Archives for posts with tag: Wales

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.

 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…

Thanks to Guest Contributor Greg Howes for these stunning photographs of the recent snowfall in Wales. Greg has a fascinating story that will be featured here, soon! Keep looking…

A beautiful, snowy lake in Wales. December 2010.

 

Snow on the train-tracks in Wales.

 

Welsh countryside, covered in snow. December 2010.

All photographs copyright Greg Howes, 2010.

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