The Crit at Make. North Docks

We here at Make North Docks kicked off our busy events schedule with our first monthly classes, The Crit. A “crit” or “critique,” is a common staple in art courses, where artists show unfinished work to their peers and receive feedback. This feedback can be extremely valuable, but, outside a scholastic environment, hard to find. This how Kirsten Little, Master of Fine Arts and co-founder of Make Liverpool, came up with the idea for The Crit.

The class started at 6:30pm. A small group of artists ready to discuss their work filled the circle of chairs in the Atrium. Attendees were encouraged to bring their artwork with them or using a projector to display it. After introducing ourselves briefly and having a cup of tea, we began the critique.

I am a Project Assistant here at Make, and an aspiring graphic novel artist, so I came to The Crit for some feedback on my most recent work. The novel is a visual journal detailing my travels with my boyfriend through Brussels about two years ago. Completed in black pen on white paper then digitized, the depictions of people and places are more whimsical than realistic, and the main events are interwoven with small details and landscapes. The group gave feedback about the content, layout, and possibilities for producing the work in different ways (for example, screen printing or riso printing).

Next up was Kirsten. She brought two pieces that incorporated found objects and collage for discussion. The first pieces was a drawer taken from a small cabinet, the inside of which had carefully placed images and text. The second was a round section of countertop with a stone-like pattern on the surface that also incorporated text and images. The deftness with which she mixed seemingly unrelated images, text, and textures created a mysterious cohesiveness somehow familiar and foreign at the same time. After giving us time to react to her work, she said she usually creates large-scale pieces, and that only recently has she started creating smaller more two dimensional pieces. She spoke about the struggles she faced scaling down her work. The group offered comments and suggestions about how to incorporate that conflict into her work. View her art at www.kirstenlittle.com.

Jason Hollis, graphic designer-turned graffiti artist, brought several large pieces of canvas, accompanied by photographs and videos of his larger-scale works. Jason recently moved to Liverpool from York and wanted to start meeting the artists and creatives in the North Docks. His work is incredibly precise, colorful, and geometric. The clarity of his lines and color are brilliant, and he talked about the struggle of making graffiti on a smaller scale. He mentioned that his passion was working large-scale, usually on walls, and asked about mural and graffiti work here in Liverpool. So, if anyone is looking for a graffiti artist for a wall outside their business, check out his website www.jsn-hollis.com.

Ali Hutchinson, a Master of Fine Art student at John Moores University, finished the critique with two incredible pieces. The first piece was from the LJMU MA Fine Art Degree show last year, Fantastic Rubbish. She pulled out three large animal bone fragments wrapped in 1 nautical mile of string. She had arduously unraveled and re-knotted the string together the herself. She showed us photos from Fantastic Rubbish, when she tossed these strings through industrial beams in the Make. Warehouse. She told the story of the difficult journey she took to create this work. After that, she showed us black flags she created from umbrellas that had blown into the docks. We offered our reactions and gave suggestions about displaying her work with the stories of their creation. Ali’s website is www.deerwolfwolf.com.  

Though we may have stretched beyond our assigned 10 minute time slots, the feedback we shared extremely helpful. I left with a renewed energy for my project and new ideas.

The Crit has joined the growing roster of classes happening at Make North Docks. The next Crit is April 4th, 6:30 – 8pm at Make. Baltic in the Elevator Studios. To sign up, and find out about all our events, check the “Events” page on Make Liverpool’s website. Also, find and follow us on Facebook and Twitter (@makeliverpool).

If you’d like to contact the artists mentioned above, their email addresses are listed below:

Ali Hutchinson: ali@deerwolfwolf.com

Jason Hollis: info@jsn-hollis.com

Ruby Jenkins: ruby.jenkins@www.makeliverpool.com

Kirsten Little: kirsten@www.makeliverpool.com

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