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...
The past two weeks has been about absorbing new subject matter for my project, I'm now saturated with new ideas, which is always good, next comes the filtration process, making selections and sifting out the better material to work with.
Shown where my main workstation will be in the print room last thursday, this next week will be about getting myself installed. selecting and preparing first images to work with in the print studio.
note to self: some sort of right-angle mirror device required for working on inverted images..
I generally think of myself as a pretty generous person when it comes to art appreciation... Over the past 2 years one of my main occupations has been reviews and criticism for different arts organisations, exhibitions or artists and, even when I encounter something I don't necessarily like or understand, then I do my utmost to give it time to get to grips with/ question where those innate judgements are coming from...
However, I do feel very strongly that sometimes the etiquette of talking about another persons work prevents us from having significant dialogue and from asking pertinent questions (discussed at length in my article "Etiquette" ). When I went to the recent visiting artist talk at Northumbria I was aghast to find that, after a sprawling, vacuous lecture where the artist (Nicholas Party) repeatedly stating that he painted what he did (from teapots to elephants) because of it's pure visuality, or because the shapes were "nice" and "people like elephants" I was a little less inclined to belive that it could be my own innate prejudice that was colouring the experience of the work... Ok, to be fair to Party, there were moments when it sounded like his naive approach may have had greater resonance:
“...The whole idea of painting on the surface of something.... magical to transform the piece of paper into a landscape... and make something really funny/beautiful/awkward... I really like this simple act of painting...”
But it always came back to the fact that he wasn't interrogating a subject, that he didn't want his work to be conceptually driven, but that he liked painting what he was "comfortable" with. So, essentially, any greater meaning or interpretation it was the responsibility of the viewer to gleam.
As the lecture came to a hault I thought to myself that such blatent laziness could not go without comment or criticism from a crowd of 200+ art students, bust as soon as he made his closing remarks coats were being pulled on and chairs folded back up. The lecturer who had introdcuded Party began to shout over the clamour "Well, as I see there's no questions..." of course, like a red rag to a bull, my hand shot up to a sea of groans
... I cleared my throat...
"I was wondering... if you are making work purely because of what you like um, for it's aesthetic qualities... isn't there a danger that you're closing down possibilities for bigger questions... That painting becomes, not a window onto the world, but simply a window onto your interior self and likes?"
My heart was banging in my ears with red heat, a small trickle of giggles came from the front of the crowd, Nicholas Party smiled, cleared his throat, began, stopped, moved from one foot to the next in what seemed like an impossibly long time...
"I err... can you ask the question again?"
After what was a long, almost entirely unsatisafactory answer (there couldn't realistically be a satisfactory answer after 40 minutes of hearing from a man who paints sausages and teapots because he likes sausages and teapots) we left back into the chill November air. As I stood with the two AA2A student representatives Charlie Snow and Matt Foster, I was appaauled to hear a torrent of comments from the students all to the effect of "It's so refreshing to see an artist who paints just because he likes it"... Gosh, I wondered, am I out of my depth here?... Will these students come to think of me as the miserable, grizzled old AA2A artist who wants to sink all conceptless art and interrogate anyone who works for pure pleasure? Good, I reckon, because being comfortable, complacent and thoughtless never got us anywhere...
Nicholas Party, Still Life with Sausages, Oil on Board 2008
i anticipate my page on aa2a.biz will evolve.
the moto gp season has now come to an end for 2011. i didn't expect the loss of simoncelli to affect me so much, watching the broadcast from valencia i found my self repeatidly in tears. i don;t fully understand why.
i had my first meeting this week at ntu with the member of staff who looks after one of the technical areas in which i will be working.
i need some now. the sun is out and trivial pursuits are happening at the table.
i seem to have an over abundance of perspective.
The poster that I designed to promote "BEER AND SKETCH BOOKS" has been chosen as AA2A's pic of the week. The campaign that bore the poster is my drive to encourage students and staff at Plymouth University to end more of their working days by meeting in the pubs that surround campus, to chat and draw for a bit, instead of immediately commuting home. I believe the process of sketching in pubs is key for an artist and one which I regularly employ to hone a variety of skills and engage with my community.
But why did a simple poster, with no organic form or illustrative qualities become raised to such a status?Well as Wendell Phillips once said: "If you want to be an orator, first get your great cause". The status of "Pic of the week" does not applaud my slick - if a little cliche - graphic design decision to use helvetica as the typeface. Nor does it commend my striking composition in black and white. What it does celebrate is my cause! The creators of the AA2A scheme believe in my idea and want to put it on a plinth to demonstrate how this man, this genius, this God they call Martin has managed to typify in one succinct A4 page everything that the AA2A scheme embodies! Or, they just like the sex joke on the poster.
We had the screen print induction yesterday which was fantastic. I love screen printing & I can't wait to get back into those studios! My artwork was a basic geometric and I am really pleased with the paper versions. I really like the colours I use - neon pink & a sort of eau de nil or bluey mint. It's given me lots of new ideas and I hope to get into the studio as soon as possible next week.
So I have been busy working away at Anglia Ruskin in the sculpture department. So far I have just been getting used to the machines and tools. Doing a spot of welding and starting to carve some Jarrah wood, which is tough but should finish really nicely.
Work committments are forcing me to take a break now untill the New Year, when I will be back again with more solid plans to make a sculpture or possibly two.
If possible I would really like to plan to make a site specific sculpture to be placed temporarily somewhere on the campus out of the gallery context. So over the Christmas period I will be drawing up ideas for this.
Watch this space.
i gather my things, have i all the skills, the influences. i've packed some so far, however after a black coffee reflection are they the most relevent, are some of them things i really like and want to share, rather than things that struck deep chord that has sustained over time.
editting permits progress and progress leads to catching a bus.
in packing, i see that one of my three aims had already been dashed, even before the boarding pass was printed. an aim without direction, what does that become, except another reinvented aim, once again after reflection and compemplation has been achieved.
one aim has evolved and one remains the same. thoughts of led zep at that, however i never really got what they were all about, i do know they made interesting sounds.
don't forger to put the cat out. don't forget mailout.
now it's 20 minutes to the next bell, shoes, coat, and key in the door.
i would like to find a rythme,
but i'm not sure what for.
my ride on the wave of beginning is going well and i find myself standiing up to see where i am going. enjoying the exploration of the site and exploration of the possibilities to post, place and procrastonate.