Harry Potter Studios brings the magic out of the films

I was invited to attend the new costumes exhibtion at Harry Potter Studios Leavesden and every time I visit there it just get more magical.

Upon hearing the iconic Harry Potter theme song that many people have grown up listening to and wishing they were a wizard, it sends shivers down your spine.

Watching the well-known actors speak before the tour begins shows just how magical the world of Harry Potter is.

The screen then lifts and you’re there. At the entrance to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry – then the fun begins.

If people haven’t been there before, there is just so much too see. Whether it’s how the made the costumes, hats, props, set designs, creatures, Quidditch – it’s all right there for everyone to enjoy.

At the exhibition, we met with costume designer, Laurent Guinci, who designed many of the costumes worn by the cast including that of Rita Skeeter.

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Also, hair & make-up artists Lisa Tomblin and Amanda Knight demonstrated how Harry’s iconic lightning bolt scar was applied and how the look of Bellatrix LaStrange was created.

Milliner Philip Treacy was also there and allowed guests to try on the Iconic Beauxbatons hat and learn how it was brought from sketch to screen.

One particular new attraction that I found amazingly fun was sitting inside the costume of Professor Slughorn when he turned himself into a chair.

You are able to climb inside and see how actor Jim Broadbent had to do it for the movie.

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Follow my Instagram @steveb4567 to see how I got inside the chair

Travelling around the studios, you can see how Quidditch was brought to life and are able to walk through the latest attraction, the Forbidden Forest, where friendly Buckbeak is there greeting you and the giant spider Aragok is hiding as well.

Then you turn a corner and there it is, the Hogwarts Express, the beautiful, red train that transports Harry and his friends from Platform 9 3/4 to Hogwarts.

There is so much to see at the studios, the Dursley’s house, how Dobby came to life, Diagon Alley, it’s overwhelming.

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At the end of the tour, you do feel sad that the magic is ending but they leave you with the last bit of magic.

The giant sculpture of Hogwarts which was used in the films. As you walk around the theme song is played again and you begin to feel a sense of excitement and sadness.

This collection of books and films brought so many joy to people of all ages and they continue to still do.

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A fantastic tour and definitely worth paying a visit!

 

A Work of Art: Fine Art students hold exhibition

Westwood College, Scarborough, is home to a variety of unique artists, musicians and drama students.

Throughout June, the Fine Art degree students will showcase a culmination of three year’s hard work at their Degree Show.

The graduating fine art student’s work consists of a diverse range of disciplines from visual artists, painters, printmakers, abstract artists and installation artists.

Each student has dedicated the last three years to developing their practice and the degree show will be a platform for the next step in their careers as emerging artists.

Kane Cunningham, the course leader, said: “I am very proud of the achievements this year and hope to see the general public visit the show to appreciate all the hard work and the talent that exists within our region.

“The degree show is more than an exhibition; it’s an affirmation of hard work, commitment and a desire to follow your dreams of being an artist.”

Having a look around the campus, it was clear that there is an array of talented artists from nature paintings through to installation art.

It will be a worthwhile exhibition to go and show support to the artists of the town.

The exhibition will showcase work by eight students and will be held at Westwood Campus from June 6-12 between 10am-4pm.

There will also be a preview evening being held on Friday June 5 from 7-9pm. Admission is free and there is ample car parking.

For any further details about the show, please contact Westwood Campus on 01723 361960.

A Subjective Form of Media

‘Art is subjective’ is a phrase that can easily describe the new exhibition at Crescent Arts, Scarborough.

Pre-pop to post-human: Collage in the Digital Age is an exhibition that caters for the elite and those with knowledge in the field of printing but this does not mean that only those will enjoy it.

The printings feature images of scientific advancements, planes, motorcars and ammunition merged with food, art and seductive human forms.

The exhibition includes work by Pio Abad, Marie Angeletti, Helen Carmel Benigson and Gabriele Beveridge and many others.

