Duke’s Corner, luminary live music venue and purveyor of gourmet hot dogs and craft beers, has been expanding its cultural reach in recent months. This event, held on the second Sunday of each month at this bar on the junction of Brown Street and Blackness Road, sees artists from across Dundee and the surrounding area convene to show off their wares to diners and drinkers.
Other than the three artists named above, the first stall I came to was exhibiting an altogether different form of art. Katie Phillips, a Duke’s employee, presented a tantalising cake stall; “Choxton Stout” and “Flor de Banana” cupcakes were completed with vanilla butter icing swirls and an edible glitter topping. My personal victual preference was for the former, but both are testament to Phillips’ baking and presentation skills.
To the left of the cake stall, I recognised the work of Abi Baikie – a recent graduate from Duncan of Jordanstone College, I had spoken to her while visiting last month’s degree show. The bulk of her work, series of screenprints derived from her own photographs, are inspired by her travels in Cambodia, in particular the scars left on the country by the Khmer Rouge. Most canvases are predominantly white, with bold splashes of colour and geometric streaks of black; some comprise only two layers, while others are built up from as many as eight or nine overlapping patterns. Observing that no two of her prints are alike, even when derived from the same press, Baikie responded that nothing she creates is discarded, and that she will “embrace the flaws” that inevitably come from the screenprinting process, even though she herself “instantly” notices any areas in which the ink hasn’t applied itself as intended. She explained further her desire to continue in the same vein over the next few months, and her hope to return to Asia someday; she also conceded that she may “downsize” more of her prints in order to improve her chances of selling them, such as adapting more of them to a bathroom-tile-esque format.
Opposite Baikie’s stall at the other side of the room, I overheard Amy Dunne explaining some of the advice tutors had offered her regarding her own work – “put more colour in, make it more dynamic!” Going into fourth year at Duncan of Jordanstone, her stall demonstrated the versatility of her artistic abilities: ballpoint-rendered nudes surrounded by blocks of vibrant watercolour paint, a trio of “disintegrating” animals rendered in acrylic, watercolour and pencil (to wit, a “melting fox”, “slinky cat” and “pixel bird”), a watercolour “Jesus” (her chosen name for the model who posed for the piece), vinyl-cut prints of what appeared to be a raven, a painting evoking a proverb about tigers and sheep (so I was informed), and several other pieces. Dunne guided me through the creation of one image on a postcard, from initial pencil rendering to digital alterations in the final work, but in general was more content to let her art do the talking; personally, it is plenty colourful and dynamic as is.
Also about to enter her fourth year at Duncan of Jordanstone is Caitlin Bowbeer, who had a mix of personal and project-oriented artwork on show. “Buzz Off!”, a delightfully tactile children’s book made to a loose academic brief, involved scanning scraps of jute and other fabric and editing their facsimiles in a form of digital collage, before completing the illustrations in charcoal pencil. Bowbeer described her profound interest in anything “fish-based”, in reference to a series of fish etchings on display at the back of her stall, before discussing the miniature storybooks “Midnight Feast” and “Bedtime Stories” at the front, and the “Mad Parrots” hung at one side: felt and paper creations, sewn together and stuffed with rice. Looking ahead, she intends to produce more “eco-based” and “narrative” work as her scope for personal art increases – perhaps even expanding from fish into lobsters, for instance!