Bird #5 (2022)


A final set of photographs produced in response to the avian whirligig of The Kick-About #54, and in response to some of these later images I began to feel real excitement as to the potential for developing this technique still further: I was left thinking about different sorts of maquettes, and different spaces, and different lighting and better cameras… and then it was time to cut down the elastic, recycle my cardboard bird, and get on with something else.



Bird #4 (2022)


More bird-like imagery produced for The Kick-About #54 by photographing a quickly-made cardboard maquette on various long exposures, with the cardboard ‘thing of feathers’ being launched through the air via the ‘ping’ of a length of elastic. What pleasure there is in taking such mundane constituents, and from them producing moments of metamorphosis and beauty.



Bird #2 (2022)


In response to the bird-based ‘whirligig’ prompt of The Kick-About #54, I set myself the ambition of photographing the movement of a flapping bird in the confines of my house, in the knowledge that a) I didn’t have a bird and b) birds are difficult to manage as the subject of a photographic shoot! For sometime now, I’ve been rather preoccupied with the transformative effects of long exposure photography, so taking some of this experience forward, I built a cardboard ‘bird shape’ from packing boxes (imagine a confection of wing-shapes slotted together in a vague cruciform construction), sprayed it white and blue, then tied it onto a length of white elastic. What followed was largely comical, as said ‘bird-shape’ was made to swing from one side of the room to the other, or ping through the air like something launched from a catapult. That said, the combination of time, light and movement is nothing if not transforming, and very soon I understood I did indeed have the semblance of a ‘thing with feathers’ – and perhaps a little more than this in some of the most successful images. More to follow.



Bird #1 (2022)


Developing some ideas first inspired by a previous bird-based Kick-About, I set about thinking about how I might release a bird into the rooms of my home and photograph it by which to respond to The Kick-About #54. Actually, I set about constructing a cardboard, bird-shaped whirligig that I could suspend along a length of white elastic, which I then sent twanging around the low-ceilings of our tiny seaside home and photographing on longish-exposures.

From humble ad-hoc origins (I spray-painted the cardboard bird-thing with cans of old car paint from the shed, and using our landfill wheelie bin as a spray booth…), I was able to produce some surprisingly transformative photographs. Some of them even left me thinking, ‘It’s an actual bloody bird!’. I did four different shoots over four different days – an hour-a-piece – and tried a few different things each time, with the resulting photographs moving quickly towards more impressionistic effects, and I’ll be sharing more images over the coming days.



The Kick-About #54 ‘Whirligig’


Our last Kick-About together invited us into the spectacle of Toulouse-Lautrec’s circus paintings, and so to spin around for a bit in the company of clowns and acrobats. Thanks to Kick-Abouter, Gary Thorne, we appear to be turning in circles again this week, and departing on other flights of fancy…


Gary Thorne

“Having swam my way through sciatica, it seemed appropriate to channel that commitment into a Whirligig self-portrait. It is not quite pivoting smoothly on turning into the wind – so more engineering fun ahead yet, it was massive fun to make. Apology for the amateur film making!”


linkedin.com/in/gary-thorne


James Randall

“I found myself with a bit of time for a 50 second whirligig video, made of junk I had, but not having touched Premiere or After Effects for years – and playing in Garage Band too… It was fun. Thank you very much! “



Kerfe Roig

“I had no illusions I could construct an actual whirligig.  But I figured I could do something that moved, with birds. As usual, not much like my original vague idea.  And I had a very hard time finding a place to hang it where there wouldn’t be too much stuff in the background for a photo.  As a result, the photos aren’t great, but they do give an idea of how it looks in motion.  And now that it’s fan weather, it’s in motion much of the time.


kblog.blog / methodtwomadness.wordpress.com


Colin Bean

Rowland Emett was a cartoonist and sculptor of automata. He created things that are whimsical, English and eccentric and which serve the purpose to raise a smile and be enjoyed (Far Tottering and Oyster Creek Branch Railway Festival of Britain 1951). To me, his work is like a cross between early steampunk and Festival of Britain surrealism. I  also wanted a theme to work around, and an illustration of the cross section of the (art nouveau/steampunk) Nautilus in a  1950’s  Disney children’s book provided the theme. The first idea was to imagine a whirligig  (generally a wind driven automata) for Captain Nemo’s garden. Unfortunately, he never made land and I am no mechanical engineer, but I did put one together and rough-tested it with white card model. However, a lot of time was spent in the processing and considering its movement, and I felt the fantasy and whimsical Emmet elements were getting a little lost, so in the late and last hour, to refresh, I returned to doodling and to the train idea. Times up and I have a beginning and some initial responses. It’s been another great Kick-About and provided a lot of material to mine….. plenty more left in this Kick-About to chase.



