Ok, so you got me. This is my first blog of the residency. Its been fraught with stress for me cos I'm an artist who also does freelance film work and finds it hard to shut off from that / manage time etc... so the story so far is that I started the residency, ran out of time and money to continue, started it up again this year and due to work stress haven't been able to continue since before Easter.
I hope thats going to change cos I've got renewed excitement about the piece of work I want to come out with...!
First blog I'll leave you with this though that I'm telling this story about my AA2A journey retrospectively...beginning with some written meditations around process a la Marina Abramovic.
I'm all about process, collaboration and getting rid of the ego, and, yes, I spent my first day of my residency back in November exploring one of Marina's training processes to bring artists into the present. The trick? Write my name without taking the pen/pencil off the paper and make this activity last an hour / 60 minutes.
An interesting technique which definitely enables you to block out a flurry of activity in a busy studio of art students who may not quite get onto what you're doing!
The most I managed? 49 minutes or thereabouts but its a great process that slows you down, clears your mind and definitely brings you to the activity at hand in the present. Its also liberating to not care what those around think about what you're doing. Thanks Marina!
Art, exist, natural spaces, create, cinematic, escapism, worthwhile, thoughtful, participation, unpredictable, probability, controlled accidents, spaces, extinguished ends, emotional effort, pain of process, being judged
Where does art exist? In natural spaces that create cinematic escapism- all worthwhile especially if it’s thoughtful? Through participation with unpredictable probability in controlled accidental spaces with extinguished ends? Or in the emotional effort, pain of process and being judged?
There are no right answers, just different ways of working. It’s more important to be believable, to explore possibilities by testing rules to the limit even if it risks making mistakes. And maybe mistakes are just someone else’s opinion. At the end of the day, it’s my idea. But be careful what you wish for...
Talking about ideas- what inspires? Creativity is interpreting own ideas. Is that perfect or not? There’s a tension between these contradictions.
Doing something other people want is robotic, churning it out. Don’t like it being wrong because it’s different. But it’s ok if it’s wrong because it breaks rules, everyone is individual. Pick out the not obvious.
it is with a heavy heart that I take down my show...
I really, really enjoyed the oppourtunity to create something, to 'ring - fence' a period of time.. A period of time to take over a space.. Made me realise how unique that space is - the gallery space, and how I cherish its stillness.. With other art-forms I have been involved with - dance, performance, music.. its often epherial, transient, spontaneous, beautiful.. but quickly lost and forgotten.. And that, in a way, is draining...
And it always confused me, the commercial aspect to all this - the bourgeouse - the 'court' - the fact that painting, as it is now, emerged from the merchants of renaissance italy persuading the best religious fresco painters of the time to paint their wives, or mistresses, or favorite slave - that the whole thing was rooted in this toxic exchange - and art shoud be free - out of the gallery - in the streets - in folk music - in partying, in dancing...
But finding the solidity of drawing, painting, and then presenting this - seeing, witnessing people stopping, and looking, and thinking about the drawings I hung on the wall, and reading my blurb, reading about me and my motivations...
it's intimacy actually - so beyond commerce, and exchange, and fashion, and trend, and any other external aspect to the work - there is this revisiting intimacy - this opening to the simplicity, the simple intimacy of stopping and looking, being..
the practise of art - practise as described brilliantly here:
(I know her because I once moved an apple tree for her when I first moved to devon!!)
Its also an opportunity to control the space - completely - I can't control the peoples response - but I can control the words, and pictures I present - and this is so valuable - it allows a really deep dialogue - and also allows me a forum for expression that is clear, solid..
These drawings were completed at a time in my life where I was re-connecting to a deep, damaged part of my psyche - and the foggy, abstract qualities give a sense of this.. that there is this hugely powerful part of myself clawing his way back through the fog of my mind and my stuff..
This being thats been hidden for so long - the wild-man? emerging from the fog/ wilderness... With a big, wild beard and crazy hair...
Like using hair to describe himself, to connect to a forgotten place...
And since then I have continued drawing, almost every day - only stopping for work, or family, or facebook, commitments.. getting now obsessed about detail and wanting to describe on the paper EXACTLY what I see in the mirror.. I think this is another phase of reconnecting - jazz musicians have a saying that you have to learn all the rules in order to break them.. feels like I never learnt all the rules at art college originally - and now have this great opportunity to do so...
Was able to draw under the tutilage of Martin - I think I wrote previously about how amazing this was.. feel very blessed to have that opportunity..
Wierdly drawn back to doing some work on computers again - mainly because I need some money..
And I think the 'time-stamp' is less important - and if I did the show again I might rename it:
emerging intimacy with myself..
or something along those lines - because actually thats whats happening - I'm sure all the time-stamp stuff is important - and actually it was my starting point for this art course - I may now actually write the program I initially proposed - data viz - thing with time-codes...
also thinking about next show - and an exploration of beauty/ ugliness - am drawn to the opposite of conventional beauty - so wondering if I can get disabled people to sit for me, or old tramps, etc.. Looking for people with really interesting faces - and beautiful people are easy - wanting hags, transvestites, old wrinkled men, wheelchair- bound army vets.. Am also drawn to really beautiful people too - would like to explore my relationship to both through drawing, stillness..
also actually just be good to get a regular professional model.... like Leonard, to sit still for a couple of hours now and then...
anyway - need to go and drink water ..
Well, I found the blog page! It took some doing. I promised Wendy Mason I would post again. What a lovely lady she is. She came to UCLan to see what we were doing and ended up in the print room watching Leighton and myself printing. We had a lovely chat about art and how AA2A has helped my practice. I discovered it's rather difficult explaining the excitement of reticulation when the other person has no idea what you are on about, but Wendy rose to the challenge and was very interested.
