It’s been a long time since I last posted news and a lot as happened. Not least of all setting up a new studio and learning to cope with the pandemic.

End of 2020, I took up the challenge to prepare a major new artwork for the 2021, Torre Abbey Spring Open, in Torquay and their first exhibition following Lockdown.

During the pandemic I’ve been busy developing a theme which has evolved from digital art I prepared for a CD album by Microdeform and ideas for a book after joining a writing group.

The image above shows the completed piece in my studio, before being installed at Torre Abbey from 19th May until 27th June. It’s a multi-media work which includes painting, sculpture (created from recycled card) collage (from my extensive collection of architectural magazines) and lighting effects (go see the exhibition!)

To coincide with the exhibition I published a novel, Neuworld, now available as paperback and ebook, through Amazon.

It’s taken many months of work and I hope visitors will enjoy the result. I’m now hoping to find a venue to exhibit the many painting, drawings and collage works, which have been part of the journey and lead on to the second book in the series, CrashCity.

1st June 2021

Alphelion Presents
















This is artwork prepared for the Aphelion Studio Presents concert featuring Chicaloyoh and Terrine (both from France) and Twin, due to play the Cafe Kino, Bristol, on 21st August 2015.

Aphelion Studio

Wow! The last twelve months have flown by!

I took time out to build a sound studio for Liam, which he moved into early this year.

The Aphelion studio has been named after the second Microdeform tape album, which was released by Zam Zam Recordings

( available on-line

We look forward to hearing music recorded in the studio and which will be released on a new independent Aphelion label.


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In anticipation of the launch I worked on ideas for the new record label. Initial ideas in pencil (see above) where developed in acrylic on canvas (below)




New Directions

It has been a while since I posted on this section of our website.

Those of you returning to the site will have immediately noted changes to the home page.

Two new links have appeared, which will help explain what we’ve been up to since you last visted the site.

Suzanne and I have been deeply immersed in a new venture: illustrated books for children.

We have put together a new section, called Silent Room Books, which we hope provides an insight into our work.

So, I am taking a rest from organising exhibition’s of artwork until we have nailed a publishing deal.

Feverishly putting together sketches, drawings and paintings  for an alarming number of different stories.

Still enjoying the occassional diversion: a poster for recent concert at Cafe Kino (see below)




Bristol Art Prize

We have had a busy summer. Suzanne and I have been working on a children’s book project. We hope to share progress with you in our next blog.

I received an invitation to participate in the Bristol Art Prize. I confess I was reluctant at first as the subject matter seemed too restrictive. The purpose of the competition is to celebrate the many interesting places in the city and represent the spirit of Bristol in 2013. Clearly no one place can represent Bristol.  Arguably, the Clifton suspension bridge is the best known, although it represents the past.  Some places have a natural attraction such as the harbourside and historic buildings. The competition organisers allocated a location by ballot. So receiving Cabot Circus was something of a challenge!

My work tends to be abstract, exploring form, colour, texture: the way the paint interacts with the surface. Early ideas searched for a way into the subject and this was through interesting reflections. As you will see it turned out to be a more formal painting: a surreal, child’s vision of Cabot Circus.

Circus comes to Town
Circus comes to Town

This is my first painting competition since I was a school boy. I hope you enjoy the end result. All the entries are being displayed on-line at  and, if selected, will be displayed at the new gallery, the former Bristol Guildhall and Assize Courts, in October.


Akila Pop-Up Art Space

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An Exhibition of work by The Silent Room Studio has opened in the Akila Pop-Up Art Space located on the ground floor of The Galleries, Broadmead in Bristol, from 19th June until 30th June.

It features new work by Lucy Browne, including figurines, multi-media prints by Holly Drewett, Cyantype images from Sophie Willoughby and water colours by Ian McConaghy.

There are also prints and cards by the artists, as well as a variety of art and craft works in the Akila shop


Summer Exhibition by The Silent Room Studio

Summer Exhibition poster web pdf

Four artists from The Silent room Studio will be exhibiting new work at the Akila pop-up Art Space in The Galleries, Broadmead, Bristol.

