After Hicks #1 (2023)

I was very drawn to Sheila Hick’s fabric marshmallow-y boulders, but knew right away I didn’t have the resources or the space to emulate the scale of Hick’s installations – the prompt for The Kick-About No.79.

I did have at my disposal a large bag of crimped, shredded cardboard used for packing out parcels and I wondered if I could work with it in such a way as to produce some Hicks-inspired forms, while maintaining some of the material’s frizzy, explosive qualities. I flattened out some fine mesh bags onto a table, and on top of that, layered the shredded cardboard, and then dolloped some quick-drying filler onto the cardboard, before gathering the bag up around the mixture and tying the whole thing off like an improbable dumpling and setting it aside to dry. When I unpeeled the bag, I was left with these unravelled sculptural forms, which I then photographed against some solid colour in another nod to Sheila Hicks.  Lots of fun at the arts and crafts table this week!

The Kick-About #79 ‘Sheila Hicks’

Our last Kick-About was a celebration of three year’s worth of mucking about with materials, making, inventing, re-imagining and re-purposing. As a result, I suspect some of us have spaces in our homes beginning to pile high with ad-hoc accretions of creative stuff. In terms of scale, none of us may quite have reached the heights of this week’s prompt, the giant textile installations of Sheila Hicks, though one of us is certainly pushing it…

Jan Blake

“I have no idea why i have never seen the work of Sheila Hicks before and other women artists of this particular era!  What a great discovery. Striking and powerful. Having worked myself within vast architectural spaces and in theatre, I felt a kinship with her idea, attention to spaces and love of masses of colour. I like to see through the colours and the mixing of the layers in relationship to one another as they move, held within a skeletal structure in architectural space. I have been collecting these netting pieces that hold fruit and vegetables and the metal tags that are wound round the end that have been waiting in the wings for an opportunity. Their restriction of colour bothered me at first and yet it was a release to see what i could make with them.  They are bouncy and can be twisted into rather wonderful shapes that brought me back to something more organic and lively. Playing with the results on the computer to find new colours was fun if a little bit frustrating as my tech knowledge is rather limited! I was intrigued though about how the overall texture looked more like a tapestry. More food for thought!

Kerfe Roig

“It’s always harder for me to figure out what to do for a textile artist prompt.  I know and like the work of Sheila Hicks, and especially admire how she has never become stuck in one way of working.  I opened a page in a book I have of her work at random to a commission she did for a NYC Wine Bar that consisted of roughly embroidered circles – they look stuffed, but I decided to paint a mandala and then embroider the entire surface.  My colors are brighter than hers, and my stitching is less irregular, but I think the feeling of it is the same.  Start stitching and see what happens. /

Charly Skilling

“Looking at images of Sheila Hicks’ work, I was struck again by how liquid textiles can appear, and it was with that in mind I started hanging bits of yarn from a garden plant support. I became totally absorbed in the task and consequently spent far, far longer on it than originally intended, but I am quite pleased with the way it turned out.”

Vanessa Clegg

“I recently heard the origins of May Day (around “Mayday”), as in the nautical context, and it was one of those ‘Of course! Why didn’t I know that?’ moments. Anyway, as we’re in May, I decided to combine that with very basic weaving and sort of create a vague story… at least, in my head, as I was re-reading Angela Carter’s The Bloody Chamber, so the darker fairy tales were ‘woven’ in. The other is improvised!”

James Randall

“Being the slacker that I am I didn’t find a great deal on the web about Sheila Hicks so I settled on savouring the online visuals and contemplating the art of weaving. Having little in the way of craft skills, I took to the computer for some photo weaving. My idea was to take one pixel wide samples from a thousand photos and as they would be both landscape and portrait oriented combine them into a roughly square image resembling woven fabric. To make them a bit softer looking, I used the warp filter on each strand. I thought I would end up with a soft greyish mass – which I did, but when you zoom in you do get fibres of colour so I think the only way to see it properly is as a high resolution printout. I feel happy to have looked at all the photos – a bit of a self-portrait in a way.”