The eye-catching and unique images around the gallery show how the artists create collages through digital methods including digital printing on fabrics such as silk scarves.

It is clear that each artist draws on imagery from popular culture and some offer up new, surrealistic landscapes, fusing popular icons or images into entirely new vistas.

In an age where technology and the internet dominate everyday life, there is a feel of an avant-garde Dadaism with a touch of early pop artists.

A particular piece by Berry Patten really stood out as a work of digital art meets classic art. The piece Tributary created a sort of fine art feel that was less ‘contemporary’ than the rest of the pieces in the exhibition.

By using photographic collage, Berry explored the changing sensory understandings of the digital image and her work echoes our distorted material perspective.

This was not a piece for everyone with someone saying that ‘the colours are nauseating’ and ‘the only good thing is where it’s placed next to the one on the right because it brings out the pink more’.

But then again, art is subjective. Everyone has their own preference.

The highlight of the exhibition was the collection of some of Eduardo Paolozzi’s BUNK prints from 1972.

These iconic pieces of work started as tear sheets from magazines and were made during his time in Paris after World War Two.

For anyone interested in concepts on futurist visions from the past then Paolozzi’s work is something to see.

Featuring images including scientific advancements, planes, motorcars and ammunition merged with food, art and seductive human forms that foreshadow the fusion of technology and life.

The fact that they are still in pristine condition and are still inspiring artists in today’s society is one reason to get down and see this exhibition.

According to the curator, Isobel Harbison, Paolozzi’s BUNK prints were not created in the traditional sense but instead were made of printed pieces collaged together.

By doing so, Paolozzi maintained the jagged lines and adhesive markings of the originals.

The other artists in the exhibition fuse foreign bodies in a new, alternative or synthetic landscape that creates a contemporary counterpoint to Paolozzi’s iconic work.

For any fans of collage artists will enjoy this exhibition. There is an outstanding collection of work in the exhibition that is worth a visit.

There is no doubt that this exhibition is not for everyone but there is a handout explaining how the images were created and the meanings behind them.

However, I would advise that you see the art with your own eyes first before reading this as you get to interpret the images yourself.

That’s what art is all about after all. It’s a truly subjective form of media.

This exhibition is worth the visit down to Crescent Arts and will be held there until June 21.

An exhibition worth seeing

The gallery at Woodend hosts a range of temporary exhibitions and the current AOI exhibition is just one of them.

The AOI Exhibition features a variety of award-winning pieces of art from national and international illustrators.

Walking round the gallery, the talent and effort that these illustrators put into their work was outstanding.

With more contemporary illustrations from the likes of Paolo Fiore through to the more traditional by Benjamin Parker are all on show here.

A particular favourite was William Grill’s Shackleton’s Journey which gave a lasting impression and took me back to the first time watching the Christmas favourite The Snowman.

The pencil drawn images bring to life Ernest Shackleton’s expedition across the Antarctic.

The sparse and emptiness of his work create a cold and unnerving feeling, something which Shackleton would have felt during his exhibition.

Any Harry Potter fans will be in awe at the skilfully drawn original artwork of the children’s version of the infamous franchise.

The four of seven illustrations, which were featured on book covers for the Harry Potter series, were drawn by Andrew Davidson via wood engraving on handmade paper.

Davidson shows his distinct vision for his art using the antiquated method. Each wood engraving was hand crafted and made on seven-inch English boxwood onto Japanese paper.

These images bring to life the iconic scenes that children, and adults alike, have grown up with.

The exhibition features award-winning work from eight competition categories: Advertising, Books, Children’s Books, Design, Editorial & Social Comment, Public Realm, Research and Knowledge Communication, and Self-initiated.

Some of these include the Harry Potter franchise and 20,000 Leagues Under The Seas by Jules Verne.

The exhibition is full of unique and varied styles of illustration and even a novice art-goer, like myself, can enjoy the talent and skills of each image.

The varied illustrations range from digital, collage and collagraph printmaking.

