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Today I had the pleasure of speaking with Eccles resident, Malcolm Duffin who has just won the First Prize at the Association International Duane des les Arts in Catalonia, Spain with a triptych  called Act On.

Here are Malcolm's words to describe the process of creating the artwork

" Act on" uses Anne Brontë's poem "Lines Composed In A Wood On A Windy Day" as a starting point to explore my own yearnings for nature and physical freedom in a time of contagion and pandemic lockdown. 

I live on the edge of the Pennine moors which Anne Brontë inhabited and I have felt their presence throughout my life. "Act On" (a pun on both Anne Brontë's 'pen name' and also the process of constructing this print) consist of a triptych of 3 miniature dry point landscapes (Sea/Moor/Wood) printed onto Snowdon 300 gsm paper that is blind embossed and imbued with materials found in places associated with Anne Brontë's life (Haworth, Scarborough). Additionally, the carborundum used in the dry point was mixed with soils from those locations. 

Due to lockdown travel restrictions, these material were submitted by residents of those communities following a social media appeal. In doing so the physical creation of the work has been an act of resistance and hope by people against the virus and its impact on our lives. It is a recollection of the landscapes both Anne and I know well is physically imbued with their spirit and memory"

Speaking to Malcolm you are immediately struck with the passion he has for his work, telling me that he works in the cellar at home since the covid lockdown and is currently working on a planned exhibition, Viral Portraits.

At the start of the covid pandemic he asked on his Facebook page for 100 photo submissions which he intends turning into portraits which will be etched onto steel plates,100 days being the amount of time the Hot Bed Press in Salford where Malcolm was working was closed.

"The Covid pandemic hit me hard and by altering and changing the submitted portraits once etched, with nails or abrasive tools to represent the virus which has contaminated the world  so it's actually a portrait of the virus.

 "I set myself the rule I'd only use things found around the house during lockdown to make the etchings. So Ruby is drawn with a needle cutting into an aluminium plate. Another aluminium plate (the virus) is created with bleach, drain cleaner, carborundum, a Dremmel drill, metal comb etc etc. 

"This is very random and expressive. I've even left a few outside to the elements. the portrait is then inked and printed on prepared paper and immediately afterwards I 'infect' the image with the other plate. Then colour pink is used as outside my studio when lockdown happened the trees were full of pink cherry blossom which billowed through the air., somehow felt innocuous  and innocent and made the hidden virus all the more sinister."

When completed the plates will hopefully be used in an exhibition in a public place, a forest of faces, swinging in the breeze, a reminder of the hell we are living through, reminiscent of the walls of faces that loved ones pasted up after 9/11 or the Tsunami tragedies in the hope of finding them.

All in all an intriguing prospect and an intriguing artist who I am fascinated by and I am certain you will, for further info look on Malcolm's website

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