Work place works

Work is a moveable feast these days.

Working as artist in residence can be an amazing opportunity to really see somewhere from the inside - and getting another perspective on how it works. So I was really pleased to have the chance to work at Blackwell's main store in Oxford Blackwell as their Artist In Residence and chose the theme The Way We Work Now as this beautiful bookshop is the workplace of choice for an amazing, electric bunch of writers, students, academics and people just looking for inspiration. About half of the exhibited works featured the regular weekday clients of the Blackwell Caffè Nero — writers of novels, screenplays, sermons, academic articles and poetry who enjoy sharing the just-lively-enough …

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Work is a moveable feast these days.

Working as artist in residence can be an amazing opportunity to really see somewhere from the inside - and getting another perspective on how it works. So I was really pleased to have the chance to work at Blackwell's main store in Oxford Blackwell as their Artist In Residence and chose the theme The Way We Work Now as this beautiful bookshop is the workplace of choice for an amazing, electric bunch of writers, students, academics and people just looking for inspiration. About half of the exhibited works featured the regular weekday clients of the Blackwell Caffè Nero — writers of novels, screenplays, sermons, academic articles and poetry who enjoy sharing the just-lively-enough ambience of the coffeehouse while perhaps hoping for some extra inspiration from the books surrounding them. Other paintings in the show looked at different working environments, including the artificial glow surrounding a trading desk in the City and the ability to stay in touch with work (or the inability to escape from it) even when you are walking through a Parisian park.

Click here for a review in The Oxford Times.

All of the paintings can be seen in the Gallery and one or two are still available for purchase. Please contact Placeworks if you would like more information.

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New studio, new paintings

Very happy to move in to new studio at last - have now had a couple of sessions there, and really enjoying it. Still no view of the outside world but it cuts drown on distractions. A few images in places and portraits galleries - link on the left.

Artist in residence - the journey begins

Regular readers will know that earlier in the year Placeworks got the green light to work with London Bridge Station Redevelopment Project as site artist. At last the train is leaving the platform (you'll have to get used to these). Here's a quick update.

Just before the holiday I went along to the Kingston test centre to sit the exam to get my CSCS card (Construction Skills Certificate Scheme, keep up), along with lots of people doing their driving theory test.

Since getting back I have attended a site induction at London Bridge and passed a drug and alcohol test (my mother will be pleased to hear).

It might seem a bit strange given that I am going …

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Regular readers will know that earlier in the year Placeworks got the green light to work with London Bridge Station Redevelopment Project as site artist. At last the train is leaving the platform (you'll have to get used to these). Here's a quick update.

Just before the holiday I went along to the Kingston test centre to sit the exam to get my CSCS card (Construction Skills Certificate Scheme, keep up), along with lots of people doing their driving theory test.

Since getting back I have attended a site induction at London Bridge and passed a drug and alcohol test (my mother will be pleased to hear).

It might seem a bit strange given that I am going to be drawing and painting rather than building or demolishing anything but of course it's essential - and not only am I now much more aware of the many potential dangers on site, but I also feel a bit more like everyone else who works there. Even more so now I've had my first canteen breakfast, delicious, and got my PPE (boots and reflective gear).

Yesterday I had my first site visit and got to see the whole thing from the inside. It's fascinating to see the activity amongst rubble and soaring, damp arches that can seem to be so piecemeal and specific, and yet which over the next weeks and months will create a whole new modern, smooth, functioning station. The old station is still there, of course, and this is something that I plan to explore further through the work.

Lots to think about - more updates to follow.

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Q: Where can you see Dufy, Matisse, Picasso, Piper, Hepworth, Dali, Grant and Bell?

A: The Artist Textile show at Fashion and Textile Museum, Bermondsey Street - extended until Sunday May 18th.

Change the future for the Victorian engineering workshop that changed the world!

Are you mad for small museums, managing projects and making things happen? The Kirkaldy Testing Museum – a hotbed of Victorian engineering innovation on Southwark Street – is looking for a volunteer project manager to help take the revitalization of this important small museum to the next level.

