Stephen Whitehead

Curriculum Vitea

I am a visual, relational/participatory and environmental artist. I work both conceptually and with a broad set of craft skills. The emphasis of any given work can be to collaborate with others creatively within their criteria, be process-driven to emphasise experience, or be focused on producing a finished artefact.

My Practise and Interests

I am a full-time relational artist, and undertake most of my work in schools. I am often described as an environmental artist, as this is often the subject or background for the work.

Philosophy

I have a broad interest in the way paradigms are used and abused. As an artist I am also interested in how visual perception and its psychological effects have on our general perceptions and how this can change the way we think and what we believe. (80% of what we remember is based on what we see.)
Philosophically I am a scientist.

Identity (Issues of Self) and Definitions

Definitions, categorisations, "grey areas", borders and edges hold a great interest and the way they in turn define us and our relationships to people and things; e.g. Refugee/citizen, normality/individualism, nationhood/diversity.

Environments (Creation of)

I like to create environments that will demonstrate the cogency of concepts through immersion/involvement in that idea, - allowing for new ideas, experience and understanding. However as well as specifically themed space, installations etc, I also work to enhance the everyday natural and built environment; it is our reality and by improving it we improve our lives and our understanding. I also believe we show our beliefs and priorities in the space we afford to people and the use we expect them to make of that space. It is therefore key to give high priority to creating appropriate spaces for self-esteem and motivation to create and grow.

Ecology, Nutrition, and Health

These are key issues for understanding what we are and where we fit into life. I take a holistic approach to health and believe consideration for the environment not only provides physical benefits but also is vital for mental balance. My work fits with what is now termed ECO-THERAPY. On a practical level I am also aware of the need for good nutrition as an essential to learning capability, and general physical and mental well being.

Collaboration of creative's and Cross Disciplinary Dialog

I have a strong belief in the importance of collective intelligence so always look forward to collaboration with others to encourage new ideas and outcomes.

I also consider it important to creativity, giving new outcomes for specialists in all fields, - cross-fertilizing disciplines. I have a particular interest in collaboration with scientists in all fields.

Self determination and cultural control

I hope through the above areas of work to empower participants to undergo a "cultural shift" where they increasingly create and therefore control their cultural life.

Practical Knowledge, Skills and Disciplines I can undertake

Installation and technical adaptation of internal space

  • Metal fabrications
  • General fabrication in wood, plastics including sculptural works.
  • Suspended works
  • Screens

Environmental work and adaptation of outdoor space

  • Gardens
  • Allotments and "edible gardens"
  • Outdoor classrooms
  • Play areas
  • Landscaping and sculptural use of space
  • Composting, wormeries and recycling facilities
  • Wildlife areas and micro-ecosystems
  • "Living willow" sculpture

I recommend that for the full benefit of this type of work that these projects are linked to nutrition and ecology projects.

Decorative enhancement of space

  • Installations and displays
  • Murals
  • Permanent facsimiles of pupils work in any material
  • Relief work in ceramic, cement, plaster, foam plastics etc.
  • Textile painting, banners, flags and framed fabrics and paintings.

Workshops and demonstrations

  • Eco-systems and habitat support/building
  • Metal working, types, properties and technologies
  • Jewellery design and manufacture
  • Ceramics
  • Model making, moulds and casting
  • Sculpting, carving, Marquette's, mixed materials, wax, clay, plaster etc.
  • Planning and designing- (principles of).
  • Fabric- painting ,sewn decorative effects and basic construction techniques.
  • Investigation of any moral, philosophical, scientific or cultural topic for any age. To include demonstrations of processes, games, work shopping and construction of working examples, philosophical toys and models etc.
  • Nutrition (plant based) - cooking, packed lunches, identification of healthy foods, environmental impact of types of farming, distribution and foods.

Speciality-camoufleur( an artist that designs and paints camouflage)

I have researched the history, art history and natural history of camouflage and can run various workshops on the production of camouflage cloth and obscuring of objects with environmental applications. It can also be applied to History and scientific study of colour and perception and is tied to issues listed in my "interests". Its practical applications include: -

  • Bird hides
  • Shaded areas as outdoor class rooms and play areas.
  • Screening or painting over of unsightly buildings and objects.
  • Naturalistic decoration and dappled light effects in buildings.
However its primary function is to generate empathy with nature, which is created as a psychological function of mimicry.