Phil Gomm

“I was very drawn to Hick’s fabric marshmallow-y boulders but knew right away I didn’t have the resources or the space to emulate the scale of Hick’s installations. But I did have at my disposal a large bag of crimped, shredded cardboard used for packing out parcels and I wondered if I could work with it in such a way as to produce some Hicks-inspired forms, while maintaining some of the material’s frizzy, explosive qualities. I flattened out some fine mesh bags onto a table, and on top of that, layered the shredded cardboard, and then dolloped some quick-drying filler onto the cardboard, before gathering the bag up around the mixture and tying the whole thing off like an improbable dumpling and setting it aside to dry. When I unpeeled the bag, I was left with these unravelled sculptural forms, which I then photographed against some solid colour in another nod to Sheila Hicks. Lots of fun at the arts and crafts table this week!”

Phil Cooper

“After seeing this prompt a couple of weeks ago, I went and looked up Sheila Hicks’ work online. I would love to see it in person to get the full impact of those huge shapes and the wonderful colour. The pieces I was particularly drawn to were the ones that seemed to be flowing down from the gallery ceilings, they look alive.  For my response, I’ve drifted rather a long way from Sheila Hicks’s joyful and exuberant big shapes and drawn something distinctly malevolent-looking over a photo of an interior space I found in a magazine. I think in artspeak terms one could say the black things are ‘disrupting the space’. It looks more like a horror film than a soft sculpture, oh dear!” / /

Graeme Daly

“After having to buy a new washing machine, I kept some of the styrofoam that came in the packaging. Call me a hoarder all you like, but I knew I could make something out of the grooves and shapes warped into the styrofoam mirroring the details of the machine. So I spray painted the styrofoam black and bought a bag of colourful cotton pom-pom balls to design the set of this miniature Hicks installation then lit it ablaze with some dramatic lighting and documented the process. Things took a more sci-fi, macabre turn when I decided to use some red gels.”

@graemedalyart / / / /

Marion Raper

“It amazes me how Sheila Hicks could have so much time and patience to make her huge fabric sculptures. After looking at her work I embarked on making some giant size Suffolk Puffs.  This takes up quite a lot of material so I decided instead of fastening them together I would just place them at random to make pleasing patterns. In some cases I added some denim strips to finish the design.  It is the sort of thing that has infinite possibilities if you had the resources and I rather enjoyed just playing around.”

Francesca Maxwell

“I knew very little about Sheila Hicks and it was quite inspiring to look at her work and read about her life. Colours, texture and layering, what more can I ask?  So here is my output, an image made by multilayered glass, my default material after inks.  Although it is not soft and warm in the way of Sheila’s choice of textile, it is still very tactile.”

And for our next adventure together, the architectural preoccupations of Charles Sheeler (1883 – 1965). Have fun!

The Kick-About #70 ‘Hilma Af Klint’

Our last Kick-About together celebrated that deep-winter symbol of light-in-the-darkness, the Christmas tree. Our next creative foray (our first of 2023) is likewise exploring the desire for illumination, but with artist and mystic Hilma Af Klint as our muse. Enjoy this latest selection of new works made in a short time and also “Happy New Year!”.

Graeme Daly

“I have been yearning to do some traditional art lately, probably due to the fact that, during the Christmas break, my nieces and nephew received some arty presents. Here are some oil pastel drawings similar to some Irish sigils.” / @graemedalyart / / / /

Kerfe Roig

“As always I would have liked to do more, and these will be added to the pile for future further exploration. I always felt Hilma af Klint’s art was a searching for spirit.  She got involved in a lot of philosophy about it, but I think that, in the case of spirit, images and music will always get much closer to it than words or ideas.  I focused on circles, but the tension between geometry and essence is present in all her work.  I painted enso circles and then embroidered geometric lines and circles on top to try to capture some of that feeling.”

circled by spirit

vision—the same
circle in two places–
precision and surprise,
mirrored, random,

of earth and fire,
floating transparencies,
waves repeating—ebb, flow–
footprints erased
by time /

Charly Skilling

“I was not sure, at first, how to respond to this prompt.  Some Kick-About prompts fire off a flurry of ideas, associations, visualisations… but not this one. Then I remembered a bag of cotton yarns I was given some years ago, but never found a really good use for. Normally my yarns are stored in gauze bags so I can see what’s in them at a glance, but I decanted these cottons into a denser cloth bag, so I could not see the colours.  I then plunged my hand in, drew out the first ball I touched and started crocheting with it. There was no plan, no judgement about colour suitability. I crocheted varying stitches, determined by whim and often realising I had  moved from one stitch to another without any real conscious thought. When I got bored, I changed yarn.  There was one ball of yarn that had come unravelled and got very tangled, and I  struggled to un-tangle it.  Then my son said “Just crochet the knots in”, so I did.  Each day I fastened off whatever I’d been working on and the next day started again with the next ball to emerge from the bag. Only as I approached the Kick-About deadline did I apply amy kind of critical editing, and then only to decide not to include a couple of sections. The whole process was helped by listening to a really good audiobook while I crocheted (a David Baldacci novel) and thereby diverting my conscious mind from too much busy-bodying about the work. So here it is. Make of it what you will!

