Friday, 6 November 2009

Art Competition Results

Well what an interesting night it turned out to be! We had a wide range of responses from lots of different people, and a good night was had all round.

Congratulations to competition winner Helen Arthurs for her beautifully perceptive illustrative narrative of the poem, soon to be displayed in Artfulness.

Congratulations also to joint runners up Ira Lightman for his inspired miniature installation - displayed at Pulse, and Rachael Carr for her intriguing and mysterious oil painting, also displayed at Pulse.

Thank you to everyone who took part and came to Pulse on Sunday night, and also thank you to Amie Antonyak and Chalky for taking up the very difficult position of a competition judge. And a very big thank you to Paul from Pulse for giving us the venue, and making it a very successful night.

I hope to put up some pictures of the competition entries soon, so watch this space!

In the meantime, check out this song by Tim Pheby who very cleverly wrote the words of the poem into a song:

Monday, 2 November 2009

Art Competition

Hi everyone,

Here are some photos I took at the unveiling last night:


Thursday, 17 September 2009

Art Competition

We are excited to announce our Open Art Competition, open to anyone, anywhere with any artistic medium.

Entry is free, so if anyone is interested, please drop me a line.

The competition is based on the following lovely poem:

maggie and milly and molly and may

by E. E. Cummings

maggie and milly and molly and may
went down to the beach (to play one day)

and maggie discovered a shell that sang
so sweetly she couldn't remember her troubles,and

milly befriended a stranded star
whose rays five languid fingers were;

and molly was chased by a horrible thing
which raced sideways while blowing bubbles:and

may came home with a smooth round stone
as small as a world and as large as alone.

For whatever we lose (like a you or a me)
it's always ourselves we find in the sea

Huge thank you to York Cameramart for donating lots of lovely goodies to our cause, and huge thank you to Laura for helping me with the posters and thank you in advance to the rest of the team who will be helping me blitz the country with posters.

closing date is 31st October, so get creating!

Friday, 28 August 2009

So Nat and myself ventured out into West Yorkshire this week to have a gander at some galleries and pick up some cheap craft materials. It was a shame not more people could make it but hopefully we’ll get over there again at some point!

We started off in Leeds, and sadly the main Gallery was closed, but we had a look around the Craft Centre and Design Gallery in which there were some very impressive etchings and pieces of jewellery such as the piece above by Susie Perring, here’s a link to the website…

We then headed over to Dewsbury and met up with the curator from Options Create, an arts community Centre, set up by the fusing of P.H.A.B charity (physically handicapped and able bodied) and Serendipity Arts to create a space for art activities for the community – very similar to Space 109 in York. We chatted about what the Hidden Tentacle are wanting to achieve as a collective, and are hoping to support one another in the future – possibly by collaborating with workshops, or putting forward work to display in the centre. Here’s a link to their website:

Then we took a bus to Huddersfield and had a look around a gallery there in which there were some pieces of interest – some vibrant textile pieces and a couple of landscape paintings that we appreciated, however there were quite a lot of contemporary pieces of work that we found a bit inaccessible, amplified by the jargon used in the paragraphs alongside the pieces trying to outline the artists intentions. That aside, it was definitely worth a visit!

So overall, a really good day! If we get the chance to go over again it would be good to get to the Holmfirth Postcard Museum Graham mentioned, and perhaps the Dean Clough gallery in Halifax which always has a good selection of exhibitions on…

Friday, 21 August 2009

Banksy vs the Bristol Museum

Benji Corless

Banksy is an artist that needs no introduction. If you do need that introduction, perhaps you should try google or wikipedia and if not knowing what those two sites are is the problem, perhaps continue reading on. A two-minute search will summon perhaps the largest photographic collection of his work that one could imagine. Street artist and Culture jammer, Banksy’s work now has to be the most readily available of its kind in the world, thanks to this exhibition. My mum even wants his prints.


The exhibition is Banksy’s ‘invasion’ of the Bristol Museum, an artistic pilgrimage to his creative upbringing. Here the public queues for two hours, desperate to clamber inside. The whole of Bristol has come out for the event, even the Oxfam bookshop is selling stickers and books trying to bleed off his success. Sorry delete that last sentence, I meant to say ‘trying to celebrate his success’. The museum has allowed Banksy to create an epic gallery of his work from the last ten years, filling rooms, altering existing exhibits and replacing statues with quirky replicas. The exhibition is a great stunt of advertising, allowing the artist to demonstrate his achievements to the masses whilst helping the museum to become less like a morgue without the interesting corpses kicking around.


Although the rooms dedicated to his work are clearly what require reviewing, it’s the rest of the museum that’s far more thought provoking. The upstairs of the museum remains largely untouched, save for a few carefully placed canvasses and alterations to existing pieces. One can wander the stuffed animals, the Japanese porcelain and the local artists rooms but the careful observer can find some hidden wit amongst the boredom. Some will be content with the wheel clamped gyspy caravan or the painterly renaissance images filled with flying saucers. Although some pieces display excellent attention to detail, they appear like ‘easy’ creations, perhaps akin to a schoolboy adding a moustache to a text book.