There will be a chance to see new work from Lucy Browne, Holly Drewett, Sophie Willoughby and Ian McConaghy.

The Exhibition starts on Wednesday 19th June and runs until Sunday 30th June 2013.

Opening times 11am until 6pm daily, except Sunday 12am until 5pm.


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The Space, Time and Identity Exhibition private view was a great success.
We appreciate the help of our friends and family in setting up the show, providing support and encouragement.
Thank you to everyone who was able to join us on the night.
We would like to offer a special thank you to our special guest Professor James Ladyman, Head of the Philosophy Department at Bristol University. We will look at snowflakes very differently from now on…..
We enjoyed the live performance of music by Microdeform. I understand that a CD containing live performances will be released soon. We will keep you informed.
The Exhibition which opened on 5th April will run until Wednesday 10th April, 11am till 7pm.

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Artist interview: Sophie Willoughby

This weeks interview is with artist Sophie Willoughby.

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Dancers by Sophie Willoughby

How and when did you decide to become an artist?

I grew up with artistic parents so creativity was always encouraged and has continued to be an important part of my life. However, it wasn’t until a while after I had completed my fine art degree that I actually decided to pursue being an artist.

You visited India, an extraordinary country. How do you think that experience influenced your work?
I wouldn’t say the experience influenced my work directly, but most people I have spoken to who have traveled there feel it had an impact on their lives.

India has such vibrant and diverse cultures. It is an intense, weird and wonderful place that can make you smile and laugh, but also make you want to scream.

Traveling through the country your senses are bombarded with clashing smells, colours and noise.

Scrumptious street food everywhere, fragrant chai, aromatic scents from the flower markets all mixed up with traffic fumes, rubbish and sewers. The colours are vivid; women’s saris, piles of pigments in the markets and painted billboards. The noise is constant – they use their horns as indicators and like to shout a lot.

The poverty is very humbling and you are never alone in India.

Which artists have inspired you most?

There isn’t one particular artist who inspires me as I am inspired and influenced by all sorts of artists for different reasons. At the moment I have become particularly drawn to the work of Sarah Moon. She is a contemporary photographer but uses traditional processes.

Your current work is screen printing and photographic images. Do you always use the same medium? How would you describe your methodology?

I don’t always use the same medium to make art but photographic image extends through the majority of my work.
My work is process driven and this is why I am particularly interested in printmaking and photography. I have always been drawn to photography, but rather than working with straight photographs, I prefer to use a more hands on approach and to try out different methods of portraying image. Printmaking also gives you a good scope to experiment with different techniques and styles of image making.
I am keen on combining old and new processes, such as digital photographs converted into cyanotypes and have used super 8 film converted into digital images.

I also like to make collages and often use these as a starting point. I collect a lot of found imagery and am attracted to strange or melancholy imagery. In the past I have also experimented with installations.

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Fox by Sophie Willoughby

What influences do you have outside of the art world?

I collect a wide variety of ephemera. This extends to second hand books, magazines, postcards and interesting pieces of found material.
I enjoy the freedom of dance, foreign places and films, although sometimes I find that the most interesting images come from our day to day life; noticing fresh things in a familiar background.

What music do you listen to on your ipod?

I’ve been told that I have quite an eclectic taste in music, and depending on what kind of work I am doing I will listen to different music.

For printing it will be quite upbeat, but if I’m working on the computer I’ll pick something more mellow. I used to play the piano so am attracted to the sound of piano music. I recently discovered Ludovico Einaudi who did the soundtrack to The Intouchables.

I like music by: :
Little Dragon, DJ Shadow, Belle and Sebastien, Massive Attack, James Brown, Ray Charles, Manu Chao, Nitin Sawney, Groove Armada. Bjork, Mr Scruff, RJD2, Buena Vista Social Club, Daft Punk, Dark Dark Dark, Gotan Project, Nightmares on Wax, Rodrigo y Gabriella and more….

