About James Tovey: www.jamestovey.co.uk. Artist and Craftsman living near Peterborough, UK.
Byam Shaw School of Art
Universities of Hull and Exeter
International Boatbuilding Training College Lowestoft
About my recent exhibitions and events:
The Vivacity Unit has been set up as a production studio for the week of live art. Visitors can get involved in the drawing experience as well as talking to John and myself about our methods and ideas. See the creative process from conception to the digital version ready to submit for publication. You could also get drawn…! Each of us makes very different work but both of us often use digital tablets to work on, we can also offer hand drawn portraits should a visitor want to sit for one. John’s speciality is caricatures which have proved very popular at many events around the country including last years Peterborough beer festival.
From Saturday 1st February – Sunday 9th February 2020
10am – 5.30pm daily (Late night Thursday till 7pm)
10am – 4pm Sundays
Vivacity Unit, Queensgate, Peterborough. (Guildhall entrance off Cathedral Square)
Over the last few years Peterborough’s leading cultural charity Vivacity has been donating their shop unit to artists from Peterborough Artist Open Studios to showcase their work. This February 2020, the unit will once again be set up as an art space, going live with art in action, demonstrations and the chance to get involved creating some new energetic designs, some even destined for digital output and online presentation.
Open for a week, the space features work from two of Peterborough’s artists, James Tovey and John Elson. The two artists have worked together on numerous community projects including the successful Future Floodlands event held in Cathedral Precincts and a two week project at the Westraven Community Garden building Peterborough’s first SolarPunk eco-constructivist sculptures as well as running workshops with the local community.
You can also get details on how to become part of Peterborough’s growing arts community in joining the yearly Peterborough Artists Open Studios event. www.paos.org.uk
Oil on Linen 72 x 76 inch in a red oak frame. Exhibition organised by Peterbourough Cathedral Education team and Peterborough Environment and City Trust. Located at the Peterborough Cathedral, August to October 2019 to coincide with the Luke Jerram Gaia installation.
The artwork idea was originated from bench ends and miserchord designs, particularly the Mermaid of Zennor. Framed in a large red oak frame and set up on a specially built temporary stand in the new building, the artwork received over 800 engagements many from Peterborough school children, The picture has been widely viewed and engaged with on the internet.
A further note on the making of Mermaid with her Mahi-Mahi and Oceanplastic: I held all the seaplastic objects in my hand whilst painting them, there is no fixed view point or vanishing point in the painting. The objects were never arranged other than in the painting for the effect of pattern and the illusion of space. The depth and space in the painting comes from the scale compared to the viewer and the mermaid and her fish. Some objects are larger than life-size, others smaller. I purposely did not play with combining different viewpoints in a cubist manner nor reverse perspective in a David Hockney type way; but the floating placement without a single perspective position and the conscious play of scale does nod to Hockney in that respect. The original concept was to make use of black delineations in a cartoon/graphic manner consistent with my ink drawings but that would have then flattened to space and obstructed the content as I felt its method would have become too dominant. I was injured at the time and had to paint with my right hand as well as my left it slowed me down and I averaged about six pieces of plastic a day, overall the picture took about a month to make, the sea blues had to be painted a few times to help with the depth in the pigment.
‘Drift’, The Peterborough Open: 29th March 2019 – 26th May, Peterborough Museum and Art Gallery #peterboroughmuseum
Fifth Musician of the #Plastocalypse @#plastigeddon in the #plasticene . See the figure recently made during #pboromakefest 2018, by a gang of small and tall builders; on temporary exhibition in the Peterborough Museum Garden.
Understanding the sculpture is made easier by listening to David Attenboroughs speech to the United Nations:
City Gallery, Peterborough Museum and Art Gallery, Priestgate, Peterborough, PE1 1LF
19th July 2018 – 7th September 2018
Vivacity Unit, Queensgate Peterborough, PE1 1PU
Plastic is now ubiquitous.
We’re living through the Plasticene.
You can buy a 2.4m plastic cactus for your hallway; you won’t have to water a real cactus using tap water, that itself now contains plastic micro-particles.
‘The plastic arts’ is a term that had existed long before plastic itself. I have wanted to try and look at the plastic objects I had collected over the last few years as naively as possible, as though life-drawn for the first time by an art student intent on learning through prolonged observation. Not interested in the Neoplastism of the De Stijl movement, instead my initial thoughts were of a metamorphosis and of bringing ancient mythology and plastic ¬- a 20th century invention – together in an uncomfortable way. However I found myself reluctant to go too far down the path of the collision of two plastic objects to transmogrify into a third construct – yet there is a definite modernist basis for some of the elements.
The mermaid painting backdrop idea came from a small toy figure found as sea plastic litter. It is actually the top half part of a small Barbie figurine, but I initially thought it to be Disney’s The Little Mermaid. I researched mermaid art and came across the mermaid of Zennor and was attempting to build a composition around that and some lines from Ovid but the plastic overwhelmed it.
Wood is an obvious counterpoint and natural contrast with which I have felt more at ease. The plastic components are essentially ready-mades although altered by collision with natural processes in the environment and some minor assemblage. Wood is also an ancient, relevant building material. In this installation, the wood forms a sanctuary, a natural structure and the plastic is an imposition on it and in it.