James Randall

“This one just didn’t want to emerge from my 2022 puckered head! Hilma had her moment of glory in Australia in Sydney during the pandemic, so she’s well promoted if little actually seen. I feel her work morphs out of nature’s motifs, so my jumping-off point was the poinciana trees that line the local streets. The Madagascan natives have bright red and yellow pinwheel-shaped flowers (in full bloom at the moment) and almost fern-like foliage. I designed a graphic representation of its flower to begin with, along with the leaves, and then broke it down into its components and added local skies mirrored into grid-isolated forms, along with ‘dashed’ line graphics to reflect Hilma’s inclusion of line.  Left me feeling very hippy! Hello 2023.”

Gary Thorne

“Brava Hilma Af Klint in her organic, free flowing, richly-coloured magical forms. Regards KA70, I must say the result would make for the most infuriating 5000 piece jigsaw puzzle. Happy new year KA-ers.”

Vanessa Clegg

“Well… happy new year to all Kick-Abouts. As the first challenge of 2023, this was a good one, tapping into the spontaneous aspect of Klint’s work, i.e. automatic writing. I threw my usual tight drawing style to the winds, closed my eyes, imagined figures and animals – and started. What resulted led me to think this could be a weekly exercise that reminds me of art school years in the life drawing room where we’d be asked to draw whilst only looking at the model and not the paper, which is an excellent test of observation. The ‘painting’ is my first go at laying down watercolour or ink and folding the paper over… Again, no control and something to be continued.”

Phil Gomm

“That I’d never heard of Hilma Af Klint before this prompt has left me soul-searching ever since… How’s it possible this fascinating artist has been otherwise invisible to me? I guess the answer to that is a largely depressing one – something along the lines of only victors getting to write the history books. For my part, I was interested by the automatism aspect of Klint’s creative process, so looked at what my hand and brain likes to visualise while I’m supposed to be thinking about other things; so I looked again at the recent pages of my various diaries and journals, and what I scribble when I’m in all those interminable Zoom meetings. That done, I decided to produce further happenstance by layering up the doodles to produce as much texture as possible, and then went about reinstating the circle, in a nod to the more arcane aspects of Klint’s temple paintings. Further inspired by the cosmology of Klint’s artwork, I just went on layering up my images to produce greater depth and expansiveness, and all the while imagined these images to be as least as big as Klint’s paintings, and likewise hanging in dark gallery spaces lit softly. I kept going back to an image as-and-when until I started to feel something ‘big’ and mysterious was getting started before me. Ultimately, not sure what I’ve produced, but I enjoyed ‘not knowing’ a great deal!”

Marion Raper

“I find abstract works very interesting, but unfortunately my type of artistic style seems to over complicate things. Having left things until New Years Eve, I decided to make a start by attempting to imitate Hilma’s ‘flower abstract’ and read that she was also a bit of a mystic. I used some of my ink and bleach backgrounds and decided to cut out some contrasting flower shapes from an old catalogue. It was a complete surprise to learn that they we’re called Petunia Grandiflora Mystical Midnight Gold. How spooky! Happy New Year to one and all!”

Now that Christmas 2022 is done and dusted you might be thinking, ‘Phew, no more gift-wrapping!’

Um, about that…

After Baldwin #1 (2022)

What a joyful Kick-About prompt this was (and a welcome palate cleanser after the severed heads of more recent days). Textile artist Louise Baldwin’s work gave me permission to draw quickly and instinctively, and embrace colour and abstraction, to produce a whole series of exuberant large-scale compositions. I just sat down and drew a few impressions of some of our many houseplants – in this instance, a Pilea peperomioides – and then used them to produce some big bold abstracts.