These and other activities can be presented as "The Frog School of Camouflage", with graduation from the school through connecting with nature. (There is a Youtube film short, which can be accessed via my website, of the Frog School of Camouflage the Thames Festival, London South Bank 2010).

This technology is the starting point of the pan-European environmental, cultural sci/art project "Where is my shelter?" a.k.a. Wo ist meine zeltbahn? (WZb?).

www.stephenwhitehead.info

Education

  • B.A. (hons.) Fine Art (first)
    Newcastle Poly.
    Graduation 1986
  • Art-Award advisor

Employment

2005 to present

Commissioned by Creative Partnerships (Black Country, Coventry, Leicester, Nottingham, Birmingham, Stoke and B.A.M.) and privately, - to work in nursery, infant, Primary, and secondary schools creating environmental and installation works, running workshops, and working with teachers to create after school activities, on Insets and Parent "Inspire" days .I have also worked in a P.R.U. and a special school and have had commissions by art and craft galleries, institutions and youth clubs. (See list of commissions.)

List of Commissions 2015 (major only)

Title/subject commissioner and location
Other Art Fair HoFT- London (Bloomsbury) Bristol (Arnolfini)
2 Day Egg sculpture HoFT - Hauser and Wirth Gallery (Somerset)
Spring Sustainability Fair Birmingham City Council - Botanical gardens

List of commissions 2014 (major only)

Title/subject commissioner and location
Brownies celebration HoFT at Leeds Castle
World poppy wreath (ww1 commemoration) Bluecoat School
Beeline Festival Worcester University
Several interventions tackling citizenship and moral decision making through role play in a World War One setting. Work in schools in London and West Midlands 1 hour to all day.

List of Commissions 2013 (major only)

Title/subject commissioner and location
Charrette N/cle Uni. Sch.of Architecture
Grand opening Hoft at Canning Town HoFT at H.Q.
(anniversary celebration) HoFT for Q.E. Park (Olympic stadium Park)
Soc. Ent. And making stuff Vic. Pk. Academy Primary Sch.
Frog Sch. Of Cam. Wilderness Festival HoFT/Victorinox
Geological time Mount Anvil HoFT
Artcheology Croft Castle (Nat.Trust) HoFT
Promo film Litter Watch at Pheonix Collegiate

List of commissions 2012

Title/subject Commissioner and location
BTR at Gavin and Debs wedding HoFT at Hall Place Art installation for Gavin and Debs wedding and 6 month display at Hall Place.
WZB?/scarcity (part of Slow Boat project) Ikon
  • 2 day project on camouflage making resource of 12 zeltbahns for Slow Boat project.
  • Training of Eco-Bus workshop leader and workshopping with M.A. students at Ikon.

List of commissions 2011

Title Subject Commissioner & Location
Whitechapel HoFT/Whitechapel Gallery 2 days-2 day workshops with 2 local primary schools creating flying messages and 1 day in the gallery creating sensor probes for psychic tunnels behind paintings.
Start@Kew festival Start (Prince of Wales eco-charity START) 4 day event at which I challenged families to make their own temporary shelter.
Camp Bestival HoFT/Camp Bestival/Victorinox (sponsors) 4 day event 5000 participants to "Where is my shelter?".
Eco Space - Build a shelter, sew the world back together, and make a family Commitment to a specific carbon reduction and link to a network of Linked promises to ourselves.
The Mottisfont Enigma HoFT/National Trust (Mottisfont Abbey)/Victorinox (sponsors) 5 day event (2 days sculpting in space, 3 days with public).
  • Miniature dwellings made from local natural materials placed in room at Mottisfont Abbey.
  • Workshops with public for them to build same.
Marine conservation HoFT/Selfridges (Oxford st.) 1 day intervention in store to raise awareness of marine habitat and wildlife conservation.
I ran a workshop in which people transformed their hand into a cuttlefish and once painted, blended into the cuttlefish rockpool theatre background.
Community Garden Holy Trinity Church of England 20 day project to define space within church grounds as a "community garden". 90 ceramic tiles and 8 ceramic keirns produced over 15 days of workshops with 1 secondary school and three primary schools. Siting of work with youth and adult community payback groups.
"My Charming World" Yorkmead primary/Brightspace 12 day maths project, 2 all girl groups year5. Set up a run a jewellery business. Design, manufacture and sell a range of jewellery.
Types of business, costings formulas, choice of materials and techniques, branding and advertising, understanding "the market" and profitability. Project culminated in pop-up shop at Ikon art gallery. 250 made for school.
"What did the Romans ever do for us?" Ellison primary/PICL 14 day project, looking at what technology is and how does it changes materials and our way of life. Romans used as example.
  • Celebration day of stalls where children show their learning and involve family in activities. "Gladiator stew" tasting, toga wearing, jewellery, time-line of artefacts, how to build a road and costumes.
  • Technology, history, healthy eating, design, display and presentation skills.
Learning outdoors Walmley Primary/BrightSpace 12 day project to develop outdoor resources and work with yr.5 so that they can give examples of outdoor lessons and train whole school.
  • Creation of living willow theatre/classroom, friends meeting dens and a willow copse.
  • Design and tecnnology, environment, maths, science.