One that really stood out was Marcus Reed’s Baboon, Giraffe and Jellyfish pieces of art. His style can be interpreted as digital meets ancient typography.

Reed digitally draws each animal to correspond with their respective letter of the alphabet.

This selection is part of Reed’s Animal Alphabet that is definitely worth a Google.

Lesley Barnes’, 1984, based on the iconic novel by George Orwell, shows the concern and message that Orwell was trying to achieve through his infamous book.

It reminds me of the constructivism era through the use of geometric shapes and colours. The added phrases from Orwell’s novel were also included in her digital illustration such as ‘War is Peace’ and ‘Big Brother is Watching You’.

All these phrases are still relevant to today’s society, making Barnes’ work just as iconic and full of impact as its inspiration.

The exhibition also featured a folder telling the history of Woodend and the Sitwells, with a folder of images showing how the building has changed over the years.

Launched in 1976, the Association of Illustrators Awards provides the leading showcase for international contemporary illustration.

The AOI Exhibition will run until June 13 every weekday and Saturdays.

Getting Potty With Ceramics

Crescent Arts, Scarborough, not only holds regular art exhibitions, including the current printing exhibition, but also holds a selection of talented artists.

Karen Thompson is a ceramist and currently is a resident artist where she produces an array of different art work.

Her studio, located at Crescent Arts, is full of functional, historically and politically inspired and social conscious ceramics.

Karen said: “I feel I have a powerful voice within my work. I made the Goveshy where delegates at the conference threw a wooden ball at Michael Gove busts.

“That was a powerful piece and really fun to do.”

Another exhibition called Farm World provoked a lot of response from viewers.

Here, Karen created a dark, contemporary agricultural theme incorporating ethical and ecological concerns about the environment.

“In this exhibition, there was a section called A Poultry Life where I took the concept of a well-known chicken egg basket and subverted them and made them into battery chickens,” Karen said.

“I cut off the beak and had hundreds of them exhibited on a shelf all squished together. I really enjoy subverting iconic pieces of ceramics and that’s kind of my main area.”

As well as creating political and social conscious pieces of work, Karen also makes functional mugs which are pierced and cut by hand yet still remain fully functional.

These patterns become translucent when held up to the light and Karen explained how she likes to make things that people ‘interact with’.

“For my degree show, I got a copy of a PMN-2 land mine and made hundreds of them and laid them outside the Holburne Museum of Art in Bath to resemble a military cemetery,” she said.

After creating these, Karen took that form further and made them into little decorative boxes.

“No one knew what they were and I decided to play with that a bit more and it still provoked a bit of a response,” Karen said.

“It’s interesting that I can evoke such a response in people.”

12 years ago, when Karen was living in London, her dad was ill and she was heavily involved with the radio station Resonance FM.

Here, Karen was given a lot of training in resonance but when her dad become terminal she left.

A year later, she tried to get back into the same position but she wasn’t able to access that level of training that the other people had.

“I thought to myself that this isn’t working and it was when I was living in Chelsea that I saw some ceramics classes being held at the college campus,” Karen said.

“I signed up for a few courses and ceramics was one of them so I went across and after a few classes I knew that this was it.”

After completing her degree, Karen saw Crescent Arts being advertised and she thought the studios had a good offer.

“The studios were subsidised and were in a creative environment and there aren’t many places that offer this nationwide,” Karen said.

“It’s a really great place to be and trying to find somewhere with subsidised rent is difficult.”

With other resident artists renting out a studio, Karen described the relationship with the other artists and said how ‘there haven’t been any murders yet’.

“When I make a new piece of work, I will show the other artists as I like to get people’s feedback,” she said.

“If I was in a studio by myself I would miss that interaction and it would feel quite isolated and even now working in the studio is quite isolated but saying that I would be fed up with all the people if I had to share.”

The accompanying picture shows the different variety of work that Karen does.