What was the last exhibition you visited and what did you make of it?

The last exhibition I visited was a photography exhibitions at the V & A: Light from the Middle East.
The exhibition presented works by photographers who live in the region and diaspora. It was split into three categories: Recording, Reframing and Resisting which demonstrated the diversity of the medium and different approaches to similar concepts.

The subject matter of the show was based on areas of the world that we are familiar with, but mainly associate with conflict and negative news coverage. The show highlighted the complexity of the region and I enjoyed viewing the images from an art perspective and merit rather than concentrating on the clichés we often associate with the Middle East.

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Hands Berlin by Sophie Willoughby

How do you decide on your new subject/idea/themes?

I try to brainstorm and make lists, but the work usually develops through the practical process of producing work.
I have a bank of images that I go to for inspiration; these are both found and images from my personal archive. I generally take photographs on a regular basis, and after a reviewing of the results, am more comfortable to develop the ideas further. I gather inspiration both from my immediate surroundings and foreign places, and also use friends and family as subjects to reach a deeper meaning about what the image might represent.

How would you define good or bad art?

I think a lot of art is judged on personal taste and knowledge.
Personally, I consider good art to have good skill but also a good concept behind the work. If it hasn’t got either then I’d say that was bad art.

How do you see your work evolving during 2013? Do you have a specific goal for the future?

I’d like to become more experimental with printmaking, in both technique and display and to create installational works. I also want to develop my photographic skills and learn more alternative processes.

I hope to gain an MA and plan to apply for residencies.

museum of childhood

Museum of childhood by Sophie Willoughby
Thank you Sophie.

Next time we will intoduce our special exhibition guest: Professor James Ladyman

Artist Interview: Ian McConaghy

Thank you Lucy for providing us with some really interesting answers and giving an insight into your practice.

This week’s interview is with Ian McConaghy.

Erosion in blue

Erosion in Blue by Ian McConaghy

What is your earliest memory of painting and what was the subject?
I remember a painting lesson at primary school. I had recently visited the library and discovered Picasso. Somehow I incorporated cubist eyes into my painting and by the end of the lesson, so had most of the class.
I was about 12 when I first tried oil painting. My first subject was a red deer; a tiny painting.
At that time my confidence knew no bounds, so I next painted a Madonna and child, which was given as a wedding present to my Sunday school teacher.
When did you first decide to be an artist and why?
I think I have always thought of myself as an artist. While at primary school I broke my leg and was in a plaster cast for 9 months. In that time I just drew and drew.
Then when I was in the lower sixth at school I attended art lessons at the local art school in Plymouth. I remember the teacher tried to encourage me to go to the Slade School in London but meanwhile, I was offered a place to study architecture.
Which artist has inspired you the most and why?
It is so difficult to choose one artist. I won the art prize at school and received a book about modern artists. I was stunned by the abstract paintings of Wassily Kandinsky and found his work so original and intelligent. All these years later, I still find his approach relevant to my own preoccupation with improvisation.
Your current paintings are watercolours. Do you always use the same medium?
How would you describe your methodology?
At school I was afraid of watercolour painting and considered it too delicate and difficult to control. Instead I used gouache and later, experimented with oil painting. Throughout my career as an architect, although I probably drew with a pencil or pen most days, I only returned to painting two years ago. I enjoy experimenting with water colour: using a variety of methods to create abstract shapes and textures.
Last year I worked with acrylic on canvas inspired by the music of Microdeform and I plan to further develop my techniques in this medium.
Where do you get your ideas for paintings/subject matter?
The way I paint in watercolour is very intuitive. I usually have in mind only the structure and colours: ideas suggest themselves throughout the process of laying down colour and creating textures.
I carry out a process of defining detail by removal of paint or reinforcement of colour, adding of texture and marks. Sometimes things come together quickly or it can take many sessions. There comes a moment when I think the painting is complete and it is put aside and later reassessed. Some paintings are then scanned and reworked on the computer, and others may be used in a collage technique to create new images with a narrative.


