Tim Pugh

Environmental and Mixed Media Artist

“Plastic Fantastic? “

“Plastic Fantastic? ” is a mixed media installation created at St Bees beach in West Cumbria in October 2016.The artwork was created in response to the continued occurrence of environmental degredation on the beach with vast amounts of plastic being deposited on the tideline. After collecting the waste, I decided to smother a beautifully formed boulder with the plastic to achieve a visually overwhelming effect of manmade artificial material, sharply contrasted against the natural backdrop. The intention  was to highlight the sheer amount of plastic that gets dumped by arranging a concentrated mass of material to catch the attention of passing visitors thus  raising awareness of the issue. At the same time I was also seduced by the bright  colours which in turn evokes mixed feelings of my intentions of what I wanted to convey. The artwork resembles some kind of scaly creature and people like me,enjoyed the vivid colours but were equally appalled by the amount of waste deposited in the locality. 

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“SS Izaro “.

“SS Izaro”is a temporary mixed media drawing sketched onto a wooden groyne at St Bees beach in West Cumbria.The artwork was made in memory to the beaching of the merchant ship ,SS Izaro  over a hundred years ago on the rocks below the Cliff.There were no casualties and the Spanish crew camped out on the rocks for many weeks afterwards. The ship was laden with iron ore destined for Maryport and was eventually wrecked as it’s back buckled due to the weight of its cargo.Hence,for the drawing I used iron ore sediment and charcoal. The artwork also has an element of humourous intent with the triangle sign warning of shipwrecks ahead. I enjoyed creating my own sign and had some favourable comments from passers by.Not even sudden rain or splinters in my fingers spoilt the creative experience. 

“Clay Makers /The Ledge Of Fame “.

“Clay Makers /The Ledge Of Fame ” is a temporary installation created for the Ceramic Wales event at Glyndwr University, Wrexham at the start of September 2016.I created several artworks over the weekend using various clays, kiln prop furniture and other related materials. This artwork is made up of pressed imprints of guest ceramic makers invited over especially for the weekend. I painted ceramic iron ore laden mud,brought down from Cumbria, over the palms of participants and invited them to press their hands onto card so as to print their own ‘signature ‘.The card was then pressed into balls of clay, themselves mounted plinth like on a window ledge of the Art college.I collected five hand signatures and enjoyed the participatory element to the process where the artists had the opportunity to contribute in creating a joint artwork. It was a very enjoyable weekend where I relished the opportunity to experiment with the various materials. It was also a melancholy experience as I was working back at my old Art College I attended 30 years ago.

“Toxic Cocktail “.

The installation is made up of tideline bottles collected from various beaches in West Cumbria in July 2016. I was horrified at the sobering statistic that eight million tonnes of plastic waste is deposited into the oceans every year as well as attendant chemicals and toxins that accompany the plastic bottles. I highlighted the effects and consequences of the chemicals by enlarging and painting the warning signs found in tiny detail printed on the bottles. I used acrylic paint and marker pens to deliberately highlight and thus reinforce the dangers to maritime life posed by the different chemicals in the various bottles.The bottles were then positioned on a beach groyne and photographed whilst interested passers by stopped to have a look and reflect on the artwork. I was interested to show the artwork to the general public for responses and intend to exhibit future work in similar off site/pop alternative venues in the future. 

“Toxic Tale”.

“Toxic Tale ” is a continuation of a series of interventions created in response to my inquiry into issues that deal with maritime pollution. I picked up a large wooven plastic sheet from a beach and embossed a warning sign from a bleach bottle. The sheet was wrapped around a beach groyne at St Bees in Cumbria and was intended to highlight the environmental consequences of widespread use of chlorine found in bleach cleaning products. I deliberately enlarged the image of the warning sign logo to raise awareness to beach visitors as most warning signs on bleach products are tiny and illegible .The artwork was sited against a beautiful natural backdrop so as to highlight the intended message. 

“Seagull Food Chain “.

“Seagull Food Chain ” was created on a beach groin at St Bees beach in July 2015.I created a seagull outline adhering beachcombed fragments of discarded plastic onto the wooden surface. The intention was to highlight the issue of plastic debris getting into the maritime food chain with future disastrous consequences for life on earth. Most seabirds have plastic in their gut which leads to poisoning and starvation as a result of eight million tons of plastic being dumped into the sea every year.Passing onlookers were attracted to the vivid colours and after photographing the artwork, I collected up the plastic. I view each mini litter pick as an integral part of the creative process and recycle the debris to create future issue based artworks. 

“Bottletop Cluster”.

“Bottletop Cluster ” was created at St Bees beach in Cumbria in May 2016.I was horrified at the sheer amount of plastic waste deposited on the tideline and yet seduced by the attractive bright colours of the bottletops. To highlight how out of place the colours seem in a beautiful natural location I chose a pristine beach location at St Bee’s to further illuminate the contrast between man made and natural materials. I found an appropriate boulder in which to attach the bottletops I collected and decorated half the boulder to convey the colour contrast and highlight the profound difference of the products. I attached the tops using blue tack and after photography, dismantled the intervention and took the bottletops home to use for future projects.

“Cold Change “.

The temporary artwork was created in response to the referendum vote on wether the U.K. should stay or leave the E.U. I was saddened and shocked by the result and in response, created a series of artworks using mirrors and mixed media. I drew out a map of the UK  directly onto the surface of a mirror with a sharpie pen and infilled the map with text from my poll card. The mirror was then placed in the sea and I photographed the effects of the tide depositing the sand across the map. The resulting image resembled a weather map depicting a North Westerly airstream hence the title “Cold Change”.This I saw equally as a metaphor for the changes and uncertain future that will affect the U.K. as a result of the referendum vote to leave the E.U.

“Ore Eggs”.

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“Ore Eggs”,is a mixed media installation created at the site of a long abandoned iron ore mine at Woodend, near Bigrigg in West Cumbria in February 2015.I found an old birds nest and filled it with rolled up balls of mud with a high concentration of iron ore mineral and clay and positioned it on a protruding piece of metal, itself a remnant of the iron ore industry. The implementation reminded me of the same processes I used when I was a student creating ceramic sculptures from similar creative processes. High winds constantly threatened to topple the nest and occasional bursts of sunshine illuminated the deep tones of the ‘eggs’ to good effect.

“Iron Ore Mine Studies “

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“Iron Ore Mine Studies “is a mixed media gallery drawing created over a month at Florence Mine Arts Centre in Egremont, West Cumbria. The design display was made during a month long residency /joint exhibition at the Arts Centre in August 2015 entitled “Makers”. The design panel makes use of text,drawing out of ideas,sketches and slag bank samples from surrounding defunct iron ore mines in the area as well as images of previous iron ore experiments made in the past.It was a good opportunity to compile ideas,thoughts and images as well as text and other bits and pieces to create a vast design sheet. When the show ended ,it was envisaged that the gallery would paint over the artwork but they couldn’t bring themselves to do it so instead they unscrewed the boards the artwork was on. I decided to donate the design sheet as a ‘thank you ‘to the gallery for allowing me opportunity to experiment on such a large scale on their walls.