In truth, I could have gone on and on with this, wishing I had the resources to produce them as massive prints for the soft white walls of some airy penthouse atelier. There is such pleasure to be found in colour, and the rush and whirl of a few bold lines.

The Kick-About #26 ‘52.1429’

Welcome to this first anniversary edition of The Kick-About, a fortnightly blog-based creative challenge in which artists of all stripes come together to present work in response to a given prompt. I asked contributors to choose a favourite work of their own from the previous twenty-five editions so I could celebrate them all together here.

I just want to say a personal note of thanks to everyone who takes part. Producing new ideas and new work in under a fortnight brings with it its own challenges, insecurities and pressures, but if you’re anything like me, you will have enjoyed the otherwise simple satisfaction of making work, getting it done, expressing your creativity, and sharing it with a supportive community. Some of you have thanked me for hosting the Kick-About, and some of you have even worried about the work and time I may be giving it; rest assured, this is the work I like to do and I’m very happy to do it.

Thanks to everyone who has taken part this last year, and I’m very much hoping we can continue to combine our efforts as productively and imaginatively in the coming weeks. Now, just look at what you did…

Judy Watson

From Kick-About No.2 – ‘Metropolis

“Thanks for the Kick-About. For some of us, making art is as natural as breathing, and sometimes almost as necessary to life. During a dark time in history, thanks for stimulating art prompts among creative friends, unfettered by constraints, rules or judgement. Freedom to make in any direction. It’s been a joy. And since you want one favourite, I’m selecting those Bird Ladies from Kick-About No.2. And I hope they sort themselves out soon and send that bureaucratic penguin back to Antarctica.” / /

Phill Hosking

From The Kick-About No.4 – Orphée

I’ve not been as involved as others in the bi-weekly Kick-About posts, but I’ve seriously enjoyed the challenge of completely unexpected briefs. I’ve chosen to include my piece ‘Orpheus’ this week. This one stood out to me for several reasons, partly because it allowed me to flex my digital painting muscles again, something I’d neglected for a while. Also it was a powerful story that instantly brought up images, compositions and drama. That narrative aspect is something I often neglect in my personal work. This was the challenge, like I had to capture the story, as if on the front cover of book. Our hero enters the underworld, ‘hell’ bent on saving his wife ‘Eurydice’ from the clutches of the dark forces below. Everything a digital painter wants in an image.”

Gary Thorne

From The Kick-About No.9 – ‘Short Ride In A Fast Machine’

“Selecting KA9 is easy, as it reminds me of how important instinct is within process, as well the time span of sitting across 4 hours 40 minutes to complete a process. I trusted my responses to the music, invited in chance, kept the demon of doubt outside the door, and I enjoyed colour as an  adventure. KA9 felt like a pure creative experience and it beckons me on to do more. The community of KA has been totally enriching and so rewarding.”

Emily Clarkson

From Kick-About No.1 – ‘Moon In A Bottle’

“Kick-About No.1 was a cathartic experience as I’m often caught up on details and reasoning. And those hang-ups can sometimes paralyse my creativity. I realise now, sometimes it’s just a simple premise, and it’s dumb fun and exploration that’s needed. And I definitely found joy and a small sense of achievement in that process!” / /

Vanessa Clegg

From The Kick-About No.7 – ‘Ennui’

“Weirdly enough I’ve chosen this..a tough call but although I loved putting together the installations I only record them as 6” X 4” photos, which are then put into a KA book as a record. However, I do have my drawings, so could take a better photo, as they’re bigger! I chose this as it WAS tedious in its repetitive way, but after a while it became a form of meditation, and I was happy with the outcome, which is rare. Actually I could have chosen any as far as enjoying the process goes, so onwards to the next…” Graphite on Fabriano.

Benedict Blythe

From The Kick-About No.8 – ‘Cicada’

“An epic and bi-sectioned electronic piece telling the story of the cicada life from a more dark point of view. Beware – the first four minutes are much quieter than the last two. Good speakers or headphones are recommended.”

TJ and Jo Norman 

From the Kick-About No.5 – ‘Symbols’

“PUPA” / #tjnartists

Graeme Daly

From The Kick-About #22 – ‘Eugen von Ransonnet-Villez’

“The Kick About has brought me to places I’ve never dreamed of going. I’ve dipped my toes into mediums, styles and parts of myself that have otherwise been sealed off. I have learned to find magic in the mundane, while learning a great deal about films, authors, and artists, from the many prompts we have created together. I  always feel inspired to see what you all have created every fortnight, so for that I am thankful to all you fellow kick-abouters for your words and creations. 

