Peter Ford - Artist

Annual Exhibition of the Royal Society of Painter-PrintmakersGuanlan China
May 2015
One afternoon in early April I checked my emails and read the totally unexpected and startling news that a paper-and-print work of mine had gained for me the Guanlan China International Print Prize. As a consequence I was invited to attend the opening events of the 5th Guanlan International Print Biennale and, together with ten other artist prize winners, enjoy travel and accommodation, courtesy of my hosts. Apart from the excitement of winning the prize, worth about £2,600, it was a pleasure to meet the other artists from USA, Germany, Poland, Japan, Thailand and four from other regions of China. I was able to visit the new Guanlan China Museum of Printmaking. We were all astonished by the scale of the building and even the fact of its existence. How many other museums of printmaking exist?

  Guangzhou, China
October 2014
Late in October I travelled to Bristol’s sister city Guangzhou, formerly Canton. I was a guest of the Guangzhou Academy of Fine Art and an exhibitor in the 3rd Small Prints and Ex Libris Biennale. I have been fortunate enough to be present at the opening events of the previous Biennales, in 2010 and 2012. With expert assistance from my translator Gou Man, I gave an illustrated talk focussing on the making of collagraphs and my own work over the last twenty years. It was called ‘Searching and Researching - The Artist as Explorer’ which was well-received by the students, artists and academics. On the following day we were able to see some of the sights of the city – the historical museum and the new opera house designed by Zahar Hadid.
  Annual Exhibition of the Royal Society of Painter-PrintmakersFabriano
July 2014
The congress of the International Association of Papermakers and Artists (IAPMA) took place in this attractive small town in the Marche district of Italy, north east of Rome, about two hours on a train.
Fabriano is renowned amongst paper makers and users as the first European paper mill and source of the eponymous paper. I travelled there at the beginning of July with Maureen Richardson, a member of the IAPMA founding group and the person who introduced me to paper making 20 years ago. The congress was a wonderful event, successful in all respects - lively talks and demonstrations, good food, perfect weather and graceful architectural locations. Quite unforgettable.

May/June 2014

Six weeks as Artist in Residence in Ningbo Museum of Art ended in a successful exhibition with more sales than I expected. To describe it as a successful trip fails to include a number of incidents when I was somewhat tested! After a period for reflection I will be adding more details. But now it is time for a week in Italy, mostly in Fabriano, the source of the well known artists’ paper and this time where the annual congress of IAPMA members takes place, this being the International Association of Paper Makers and Paper Artists


2014 and 2013

I was pleased to know that my Soft Morning City was included in this year’s Royal Academy Summer Exhibition. And this is after success in 2013’s Summer Exhibition when Field Games shared the Printmaking Prize there.


December 2013

In late December I made a short visit to Vicenza, Italy. I attended the opening of Di Carta/Papermade – an international exhibition of two- and three-dimensional art using handmade paper. Three of my works were included and one was used in the exhibition promotion.

I made two day trips from Vicenza to Venice, finally achieving a long-nurtured ambition. I was so fortunate to see this place for the first time under clear skies and with winter sunlight creating crisp shadows. I took photographs though aware that there must be enough photographs already taken to fill the Grand Canal. On my second day trip I discovered, by chance, the fish and fresh produce market. I loved it and wanted to buy things but, in drizzle, wandered on to the Peggie Guggenheim Museum. Later, in gathering gloom I zigzagged my way back in the vague direction of the rail station. Venice in the fading light reminded me of the famous and creepy film ‘Don’t Look Now’.


Autumn 2013

A month in South China at the Guanlan Print Base. My strongest recollection is of the weather in the first two weeks – thunderstorms and torrential downpours followed by baking hot sun. High humidity day and night.

I worked with my own paper which I had sent there in advance. The Chinese artists and technicians were impressed that I could print etchings on it without pre-damping. I avoided making large works partly because the heat was tiring but also to simplify getting my products back to Bristol. On this, my third residency at Guanlan I enjoyed working with the small community of European and young Chinese artists. The ‘hot item’ was making collaborative works. The image here shows an etching I made with Lidija Antanasijevic, a Serbian artist also working at Guanlan Print Base. My visit ended with two engrossing days wandering about in steamy Hong Kong.


