour and form. Trees were high on my list of subjects, but so were other more unlikely images like dew riddled sheep’s wool stuck on barbed wire fences and etc and etc. It soon began to be apparent that beauty and intrigue are often ringed, fenced by our own limited perception of where it can be found. If we all learned to alter our focus a little and live “outside of the box” from time to time, a whole new world can open up to us.

Butterfly Girl. Collage, paint, photomorph. 2008. Copyright Greg Howes.

 Greg Howes will share the third installment of his fascinating story tomorrow.

 The first of a three-part story about an artist I’ve had the pleasure to get to know through the cyber-world. Greg Howes is a multi-talented artist, gardener, historian, writer, actor, and generally very creative person. This is a bit of his story…

"Ohhhhhh". 2006, Photomorph. Copyright Greg Howes.

When Natasha Henderson asked me to write about the motivation behind my art work, I was a little perplexed as what to say. I tend to just “ do” something because I want to, rather than think about why I am doing it. Perhaps that is a failing, perhaps not? Maybe it’s because I am never short of inspiration or enthusiasm.

At present a lot of my working life revolves around researching family history and genealogy for private clients, television programmes, et cetera (see http://www.welshfamilyhistory.co.uk/) . Although I specialise in Welsh family history, I also research for people who have English and Scottish ancestors. When I am not tracing back family trees I am also a semi professional designer/photographer/mixed media art man. I paint/print/glue my images onto canvas/card/textiles and sell them on-line or in local art and craft shops.

I left School in 1980 aged 16 years. It was a time of a huge economic slump, possibly not quite as huge or as global as it is today, but unemployment was far higher than now and Britain had the worst unemployment rates since the 1930s… so jobs were few and far between. I knew what I did not want to do but all of the things I did want to do were all sadly unrealistic (or so I thought). Consequently most of my jobs in my mid to late teens and early twenties were very uninspiring (though I did find time to take an O level in art at Oxford).

Floral Mantra. 2006. Photomorph, copyright Greg Howes.

Occasionally there would be one or two jobs that paid reasonably well but this usually meant working from 7.00 in the morning until 6.00 at night and Saturday mornings. The only oasis in this wilderness of employment was a short period of self employment printing and designing punky/patterns/slogans for T shirts. Much as I enjoyed this it would not keep me in house or home. These were the days before the internet and as designer, printer and market trader the overheads were just too great for it to be sustainable.

Punk 33. Photomorph and collage, copyright 2007 or 2008 Greg Howes.

My big break came when I was accepted as an employee/trainee horticulturalist at the wonderful Waterperry Gardens and Horticultural Centre in Waterperry near Oxford. At Waterperry I managed to combine my inbuilt love of the natural world and its processes, as well as satisfying my passion for creating in the propagation of plants and research. I imbibed all I possibly could about different plant names, where they originated from, when were they in flower, how they were propagated and so forth. I know my time at Waterperry changed my life and my outlook on life completely, before then I had always seen myself as some sort of frustrated artist and poet (though I use these terms in the most loosest terms possible) without any realistic direction.

 That said, I could always use words to convey my feelings adequately in poetry, but sadly I had no real skill (and/or patience) with pencil or paintbrush. In my spare time I did dabble with drawing and painting but I was rarely happy with the results, though I always enjoyed the pastel work. The only thing I took out of this was a feeling that I could always invent something even if I could not copy at all.

Pastel. 2007. Pastels. Copyright Greg Howes.

Greg will continue his story here on Fleurbain tomorrow…

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