In September last year I was asked to create a wall drawing in the Vault Artist Studios members room. I drew this piece, a Fibunacci sequence inspired, planet like layering of regular circles in chalk. The chalk had not been sprayed with fixative, over the weeks and months parts of the drawing had been smudged and worn away as people’s presence marked the passage of time. This became a slow visual metaphor for the studio members’ transient presence in this former technical college.

Vault hosted an excellent Fringe festival on the first and second of June this year, comprising over 100 events and projects happening in the building and the car park. In preparation for this, the exterior of the building and the members room underwent a vibrant redecoration. The first drawing was covered up.

I drew a new site specific piece in a different part of the room using wax crayon:

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The deep indigo background marks a break with monochrome. This drawing plays with imperfect symmetrical forms, incorporating influences from many sources including early arcade game vector graphics, sacred geometry and heavy metal logo typography.

Detail:

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Here in the finished room, the drawing is surprisingly augmented with a rack holding pool cues.

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Ben Behzadafshar and I recently collaborated on a series of performative works for the Vault Artist Studios Fringe Festival.

This is the trailer we used to publicise the event:

 

We wrote a statement that was placed prominently in the room to prepare audience members for what they would see and hear:

“This is not a conventional set of songs, it is a sonic expedition to the unknown.  

Performances will consist of structured, improvisational recorded and played sounds created and manipulated by Ben Behzadafshar and John Macormac. These follow a pre-determined ‘recipe score’ that sets out parameters for what is played. This score is sufficiently loose that it may be interpreted in innumerable ways. 

Behzadafshar will generate a wide variety of sounds using an array of effects pedals and an amplifier, alongside a guitar, a metal shelf and a wooden top desk. The guitar is prepared by tying it with cloth, it will act as a sound source, interrupting the instrument’s conventional role as a melodic device.  

Macormac will create and record live sounds made from nails and a metal saucepan lid, hand percussion and an acoustic drum kit struck with sticks and beaters. These sounds will be layered and repeated using a loop station. The recorded layers will be played and manipulated through an amplifier and responded to with the drum kit. 

Throughout each performance, John and Ben will intuitively react to what each other are playing, drawing upon their long creative relationship as members of experimental jazz punk party band Blue Whale.”

 

 

 

 

 

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This A1 gel pen drawing combines harsh angular forms with curved ones. It was shown at ‘In Orbit,’ the Catalyst Arts gallery members show that ran from the 18th of April to the 9th of May.

 

 

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200 x 140 cm

Pen on Card

 

Here I broke with recent tradition and drew onto a large sheet of paper. Felt tip pens allow a more precise, clear line than chalk. Looking close, the drawing is full of human error and inaccuracy. This makes it feel somehow alive, less rigid and perfect than a digitally rendered image.

The paper used is 274 x 290 cm. I want to work as large as possible. Please get in touch if you have a spare gable wall or expanse of concrete you’d like me to draw on..

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The drawing in my space in Cathedral Studios:

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Detail of the centre

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Blue Whale launched our long awaited album ‘Process’ at the Menagerie bar in Belfast on Friday the 9th of November. The drawing above was created for the event by working directly on to an old projector screen with a sharpie.

The cover is a visual metaphor for the collaborative, organic  approach we take to writing our music, Gavin Millar’s excellent long exposure photograph depicting the four band members engaged in creating a large scale drawing, wearing flowing brightly coloured capes.

BW Cover

You can find out more about the album and order the vinyl from here: https://bluewhale.bandcamp.com

Here’s a short clip of the drawing under the excellent Menagerie light show:

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I

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