Psycholandscape by Ian McConaghy
If you had the opportunity to work with one artist for a day who would it be and why?
I would have loved the opportunity to work with Wassily Kandinsky. Not only was he one of the most original and influential abstract painters, he also taught at the famous Bauhaus in Germany. The school was an extraordinary incubator for the development of art and architecture.
What was the last exhibition you visited and what did you think about it?
Matti Braun, Gost Log at the Arnofini Gallery Bristol. The exhibition was a retrospective spanning 15 years of artwork, ranging from paintings, prints and objects to installations.
I found the paintings the most interesting. They explore colour and abstract shapes. I felt that the installations stretched small ideas too thinly. This can be a problem for artists when they enter a sphere of activity, whether it is making a film or a construction, when lack of knowledge or expertise in that idiom struggles to support the central idea. Then we are left to judge the process or atmosphere rather than the artefact.
What are your major influences outside of art?
Given my career as an architect, architecture and the environment remain a strong influence. Music is also very important, together with world film, reference books and literature.
If you could have a night out with three famous people (dead or alive) who would they be and why? Where would you go?
I have chosen three extraordinary individuals who are artists but have had significant impact but in very different ways. Where would we meet? the restaurant at the top of the Eiffel Tower, perhaps?
Leonardo Da Vinci, the original renaissance-man. His talents were truly staggering. He painted perhaps the most famous painting of all-time, the Mona Lisa, but he was also a scientist, inventor and engineer: observed nature, considered flight and designed a canal.
Brian Eno, is also an artist but is better known for his musical influences: keyboard player with Roxy Music, producer for David Bowie and U2, promoter of ambient music, collaborator with David Byrne and Robert Fripp, as well as exhibiting art/light installations in galleries world-wide.
Yoko Ono, was an artist creating installations which John Lennon visited. Their marriage and honeymoon was used to promote Peace not War; arguably performance art. A woman vilified by thousands of Beatle fans who blamed her for breaking up the band and yet credited by John Lennon as writing Imagine (possibly Lennon’s most profound song).
How would you define good or bad art?
For me, good art should have a clear message, be well executed, appear complete and have a respect for the viewer. I hate lazy, poorly executed, half-baked ideas or copies of another artist’s work. I prefer art to be serious and meaningful, uplifting and beautiful. Although it can be dark and sinister, like a Francis Bacon painting, this has an original beauty. While the technique may suggest it is unfinished, it adds energy and is intended to shock and provoke the viewer.
How do you think your work will evolve this year? Do you have any big plans for 2013?
This year I want to arrange a number of exhibitions, each exploring new themes and visual techniques, working with others from the Silent Room studio.
The first will be Space, Time and Identity, which will feature work by Lucy Browne, Holly Drewett and Sophie Willoughby.
Later in the year I hope to put together another exhibition called Lines of Reason, which will feature drawing, printing and illustration, inspired by lyrics from songs.


Innerspace by Ian McConaghy

We can confirm that the Exhibition of work by Lucy Browne, Holly Drewett, Sophie Willoughby and Ian McConaghy, under the title: Space, Time and Identity, will take place from 4th April for one week until 11th April 2013. The private view will take place on Friday 5th April 2013.

Please contact:

EXHIBITION: Space, Time & Identity

Our first group exhibition will take place at Bristol’s Centrespace Gallery from 4th April until 11th April 2013.

We will confirm opening times and special events in due course.
Over the next few months we will publish interviews and information about the artists and the exhibition.
First under the spot light is Lucy Browne.

Head getting out of sand

Head getting out of sand by Lucy Browne

What is your earliest memory of painting?
I have been painting and drawing from a very young age. I don’t have a recollection of when I started it’s just something I have always done. I do remember feeling very free and content in my own little private world with a pencil or paintbrush in my hand.

