Alastair Duncan – Founder
The creator and developer of StillWalks, Alastair has been working with photography throughout his working life and, since the 1990s, with the expanding area of interactive digital media. This has included animation, video and sound recording amongst others. These techniques have been at the heart of many of the projects Alastair has worked on with schools and communities in South Wales but it is the approach and experience he brings to his personal work as a visual artist that has made the projects unique.
“I originally trained as a tapestry weaver. When I discovered tapestry weaving at art college, I fell instantly in love with it – I found it so exciting. However, it took me the best part of ten years to come properly to terms with the mental requirements of weaving as well as the technical skill necessary. The textures, patterns and colours of weaving are what most interested me about tapestry weaving and this is still the case with my production of StillWalks. I have always used photography (first film and now digital) towards the designing and making of my work as well as in many interactive projects but it is not until now that I have used it as an end in itself, albeit for StillWalks.”
Alastair is often asked where he comes from and will reply Britain – “I was born in Scotland, grew up in Northern Ireland, trained in England and lives and works in Wales!”
This background is reflected in the themes of his work both in tapestry weaving and digital media. His early tapestries often reflected his love of the mountain landscape in Northern Ireland and subsequently South Wales. His later use of barbed wire in weaving and digital prints harks back to his period spent in Northern Ireland in the ’60s and ’70s but now has a wider influence of conflict – personal and social.
“The themes in my earlier work have fed through to my current work with StillWalks and my StillWalks Interventions – i.e. my thoughts on conflict and my interest in the landscape and texture. The processes of developing ideas and pieces of work, whether “one off” tapestries and prints or StillWalks, are the reasoning and compulsion behind an artist’s work. The development of the ideas are both therapeutic and cathartic. Although the Interventions I have produced are not likely to be popular and are certainly not relaxing, they are very important to me and are the starting point for my work with StillWalks which, ultimately, I just want people to enjoy and relax to ‘anytime, anywhere’.”
Alastair’s tapestry and design work can be seen at www.alastair-duncan.com. Some of his work with schools can be seen at www.leaptransition.acmd.co.uk and www.vt4schools.acmd.co.uk. He has also produced many large scale communal tapestries with schools throughout South Wales and many interactive CD ROMs and DVDs with schools and communities.