“Facts not Opinions” it proclaims above the door at 99 Southwark Street. David Kirkaldy was one of Britain's most innovative engineers and chose this as the home for his pioneering machine testing the breaking strength of metals. His work helped solve some of the major structural engineering problems of his day on bridges from the Mississippi to Hammersmith. Remarkably the machine is still in full working order, thanks to a small …

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Are you mad for small museums, managing projects and making things happen? The Kirkaldy Testing Museum – a hotbed of Victorian engineering innovation on Southwark Street – is looking for a volunteer project manager to help take the revitalization of this important small museum to the next level.

“Facts not Opinions” it proclaims above the door at 99 Southwark Street. David Kirkaldy was one of Britain's most innovative engineers and chose this as the home for his pioneering machine testing the breaking strength of metals. His work helped solve some of the major structural engineering problems of his day on bridges from the Mississippi to Hammersmith. Remarkably the machine is still in full working order, thanks to a small group of dedicated volunteers who open the museum once a month, and recently the testing machine has been brought to new audiences through Open House and arts projects such as Bankside’s Merge festival.

Find out more about the museum at: www.testingmuseum.org.uk

The opportunity

The museum is being revitalised, with a project underway to build support among professionals and the wider public. A team of passionate supporters is developing a new business plan and sponsorhip, but they now need an enthusiastic and well-organised volunteer project manager who can help keep this momentum going.

Intern / volunteer job description:

  1. To assist the Director and the team to prepare promotional and marketing material to build greater awareness
  2. To assist the Director and the team operate the museum and manage monthly openings
  3. To assist in the preparation of information and documents for Board meetings
  4. To develop a database of key contacts
  5. To assist in managing the content of the website
  6. To help plan and execute events at the museum to build greater awareness and help develop revenue streams

Ideal skills and experience to include:

  1. Project management and organisational skills
  2. IT, publishing and social media skills
  3. Good eye for detail and problem solving
  4. Enthusiasm for working in small museums /heritage sector

You might be recently graduated and looking to build some vital hands-on work experience, a professional looking for a change of direction or an all-round heritage hero. This is a substantial opportunity and requires a similar level of commitment – and it starts now: one or two day a week (Monday to Friday) starting immediately, with occasional weekend work possible. The role is based in Bankside but some home working is also possible so ideally you will have your own laptop, Mac or PC.

If you are interested in applying for this role, please send a copy of your CV and a covering letter stating how you could help to Caroline Jones by email to: caroline@illuminateproductions.co.uk by 5 March 2014.

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A date for your diary (I'll tell you just as soon as I can)

Well here's a dilemma. The first story after the decision to split writing and painting and I'm not sure which category it comes under. Singing. Not doing another website (however Twitter is now available though @urbanism101, but I'm more of a sonnet than a haiku girl and fitting all that unrelenting enthusiasm into 140 characters isn't always what I feel like doing).

As the lady in the flat upstairs has known for a couple of weeks, the singing in question is Bach's St John Passion - or "rocketfuel for writing" as it was recently described on a bonsai social media site. The reason I can't give you a date yet is that the concert's …

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Well here's a dilemma. The first story after the decision to split writing and painting and I'm not sure which category it comes under. Singing. Not doing another website (however Twitter is now available though @urbanism101, but I'm more of a sonnet than a haiku girl and fitting all that unrelenting enthusiasm into 140 characters isn't always what I feel like doing).

As the lady in the flat upstairs has known for a couple of weeks, the singing in question is Bach's St John Passion - or "rocketfuel for writing" as it was recently described on a bonsai social media site. The reason I can't give you a date yet is that the concert's at Cadogan Hall (sorry, that's London SW3 to everyone who doesn't shop in the Belgravia branch of Waitrose) and as our choir is so nombreuses we have to take it in turn. So either the 6th or the 7th April, I haven't heard yet. It's a rollicking good sing though, I hope the lady upstairs will agree.

More information at www.barts-choir.com

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Ahem* Website announcement from Placeworks HQ

Already fed up with those "New Year, New You!" A-boards flying around in the gale force winds outside every chain cafe of the office-lunch persuasion? (Note to restaurants located at the ground floor of tall buildings - it's hard enough walking around the corner of these places in regular wind speeds, at the moment you are only really making business for A&E and car repair workshops.) Well, here'a another. New year, new website!

