Did you know Chesterfield Art Collge was founded in in 1877? Amazing fact. It may well revert to its old title of Chesterfield Art College again, and its old status of being one of the best in the country. Hurray!
Now, from History to Current Affairs....
Jordan, giant tattooed hero of the week, chopped my chipboard, carried it aloft to W137 in the Old Boy's Grammar School on Sheffield Road, and I started painting. It is so different to have a big space to work in. Somehow this makes a difference I didn't actually know existed. The studio is the square footage of my whole house and feels expansive, inspiring. What this means is, I can paint more than one picture at once, something I have never had the room for before. That is a dream come true. As a result of being able to expand, the paint fell onto the board very happily.
I am starting with a 4' x 8' board with a picture already sketched out at home, and was loaned an overhead projector so I could get the bare bones of my sketch onto the board more easily. I started with it horizontal, since it's a landscape painting, but soon turned it lengthways. Far easier to get the symmetry I need that way, and it is turning into a wonderul scarab beetle, or possibly an entire world of bare bones.... So far only in black and white, my favourite palette. I amalways reluctant to go into colour at this stage. Maybe I just prefer bones. And black and white photography.
The smaller 3' x 6' board I am allowing to develop by itself, using the patterns of woodchip to influence what emerges.
So many helpful staff in the college as well as Jordan....Phil and Steve the tech tekkies, Nathan in printing, Craig from Photography who set up the projector. Sue trying to cajole teenagers out of the limited mindset of their previous 13 year apprenticeships in school, struggling to release their creative thoughts. Then there's Sharlaine and Jeremy in overall charge of the AA2A project, both passionate about giving their students a real kick into into the real world, setting up apprenticeships, and maye, maybe even post grad studios like Banks Mill in Derby. Really fantastic to hear that.
I met Georgi Peskett, (Happy Birthday!) a co-artist in residence, working in the print room. She has set up a working message board with pictures of her influences, aspirations, photos of the college and will add to it as she goes. Check it out.
A really good day out.
It turns out a man on the roof took the delivery. Why on earth didn't I think of that? No doubt nearer my gods to thee.
No, thankfully he didn't actually use it on the roof, he took it over to the joinery department, the logical place for chipboard, and that is where Jordan, that famous tekkie bloodhound, sniffed it out and dragged it a long way back to his own lair. So now, my board, (praise be) is awaiting the chop tomorrow morning, barring any midnight adventures around the campus. I shall celebrate by going to the college gym first thing (and first time in a year), and will endeavour not to pull a muscle.
Those haribo babies did their job, my prayer was answered, the board delivered....to somewhere in the college. But.... [yes there is inevitably a but] it is not yet known exactly where the board is lurking. No one knows, or if they do, they aren't telling. Good thing I have a nose for woodchip. I shall track it down tomorrow with my trusty lassoo and tether it in studio W137.
That's the theory...
This is proving to be more of an adventure off the canvas than on it.
A couple of weeks have passed since my last blog. Very busy weeks with the Turner Prize dominating at work - tours to give, long hours standing, but also some very stimulating conversations with visitors.
On the art-making front, one of the storyboards is coming along - I will post a photo later, need to pick up my son from school soon. I have been out in the field taking black and white photographs at one of the locations and had a darkroom induction at Teesside Uni where I worked on some photograms. I am feeling fortunate to have such an opportunity when many art schools are getting rid of photographic darkrooms.
Beginning tomorrow, should the gods of chipboard actually deliver some of their elusive sheets of board to the college, I will get a chance to start on a panel as wide as my whole studio at home [a 3m x 2.5m shed that glories in that name]. To encourage safe delivery, I have sprinkled the path of the gods with with hundreds and thousands of excess Halloween Haribo babies. That treat should do the trick. They've kept me waiting long enough...
This is a wonderful opporunity to explore all sorts of larger ideas currently champing to get out of my head, and I shall keep a photographic record as the weeks go by to track them as they emerge. A two foot by four foot panel takes me a good month to finish. [ If unfamiliar with the term foot, think of the thing at the end of your leg] then imagine a mural twice the size worked on once or twice a week. At a guess, it will take me up to Spring half term. We shall see :)
yes we had porridge to start us all off today. it seemed the best thing to do as i'd negotiated some practical time with a raw material. the porridge was lovely and sustained me into the afternoon.
the raw material was a wrestle. i knew i wanted it to do a specific thing and i struggled to get it into the shape that i wanted it to go to. by the end of the session i had accepted that it would not behave as i wanted it to and went with the flow to see how close i could get to want i wanted. i see a benefit in playing with a raw material that i think ultimately will not be part of the main project. i see the benefit in actually helping me understand what the main project is a little more clearly, by attemtping to force a material in a way in which it does not want to go. i will play with the raw material again next week.
and that something else, now in this moment i still cannot remember what it was, so maybe i can make up what it is. in my next moment i still have not what it was or is, i feel fluidity, it could go any which way right now, what influences might help me to realise or remember. another moment, are these photographs of unremembered near moments. another.
oh, hang on. focused on writing, hence the moments are as yet unrealised.
should i take a moment to reflect on what the moment was or is. if i knew what it was or is, would then i not have the dilema of moment any more, my present succesfully informing my future.
Even 20 minutes before opening time, the Baltic has plenty of folks strolling in the doors, this includes the obligatory school trips whose sole purpose seems to be to shift seemingly limitless numbers of small, screaming, chattering children from the stoic isolation of the classroom to the quiet, contemplative space that is the (alleged) 'high' art gallery. I wonder why they do this; is it perhaps to ensure that the teachers 'earn' their state-size pay packets, perhaps to justify the 'cost' of the education that their children are recieving.
As I write; a massive group of A-level students have just been led straight past me into the gallery, dyed, straightened and gelled hair flapping starchily in the breeze, those who took advantage of the fresh air between the bus and the doors hanging back to finish their illicit fags.
The rest of the crowd coming in are in twos and threes, usually a couple taking a much younger child with them, or a single escort for a mildly younger charge. Another group approaches, and now I fear for my gallery experience entirely, I am going to run inside and attempt to grab a place in line ahead of this mass of noise-machines in tiny, blue sweaters
more to follow...
I've been working at Salford University as part of AA2A for the past 4 weeks, going in on regular Tuesdays to realise a piece of work that I've wanted to make on a larger scale. And it's been useful. I'm not sure its entirely successful, but it has brought me to a new idea about how to use the process and a link to some of my more theoretical research. I've taken a break this week to reflect on the work done so far and to plan more work to come.
So here is the process I followed to create 'Tearing Space Apart (Salford I)'
And some images. Video documentation to follow.
Balancing the workload, crazy at times but great to be back amaking work again. Lots and lots of activity tieing up recent projects, making applications, scanning! Anticipating the Kalra Black talk at BATIC this weekend...curious?
Plans for my week ahead, TOURS!! lots of community work, sending out an application, and then back in the studio back end of the week to finally, finally begin that all important 'making of the image'
for now however.....back to immersing myself in a world of peaceful sounds and preparing the artist talk...