I have 2 prints in Eastern Approaches at the Museum of St Albans, Hertfordshire from 2nd December until 2nd January.
I was able to collect my university pass on Monday, which meant that I could now access the library. I do a lot of my research online and often get frustrated at the limited information and imagery of performance/live art events. Looking through the catalogue of books I am really impressed with the variety of performance/live art titles they have. At the University of Salford they have two libraries that house the fine art collection, although it is possible to access the reference only books online.
Browsing the list of titles available I was grabbed by ‘Bad Reputation’, which contains performances, essays and interviews about the artist Penny Arcade aka Susan Ventura. Her colourful life story is documented in this book and interwoven into her performances. She was a runaway at 13, performed at the New York City Play-House at 17 and escaped from Andy Warhol’s Factory aged 19. She was performing in the NY gay scene in the 90’s whilst working in the daytime as a receptionist at a brothel. In her performances she is known for her dance breaks and talking directly to the audience.
Discovering Penny Arcade is a relief as I rarely find artists work I like or is linked in some way to my own practice. I am a big fan of Forced Entertainment’s work and thought they were the originators of talking to the audience, and dodgy dance routines then I discovered Penny. I am surprised that throughout all my reading around performance she has not come to my attention before. It does raise the questions of who and why certain artists get written into the history books and others left out. The book is written with such attitude and whilst I was reading it I kept imagining her NY, Italian accent.
Short video clip of Penny Arcade, Bitch! Dyke! Faghag! Whore!
I particularly like the portrait images of characters she has imitated. For example Andrea Whips a Warhol favourite, eccentric, who killed herself by jumping off the top of a building whilst holding a Barbie and can of coke. I am interested in Susan Ventura, imitating Penny Arcade, imitating Andrea Whips.
Since looking at the José Camarón piece, ‘An oriental (Turkish/Algerian) woman’ it has got me re-looking at some artist images I had taken off the Internet. The images are of famous female contemporary artists either framed in a real life situation or documented at a performance. I particularly like Tracey Emin’s leg and knickers shot as she holds her paintbrush. I have thought about re-enacting this image for a photograph. To expand on this collection of images I could project the images onto me. There is something about the ephemeral projected image that can’t be pinned down. The light that creates the image offers an openness that a printed photograph doesn’t. Recently I have been creating digitally printed artist multiples and thought I would like to do more of this on the AA2A residency. However I want to take more risks and feel like creating a more ambitious installation. I am planning to get a tour of Media City and find out what resources are available through the university. I am envisaging the use of a large blacked out space, although I could use the photographic studio to experiment with projected images. Currently I am juggling a number of projects with part-time work and finding it difficult to get into the university. Although my practice is very research based with the actual physical making coming in at the end. I would like to plan some tutorials with the students and hope this can be arranged for December time.
The last time I screenprinted was in a workshop with vacuum beds and screens with mesh for paper based work.
So today I printed without a vacuum and using a mesh used more frequently for textile work.
It also gave me the opportunity to use a squeegee again which I hadn't for a while since most of my time is spent inking and wiping etching plates.
I am undecided as to the results of the screenprinting today, the prints are not bad but could be better.
I will think on it...
Found the time to write the blog! Well, an interesting week last week, I started more prints and had some interesting first layers, I used a squidge of black intaglio ink onto a plate then used a broken stick to try to drip the ink onto the printing plate. It was a bit thick and sticky (no pun intended) so didn't drip how I wanted, but it was interesting. I softened the ink on the second run through the press with white spirit which gave a reasonable base when on the paper. Photos to follow.
well I've spent half an hour opening a flickr account and trying to get photos into the blog.... not suceeded! will have another look one day soon but for now I want to go and make stuff...
if you would like to see the new images I have put them in a new photo album on my home page :-)
I have spent weeks on my first sculpture, building it up and sanding/rasping/chiseling its surface and now that it is taking shape I have started a second.
The second form was more flimsy than the first so I anticipated problems with weight of plaster on such a fragile framework.
I used herculite and some cheesecloth my gran gave me years ago - it finally found its home! I built the piece up slowly and carefully and it took the weight.
I'm now shaping the piece better, filling and covering the inside and texturing the outside.
Am thoroughly enjoying the whole process of building work in this way.
So it's been a slow start to my time at PCA. My introduction with Jason Hirons and meeting with fellow AA2A resident Tessa Jane was very enthusing, but work commitments since then have meant it has been difficult for me to organize my next visit.
My plan is to get my inductions for the facilities under my belt and to, if possible, organize a workshop using the risograph with some students if they fancy it. This has proved elusive to date thanks to some big print jobs via PrtScrPress.
I guess this is one of the problems I'm going to have to manage during this year. Because I live in Exeter and my studio is at the Phoenix, I have to really plan in advance any visit to PCA. Along with this the way print jobs come in to PrtScr is very ad-hoc. To overcome this I've now set a print day: Thursday. Outside of this Wednesday is to be my practice/AA2A day. This is something I've been planning on doing for a while and AA2A, in a way, has spurred the move. I want to make the most of this opportunity and my practice needs a good structuring anyways. I've also managed to change my hours in the call centre, I'm now working full days on Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday, leaving Wednesday for my practice, Thursday for printing, and Friday for whatever is left hanging and 'admin'/printer maintenance type stuff. Then, hopefully, Saturday is my day of rest, but we all know how that goes.
Back onto the project: I've begun setting up some of the initial plans for how it will take place. I've begun sourcing materials to produce the overall dossiers and also have two or three pieces already in development. I've even managed to gain some help over in Folkestone from someone I've worked with in the past, meaning the project will extend much further than my own locality (something I want to develop further as the project grows). I've set my schedule for how many pieces I aim to make a month (beginning in January) and I have a rough list of who will receive the dossier and the monthly reports. So far so good. One thing I want to make sure of is that I keep my ambitions under management and don't let the idea outgrow the means. That would surely mean a catastrophic and stressful AA2A residency.
Without giving too much away, the Folkestone piece (the first work and the benchmark) is going to be placed onto the promenade and it's components include a charter ferry, Michael Fish, and the year 1987...
I'm sure all of this seems fluffy and cryptic, and that's the way I want it to be for now. If I tell the whole story there's no point in it becoming a work, plus there will hopefully be transformations on the way to it being realized.