This is the year that Placeworks finally stops pretending that its split personality can be happily embraced within one website and gets two separate ones. www.placeworks.co.uk will continue to be the home for writing, consultancy and urbanism news, and www.sarahjarvis.co …

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Already fed up with those "New Year, New You!" A-boards flying around in the gale force winds outside every chain cafe of the office-lunch persuasion? (Note to restaurants located at the ground floor of tall buildings - it's hard enough walking around the corner of these places in regular wind speeds, at the moment you are only really making business for A&E and car repair workshops.) Well, here'a another. New year, new website!

This is the year that Placeworks finally stops pretending that its split personality can be happily embraced within one website and gets two separate ones. www.placeworks.co.uk will continue to be the home for writing, consultancy and urbanism news, and www.sarahjarvis.co.uk will be the new home for my painting and drawing. There will also be enhanced features such as opportunities to sign up for news and to comment on stories. I know you're dying to.

And hopefully now that's been made public the hugely talented, busy but occasionally distracted web designer will get on with it. (So grateful)

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Exploring the changing city - new painting commission

Exciting news at Placeworks HQ. I am going to be working as artist in residence at a large London infrastructure project - details still to be worked out but culminating in an exhibition later next year. If you want to be kept updated please let me know at sarah@placeworks.co.uk

Painting of the month

Nothing urban about this month's painting - an apparently peaceful rural landscape painted on a wooden gesso panel. Perhaps hard to tell from this photograph, but the painting has been scraped back, even gouged in places to reveal layers of paint and the wooden support beneath, suggesting perhaps that not all is as bucolic as it might seem. You can see 'Flatlands' in the Places gallery.

Rail bridges in postcard mystery

Continuing the rail bridges and arches theme I have just painted three small postcards for a charity sale - can't tell you which charity or the postcards wouldn't be a mystery, but do have a sneak preview in the Places gallery.

Incompetent selfie

Selfies are instant and everywhere so I thought I'd try approaching them the slow way - in paint. My first attempt at a selfie - taken in the Ladies' at the Musee d'Orsay, how auspicious, wasn't a great start in the genre.

If you have one of your own that you would like explored in paint, please get in touch at sarah@placeworks.co.uk

Why paint places?

Although I haven't been in the studio much recently, I have been thinking about why I want to paint.

Much of my painting is inspired by my responses to different places, both over periods of time that allow a deeper engagement with that place but also - deliberately - fleeting impressions from just passing through. From my work as a travel writer I am intrigued by the pictures and perceptions we build of places over time, how we get our bearings and take views on places we visit for the first time.

Working as an artist in residence is a privileged way of getting know places - and usually the people working there - over a longer time. I have worked as artist …

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Although I haven't been in the studio much recently, I have been thinking about why I want to paint.

Much of my painting is inspired by my responses to different places, both over periods of time that allow a deeper engagement with that place but also - deliberately - fleeting impressions from just passing through. From my work as a travel writer I am intrigued by the pictures and perceptions we build of places over time, how we get our bearings and take views on places we visit for the first time.

Working as an artist in residence is a privileged way of getting know places - and usually the people working there - over a longer time. I have worked as artist in residence at Blackwell, the historic bookshop in Oxford, to produce a series of paintings called ‘The Way We Work Now’; I have also painted images of people at work at their desks in the City, and worked with Oxford Operatic Society during rehearsals for their stage production of 42nd Street. I am always happy to discuss new opportunities to work alongside other people in their day-to-day settings.

The depiction of specific times and places in film is another starting point for exploration. The paintings inspired by ‘The End of the Affair’, based on the novel by Graham Greene, explore the presence and absence of the central female character. Taking a still image out of the rolling narrative strips away its (social) context, and stepping off the moving walkway to linger over one image can become uncomfortably voyeuristic.

Many of my drawings and paintings explore urban, suburban and coastal environments, but in future I hope to bring my art and urban communication practices together more directly. Through my work in Bankside and London Bridge I have built up some knowledge of an historic city centre quarter in transition. Communicating that change through words and photographs, online or in print, is a quick and effective way to reach hundreds, even thousands of people. But it is often a means to an end, to convey information that can be seen and then, because it is ubiquitous, forgotten.

Exploring this process through oil painting invites a more deliberative engagement with the city - inviting, I hope, deeper thought on what is happening around us, bringing a new perspective to the way our surroundings evolve as this new topography emerges. And just like oil painting it is not just building up but also scraping back - the process of creating new structures brings the chance to explore beneath the surface being replaced and the archaeologist's trowel digs into the hidden city bringing a rediscovered past to the surface.