The tureen heads are based on a cross of two things, a phrenology head which is a Victorian bonkers science figure that sectioned the brain into different compartments and they believed that the different lumps and bumps of each person affected their personality.

The second thing that inspired the tureen heads was another Victorian influence. Tureens were used as serving dishes during dinner parties and were shaped in all sorts of different animals.

“The heads I make are a play on the two of these things,” Karen said.

“I made a head based on the phrenology head for an exhibition at the Scarborough Art Gallery and I placed a series of health charms, such as a moles forefoot, which I called the Charmology Head.”

This head was styled using health charms collected by the Scarborough-based Victorian charm collector William James Clarke.

“All my work is research based and are inspired from a piece of original ceramics and I then make contemporary ideas,” Karen said.

“I was asked to display some of my work in an exhibition with really big names like Grayson Perry.

“They made a call out for artists and I was the only one they selected which was brilliant.”

The majority of Karen’s work is research orientated except the cups that she makes.

“The cups are in a league of their own. People interact with cups and have a personal relationship with them,” Karen said.

As creating ceramics is a very long and laborious task, Karen cleverly made two Charmology heads and one was in colour which was used in the exhibition.

“You never know when something will break,” she said.

“You could simply open the door too early and it breaks so it’s good to make a spare.

“People have been responding and buying the tureen heads and they are becoming more popular than I wanted.

“My greatest fear is getting stuck with one thing that is successful and always making that one piece and the heads are starting to feel a bit like that and I am getting a bit bored of them now.

“I’m always looking for good tache and hair combinations to make them more exciting.”

For Karen, art is about evoking a response from somebody and making them think and some of her work, including the Goveshy and the chickens received huge responses during their exhibitions.

Karen said: “I was interested in the relationship with the computer keyboard and how people build really intense relationships with others over the internet and the only tactile element is the keyboard.

“I made this retro keyboard in 2008 before the mobile phone became so prolific and this exhibition made me think about the part that clay has played in communication.

“A lot of our information comes from cuneiform tablets and I wanted to merge the modern and historic forms of communication.

“I made a cast of the keys and pushed them into the slab of clay and got the impression of the keys.

“I then took the keys out to hold them and that’s when I saw the final print that looked kind of like hieroglyphics.

“Some pieces of work are conceived and some are made throughout the process.”

The studio was filled with dozens of ingredients that are used to make the different components to make ceramics.

According to Karen, a career is ceramics is expensive but relatively to a silver smith it is quite cheap.

The Crescent Arts is a charity funded by the Arts Council and offers a rotating artist residency programme.

Karen has been a resident since October 2010 and will stay there until around the end of June or July.

“I think I need to spend a year with the family in Newcastle but if I go up there I won’t have a studio,” Karen said.

“I am planning to relocate to Newcastle and do this occasionally when I get a good project.”

Some of Karen’s ceramics can be purchased from shops around Scarborough including Angela and Rosie on Bar Street and in Woodend.

“I sell my cups in the Art Gallery and had bits and pieces in Homebird House and I had a conversation with Alex and it would be nice to make some porcelain into lighting,” Karen said.

For more information, please visit Karen’s website at www.karent.co.uk

Oh! I Do Like To Be Beside The Seaside

Seaside Snaps is currently be held at Scarborough Art Gallery and is a collection of photographs showing the town through the years.

The exhibition is a fantastic array of images that are sure to kindle old memories and will, and most certainly did for me, open your eyes how Scarborough used to be.

The images date back to around the 1860s and features attractions that are long gone in the town but used to be iconic attractions.

These long gone attractions include the Gala Land amusement complex and the South Bay Pool but the exhibition also features such as the Rotunda Museums and Peasholm Park that are still going strong.

The photographs are accompanied by comments from the public which have been collected via a social media campaign.

Each of the photographs in the exhibition are from the Scarborough Collections, the name given to all the museum objects and art collected by the borough over the years, and now in the care of the Scarborough Museum’s Trust.

Entry to the exhibition is £3, which then includes entry fee to both Scarborough Art Gallery and the Rotunda Museum for a year.