In saying that, it is difficult to choose a favourite, as they all have been a joy to see flourish. One Kick-About does come to mind and that is No. 22, which was the art, life and times of the Austrian painter, Eugen von Ransonnet-Villez, and with it the Pools film. The reason why it is my favourite is because of the way it came to be and the journey it took to get it to that state. I wasn’t seeking this film out. I wasn’t trying to capture anything like it, I didn’t even know this place existed. I was merely bouncing around the innards of the forestry one bitter cold winter morning when a dumping of snow was beginning to melt, and where I set out to capture the extrusion of thick snow rimmed treetops. I found all that, but I also found this film – in a trench of shallow, glistening water.

Making Pools was a creative journey, and I’m thankful it happened in such an organic way: from finding the place and deciding to film it, to viewing the resulting footage as flawed, while still being preoccupied by it, to the Kick-About prompt providing the perfect opportunity to salvage the film into something I’m proud of.

It was a pure delve into the unknown to make something just for the sake of it, not knowing how the outcome would look but just enjoying the whole process of making this thing. I think, in its essence, that is what is so great about The Kick About and why I love being a part of it with you all.”

@graemedalyart / / / /

Tom Beg

From Kick-About No.2 – ‘Metropolis

“At the time of the making of my Metropolis images for The Kick-About #2 I had been living in the same apartment for over three years, and for some reason had never really taken the time to explore the surrounding area with the eye of a photographer or an artist, mostly because it all just seemed very boxy and residential in a way that I have become totally accustomed to seeing every day.

However, with a lot of free time and a phone-camera in hand, I thought that surely the true mundaneness of a real metropolis could be made into something interesting somehow. After fiddling with some images, I ended up with some quite authentic looking silent film production set photos which of course really reminded me of that other Metropolis. I think they even capture the unusual atmosphere and uncertainty of the time they were created.” /

Simon Holland

“I choose this one because I managed to capture a very personal sense of nostalgia, which is something that I had been trying to crack for a while. Also, it was the first time I had been motivated to break out the paints for over a year, which is a long time, especially when I had been making work every day. It highlighted to me that I need to stronger with myself as a creative and have the fortitude to keep pushing through various blocks and it did herald a period of increased productivity. Also, it is one of the artier of my submissions…” / /

Francesca Maxwell

From Kick-About No.6 – ‘A Field Guide To Getting Lost’

“The Kick-About #6 is still one of my favourite prompts, and one of the most meaningful series of paintings I have done in the last few years. It represents the beginning of a new creative journey for me, a new painting style, and, at the same time, it encompasses much of my life and experiences. For this “anniversary” I picked just one of the four, my favourite, and the first one I painted. It was originally inspired by a photograph of the Canadian winter landscape by Evelin Berg and, as I mentioned, were partly concept paintings for a short animation I haven’t finished yet. The journey, the film, the story….all still ongoing.” Ink on watercolour paper, 240x680cm.

Julien Van Wallendael

From The Kick-About No.12 – ‘The Cottingley Fairies’ / /

Tony Reeves

From The Kick-About No.2 – ‘Metropolis’ /

Charly Skilling

From Kick-About No.6 – ‘A Field Guide To Getting Lost’

“I have learnt so much over the last year from participating in The Kick-About, and enjoyed so many different aspects, that I found it really difficult to pick a ‘favourite’. Some pieces have stretched me technically, some have taken me into totally unfamiliar territory, some have felt satisfactorily “complete”. But one submission made me smile when it first occurred to me, smile as I worked on it, and smile even now when I read it back. I can’t think of a better reason for re-visiting it, so my ‘Favourite Kick-About’ is Field Guide to Getting Lost and The Ballad of Ethel and Hilda’.

Jan Blake

From The Kick-About No.21 – ‘The Five Canons Of Rhetoric’

“It’s the Five Canons of Rhetoric! I’ve chosen this one as it made me really think about my work and its origins and process. It led to the story of this Sea Heart pod that continues to fascinate me along with all the other seed-pods in my life! The journey of this pod crept into the following Kick-About as well, maybe because I can’t travel at the moment and I long to be doing so. It always refreshes my mind and creativity… apart from missing my friends in distant lands.”