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New paintings

Some recent paintings and drawings now uploaded in the Places gallery. No Coastal defences yet though, the eagle-eyed will notice. Still waiting for a decent spell of wind in the right direction for a trip to do the sketches... fingers crossed for this weekend.

Ranelagh Group

Sarah is a member of the Ranelagh Group, a group of London painters who have been working together on our individual practices for over a year. We have just launched a website www.ranelaghgroup.co.uk and will be uploading galleries and news of a forthcoming group show shortly. Please email Sarah at sarah@placeworks.co.uk if you would like to be added to the mailing list to be updated with the Ranelagh Group or Placeworks.

Coastal defences paintings series

If you like the painting "Power Station, Dorset" in Places gallery you might like to know that plans are afoot for a wider series of paintings exploring the rich heritage of structures in the landscape - this time coastal defences.

The idea was inspired by a recent trip to Yarmouth on the Isle of Wight when Placeworks visited The Needles Batteries and Fort Victoria. Thanks to West Wight Landscape Partnership you can Walk the Forts as well as lots of other trails in this beautiful corner of southern England.

Sarah is hoping to have access to temporary studio space in one of the forts while working on the project.

Seen the paintings, and the gift shop - NEW PAINTING ADDED

...Though it's more likely to be jewellery and handbags at any self-respecting blockbuster art show these days. The Shopping and Eating series has begun, where else, in the art gallery (aren't they the two main activities at a good venue?) - see the first painting in the Places gallery. The painting was inspired by our recent visit to Paris where we saw the excellent L'Impressionisme et la Mode at the Musée d'Orsay.

I haven't been to the Manet show at the RA yet, have you? Bet there are some great scarves.

Art and the City 1 - The Art of Construction, Mall Galleries, London SW1

Review:

If, like Placeworks, you think artists can play more of a role on construction sites than producing something to decorate the plaza once the tower cranes have moved out, visit the Mall Galleries in London before by 7 July where 'Built' is an excellent small show curated by Patricia Cain. Congratulations too to Patricia and the Mall Galleries for the symposium last week, 'Construction, Knowing Through Making', which explored the experiences of the four exhibiting artists and others.

Bankside Urban Forest Exhibition, Saturday 23 June

Sarah has four paintings on show this weekend in a pop-up exhibition space on Bankside.

On Saturday 23 June Bankside Community Space, Great Guildford St SE1 (just behind Tate Modern), will become an exhibition space showing current and future built environment projects in Bankside Urban Forest.

Learn more about plans for a network of public spaces throughout the neighbourhood, proposals to green the area, and hear about some of the larger developments underway or planned for Bankside. There will also be information about the main London Festival of Architecture events taking place locally.

New paintings added

Please visit the Places and Portraits Galleries to see recent paintings. The two portraits are Duncan (Duncan Grant) and Visiting London; the places are around SE1 - Arriving Tate Modern, Leaving Tate Modern and Bankside Mix, as well as Fife Houses. Please email me at sarah@placeworks.co.uk to find out more.

Inkling of a good idea

The new painting year began on Thursday with a convivial session by the river. Indoors, luckily, as it's smelling cold again. In December I had been suffering from a cold and found the idea of ink drawing more appealing than painting. I liked the results, quite noir-ish, put me in mind of a graphic novel, or perhaps an illustrated novel, which I am now mulling over at the back of my mind, and I decided to continue with ink this month.

Much as I hate those drawing exercises that involve charcoal tied to a long stick and accepting a lack of control, and despite finding a new drawing pen and two nibs at the bottom of my Christmas stocking …

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The new painting year began on Thursday with a convivial session by the river. Indoors, luckily, as it's smelling cold again. In December I had been suffering from a cold and found the idea of ink drawing more appealing than painting. I liked the results, quite noir-ish, put me in mind of a graphic novel, or perhaps an illustrated novel, which I am now mulling over at the back of my mind, and I decided to continue with ink this month.

Much as I hate those drawing exercises that involve charcoal tied to a long stick and accepting a lack of control, and despite finding a new drawing pen and two nibs at the bottom of my Christmas stocking, I perversely decided to try out a technique of drawing with a match dipped in ink. It worked well - an acceptable degree of randomness, with a nice straight edge. Just need to work on that narrative now...

