Wednesday, 17 June 2015

'Robots' with Lee John Phillips - CreativeMornings Cardiff

Lee John Phillips, an art teacher of 9 years, is massively passionate about drawing, he's compelled by his urges and is only satisfied once he has a pen in his hand! He also has a real fetish (his words not mine!) for scissors! So in September 2013, while he was 9 months into a 'draw a day' book, he decided that for 2014 he was going to draw every item from his late grandfathers tool shed. A project that he didn't quite anticipate the scale of...
Celebrating CreativeMornings Cardiff's first birthday we returned to the fascinating venue, The Abacus, for the latest Creative Mornings Cardiff as Lee took some time out from drawing to tell us why he sometimes wishes he was a robot during his current project, The Shed Project.

"I realised there was a problem when normal things like eating, sleeping and urinating were becoming a real inconvenience to me..."

Shortly after starting The Shed Project, he was pushed into making decisions about what he would and wouldn't draw in the book. Why is this nail any more special than this wooden bit? He bravely decided to draw everything that didn't disintegrate in his hands as soon as he rubbed it. He decided he wasn't going to draw identical multiples, but rather write the quantity next to them, same  with the sizing (if it was too small to draw or too large to fit on the page, he'd put the scale next to it) The detail and accuracy to which they are referenced is astounding!
Recovering old treasures that had been tucked away, carefully preserved and untouched since his grandfathers death, 21 years ago this month, makes Lee wish he was a robot and detached from his emotions. He told us that one day it got too much and he burst into tears as he drew a jar which had his grandfathers writing on.
One thing that especially amazed me is that everything in the book is drawn straight in there- no stencils, no pencil, no nothing. So any mistakes can't be removed, but Lee has managed to draw it all without making any errors! Now that is incredible, and clearly Lee is very talented at drawing as well as having impeccable attention to detail.

The whole process has taken it's toll with his body as he has endured issues with his neck, hands, back and even groin, but to commemorate something so loved by his grandfather makes the whole process worth it (or just about anyway!). Lee isn't quite sure how long this project will take to finish, but what he does know is that it's going to take longer than he originally thought! However, he's already got big plans lined up for the next stage of The Shed Project so watch this space! ;-)

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