David Lemm is a multi-disciplinary artist based in Edinburgh. He studied animation at Duncan of Jordanstone in Dundee, graduating in 2006. Here he talks residencies, maps and printmaking.
I worked on freelance animation/music video projects after Art School, and began developing my practice in other areas; illustration, printmaking and more experimental work. I still do animation, mainly music related and some commercial stuff. I’ve recently made videos for Miaoux Miaoux and Hobbes music, but enjoy working on a broad range of projects including commissions, residencies and exhibitions.
I recently moved to a studio down in Leith. It’s early days, so I haven’t really settled yet or got into the routine of going somewhere different to work. I used to have a studio/exhibition space in Leith, so it’s nice to be based in this part of town again. I’m currently doing a residency at House of Illustration in London, which means I’m down there for a bit each month. Every day is different at the moment!
I use a lot of different tools, depending on the project. I always start with sketches and lots of notes, and then develop ideas digitally whilst keeping analogue processes in mind. I’ve been screen-printing a lot over the last few years, and had my first solo exhibition at Edinburgh Printmakers in January. That body of work was a development of a process where I screen-printed directly onto found maps/charts. I layer graphic elements against the original markings, leaving it unclear what marks are original and what are my interventions. The resulting opportunity for interpretation and subjective analysis is a key interest and intention in my work. By printing on maps/charts I aim to create a contrast between the physical mapping/organisation of what we define as real with the unknown, unrealised and imagined.
I’m currently thinking a lot more about drawing and other hand-made approaches, so that may become more prominent in future work. I did a paper cut-out animation workshop with Atlas Arts on Skye for BBC Ten pieces and I really enjoyed that process. I’ve been interested in maps/diagrams since I was a child and they inspired a recent residency project on Eigg commissioned by lifeoffthegrid.net with The Bothy project. The residency aimed to explore maps as tools of way finding, instruments of organisation but also as material artefacts and repositories of meaning. I was particularly keen to explore the idea that maps fundamentally describe reality through simple abstract lines, forms and motifs, and to consider how experience of a space/place can be represented visually. The outcomes from the residency were recently shortlisted for Association of Illustrators World Illustration Awards.
The House of Illustration residency is for 6 months, with an exhibition of my outcomes in January. There is also a work in progress exhibition between 5-8 November and I’m hosting a couple of events/workshops in September and October. Other than that, I’m excited to be working with Atlas Arts again and will be heading up to Skye to work on a project which should be launched near the end of the year.
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