List of commissions 2010

Title Subject Commissioner & Location
  • Summer tour of wzb? with Hoft
  • London Mayors' Thames Fest.
  • Camp Bestival
House of Fairytales
Port Eliot Literary Fest. 18 days in total for tour.
Presentation of Christchurch Primary pupils work as set design for "WZb?"
Running of "WZb?" workshops with 2-3 volunteer creative's.
Work included:- Storytelling, story writing, guided meditation, games, and visual art.
Outdoor development and workshops Belgrave and Rusheymead 5 day project. Consultancy on outdoor activities, outdoor enhancement of play potential with minimal build and equipment. 2 family open days. Living willow arbour around existing seating and den.
Mossy 3 Smart Start nursery 6 day project. Further development of outdoor resources, staff development and "living willow" den. Parents day included in work shopping.
Outdoor build Thomas Russell 11 day project. Environmental awareness of the hidden in nature. Development of site to provide shaded area for recreation/outdoor classroom/performance space and bird hide. Initiated with day out camping and concluded with celebration open day.
Broader Horizons Christchurch Primary 40 day, all school projects using environmentally based projects to raise expectations of children and school. Work included internal decoration of space, external development of spaces (incl. planting, sculpture and den building equipment). Wilderness day out, artwork for summer tour with HoFT. And pan-European initiative www.treelinks.eu
Outdoor maths Our Lady of the Angles 10 Day maths project observation and teacher support, work shopping, supporting equipment designed and made.
Broken Toy rescue Nonesuch Primary
  • 20 day C.P. project made up of yr.4 and 5 art show of B.T.R.
  • Yr.3 outdoor activities, planning and resources for outdoor learning.
  • Yr.6 B.T.R. "Green Oscars" to Libraries. Also "Legacy Tree" outdoor sculpture.
  • Additional Inset day and 2 Parents' Inspire days.