Molly Bolder

From The Kick-About No.8 – ‘Cicada’ /

Glen Coleman

‘Wane’ from The Kick-About No.1 – ‘Moon In A Bottle’

Maxine Chester

From The Kick-About No.4 – Orphée

“The prompt was Cocteau’s Orpheus, because of the element of serendipity: on a Covid walk, I dragged home two entwined ivy trees, saw the prompt, (not sure which happened first)  something clicked, and I set about exploring the potential…” /

Stephen Foy-Philp

From the Kick-About No.5 – ‘Symbols’

James Randall

From The Kick-About No.23 – ‘Museum Wormianum’

“The KA’s have been a great way to divert my attention and have provided reason for exploration of deep buried thoughts. Thank you’s to all of you who have donated jumping off points – sometimes they resonate so deafeningly – not always at the point of conceptualising – the museum KA didn’t kick-in for me until I started putting paint to paper but then it dragged up some of the creative juices that I thought had been long gone. So I guess that makes it my significant KA moment.  I love the tantalising breadth of work created by all of you. KA reveal days are always so exciting. It amazes me how you seem to tumble out great pieces or concepts. Also amazing how open you have been with background stories to some of the works. Thanks again and I hope KA can continue long after lockdown.”

Brian Noble

From The Kick-About #22 – ‘Eugen von Ransonnet-Villez’ /

Harry Bell

From Kick-About No.2 – ‘Metropolis /

Vikki Kerslake

From Kick-About No.2 – ‘Metropolis

Kevin Clarkson

From The Kick-About No.22 – ‘Eugen von Rannsonet-Villez’

“In response to the “Kick-about anniversary” (and my very small contribution to it) I have chosen to revisit my take on the Eugen von Ransonnet Villez submarine paintings.

Marine paintings have become a large part of my creative output over the last decade. As a graphic designer just over ten years ago my health took something of a wobble and the medical advice was to change lifestyle. This evolved over a few years and resulted in less use of the mouse and tablet and more the old fashioned paintbrush. It became as much as anything else a journey of self discovery. Several visual themes emerged but the one most urgent in my need to explore was the sea. I soon found like minded painters at the National Maritime Museum Art Club where I became chairman. The club has had a couple of identity changes since then but still exists as the Thames Maritime Artists and I am still chairman.

The limpid, accurately observed and interpreted tones and colours used by Ransonnel Villez immediately struck a chord with my own struggle to capture how we see water and objects in water. Seascape and coastal painting is quite a niche area in painting, not fashionable, and hasn’t been since the Royal Navy stopped ruling the waves, but I have never been troubled by fashion. For me the test of how well I am performing is to be judged by peers and to that end over a number of years I have submitted paintings to the Royal Society of Marine Artists annual open exhibition at the Mall Galleries in London. For four years I failed to get anything into the show, I was disappointed but not discouraged and eventually in 2019 I got a piece into the show. In 2020 in the middle of the pandemic I got two pieces in – and won the Classic Boat Prize. It certainly does not beat taking your life in your hands going under the sea in a primitive diving bell but sometimes dogged persistence does pay off. I have attached a couple of RSMA exhibition to add to the original set.” / /

Eleanor Spence-Welch

From the Kick-About No.5 – ‘Symbols’

“For the Kick-About I’d like to submit my Symbols piece (#5). Of all the digital work I’ve produced over the last year, it stands out to me as being truly different and emotionally driven. Something in Alice Neel’s original painting really clicked with me.” / /

Robbie Cheadle

From The Kick-About No.12 – ‘The Cottingley Fairies’

Marion Raper

From The Kick-About No.3 – ‘Dance of the Happy Shades’

“I would like to choose ‘Dance of the Happy Shades’ as my favourite piece. It was my very first appearance on the Kick-about and possibly one of my best works. It involved using the mixed media of silk material and painting, and I felt it was a good showcase for my manipulative skills with fabric. I definitely got a buzz from seeing my picture on the internet and I loved using the bright, cheerful colours. It made me feel excited, hopeful and creative even though it was the start of lockdown.”