Occasionally one sees the true genius. The dildo amongst the stalactites, the pokemon cards with the Japanese paraphernalia or the price tag on the Egyptian sarcophagus. These gems aren’t the pieces that everyone photographs nor are they noticed as art. I felt cheered to have discovered them amongst the tat just as I would have at school with the textbooks, and that’s what makes them special. Perhaps these pieces aren’t clever or intelligent, but instead they take an intelligent search to find them. But what else do these hidden pieces mean? They show the joyful Banksy, the one who tries to encourage the public to look further, and to experience the world around us. They appear odd in places, almost indistinguishable from the previous exhibits. They draw the ludicrous from realty and help push it further. Personally I have no idea what the museum was like before the exhibition and in that respect, they certainly have got people through their cobwebbed doors, but it also helped me to actually look at the exhibits, hoping to find something special. Yet the best pieces are often those not attached to the Banksy exhibition, the ones tht Banksys additions hide between; monkey’s anus pointed at us, or the children’s images of Dragons in the Japanese section.


With the previous example in mind, we shall now talk about the rest of the exhibition. Thousands of people with cameras. In a way, that’s what the exhibition became to me at points. One often had the feeling that you were being led around the incredible cavern of images by portable strobe lights. Most of the stencils were previously seen works, presented in full with cut chunks of wall or replicated on giant canvases. Here we can see the real artistry, the intricate lines, and the attention to fine details, the lack of drips. A portion of the main room was filled with a caged area, a recreation of his work space, filled with ideas, sketches, and used stencils. The room was a cartoonised representation of his mind, keeping his real self amorphous and interesting yet helping to convey his youthful aesthetic. Over the room plays a tape of a radio interview about Banksy as an artist/vandal. Played over the installation, one clearly has to see the man as a rapscallion, doodling in school and not meaning any harm, indeed if his works meant anything, they clearly meant to show us that he wanted us to be awakened from our own hazy school dream bubbles.


The main atrium was filled with his New York animatronic pieces. Robotized hotdogs, fur coats and chicken dippers, all appear locked in a forlorn pet shop prison.  Simple movements flop them to-and-fro, giving the puppets just enough to trick the viewer. Flashing cameras and smiling tourists aside, the pieces were scary, downbeat and moving. Banksy wants to convey a message with his work, one that he wants accessible to all. Perhaps most only saw the fame in that room but I personally felt an eerie urge for vegetarianism.


I could go on for hours about specific pieces and things that I saw. If you want to know more I’m sure the internet has it all catalogued somewhere and the gallery is free until late august. To close, I thought I would discuss a few things kicking around my head as I wandered the museum floor. Banksy’s work was once looked at for being silently on the nose and hitting political points in a very simple manner, hence the stencils. They gained him popularity and allowed him to create much larger and more important work such as the animatronics that I previously mentioned, but now he is infamous. He was underground, he was street and he was anonymous and he still is all those things. Or is he? The success of hs work is no bad thing and he has become a pop culture icon, yet can he still produce the same hard hitting pieces when his work is sold at auction for millions? Can he still hit home in the same way now that people fight for photographs of something that we can all go see for free? His work feels less important now he has broken into the art scene but his goal is clearly to make art accessible, shown through the lack of entrance fee and his causal donning of art on public walls. However, his struggle to make art less stuffy seems to go over many people’s heads. I admire him for wanting to make it accessible and evocative and I feel it’s a shame that so many people are too blinded by their camera phones in their faces to see that something’s going on.

Banksy’s group knows what they are doing. By pumping out the cheap shots at the government or defiling incredible paintings they keeps his profits rising, but you only need to look at the incredible masterwork in his ‘apes in parliament’ image above to see that he is putting his money back into his craft. But can he do anything wrong? Praises will arrive one way or another from both sides but until then, I’ll have to keep pushing past the teenagers with iphones rapping about how clever he is, at least until he does something the morons in the Oxfam bookshop hate.

Hidden Tentacle Website!

Well I have been working really hard to make a website these last few weeks, it isn't entirely finished, but it's worth checking out so do go and take a gander - the link is on the list opposite.


Tuesday, 18 August 2009

Hidden Tentacle Taking over West Yorkshire!

We are now planning a trip to the Options Create Center in Dewsbury on Wednesday the 26th August because it looks interesting and a useful contact to have.

Then we thought, while we're in the region, if we get a cheap day ticket for the bus, we can go all over that region, so why not go and look at some galleries in Leeds and Huddersfield as well?

Graham wanted to see the Postcard Museum in Huddersfield, and since that is where I come from, why not go there too?!

Watch this space to read about how our mini-adventure goes!

Sunday, 2 August 2009

Made in Yorkshire Day

We had our stall at the Made in Yorkshire festival on parliament street yesterday. It rained and it rained and it rained some more. We did, however, manage to actually make some money, we sold a few cards and prints and some other things too so all in all, it was worth it - looking forward to the next event!