List of Commissions 2009

Title Subject Commissioner & Location
B.C.C.P. = BLACK COUNTRY CREATIVE PARTNERSHIPS C.C.P. = COVENTRY CREATIVE PARTNERSHIPS BAM.C.P= BOLSOVER, ASHFIELD AND MANSFIELD CREATIVE PARTNERSHIPS Leics. Notts, Stoke- C.P. = Creative Partnerships
Journey to Old Halloween House of Fairytales 2 Day event at New Walsall Art Gallery. Installation and relational work on idea of vermin and pestilence.
History weekend Compton Verney 2 day event at which I built a life-size super marine Spitfire decoy as part of a weekend of related historically based activities.
Clumber Park House of Fairytales 2 day art event organised by Deb. Curtis and Gavin Turk, at which I ran my own themed space with displays and activities.
Greenstreets Multistory 18 day project to investigate ways to improve the local environment in West Bromwich. Activity included consultation on streets, work shopping at day centre, and Sandwell Show, school workshops, street and gallery exhibitions, and environmental enhancement.
Business and enterprise Graisley/Pablo Prod. Design and make a suitable craft based product for sale as a school based business. Investigating suitable materials, costings, and manufacture.
Migration Uplands/Graisley/Pablo Prod. Sculpture project resulting in abstract sculpture, resource for birds, willow eco-club den. (Part of project involving collaboration with dance, music, new media and promotional work.)
Outdoor space Haughton special school/Pablo Prod. Sculpture project creating permanent structures to act as bird hide, den, tunnel, and outdoor classroom spaces.
KingsWings Kingsland/Pablo Productions Consultancy and workshooping to develop site for installation of 23m decommissioned aeroplane as classroom. Landscaping, hard landscaping, and development of surrounding area as play/learn multi-sensory multi-use area.
Ignite new beginnings St.Thomas/Pablo productions Sculpture project resulting in 2.5x2m sculpture in a tree.
"Show Racism the Red Card" Langley Primary National visual art competition run by Football Ass'n supported charity-"Show Racism the Red Card". Langley yr.4 received 2nd prize for anti-racism football strip.
Awe and Wonder Langley/B.c.-C.P. day science workshops to develop creative approach to curriculum teaching of 4 science projects.
teacher development and whole school development with emphasis on science and use of outdoors.
Mossy's Wood Smart Start Nursery/leics C.P. 15 day project- day outdoor play centred on outdoor exploration and nature with staff and children, and consultations with staff including room design, staff requirements, new play ideas, and planning.
Green Fingertips 2 Hollywall/Stoke C.P. Consultancy and planning with pupils and teachers, Inset day training, Workshopping for Giant bird hide. Bulgaria trip fact finding and work shopping (Take teacher over).

List of commissions for school and community based work 2007-8

Title Subject Commissioner & Location
"Art and Deception" public workshops Heritage Lottery Public workshops and exhibition of "WZB?"
"Art and Deception" factory hunt Heritage Lottery Camouflaging model factories around Leamington Spa.
2 museum exhibitions- Warwick (printed camouflage) and at Leamington (Thayer)
"Art and Deception" Heritage lottery/Shrubland
St.primary/Sez-U theatre/lsa
Shrubland Primary patchwork workshops.
"Wo ist meine zeltbahn?" Hollywall/Geo Milev (Bulgaria)
Stoke C.P/Hollywall/Futures fund
Sci/Art project at Hollywall Primary and Geo Milev Primary and Secondary (Bulgaria).
Shelters Hollywall (private comm.) Design and creation of 4 different shelters to be used by parents collecting their children from school and as a play/ outdoor teaching area.
Bogs and Eco-club Whitemoor/Notts.C.P. Visit to largest allotments in UK. And discussions of improving school outdoor area. Creation of bog and willow den.
Support and added importance given to Eco-Club.
Gardens and wild spaces Hempshill Hall/Notts.C.P. Extensive planting of hedgerow, copse area. Preparation of Gardening club raised beds. Planning of outdoor space to increase use by pupils and wildlife.
Crimea (literacy and mentoring) Haydn/notts. C.P. Literacy based project using history and themes from the 1850s and Crimea War. Mentoring of boys by male practitioner also a consideration.
Greenfingertips Hollywall Pr'y/ Stoke C.P. (Artist in residence for whole school change 2007-8)
Roughly 1 day per week for a year running various workshops with pupils, and consultancy, design, build and planning with staff of Hollywall Primary to create whole school change to a sustainable school culture in educational practise and impact on the environment. Work included:- creation of green fingertips pupil council, wildlife habitats and planting, links with local business and increased activity with the parents, creation of a woodland entrance to the school, an open day, twinning with a Bulgarian school, and participation in the pan-European environmental art project ("Wo ist meine Zeltbahn?")
compost and "pigs" Bilston Craft Gallery 1 day workshop to create living sculpture from Big Lizzy ruins and decorate/hide a compost bin.
open/Green Day Bilston Craft Gallery 1 day event. Bird feeder mandala workshop and presentation of environmental projects in a zeltbahn display including models, examples, portfolio and workshop.
"Wo ist Meine Zeltbahn?" Compton Verney 5 day summer school on history and practice of camouflage; culminating in an expression of its use for environmental purposes in an outdoor exhibition in the grounds of Compton Verney. (Also included 100% pass rate of students for bronze arts award.)
Big Lizzy Bilston Craft Gallery Garden sculpture project with adult local community (special needs participants).
Habitats/Camo. Hollywall Primary/Stoke C.P Year 6 leaving present to school- nature book, bird boxes, butterfly hotels and hollywall holly bush sculpture.
Creativity and literacy Oxley Primary/Leics.C.P. Production of two outdoor classrooms with pathways. Bird hide/den. Insect hibernation units and camouflage cloth for den. Production of two outdoor classrooms with pathways. Bird hide/den. Insect hibernation units and camouflage cloth for den.
Migration Carsic Primary / bam.C.P. Lead and project management of whole migration project (7 projects in all, culminating in an open day event).
shelters Carsic Primary / bam.C.P. Work shopping on issues around building emergency shelter, aid and migration. Production of emergency shelter for British disaster.
Fair trade Carsic Primary / bam.C.P. Research, out of school campaigning and construction of fair trade promotional installation. School shop and staff room made fair trade after appeals to school from yr.5 pupils. Work towards fair trade status for school.
Hide and seek East Pk. J'nrs./ B.c.C.P. Research on social responsibility and the environment, leading to groundwork's and environmental works in school grounds. Culminated in camouflage hide and seek.
lunchbox East Pk.infants/ B.C.C.P. Nutrition workshops to improve children's attitude to healthy eating, with goal of packed lunches being improved.