Liam Scarlino

While I haven’t been able to contribute as often as I would like in recent months, The Kick-About is a welcome stretch away from my day-to-day. Working in design, I’ve felt it more and more challenging to work without a brief or steer, to make for the pleasure of making, without feeling the need to justify time spent playing as part of a longer project or showreel piece. The Kick-About has provided that stimulus, giving a direction but not a destination, and a space to remember that away from the rounds of amends, renders and timesheets, making is simply, fun. For this reason, making a witches bottle due to a misreading of a painting by Alice Neel was the most enjoyable project for me, reading and researching down whatever avenue seemed interesting, formulating an idea without thinking of demographics or target audience, and then making something however crudely with real physical materials, not worrying about brand guidelines or alignment or safe margins. Looking at the high quality of the other submissions makes it lucky I’m dressing up my motivation in the same outfit as naive or folk art. However, at a time which created a step back from our daily lives and the time to think about why we do the things we do, for me The Kick-About is the reminder I needed to not pack everything in and try to manage a hedge fund. Joy! It’s all about joy!

Jackie Hagan

From The Kick-About No.22 –  ‘Eugen von Ransonnet-Villez’

Kerfe Roig

From The Kick-About No.13 – ‘Ersilia’

“I’m choosing the Invisible Cities (Ersilla) prompt as my favorite. First, because it was something I wanted to do as soon as I read the book a few years ago, but had never gotten around to.  And also because it expanded my work from my usual repertoire, which is basically 2-dimensional. 

I would say that almost all the prompts have pushed me further than I would normally go outside my comfort zone which is a very good thing.  And everyone else’s work is so inspiring, it keeps my mind full of different ideas and inspiration.”

Alan Postings

From Kick-About No.2 – ‘Metropolis

website /

Phil Cooper

From The Kick-About No.4 – Orphée

“I’ve loved being part of the Kick-About over the last year. It’s got me doing things I’ve never done before, such as writing and recording my own voice, and it’s going me doing things that I’d never have done without it, so a big thank you, Phil, for putting this together every fortnight. It’s been a real pleasure seeing how people have responded to the prompts and I’m always in awe of the variety, the talent and the creativity that appears in each post.

I’ve got a few favourites from the past year, but i’m choosing this image, which I called ‘Forest Flare’ and made in response to the Orphée’prompt way back last June I think. I painted some 2D trees, an arch and a sky onto card, and then lit and photographed th em on my desk. The main reason I was pleased with how it turned out is that, in the photographic image, a small figure appeared, sitting on the floor, framed by the arch and looking like a faun that had wandered out of the paper forest. It wasn’t there when I looked at the table top set up, but some magic happened in the camera and the image turned out more interesting that I’d planned – quite spooky!” / /

Phil Gomm

From The Kick-About No. 20 – ‘The Ashley Book Of Knots

“I’ve chosen ‘Baba’s Important Work’ because the resulting short story speaks to the power of a random prompt to produce something satisfying, unpredictable and inevitable-seeming. That a story set in a static caravan, in some dystopian society, should have issued from an old book on nautical knot-work, makes me feel excited about the creative process in all its strangeness. I find it reassuring too, a bit like going to Old Mother Hubbard’s cupboard, opening its doors, and finding, thank goodness, there are still ideas in there after all.

Marcy Erb

From The Kick-About No.10 – ‘Romantic Museum’

“Albatross Box is the only sculpture I’ve done for the Kick Abouts – and it is the one that has proven the most constant source of inspiration since I made it. It is still hung up in my house, changing with the light and day and it is a source of endless fascination for my 3 year old. Once COVID restrictions ease a bit, I’d love to scout out some more bones and do a few more bone shadow boxes with poetry and make it a series (I confess to already rescuing another wooden box from the curb in anticipation!). “

Jordan Buckner

From Kick-About No.1 – ‘Moon In A Bottle’

“Picking a personal favourite is so tricky! My mind immediately jumps to the Alice Neel prompt from Kick-About #3. I really enjoyed the making of that piece in it’s simplicity and assemblage of iconography. I also enjoyed Kick-About #23 in which I could channel grief into some strange cardboard constructions. Both of those prompts were so calming and helpful to produce. But if I’m honest with myself, I think the very first Kick-About was my favourite subject, largely because the Max Ernst prompt is well suited to my comfort zone – bizarre landscapes and painting methods. What a boring choice I know, but I remember that painting evolving so clearly in my head, and it was a joy.” / / /

And, oh look, we’re off again already – with a new painting-based prompt, Giorgio de Chirico’s The Song Of Love (1914)…