1 December 2020
h_a_b_i_t_a_t_s (AKA Greg Meade) is the first artist to feature in our Colony Artist In Residence exhibition programme where we are looking to give exposure to Manchester based artists looking to display work in a contemporary co-working and shared office space environment in a gallery style setting within our Piccadilly location.
Greg Meade is a Manchester-based printmaker, designer & photographer, operating from his studio in the heart of post-industrial Ancoats. An architecture obsessive, he produces bold, graphic print work across a broad range of processes under his studio pseudonym Habitats.
Greg, as a self-taught print maker, aims to promote everything print and encourage the have-a-go possibilities of the discipline. Greg also runs Chuggaress, an independent & collaborative RISO printing and design studio encouraging people of all creative backgrounds to engage with this often all too exclusive process. Greg draws influence from the built environment, with the repetitive patterns that are formed in the terraced housing of the North being key to his body of work to date.
We recently caught up with Greg to discuss his influences and his current work in progress.
Hey Greg! What Inspires you and how does that help you generate ideas?
I am heavily influenced by late 19th and early-mid 20th century design movements such Art Nouveau and Brutalism. I'm particularly inspired by Manchester's industrial past, architecture, urban planning and interpreting these themes into illustrations. Stripping buildings back to their most basic shapes and elements, trying not to focus too much on particular details and "correctness" using cut out shapes (collage) to abstract them back to their simplest forms.
I first became aware or Linocut (hand carved Linolium) and Risograph (a process similar to silk screen) printing as part of my Art Foundation course. Having had a very basic introduction to the processes at the time, I was more interested in fine art and other practices. It was quite some time after completing my studies that I returned to printing, firstly as a hobby and then as a business opportunity.
I love the mixture of the physical and hands on nature of carving and the industrial and technological processes (tinkering) involved in large batch Riso printing.
What is your most prized art related possession?
I love the physical interaction of carving and printing using Linoleum, enjoying the process of learning how to get the best use out of simple tools. Sometimes it requires a lot or trial, error and patience. One particular chisel I use, I've had a long, long time. Tried and tested that never lets me down... sometimes new doesn't mean better!
The Risograph printer has been the most financially important investment i have made so far (apart from my studio). They are only available from a limited number of suppliers in the UK and are primarily manufactured in Japan. It's a great tool for producing posters, flyers, artwork and publications but it is also quite an unusual machine that requires a great deal of learning and practice to get the best use out of the machines and use them to their full capabilities.
How do you "name" your artworks
At the moment, i'm working on my largest Linocut project to date (A3), inspired by my commute into Manchester where i pass row after row row of terrace housing called "Does it have to be the same old shit?" taken from a lyric by of song by Micah P Hinson.
By nature the terrace houses all look the same, however, when you look closer you notice different characteristics, details and stories of each one. Linocut is a repetitive process, often with small inconsistencies and fits well with the theme of same but different.
How do you work through artists block and procrastination
I have to make the most of the free time i have available, often i'm working 7am until midnight. Other weeks i can have a lot of downtime to experiment and develop my own projects.
Working on projects for and with other people helps. Often contract work can lead to ideas or processes i hadn't previously considered that i can explore in my own work. I also like to collaborate with artists and companies on projects.
Recently i completed a brief from a marmalade manufacturer to be realized as packaging labels for their products to reference their history as a Manchester brand with industrial heritage but not focus on direct physical representation of the product. It was really interesting to work to tight time constraints not being able to get hung up on details and embracing the handmade process without getting "lost" in the design.
Whats next for h_a_i_t_a_t_s and Chuggapress and what advice to you have for other emerging Artists?
On the Chuggapress front, I have a few Publications and Zines in the pipeline. Covid19 restrictions permitting, I am looking to start hosting introduction to Risograph Printing classes again in the new year so I can pass on my knowledge and love of the medium.
I have a couple of personal projects working with a local collage artist that I am interested in progressing, based on Brutalist Architecture which will involve visiting Landmark buildings across the country to make artwork mixing Photography and Risograph printing processes
Decide what makes you want to create art and don't overthink.
Work hard and treat it as a job
Practice and develop a style.
Try not to focus on or obsess about other peoples work.
If you would like to come see Greg's work in person and take a look around our Co-working & office space facilities at Colony Piccadilly or to visit the other members of the Colony family (The Astley and Jactin House), please book a tour via firstname.lastname@example.org today!
*We would love to hear from other local artists who are looking for a place to exhibit their work in Manchester. Please contact email@example.com for further details
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