Page 18 - April 2017
P. 18

|  Small Faces were Needed |                      |  Pat Swadling (10453)  |


       A                                     A couple of Adana blocks looked hopeful
            Southampton gallery called Small
            Faces advertised that they wanted
                                             but didn’t work when proofed up.
            to put on a display of postcard-
                                             blocks of young ladies/girls emerged.
       sized portraits during March and April, at     Then, from a separate hiding place, two
       the city’s Cultural Quarter venue Solent   A quick proof and yes, they looked fi ne.
       Showcase Gallery.                     Thank goodness for the print and design
        Called the People’s Portrait Project, the   part of my apprenticeship, except that
       organisers hoped that involving everyone,   after some considerable time and ink I
       whatever their artistic skills,                  discovered that miniature
       would encourage more                             artwork on a piece of 6in
       people to become involved                        x 4in card doesn’t actually
       with arts and culture.                           allow for a great deal of
        The Southampton Daily                           artistic scope, so all that
       Echo item stated that any                        design training counted for
       materials could be used,                         very little in this particular
       as long as the portraits                         case.
       were postcard-sized (6in                           Time for tea , sleep on it
       x 4in), and they were your                       and think again.
       own work. It wasn’t a                              It worked. I realised why
       competition, but entries                         the two girls were looking at
       would be displayed and then                      each other as if wondering
       become part of the gallery’s                     why on earth they were
       People’s Art Archive.                            there: they needed some
         Apparently the portraits                       wording with them. A couple
       didn’t have to be of anyone                      of sheets of ideas and there
       in particular and could take any form. This   it was, but would the non-printing general
       sounded interesting and perhaps a little bit   public understand the word play? Probably
       of a challenge. Could letterpress printing   not, but I liked it (see picture).
       compare with what I suspected would     Bearing in mind it was going to be
       be mainly painted portraits? It had to be   an art exhibition, I needed a decorative
       worth a try, if only to see if I could do it.  typeface and a nice piece of card. The
         Time to go to the block store – which   typeface proved quite easy, but I felt the
       really meant a rummage (a good HM     card needed to be really good quality; time
       Customs term) through some drawers, and   to use a pack of card with a gold border,
       daring to look in the darker recesses of   bought because ‘it might come in useful
       the print shop ( I’m continually surprised at   one day’: well, its day had arrived!
       the things I fi nd lurking there) to see if any     After a number of proofs and spoilt
       suitable blocks might surface.        cards, I eventually arrived at somewhere
         Now I do have a fair number of blocks,   near the result I had hoped for, or at least
       so you would think fi nding something   it looked the part.
       fi t for purpose (as they say) that could     The exhibition beckoned; I just hoped my
       even loosely be called a portrait, and fi t a   effort wouldn’t stick out like a sore thumb.
       postcard, should be easy to fi nd. Of course   Still, my card was accepted – I wonder if I
       it wasn’t. The blocks all seemed too big   will hear any more about it . . .
       and boring or too small and equally boring.
       90
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