The Gallery is open Tuesdays to Sundays from 10am to 5pm, plus bank holidays.

A Crafty Paper Cutter

The Crescent Arts Studio in Scarborough is full of talented artists.

The studios are currently located in the basement of Scarborough Art Gallery and they offer studio space for up to seven artists at any one time.

One of the local resident artists, Steven Potter, spoke to us about why he got into creating pieces of art through paper cutting.

Steven said: “I started at Leeds College of Art in 2009 where I was promptly sent home to Scarborough before Freshers week began because I’d contracted mumps.”

As he contracted mumps, he saw that there were a few posts about his classes regarding ‘ice breaker activities’ and art exercises.

“I felt like I was missing out, like for some reason I would be at a disadvantage when I returned because I had not been there to hop on one leg and draw a straight line,” he said.

“I spent the week bitterly doodling repeated patterns into a sketchpad.”

When he returned, he ‘felt lost in a sea of experimental sculptures and groups of newly formed friends who had all already exhausted the novelty of exploring a new city.’

With all university students, there is always an issue with Student Finance; however, Steven did not receive any funding up until halfway through his second year.

He said: “I needed a cheap way of producing art, I found myself on paper but being as interested in illustration as I was in contact sports I dragged out my old sketchbooks to find away to make it work and stumbled upon the doodles I did when I was sick nearly two years ago.

“I decided to recreate them to see how subconsciously my unconscious thoughtless scribbles had changed.”

As he couldn’t afford the materials, Steven was unable to make his ‘doodles’ into 3D which is what he was hoping for.

“When I tell people about this I like to describe it like the scene in Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone where Harry picks up the wand and there’s a wind machine and lighting effects and dramatic music, in reality I saw a scalpel handle and blade by coincidence and bought them for 60p on student discount, there was no wind machine,” he said.

He then started to use the scalpel to cut the shapes and wrapped them around a lamp.

“I liked the way it looked and so did Leeds City Gallery who requested a window display for their Christmas art fair,” Steven said.

“Still working by hand I scaled up the A4 paper I had been working on to fit their 8ft window and so ‘griffonage’ was created.”

The question that he has been asked many times is ‘why do you not use a laser cutter?’

According to Steven, a laser cutter could produce what takes him months to produce by hand in less than a day.

“I guess using a laser cutter would be more efficient and a lot more accurate then I could ever do,” Steven said.

“It would be easy to assume at this point that a mixture of personal circumstance and ridiculous quirks had set me on a predetermined path of hand cutting over machine production and at first it definitely started that way however as I worked more and more with the medium I began to favour the time consuming process involved with the conception of large scale paper cut installations.

“I think it all circles back to that first week when I had mumps and missed out on the ice breakers and me not having any confidence in the work I produce.”

Hand cutting takes a lot of time and Steven believes that ‘the sacrifice involved in making these pieces isn’t just time, its personal dedication. ‘

The culmination of this practice came to fruition with his first solo show ‘10A’ at crescent arts which consisted of 10 8ft hand cut repeated pattern pieces suspended around a single light source.

According to Steven, there is a personal history involved with hand cutting that laser cutting doesn’t contain.

“Laser cutting is perfect. Hand cutting is a practice of mistakes. The art exists within the slipping of the blade,” he says.

More recently he has been scaling down his cutting to a more commercial level that combines the medium of paper cutting along with his sense of humour: ‘kitty’, ‘penguin’ and ‘bunny.’

He said: “I feel having worked with paper cutting for so long and in the same sort of way these pieces are the bridge to what is next and I have begun an experimental phase while my residency at Crescent is still in effect and I have access to the space.

“It’s exciting in the sense that it allows me to have fun outside of the artistic persona I have invented for myself but it’s also scary because it’s venturing outside a medium I have built a practice and a fan base around.

“What if what I produce isn’t as good? What if I waste time I could be cutting on something that won’t matter in the end?