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Artist in residence

Sarah is interested in the chance to work again as an artist in residence, to explore the workings of a place from the inside and to encourage a new way of looking by bringing a different perspective. If you have any suggestions, please contact her on sarah@placeworks.co.uk

London oil painters explore a new way of working

In the spirit of the exhibition 'The Way We Work Now', Sarah is collaborating with oil painter Nicky Basford to explore a new way of working for painters who usually work alone in their studio. Painting is by nature a solitary process but we have long believed that occasionally it would be valuable also to work together in a larger space - to have the chance to discuss practice and ideas, but essentially to get on with work in a collective environment.

The inaugural session was a great success - everyone got work done and there was less chance of slipping off for a cup of tea every five minutes as you might in the studio. Indeed, the very sight of other …

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In the spirit of the exhibition 'The Way We Work Now', Sarah is collaborating with oil painter Nicky Basford to explore a new way of working for painters who usually work alone in their studio. Painting is by nature a solitary process but we have long believed that occasionally it would be valuable also to work together in a larger space - to have the chance to discuss practice and ideas, but essentially to get on with work in a collective environment.

The inaugural session was a great success - everyone got work done and there was less chance of slipping off for a cup of tea every five minutes as you might in the studio. Indeed, the very sight of other people working can be a great stimulus to getting on with it yourself!

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Bankide Gallery exhibition in September

Sarah's oil painting, Platform Three, has been selected for the 'London Lives' exhibition at Bankside Gallery, London (next to Tate Modern). The exhibition is free to visit and takes place from 9 to 18 September. See www.banksidegallery.com for more details.

Latest artwork

New work from Sarah's latest projects responding to a recent journey around Scotland can be seen in the Places Gallery. More to come soon.

Drawings selected for two London exhibitions

Two of Sarah's drawings have been selected for inclusion in forthcoming exhibitions in London.

'Landsväg (Country Road)', a large graphite drawing that references the booming popularity of Swedish crime fiction, can be seen at The Gallery, Wimbledon Park Road, SW18 from 26 March until 1April. 'Grain, beam, speed' is an ink drawing of Violet, a beloved family hen, that humorously explores her combination of solidity and darting forage for food. It will appear in the Rootstein Hopkins Drawing Exhibition from 11 May to 11 June at Morley Gallery, 61 Westminster Bridge Road, London SE1. Both drawings can be seen in the Portraits Gallery.

Sarah is exhibiting with the Ranelagh Group

Sarah is exhibiting four oil paintings with the Ranelagh Group in London. The exhibition, at Lillyville Surgery, Lillyville Road, SW6, continues the relationship between healthcare centres and the visual arts that has been famously championed further along the Fulham Road at Chelsea & Westminster Hospital. The exhibtion continues until 18 February.

Time off for good behaviour - Placeworks on the Isle of Wight

Placeworks has been sailing.

Now that the one-way traffic 'Round The Island' has cleared it's safe to cross the again to the Isle of Wight and the good ship Agatha spent a very enjoyable weekend in Yarmouth. After waking to fog horns on Sunday, and feeding a family of seven swans, we went for a walk into the village for a catch up. The deli has changed hands, as expected, though the stock seems much the same, the County Press yielded some fascinating stories, as ever, and we even saw the lady with her three dogs near Loveshore Lane.

The trip back to Poole Harbour was fantrastic - three hours from Hurst in an obliging Force 3 at Agatha's …

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Placeworks has been sailing.

Now that the one-way traffic 'Round The Island' has cleared it's safe to cross the again to the Isle of Wight and the good ship Agatha spent a very enjoyable weekend in Yarmouth. After waking to fog horns on Sunday, and feeding a family of seven swans, we went for a walk into the village for a catch up. The deli has changed hands, as expected, though the stock seems much the same, the County Press yielded some fascinating stories, as ever, and we even saw the lady with her three dogs near Loveshore Lane.

The trip back to Poole Harbour was fantrastic - three hours from Hurst in an obliging Force 3 at Agatha's favourite wind direction. She bounded off happily across the bay and we enjoyed egg and tomato sandwiches, still in blissful ignorance of the footballing horrors to come.

