Saturday, 9 November 2013

Decorated Armour

Most of these images are of Italianate parade armour from the Wallace Collection. The penultimate image is from a poster advertising the area round Hastings - I assume the picture is of a piece of public sculpture - it seems to feature a decorated metal tunic with images of the area etc.
The last image is from the Museum of African Art in Washington DC - it's a soldier's tunic from the Boer War which the soldier decorated themselves with scenes (presumably from observation).

I've been collecting these in preparation for some new armour paintings.

Sunday, 22 September 2013

Williamsburg Murals

There's plenty of painting on public display in Brooklyn - ranging from hasty tags and stenciled pieces of street art to laboriously rendered commercial advertisements, many of which give photorealist studio painters a run for their money. The ongoing evolution and re-energising of the age-old practice of painting on walls is fascinating, and it's good to see such skillfully executed work. It is interesting that even the commercial pieces are respected by other artists - I didn't see any that were painted over. The hand-made nature of the works seems to confer a value that is lacking from the printed billboard, and perhaps a longevity too. The advertiser who is paying for a hand-painted mural has to think more carefully about what to put up, as it can't be changed in a few weeks time.

Wednesday, 14 August 2013

Maiden England

I got along to see Iron Maiden recently at the O2, and spotted some fantastic battle jackets in the crowds - here's a few examples. Thanks to everyone who let us photograph their handiwork, and for permission to use the images. There should be some paintings to follow from these.

This jacket features a great range of bands - from the classic metal of Motorhead and Maiden through 1980s thrash of Slayer and Megadeth to new wave West Coast punk of Offspring and even 90s rappers Cypress Hill. Not forgetting some classic British rock from Queen, Pink Floyd etc. and goth instigators Sisters of Mercy are also represented. It's good to see a jacket that reveals the range of its owner's record collection. I also like the symmetry of the patches on the back, with good balance between the round patches in the four 'corners' and even spacing between the elements. And of course the badges - an old skool touch!

Like the previous example, this jacket features an eclectic range of bands - select a track from each of the bands here and you'd have a pretty good playlist charting much of the history of (mainly British) mainstream rock and metal. The small patches on the front are in many different shapes and sizes with the result that its owner has chosen to space them across the garment rather than fit them tightly together. This gives some good visual rhythm and keeps things interesting.

This jacket is in a minority in that the sleeves have been left attached. The advantage of this is that there more space for patches! The back of the jacket leaves us in no doubt about the owner's favourite band. Most of Maiden's best known albums are represented, with a couple of more recent additions as well. The front side opens things up a bit to include a wider range, from Pink Floyd to Kiss, Motorhead and Alice Cooper. The main back patch features one of my favourite pieces of Maiden artwork - on the way back from the gig I met a (very drunk) Swedish metal fan who had an excellent version of this tattooed on his arm. Well done sir!

Monday, 24 June 2013

Motorcycle Cultures Exhibition and Conference 4-6th July

I'll be showing some of the new 'Battle Jacket' paintings in this exhibition opening next week at the Triangle Space, Chelsea College of Art and Design, London.

Wednesday, 8 May 2013

Aegis - ASC Window Space 04/05/13 - 05/06/13

I am currently showing work at the ASC Window Space, London SE1 - more info here:


May 4, 2013 - June 5, 2013

tel: +44 (0)20 7274 7474
ASC Window Space
Erlang House, 128 Blackfriars Road, London, SE1 8EQ, UK

According to Homer’s Iliad, the aegis was a mythical piece of armour bestowed by the gods Zeus and Athena, bearing an image of the head of Medusa and offering divine protection. In common usage the term has come to mean a source of protection offered by a powerful benefactor.
These paintings depict suits of armour both as historic and cultural objects and as symbols of power, identity and disguise.
Tom Helyar-Cardwell’s practice sits within a tradition of contemporary object painting, with direct reference to the still life painting of the Northern Renaissance. Objects from various periods in cultural history are chosen for their potential to carry multi-layered meanings. These items are re-presented through painting as sites for symbolic narratives that reflect on the societies that produce and value them.
Helyar-Cardwell studied MA Fine Art at Wimbledon College of Art, and is currently undertaking practice-based PhD research in painting at Chelsea College of Art & Design.

Saturday, 20 April 2013

Paint Club: A Visual Symposium

I'll be participating in the upcoming Paint Club Visual Symposium at Beaconsfield, London on Friday 26th April. The symposium is accompanied by an exhibition which will be open for viewing from 6-8pm. 

Paint Club is a research network based at University of the Arts London, which gives the following definition of its aims: Painting here is defined as an expanded field that relates to the specific histories and traditions of painting. Our activities publicly explore and debate what it means to research painting within the context of contemporary art practice. 

More info about Paint Club here

Wednesday, 20 March 2013

Visual Research

Some of my recent paintings based on 'Battle Jackets' that were shown recently at the Visual Research exhibition at Chelsea College of Art.

Tom Helyar-Cardwell Manowar 2012 38 x 26 cms Watercolour on Paper

Tom Helyar-Cardwell Iron Maiden 2013 38 x 26 cms Watercolour on Paper

Tom Helyar-Cardwell Sabbat 2013 38 x 26 cms Watercolour on Paper

Tom Helyar-Cardwell Amebix 2012 38 x 26 cms Watercolour on Paper