“Basically I just have to constantly shove an apple in the mouth of my existential crisis and continue with a stiff upper lip and hope for the best.

“All in all if I end up back on paper cutting at least I’ll return to it with the same rejuvenated conviction I have after sacrificing to produce work.”

Crescent Arts is a local Scarborough gallery and arts council funded charity that houses a rotating artist residency program.

Steven interviewed for a studio whilst he was still at university and had his first solo show there.

“I have also exhibited in Leeds Light Night where I was awarded an independent artist bursary to participate,” he said.

Crescent Arts is to support and promote contemporary visual arts in Scarborough and beyond.

They support emerging, developing and leading artistic talent and seek to enhance access to the visual arts.

The resident artists benefit from subsidised rates for studios, equipment, facilities and resources as well as from professional support and training opportunities.

Steven said that he uses his full name ‘Steven Malorie Potter’ as a passive aggressive reply to the fact no gallery or submission seems to be able to get his name right.

“I have kicked off at so many printed typos below my work that for a brief period I insisted on being called Steven with a V.

“By giving my full name I relinquish responsibility and am providing all the letters of my name for interpretation of whoever is receiving my submission.”

To find out more information please visit his website at: http://www.stevenmaloriepotter.com/

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Photograph courtesy of Steven Malorie Potter

Glossary: How and Why Artists Make Prints

One word to describe the new exhibition held at the Crescent Arts, Scarborough is… Detail.

Being unfamiliar with the ways of artists, I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect but walking around the small studio, it was clear that each image was expertly crafted together.

Glossary: How and Why Artists Make Prints brings together the work of seven contemporary printmakers including Julian Meredith, Rachel Clewlow and Stephen Chambers.

It consisted of different examples of prints that varied from monoprint through to potato print (which was a favourite of mine).

With other works including digital print and direct print, the exhibition has something for any fan of art.

Julian Meredith’s Swifts (The Scream) evokes a sense of flight and movement and upon researching, I found that Meredith pressed a dead bird into the paper.

Originally shocked by this concept, the image did, as the information said, evoked a question of how we value other creatures’ lives.

A particular favourite of mine was Hilary Paynter’s Spetchells – Gathering Places.

The amount of detail that Hilary put into the image was a true eye-opener and an inspiration.

To create something so time consuming, creative and skilful is something, I would imagine, aspiring print makers would envy.

Being one of the small number of artists and illustrators working in the UK using the wood-engraving process, Hilary exceeds all expectations.

Her image is clearly and undoubtedly inspired by the Northumbrian artist Thomas Bewick (1753-1828) who raised wood engraving to an art form.

It is an exhibition showcasing the skills of each of the different print makers and showing just how many different ways to print.

As a novice art-gallery goer, I was astounded by the amount of work and skills that each artist has, including the simplistic yet profound potato print.

Art exhibitions, for those not ‘in with the crowd’, initially bring the question of ‘I don’t get it?’ to mind.

However, with plenty of information and a video of each artist, it did show how and why artists make prints.

Despite enjoying the exhibition, it did seem more catered towards those with an interest in fine art and those with an expertise in the area.

The exhibition is curated by Northern Print, based in Newcastle upon Tyne and will be available for viewing until May 16.

Scarborough resident holds art exhibition

In the Scarborough library there is an exhibition from a local resident Eric Russell.

The exhibition features every letter in the alphabet written in a calligraphy style and each is based on a specific person in history.

The former journalist keeps developing ideas and as well as doing calligraphy-themed art, he is also repairing old farm tools which are being sold all over the world.

His wife, Dorothy Russell, said: “Each letter has been designed in the way that they were written in old documents.

“It is a mixture of calligraphy and art and that is what he has done.”

Calligraphy is a visual art related to writing.

It is the design and execution of lettering with a broad tip instrument or brush (as opposed to built up lettering, in which the letters are drawn).

The exhibition is on until the book reading so there is still a few weeks left to go and see his work.