In September 2019 I was delighted to be approached by Artobotic Art Takeaway inviting me to contribute work to their Brexit Art Machine. Artobotic convert disused vending machines to dispense miniature artworks at reasonable prices. The machines' liveries are given an overhaul by selected artists, loaded up with little artworks in boxes, and pop up at various locations and events across the UK. Brexit Art Machine travelled to Westminster as one of its locations to dispense art made in response to Brexit - appropriately, outside the Houses of Parliament.
I was very excited to be included, miniatures and very small works are of great interest to me - but how to get political with my work in an appropriate way for the machines? I knew I had to do it my own way, and began to chew it over. Then one day I was flicking through one of my notebooks from 2013 and my eye rested on a page containing a small drawing. It consisted of a diagram with speech bubbles and symbols radiating from a classic Scottish fairisle knitting pattern; on top of this I had pasted a semi-transparent piece of tissue with a drawing of a sprawling star shape made with tiny looping marks to resemble knitting stitches. Looking at it in a fresh light, I thought it looked like a confused flag. Always amused by a good paradox, I realised I had my theme for Brexit Art Machine, and so it went from there.
The flags I made for the vending machines all measure 100 x 65mm, but the work was so interesting that when I received the invitation to submit work for Open Eye Gallery's On a Small Scale exhibition in November I moved onto making A5 sized flags with more layers and detail. The four pictured above are the results.
There is a really good, comprehensive article on Artobotic at Art Scotland if you would like to know the full story of the machines and how they came to be, and how to submit work if you would like to join the project.