Whittling tiny people out of toilet roll

by Kitty Drake in December 2019
Art & design

Thick and deliberately un-glossy, Swim’s pages hum with content, making it look more like a journal than a magazine. The third issue is an exploration into how and why artists change mediums. The first feature is about Charlie Ratcliffe, who describes the highs and lows of his move into puppet-making with refreshing honesty: “It took me to a dark place for a while. I was in my bedroom, feverishly whittling tiny people out of toilet roll almost non-stop for a couple of months. It’s kind of disgusting really.”

From drawing to sculpture, graphic design to lithograph painting, Swim’s art director Sam White talked us through three of his favourite medium changes in the issue.

Chris Newell was primarily a painter, but he moved gradually into constructing a new secret language — what he describes as a “new, cryptic form born from the English language”: “Through the use of the cryptic I can talk about my paintings in a way that adds to them aesthetically whilst also satisfying my desire for communication. I can add something without centralising it around a familiar word or something recognisable.”

Richard Ayodeji Ikhidi’s central medium is drawing. Usually, he will create a sculpture that he then uses as the basis for a sketch. For this issue, Swim asked him to switch things round and work primarily with sculpture. Richard describes the process: “for someone like me, who is used to working two-dimensionally, seeing an idea being manifested in a three-dimensional way is fascinating”.

Fraser Muggeridge is a graphic designer who questions the limits of that medium with this work. Here he works with the lithographic press to creates prints that blur the lines between print-making and art.


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