List of commissions For school and community based work (2005-6)

Title Subject Commissioner & Location
More on parkour Abberley St. P.R.U./private comm. Return to Abberley St P.R.U. to workshop on health issues and add work to container project.
Planning/consultation BAM.C.P./Carsic Primary Carsic Primary, -initial concepts and planning for 1 year project based on migration, diversity and links with school in India. Multimedia, cross-disciplinary and multi subject integrating key stage education goals.
"Habitats"(workshop) Chorley Show/private comm. Workshoping at Chorley Show in Environmental display and event area.
"Culture shift" Law Leisure and Learning/Arts Council Working with primary and secondary school age children and young adults at risk of offending to create an outdoor environment and mural for the community centre- "Law leisure and learning" in Handsworth Birmingham.
bog Danesmore Primary/B.c.C.P. Second stage of "Field Trip" producing bog suitable for wildlife, - including observation platform, planting and habitats.
Genetics (props) C.C.P./Pr.Kenedy Secondary 2 days of workshops explaining principles of, and producing props and set design for live performance.
"15min. firework" BAM.C.P./Carsic Primary Props design and production for whole school theatre production.
Genetics (workshop) C.C.P./Foxford Secondary 2 days of workshops introducing genetics. (History of genetic research, eugenics and bio- ethics).
container (health mural) Abberley St. P.R.U./private Design and painting of 40ft. metal container (used as storage) at Abberley st. P.R.U. Theme and discussions around health issues and drug use. Health vs. ill-health, using images of parkour to illustrate issues.
"Seedlings" Underhill primary/B.c.C.P. Adventure garden for pre -school children including design, material sourcing and all project management of landscaping, planting and labour.
"Field Trip" B.c.C.P./Danesmore Primary Science based environmental work including creation of micro ecosystem of hedge- rows, hibernation units, bird boxes and outdoor classroom. Workshops started with site planning, ecology and provided all the landscaping and construction. (Also wellies for the whole school, presented as a bar chart.)
Science Week (metals) B.c.C.P./Trinity CoE.Primary Planning science week with teachers, leading day trip, and running 3 days of workshops/demonstrations on metals- types, qualities and technologies.
dining hall B.c.C.P./Underhill Primary Decoration including Perspex atlases, painted frieze, ceramic fruit and veg. reliefs and foam Chandeliers. Workshops linking edible garden to Dining hall including help setting up "Eco-Club".
"Edible Garden" B.c.C.P./Underhill Primary Performance area, seating and edible planting, including workshops on nutrition ,ecology and growing cycles. This project was tied to the one below and workshops to produce ceramic fruits and vegetables were used in the decoration of both spaces.
"Jump for Joy" B.c.C.P./Wodensfield Primary Decorating of tarmac with 10m. Bug design, sculpture, musical instruments and planting for playground, including workshops on light and sound.
"Learning Tree" B.c.C.P./Underhill Primary Outdoor classroom and environmental zones including workshops. Arid zone, bog zone, woodland zone, human (den) zone, and herb maze. All demonstrate differing ecological zonings and are designed as play and teaching areas. Outdoor classroom includes seating and cushions and is also a play area.