Phil Gomm

“Developing some ideas first inspired by a previous bird-based Kick-About, I set about thinking about how I might release a bird into the rooms of my home and photograph it. Actually, I set about constructing a cardboard, bird-shaped whirligig that I could suspend along a length of white elastic, which I then sent twanging around the low-ceilings of our tiny seaside home and photographing on longish-exposures. From humble ad-hoc origins (I spray-painted the cardboard bird-thing with cans of old car paint from the shed, using our landfill wheelie bin as an impromptu spray booth…), I was able to produce some surprisingly transformative photographs. Some of them even left me thinking, ‘It’s an actual bloody bird!’. I did four different shoots over four different days – an hour-a-piece – and tried a few different things each time, with the resulting photographs moving quickly towards more impressionistic effects.”



philgomm.com


With thanks to regular Kick-Abouter (and cocoon-botherer), Graeme Daly, a new prompt and another complete shift. Looking forward to seeing you getting into your neo-expressionist stride! Enjoy.



The Kick-About / A Second Year Later


I’m not above admitting that, just sometimes, I’ve thought to myself, “Not another Kick-About?”

Sometimes, it has felt as if my brain is too old or too stupid or simply too preoccupied with other more important things to even think about undertaking another creative brief ‘for the sake of it’. If I’m thinking this, the guy who sets the Kick-About prompts each fortnight, I’m pretty sure some of the regular kick-abouters have thought it too. Lives get busy. Lives get glum. Interest and energy wanes. The mood passes. Art is fart.

And yet, all that being true, now I’ve gathered here together a year’s worth of new work in a single place, I am reminded of the intrinsic value of ‘making stuff’ and of the power of community. There is little doubt, were it not for the examples set by all the other artists in The Kick-About, I wouldn’t have followed through on these various creative enquiries of my own. It’s quite unlikely I would have started them, and I certainly wouldn’t have finished them, finding a bunch of reasonable excuses to get on with more pressing stuff, or stuff I didn’t need to think about quite as much, or the stuff of watching television and eating bars of cheap chocolate on the sofa. But as it happens, I’ve inflated latex gloves with water to produce wobbling horrors, made moonscapes out of bags of flour, photographed tin-toy chickens obsessively, made short films, written a story about a woman with nasturtium seed for a head, encased a bunch of stuff in ice, and the list goes on – and largely because I wasn’t alone in my endeavours. Somewhere in New York, Kerfe was suspending paper fish inside a litter bin, and somewhere out in Brisbane, James was populating a primordial forest with bare chested brutes; meanwhile, Charly was crocheting a hat of fantastical proportions, Tom was configuring Saul Bass-inspired spirals out of code in Yokohama, and Gary was fashioning a Christmas tree out of hand-foraged willow and meticulous strips of calligraphic paper!

What I particularly enjoy, it seems, is the license to shape-shift in terms of creative work; the Kick-About encourages me to diversify, to jump about a bit. That said, there are obvious preoccupations – a love of in-camera transformations, what we might call ‘analogue magic’, and a preoccupation with the darker side of the human imagination. I blame the Pan Book of Horror and all those brave, strange, mean films of the 1970s.

‘Jumping about a bit’ can be confusing, so I decided to get my ‘art-house’ in order a bit by re-organising my personal website. It might not make a scrap of sense thematically, but at least it’s nice and tidy, right?

Thanks again to all the Kick-Abouters: we’ve been living through some strange rootless times, and your company and creativity has done much to keep my feet on the ground and my imagination a good deal higher up! Onwards…




You can read a PDF version here


Nasturtiums – Read by Catherine Bradley

You’ll find a PDF version here


You can find a PDF version here


Throwback Friday #101 An Off Cut 2 (2017)


When you’re scrambling about in an old dark house trying to produce phantasmagorical effects on film using various Heath Robinson-style contraptions comprising light-sources and black elastic, not everything goes according to plan. My various hard drives are somewhat littered with ‘failures to launch’ – underwhelming photographs featuring unmagical moments. Some of these ‘off-cuts’ are not without interest and I return to them from time-to-time to see if the passing of time and a fresh pair of eyes can see what was missed the first time around. Usually, the answer is no, but occasionally I’m minded to dig one out, like today’s offering – a wheeling circle of light flashing into life for a short show of seconds in one of the large abandoned rooms of No. 351.