Wednesday, 29 July 2009

Thursday, 23 July 2009

Photography Workshop

We had our first photography workshop this morning in the museum gardens, great fun had by all! Everyone had a go at being in front of and behind the camera and there were loads of really good ideas floating around. We will be putting some pictures up as soon as we can so watch this space...

Sunday, 19 July 2009

Upcoming Events

A few things we have in the works are:

  • Yorkshire Day - York Parliament street 1st august
  • Photography Workshop - Museum Gardens 23rd July
  • Hidden Tentacle group trip to Whitby - TBC
  • Felting Workshop - TBC
  • Art discussion group - Monday 27th July
If anyone is interested in joining in any of these things, please feel free to drop us a line.


We will be having our first Hidden Tentacle workshop on Thursday 23rd July, this workshop will be a practical photography session led by Graham at the museum gardens.

If this workshop is a success, we will be holding open to the public sessions in the future - so watch this space!

you can find Graham's work on

Tuesday, 7 July 2009

Market stall - 5th July

well we had our market debut on Sunday 5th of July in Newgate Market in York. It was an interesting experiment to find out what the public thinks of our work, I found it very helpful to be able to talk to the public about what we are doing and who we are. There were some very positive responses and lots of people stopped to talk to us - including other stall holders, who were for the most part very intrigued and full of practical advice for us for next time (and there will be a next time - watch this space!)

The display itself looked really good with Ben's prints hung from the top, clothes down the sides and a varied assortment of things on the stand itself. Jewellery went down well, and nearly everybody stopped to admire the rag door curtain - children especially had a fantastic time playing with that!

We will be displaying and selling at the Made in Yorkshire Fair next month on Parliament street in York, and we are looking for any craft fairs or local village fetes where we can get a space - so any suggestions, please feel free to tell us!

Saturday, 20 June 2009

Workshops and Contact Details

If anyone out there is interested in learning about any of the techniques we're using, please don't hesitate to contact us. I am planning to hold a felting workshop in York sometime in the near future, but since we're going to do this outdoors, I need the weather to clear up!

Or if you have any ideas for us (venues to display in, commissions, upcoming events - anything!)

You can e-mail the group on


Hey, we are now exhibiting some of our work in Fudies on Walmgate in York so go have a look! While you're there sample some of the weird and wonderful rare meats they have on offer!


Sunday, 14 June 2009

A few photographs....

Hello everyone :) This is Rachael, i like to play with cameras and oil paint (usually separately), here are a few of my photographs......

Ill try to get some pictures of my paintings uploaded as soon as i have some decent images of them!

Friday, 12 June 2009

Art Sale

We have decided on the 5th of July to rent a stall on the open market in york to try and sell a few things so watch this space! (or if anyone reading this wants to come and have a look on the day - please do!) :D

Tuesday, 9 June 2009

A Few Samples of Work

Well I've finally gotten round to taking some pictures of a few pieces of work (thanks again, Rachael!) so here they are - this is mostly new stuff from the last few weeks - now that i have my sewing machine back I've been working on it non-stop!

Thursday, 4 June 2009


Hi everyone, it's Katherine, just to let you know I have an etsy page ( and that one of my pieces has been chosen to go on the front page of !!
See it ""


You can also currently see my Bicycle print at York College exhibition.
Katherine xx

Thursday, 21 May 2009

Nature through Holga

Hey guys!
Benji again... :)
Just posted my first flickr images
what do you think? 
Im thinking of printing them for our show!

Love to hear your thoughts...


First Post!

Benji here posting again, just thought i would keep the ball 
rolling! Please check out our first image uploads at the link below
, they are from the wonderful Katherine Mayger.

As a little update we are currently awaiting our logo and that will be 
showcased shortly! Look forward to some market stalls and coffee 
house viewings soon!

Katherine Mayger

Wednesday, 20 May 2009

The Beginning...

Hey there!
This is a blog from Yorks Hidden Tentacle art group.
Hear that? its silence, savour it while you can.


Monday, 18 May 2009

Anybody out there?

The creation of the Hidden Tentacle came about when an unemployed artist sat in her living room wondering how she could make some money out of her work and after making a few enquiries found nothing but roadblocks.

"There must be others like me out there" she thought, and out of curiosity posted an ad online, reaching out to others. The response was slow at first, but once posters were put up around town, all sorts of like minded artists came out of hiding, there are now up to about 15 members in the group.

The idea was to swap skills and advice and penetrate the dark and hidden artistic community of York, hold exhibitions, sell some work and generally celebrate local talent. We weren't entirely sure where to go with it, but it has developed naturally through our collaborative efforts, and the group identity we created became "The Hidden Tentacle".

Now the group is in the process of designing some business cards and flyers and a manifesto to really set the group in motion. We are looking at a showcase of work next month, and renting a market stall for a day to test the waters and see what we can sell.

The girl sitting in her living room is now busier and more inspired than ever and slightly overwhelmed at the support and enthusiasm of everyone involved - even the city council being fully behind our efforts. The sky is the limit.