Starting out as a simple way to help unclog my easily overactive, overstimulated and overwhelmed brain, the idea was a personal one…


#FindTheColour had it’s first official public launch in May 2020. However, the project has been in ‘development’ and has been an idea that has weaved it’s way through a fair amount of my creative practise for over five years! Since a research trip to the beautiful and colourful city of Barcelona in 2014.

Starting out as a simple way to help unclog my easily overactive, overstimulated and overwhelmed brain, the idea was a personal one. A quick route to simple grounding and mindfulness and something that would work with – not interrupt – the exciting chaos of visiting a major cultural hotspot in the middle of an open-artist-studios event and massive music festival.

I painted strips of watercolour paper with some gouache paints that I had bought from a local art shop, popped the strips in my pocket and out they came whenever I thought I found a colour match.

The photos below show six of my favourite matches. I took hundreds of photos over the course of my two weeks in the city.


While in Barcelona I was in the midst of a different project. One involving owls. Golden owls, to be exact. Inspired by Leeds – a city famous for its golden owl trail – my #AltOwlTrail was designed as a physical/digital game of hide and seek.

In early 2014 I had hidden 80 handmade golden clay owls across Leeds city centre, each with a tag that read:

The little owls have taken flight,
they really love to see the sites.
This little owl would like you to
move it on to someplace new

The game really took flight, and within just a few days the owls were turning up not just in Leeds, but in the wider West Yorkshire area. So it made total sense to make more for the Barcelona trip!

I gave 80 Golden Owls to Barcelona and in return the city gave me the inspiration to develop the ‘Spectrum Owls’!

With the #AltOwlTrail ongoing, and Golden Owls now appearing all over the UK, Europe and even one reaching Canada, I got about making a further 80 owls! This time painting each one a different colour.
The ‘Spectrum Owls’ took flight at the 2015 Kirkstall Art Trail.


Later in 2015 I took part in an artist residency programme in Warrington. Warrington cannot really be compared to Barcelona, especially not in colour! But the muted and industrial colours of the the town still inspired a wish to discover more. It was as the Pyramid and Parr hall that the first batch of colour tags were made:

As a ‘side-project’ to my main work for Warrington, these tags were made without a budget and without access to much in the way of materials. Using penny-washers, paperclips, stickers and varnish I made these up, gave out about five of them…

…and then they went in a box.

Since 2015 I have had these tags and this project in my mind but have been unsure just what to do with them. 2016 flew by, 2017 and 2018 I worked full-time for Thought Bubble Festival and in 2019 I suffered some huge unexpected blows to my health. Then came 2020…

In a previous post called #FindTheColour and Mindfulness I wrote:

Launching this project actually happened on a whim. I had the tags but was “saving” them (basically procrastinating), wanting to wait until I had finalised every detail to make it “perfect”.

…2020, the year everyone got grounded. The very sudden start of an almost forced digital decade and a time of sudden utter chaos and absolutely horrendous boredom.

A time that felt right for something small, something colourful and something positive. So, imperfections and all, I launched the project under the title #FindTheColour and the game began.


Keep an eye out for my next blog, coming soon, that details how the game has evolved from it’s first launch in May 2020 to the second stage in August 2020.

Randomly selected colour tags are sent out to colour-hunters.
The colour-hunters mission is simple; look for items in your home, on your walks and in your day to day life that match the colour of your tag. Take a photo of the tag near the item to show the colour match, then send the photo to me.

You can find more information on how to play here.

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