There is no doubt the terrible convenient addiction that societies have developed for plastic eases the struggle against decay in the short term. What now looks to be a permanent error is that plastic is with us for the foreseeable and has been injected into the human food chain. I can imagine a child born being described as a plastic native to perhaps a planet slowly choking at Plastigeddon,
Friday 29th & Saturday 30th December 2017,
Castor Village Hall, Peterborough Road, Castor, PE5 7AX.
Open 10am – 10pm FREE ADMISSION
Castor Ales Brewery will be providing a bar for exhibition veiwers refreshment.
The Inktober drawings gave me the chance to renew my interest in illustration techniques I had learnt at school, University and work, as well as refreshing my memory of technical ink drawing techniques and the many ways a drawing can be put together in preparation for publication
I heard it bust when it hit the ground and the forearm was obviously out of shape but the skin was intact. I had managed to keep it held it to my chest despite rolling around on the floor swearing. Later the consultant said it looked like a bomb had exploded in my wrist.
See more of my work at:
Images on the site are copyright of the artist.
Contact address: 29 Stocks Hill, Castor, Peterborough, PE5 7AZ
Postponed until 2021
Solarpunk Drawings of Peterborough, Vivacity Unit, Queensgate 1st – 9th Feb 2020.
‘Mermaid with her Mahi-mahi’, Oil on Linen 72 x 76 inch in a red oak frame. Exhibited in the Peterborough Cathedral, August to October 2019 to coincide with Luke Jerram’s Gaia installation.
‘Drift’, The Peterborough Open: 29th March 2019 – 26th May, Peterborough Museum and Art Gallery #peterboroughmuseum
Fifth Musician of the Plastocalypse, Peterborough Makefest, Peterborough Museum and City Gallery, December 2018.
Four Musicians of the Plastocalypse, Peterborough Heritage Festival, June 2018
Contemporary Peterborough Artists July – September 2018 Peterborough City Museum and Art Gallery
‘Plastic, Native Temple’, Vivacity Unit Queensgate Peterborough 7th-20th May 2018, mermaid painting from installation exhibited Peterborough Heritage festival 2018 and published in Peterborough Telegraph May 2019
‘After the Fall’, ink drawings on paper and acrylic paintings on canvas, 29th & 30th December 2017 Castor Village Hall, Peterborough, UK
The Debris Navigator and other OutsideART: WestRaven Community Garden, August 2017
Yarrow Gallery, Oundle 31st July – 6th August 2017
Artist Day Nene Park July 2017
PAOS 2017 (June 2017)
‘Star Flower’ at the Peterborough Heritage Festival June 2017
Sun Henge at the Green Backyard Peterborough 2016-2017
Peterborough Green Festival 2016 #pectgreenfest
Peterborough Heritage Feastival 2016 2nd/3rd July 2016
PAOS City Gallery Exhibition 2016 24th June – 6th July 2016
Peterborough Open 2016 Peterborough Museum and Art Gallery 18th March – 15th June 2016
Undercroft Theatre Serpentine Green, Hampton, Peterborough 11th to 21st Nov 2015
Peterborough Arts Festival 4th – 6th September 2015 Torii 1 series which also featured a sculpture from the Plastic Ocean Column series
Peterborough Heritage Festival 19th-21st June 2015 Mountain 2008 series and Future floodplain Xoanon
Design concept drawing for a new stone sculpture of St Kyneburgha 2013, sculpture made by Mark Sharpin, master stonemason. Installed above priests door 2015, outside south side of St Kyneburgha’s, Castor. Project commissioned by St Kyneburgha Trust. Design based on a statue of St Kyneburgha on the west front of Peterborough Cathedral. Trust specified that the new statue be holding the possible shape of the Saxon Church as discussed in five parishes books.
Eco fishing boat design prizewinners – joint 3rd place 2010 published in Classic Boat Magazine, Martin Hill and James Tovey designed a concept boat for a small sail powered fishing vessel to comply with EU regulations for sustainable fisheries. Drawings by James Tovey.
2008 ‘Mountain’ paintings – web exhibition (new websites were bigger deal in 2008 than 2019) Series of 12 oil paintings from digital sketches, exploring air pollution, apocalyptic climate change and alternate reality in combination with written poetry.
Hardraw force series exhibited Castor 2004, Royal Academy Summer Exhibition entries 2 paintings 2005
Kilnsea series, exhibited, Bourne, Lincolnshire 2003 and RWA Open 2004
Sketchbook drawings 2003 – prints taken from sketchbooks 1996-2000 exhibited Peterborough and Bourne
Watching post project 2003 – concept installation and paintings exhibited Peterborough
East Hill 2002 – large narrative series of oils on board exploring the psycological implications and environmental problems of the coming war in Iraq. Exhibited Peterborough.
Requiem 2001 Oil painting series on canvas exhibited Castor 2001 and Peterborough 2002, one panel from the 30 ft panorama can still be seen above the door in St Kyneburgha’s Lady Chapel.
1998-2000 Ink and digital graphic illustrations for the publications and archives of the English Heritage Humber Wetlands Project. Iron Age Fort reconstruction
Ken at the Byam Shaw 1995, oil painting bought by Ken! and charcoal drawings.
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