The exciting aspect of art trails and festivals is the anticipation that you may stumble across an artist you have never seen before or someone just starting out, oozing potential.
It’s a bit of a busman’s holiday for artsbeat these days as I get to meet many budding artists and plenty of work I have never seen.
While checking out the artists who will be on Wirksworth’s trail this year the work of Graeme Reed caught my eye. There was something a bit different about his printmaking, which is a combination of drawing, painting, photography and digital imaging, and I wanted to find out more.
A quick telephone call and within the hour I found myself in his home at Ashbourne where he lives with his wife and two daughters.
The family have just spent two years converting old malthouse buildings hidden behind a main street into a quirky warehouse -style home.
Graeme first moved to Ashbourne 20 years ago to teach art and design after studying Fine Art at Sunderland and Printmaking in Chelsea.
“I have always enjoyed screen printing and etching and that was how I eventually got interested in digital work.
“I had always said I am not, I am definitely not, doing anything digital and then I saw that it was all about thinking in terms of layers and process and I thought that’s exactly like printmaking.
“What makes printmaking interesting and exciting is the uncertainty and the accidents and it is the same with digital. I don’t plan anything. I was taught to allow the adventure to happen and it certainly doesn’t become too controlled.”
Graeme takes his inspiration from everyday people, the way they look and the places where they live their lives.
“I like the idea of the incongruous. A Georgian outfit with DMs – things that normally you might not see together. I take lots of photographs and scan things I think I can use. I have even made use of painted scraps discarded in the bin by students,” said the artist.
He is naturally drawn to events that involve the wacky and off-the-wall and he created a series of works and a book on the annual Mapleton Bridge Jump where competitors plunge into the River Dove on New Year’s Day.
Graeme says that he hasn’t really got around to marketing his work seriously yet – mainly because his job and renovating his home leave him a little pressed for time, but he is looking forward to the chance to show it to people at Wirksworth Festival.
“It is a great opportunity to meet a lot of people and I can’t wait. It sounds like it is going to be an exciting festival this year,” he said.
See more of his work at: http://www.graemereed7.wixsite.com/graemereed