When did you first decide to be an artist and why?
I never really had a moment of clarity, I certainly didn’t question why I was painting I just did it. When it came to choosing what I was going to do after school I knew that I wanted to carry on being creative but I never said I am going to be an artist when I grow up.
Painting has always been my tool for communication.

Which artist has inspired you the most and why?
So many artists inspire me. I have recently discovered the work of Enrico Baj, he is fantastic. I like his use of collage, humour and dark naivety.

I enjoy the vulgarity and humour of George Condo, I find his work very inspiring I feel a real connection with his use of garish characters and the intensity they can bring to the canvas.

I love the work of Chris Ofili, his use of colour and pattern is very exciting.
I love the work of Jake and Dino Chapman; their twisted ideas are very inspiring. There is something quite refreshing in their sinister stance on human kind. They also make me laugh.
Grayson Perry is an amazing artist who I find thought provoking and motivates me in my own work. I love the way he tells stories of the human conditioning, without being arrogant or condescending.

Your current paintings are acrylic on canvas. Do you always use the same medium?
I generally use acrylic; I like the malleability of it. I have been using different materials as forms of mark making within my work recently such as sewing and fabrics. I like the process of piercing the needle through the canvas, there is something quite final about the action and I like traditionality of it. I enjoy the way it transforms the textures and layers of the piece and create movement or heaviness that I couldn’t necessarily get from acrylic alone.

How would you describe your methodology?
I keep notes and sketch pads. Sometimes I see or hear things that I later jot down in a quick visual note form and then transfer the ideas on to canvas.

I am a creature of habit and can find myself adopting a certain style or method but it is always good to push your process and do something completely different; as it can change your creative outcome, which is the best way to learn and develop as an artist.


No by Lucy Browne

Where do you get your ideas for paintings/subject matter?
Gripes and annoyances
Things and stuff
Mundane everyday rituals
Bad magazines

Your paintings invariably contain people or characters. How much is derived from personal experience?
Most of my work comes from personal experience, whether that is an internal dialogue or from an actual event.
I find other peoples stories and experience can be of great value too.

Your work contains a lot of humour. Is there a direct influence from a particular comedian or comedy show? How do you want people to perceive your art?
Humour is of great importance to me. I think it is a very valuable way of dealing with things and the way in which it can stop things from becoming too precious or “poor me”.

I also like the way humour can have a dark edge; where sarcasm or an element of underlying tongue and cheek can say so much without having to be over the top or too dramatic.
There is so much to laugh at anyway.

What are your major influences outside of art?
The people I love, music and walking.

How would you define good or bad art?

How do you think your work will evolve this year? Do you have any big plans for 2013?
I haven’t got a clue how my work will evolve and I prefer it that way. If I tried to plan what direction it will take it would become contrived and it would annoy me.

My Boo Hoo is bigger than your Boo Hoo

My Boo Hoo is bigger than your Boo Hoo by Lucy Browne

HAPPY NEW YEAR (originally posted 03/01/2013)

A HAPPY NEW YEAR to our friends and blog readers.
We have plans for a number of exhibitions and events this year.
Four members of the SILENT ROOM studio, based at Hamilton House in Bristol:
Lucy Browne, Holly Drewett, Sophie Willoughby and Ian McConaghy, are planning an exhibition for April 2013.
The group propose to explore through paintings, screen prints and photographs, giving their own personal response, in an exhibition titled: SPACE, TIME and IDENTITY.
During the coming weeks and leading up to the exhibition, we will interview each artist, glimpse behind the scenes and take a peek at their work.

Mortlake Exhibition (originally posted 14/12/2012)

As the year draws to a close it seems appropriate to look back at significant events.
In August we had an Exhibition: Mortlake. Inspired by the music of Microdeform and the debut album of the same name, the exhibition included artwork for the CD, together with screen prints and paintings. The Exhibition was held at Hamilton House in Bristol where we have a studio. Microdeform performed two live sets: the opening and closing nights.
Artwork from the exhibition will be added to the webstore.
We have plans for two new exhibitions in 2013: details will be posted soon.
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