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Remember drawing?

I have really enjoyed rediscovering the joys of graphite recently. There are a few examples of larger, studio works in the Galleries, including a few drawings inspired by the Swedish phenomenon of 'Wallander' as well as some pages from my sketchbook.

Drawing in public is fun and a bit addictive. In France this month I attracted a small crowd at the harbour in St-Vaast and got a particulalrly good review from one 6 year-old critic. Most of all, I have remembered the joy and value of drawing in its own right, and not just as a way of working out ideas before the brushes come out. Vive le dessin!

The Big Draw

The De La Warr Pavilion is an inspiring building at the best of times, but particularly on a sunny day in May in the company of artists and educators exploring drawing activities with The Big Draw's Eileen Adams. Armed with clipboards and pens we headed out into an unsuspecting Bexhill to create and record our journeys in continous line.

A stimulating day, and I look forward to working further with The Big Draw.

LBHF Arts Forum

Sarah will be representing the Society of Fulham Artists & Potters (SOFAP) on the Arts Forum, set up by LB Hammersmith & Fulham to bring together key artistic and cultural organisations to further the arts and culture within the borough.

New painting unveiled

Sarah's latest painting, 'Power Station, Dorset', has already received critical acclaim. The work is in oil on gesso panel and depicts a research Nuclear Power Station which was built on the Dorset heathland in the 1960s and demolished in the 1980s. As well as challenging conventional ideas of beauty and landscape, the use of two distinct languages within the painting explores the specific impact of human intervention in nature and a wider sense of transplantation and 'out of' place. 'Power Station Dorset' can be seen in the Places Gallery.

Palace Riverside Artists

Sarah is working with a small group of other London artists under the name of 'Palace Riverside Artists' . Palace Riverside is the London electoral ward where we all live and work, named for Fulham Palace, the historic former country residence of the Bishops of London which was built in the north bank of the River Thames and dates from the 11th century. Details of our first group show to follow.

Rehearsal/Performance Exhibition at the New Theatre, Oxford

As part of a new project called Rehearsal/Performance I worked with Oxford Operatic Society during rehearsals for their production of 42nd Street, and the paintings were exhibited in the Circle Bar at the New Theatre Oxford during the show's run in May 2009. Some of these paintings are still available and can be seen in the gallery.

15 - 24 May - Society of Fulham Artists & Potters Spring Exhibition

Three of my oil paintings were included in the SOFAP Spring Exhibition.The paintings — Contemplation, Conspiracy and Industry — can also be seen in my online Gallery.

Saatchi Online Gallery

I am now also exhibiting in the Saatchi Online Gallery.

Exhibition at Blackwell, Oxford - reviewed in The Oxford Times

Click here for a review in The Oxford Times.

Working as artist in residence can be an amazing opportunity to really see somewhere from the inside - and getting another perspective on how it works. So I was really pleased to have the chance to work at Blackwell's main store in Oxford Blackwell as their Artist In Residence and chose the theme The Way We Work Now as this beautiful bookshop is the workplace of choice for an amazing, electric bunch of writers, students, academics and people just looking for inspiration. About half of the exhibited works featured the regular weekday clients of the Blackwell Caffè Nero — writers of novels, screenplays, sermons, academic articles and poetry who enjoy sharing …

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Click here for a review in The Oxford Times.

Working as artist in residence can be an amazing opportunity to really see somewhere from the inside - and getting another perspective on how it works. So I was really pleased to have the chance to work at Blackwell's main store in Oxford Blackwell as their Artist In Residence and chose the theme The Way We Work Now as this beautiful bookshop is the workplace of choice for an amazing, electric bunch of writers, students, academics and people just looking for inspiration. About half of the exhibited works featured the regular weekday clients of the Blackwell Caffè Nero — writers of novels, screenplays, sermons, academic articles and poetry who enjoy sharing the just-lively-enough ambience of the coffeehouse while perhaps hoping for some extra inspiration from the books surrounding them. Other paintings in the show looked at different working environments, including the artificial glow surrounding a trading desk in the City and the ability to stay in touch with work (or the inability to escape from it) even when you are walking through a Parisian park.

All of the paintings can be seen in the Gallery and one or two are still available for purchase. Please contact Placeworks if you would like more information.

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