2013

I am setting up an environmental arts educational community interest company Countershade . (Registered charity status will be applied for shortly .)

2007

Create Pan-European art project "Where is my shelter? / (Wo ist Meine Zeltbahn?)" and present to the IUCN- (World Conservation Union) conference in Slovakia. Project gains official support- see list of commissions for details of project outcomes.

2005-2007

Continue work on "Orgone sea" sculpture and jewellery collection. Selling work at European trade show ("Inhorgenta" Munchen) and retail exhibition ("Sieraad" Amsterdam) as well as various galleries, and Brighton Arts Festival.

1997 to 2005

Moved to Birmingham to concentrate on and expand the success of the jewellery aspect of my creative practise. It worked! Consolidated and expanded distribution to 100+ galleries and shops supplied at any one time. These galleries included: -Bluecoat gallery, Ikon gallery, Yorkshire Sculpture Park, Cecelia Colman, Tom Foolery, Brewery Arts, as well as many municipal galleries (Leeds City, Aberdeen, Laing (N`cle), and Portcullis (Gateshead).

"In the making" jewellery Quarter community art project

159 jewellers represented directly in ongoing project by their bench pegs as part of a formal sculpture. Work displayed to over 20,000 visitors at the three venues so far- (Big Peg, NEC. Spring Fair, and Ikon Gallery).

Bronze "orgone sea" sculptures.

  • A series of hand held bronzes that are part of a project that includes a collection of silver jewellery.
  • Broadening the use of jewellery as a creative discipline to create larger conceptual pieces for conventional gallery display and possible event use, (e.g. commission for Carlton TV's "It Could Be You").
  • Set up f1 gallery November 2004 initially representing over 65 makers. Worked in partnership with the Brilliantly Birmingham festival, (Representing nearly of the participants in this West Midlands wide event). Representation of local makers (100) in the 2004 Brilliantly Birmingham festival.
  • Consultancy and talks (paid and voluntary) to various agencies

1993-1996

  • Ran applied-art gallery/shop. (The Solution) in Newcastle city centre shopping mall to sell work of local artists and makers, representing up to 80 makers, at any one time. Created a rotating system to ensure the fullest representation of creative's in the Northeast. (This project was supported in concept by the city council for which I supplied a marketing exercise informing Newcastle City arts policy). Also continued to develop and create my own practise, it was at this time I moved into jewellery design as well as continuing the breadth of my previous work.
  • Brilliantly Birmingham, Metapod, Jewellery Quarter agencies including the City Council and businesses.
  • Learning and Skills Council commission to work up the f1 project for Create clustering for designer makers in the Jewellery Quarter.

1991

Silk painting as art objects and clothing commissioned and sold through; craft fairs, local galleries, festivals and direct selling.

1990

Invited to stage second "Whole Health Festival" event.

Created and promoted themed nightclub events, with a variety of arts activities both created and facilitated: - body painting, backdrops, and performance.

Also created a one-off range of printed/hand-painted clothing, masks, body adornment, launched at club and subsequently invited to contribute a range to mail order catalogue run by Projects Northeast. Became most successful selling range of all the creative's in the catalogue.

1989

Bought city centre hair salon. "Newcastle's first 'green' salon".

1988

Staged first "whole health festival" in Newcastle, to promote a holistic approach to life and specifically complimentary medical practises. This involved the coordination of individual practitioners and associated groups and businesses to make an accessible event for the public; I was responsible for all aspects of the event: - management, publicity and marketing, staging, etc.

1987

Set up a graphic design and merchandising business to produce work for a variety of groups and clients this included designs from inception to conception: - T-shirts, badges, posters, stickers as well as banners, back-drops, costumes for demonstrations, festivals both locally and nationally. Concurrently from 1987 made and sold 2D artworks in a number of different galleries across the city.

tel: 0121 420 2240
mob: 07946432452
email: stephen@orgonesea.com
web: www.stephenwhitehead.info