London - Royal Academy Summer Exhibition
June 2013

Monday 3rd June 2013 -, with perfect summer weather for the traditional non-members’ Varnishing Day at the Royal Academy, Piccadilly. This always begins with an artists’ walk to St James’ Church, following a steel band playing a lively version of ‘When the saints go marching in’. There is a short ceremony in the church with readings, hymns and an invited speaker. I like to attend it particularly for the splendid choral singing which this year included one of Vaughan Williams’ Five Mystical Songs.

Back to the gallery for a very light lunch with chilled wine - and the first opportunity to see the exhibition. However I met many people that I knew and there was as much conversation as picture viewing. The two main print galleries are very closely hung. My works are above eye level which does have the advantage that they can be seen from almost anywhere in the room even if crowded, which it will be during the next few days. These are invitation only, for previous buyers and Friends. I thought my large prize-winning woodcut looked good, but much smaller than in my studio.

The prize awarding ceremony was managed by the President, Christopher le Brun and prize sponsors presented the envelopes. In addition to the cheque I was pleased to read the complimentary hand-written note from Mr Gordon Cooke, of the London Original Print Fair, which noted the ‘ambition and virtuosity’ of the work Field Games.


Annual Exhibition of the Royal Society of Painter-PrintmakersLondon
May 2013

I attended the opening of the Annual Exhibition of the Royal Society of Painter-Printmakers on Thursday 9th May 2013. The gallery was crowded with people and the walls were crowded with artworks. The members who take on the work of hanging this exhibition have a challenging task – to include the varied works of all the members who are entitled to show three works each.

The exhibition was opened by Julia Beaumont-Jones, the Curator of Prints and Drawings at Tate Britain.

I saw a number of images that interested me and I would have liked to speak with the makers. But apart from a few artists that I knew, in the general hubbub there was no way to identify who had made which work. It would be a good idea if the artists were provided with an identifying label to wear. I will go back and look at the work again when the gallery is less crowded. The exhibition continues every day until June 8th.

  Mirage - Peter Ford - etching on hand made paper Bristol
May 2013
I was lucky to have an etching and one of my paper cast works selected for the current RWA open submission exhibition ‘DRAWN’.

This is a very diverting and varied exhibition presenting a broad interpretation of what drawing is or can be. Some people – including myself – may think that their implied definition is too broad but does this matter? ‘DRAWN’ continues every day until 2nd June.

Not to be missed.


in.print.out exhibitionVienna
Mid-April 2013
– four days in Vienna to attend the opening of in.print.out at the Künstlerhaus - a large exhibition of international contemporary print works. This included two large pieces of my own as displayed in Kraków last September.

Much of the rest of the time in Vienna was spent viewing great art of the past such as Brueghel, Bosch, Cranach and paintings, drawings, engravings and etchings by Rembrandt and Durer.

After this complex, refined and many-layered art of the past the contemporary work at the Künstlerhaus and elsewhere in the city provoked questions such as ‘What is this for?’, What will happen to it after this exhibition ends? ‘Will it last for 50 or 100 years?’ These questions are for me and my art production too.

  Exhibition in Hangu China
October 2012
Out of the blue – in the middle of 2012 I received an invitation to take up a second autumn residency at the Guanlan Original Print Base in South East China, near Shenzhen – a ‘new economic zone’ city of about twelve million inhabitants. This invitation was very interesting to me as I was already far advanced with preparations for my first personal exhibition in China, scheduled to take place in October 2012 in a new ‘New Economic Zone’ – the Binhai region nearTianjin, a port city in the North East, about forty minutes fast train travel from Beijing. I accepted the residency invitation from Guanlan and was in China from mid-October to the end of November. This period allowed me to make a side-trip to attend my exhibition venue.

I passed my first week in the sub-tropical climate of Hong Kong/Shenzhen then flew on China Airlines to Tianjin (3 hrs. flying time) in order to attend the opening of my exhibition and to be there for five days, which included a weekend in Beijing. The exhibition was a memorable experience, very good for the self-esteem. I did not anticipate such greatpromotional documentation.

On return to Guanlan for the remaining four weeks I made as much use as I could of the 24-hour access printmaking workshop. Despite an inner resolution not to make large work based on previous experience of the difficulty and expense of getting the sheets of heavy paper back to England I ended up making my largest etching ever, a wild and windswept image spreading across two linked plates. I had been in conversation with my young helper and translator, Sophie, about the experience of typhoons which she said were both frightening and exciting.

I received immediate endorsement that at least some people liked this work as two visitors associated with a gallery in nearby Guangzhou bought two examples of this new etching and about six other smaller paintings in ink and watercolour.

This was outstandingly the most successful of my five visits to China since 2007.