By the way, the reticulation is going extremely well... I can get, in one hour now, what took me a whole day to achieve in October! The secret, I will tell, (but only to you), is in the copper plate oil... oooh, it makes such a difference when you sprinkle white spirit onto the plate.
I'll try to get my photos on my thingy whatsit, but please don't hold your breath, you may go blue and pass out! I will however, post them. Some of them are actually (surprisingly) amazing!
By the way, I have 90 prints on the go now.
Owing to some personal/family goings on, I haven't been able to spend much, if any at all, on my AA2A residency. I've thought about it often, and have ideas galore bubbling under.
Finally, a couple of weeks ago, I found myself with a free afternoon, so I quick made my way over to Derby and found myself a slot in a darkroom. Thankfully it wasn't very busy, being Easter/Reading week, so I had the whole darkroom to myself. That was a good idea, as it's been a while since I've done any dark room work, and I felt a lot more relaxed about spreading out, and taking over the space!
I work with glass mostly, and I want to explore how people see glass. A lot of people love glass for its beauty, it's fragility, for me it's also it's technical wondrousness (is that a word??). I love the way glass casts patterns and shadows. How it can distort. What it does to light.
So I want to explore photograms - where objects are placed directly onto traditional photographic paper and exposed to light. It can actually be done without any specialist equipment, apart from a dark room, but the traditional enlarger set up, with lights, timer, etc makes the whole process easier.
This time's session was about getting to know the dark room again, and seeing which patterns work. A lot of the results of kiln fired glass are unexpected, due to the nature of the glass, capturing bubbles, irregularities and how the rounded off edges refract the light. Given time, I hope to see how coloured paper and devleoping could be affected by different coloured glass and filtering. And also to see if I can specifically create 'images' in glass that I then photogram.
Essentially, I am wanting to show a different view of glass. I want to capture my glass on film. I dare say that a photograph of one of my glass pieces would only be of interest to a gallery wanting to promote work, or for me on my website, or as publicity literature. Maybe I can find a way of producing images of my glass that are artworks in their own right. Of course, it's a great excuse for me to play in the dark room, and go back to a love I have had since I was 14 or 15, of traditional darkroom photography (no, never do it now, with the advent of the dSLR.
So, here is the first result - only one image so far, as I haven't been able to scan each image yet (photographing the prints brings it's own issues). Can't wait to scan the images and manipulate them with effects in Photoshop.
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So far, during the Southampton Solent residency, I have steadily gathered material for my Itchen Valley project e.g. the Wingnut Trees just outside the City of Winchester. For this I took snapshot photographs and used parts of them for the three, textural, screenprints (see previous blog): Wingnut, Red Spot and Autumn Wingnut.
Also, I made a collection of the location drawings (see location drawing blog entry) of contractors working in land managed by the Hampshire Wildlife Trust.
Now I am in the final two months of the residency and in this time I am expecting to create prints that bring these two aspects together dramatically. I have made expressive trials using wax resist and ink, compressed charcoal and wax crayons, sepia ink and watercolour. My expectation is not forming just yet. Meanwhile, I have hung prototype drawings on my wall and am looking at all I have done and watching to see what exactly is developing that goes into new ground for me.
It was with somewhat of interest that I downloaded the newsletter and as am a quick reader made my way through the literature in the leaflet it was full of very useful information from how to start as an artist, advice how to register for PAYE in regards to tax so that you are not at any fault with the taxman, to magazines and places to register to encourage your practice as an artist. For a complete novice who although have sort of got going and not yet set up in a studio space but am extremely good at networking it has given me a wealth of useful information which could help me on the road to becoming an active practising artist. I would most definately recommend this to prospective artists at what ever stage they are at in their practice and wished this much information had been available to me during my second year at university but it is never too late to start and hope that prospective artists everywhere take the opportunity to make use of the newsletter at a very reasonable price for under an hour's pay it is a worthwhile investment. Make use of your AA2A newsletter it could be the starting point of your art practice.
Hi AA2A Artists
We're back from the Easter break and its lovely to see your projects through the images and blogs on Dotbiz. Remember you'll still have access to the site up until September and after that we'll be offering you the opportunity to renew your web page annually for a small fee. In the last 12 months we had well over 34,000 new people visiting our websites, thats nearly 190,000 pages viewed each month!
It's just as exciting to find out about the inspirational student support that's been going on. Our AA2A student reps have ben blogging highlights of artists talks, demonstrations and exhibitions for students during the scheme. A big thanks to them and to all of you who have been encouraging, interacting and mentoring alongside doing your own work. Have a look at our students newsletter for a brief roundup.
Don't forget our digital pack 'Making it out there' is now available. This is the first of our 'digital packs' aimed at artists, graduates and students, with more than 80 embedded links to key arts organisations. You can buy it from our new website sales area for £5.95 or view sample pages here.
Only a few weeks left to be our 'Pic of the Week'! We'd particularly like to feature work from the following institutions, as they've not been represented yet, so if you'd like the chance to be on our Facebook and Twitter pages please upload some of your images over the next few weeks:
University of Sunderland
Bradford School of Arts and Media
University of Salford
De Montfort University
Anglia Ruskin University
University of Hertfordshire
London Metropolitan University
Camberwell College of Arts
Wimbledon College of Art
University of Reading
University for the Creative Arts
As always, a big thank you for making our job such a pleasure!
Jo (and the AA2A team)