Spent the week-end drawing..
Demons crowding around me though.. is it good enough?, what's the point?, what about money, etc...
But exploring this lovely feeling of 'practise' - just doing something because I like it, and keeping doing it.. noticing as i draw the same thing over and over again - namely my face - that i notice small details that i try and work on in the next picture - very subtle differences in proportion, light, shadow, tone.. and modelling the 3 dimensional subject is really fascinating..
Was wondering about the personal transformation i am undergoing at the moment and whether i can seperate art from life - i am in therapy again - and looking at where my strange patterns, my habits come from - i say strange but to most people their not strange at all, their 'normal' - i have learn't a way in my life of being 'normal' - of interacting normally - of offering my creativity in a 'normal' context.. but they've led me to this desolate place - its a desolate place without many people in it - i have alienated everyone because of this 'normality' that i don't really like doing - this way of being in the world that makes me feel resentful and bitter - and not myself ...
Finding time to draw and paint is beginning of trying to live a life staying closer to my true self.. do feel quite cut-off sometimes because i am trying not to follow the patterns i have always fallen into historically... and maybe i'm not very good at it - overcompensating..?
I spent this week-end quietly listening to what i wanted to do - no major work commitments, the kids are with their mother.. so i had a whole w/end - and i allowed myself to simply live as if this was what i did all the time, as if someone, somewhere was eventually paying for my artistic output - or at least not worrying about making these pictures mean anything, just following my heart..
And i produced two interesting drawings of myself - still working on the 3/4 face - and proportions - i have a tendancy for long and thin - too much space under the nose - and the curvature around the face fascinates and frustrates me - eyes are also interesting - its bloody annoying wearing glasses - i may get some contacts next time i'm in Plymouth - just so i can see my eyes properly - i have now a very nice light in the studio..
i'm also intrigued and fascinated by my gender .. my identity..am now feeling like i am opening up again - that life has possibilities, new horizons, that i can create my life the way i want it..
So the self-portraits are starting to be a record of this process of rebirth - and, i think, each one brings out a slightly different aspect of me..
And possibly at some point start to draw others - did draw leonard - and that went well, thinking about asking friends, but not wanting it to get messy...
I would like to take this opportunity to thank all the AA2A artists that I had the privillage to visit, talk to in lectures or workshops or any other event at Coventry University it gave my own practice a much needed boost and the chance to expose myself to new working practices, techniques, the chance for my art work to be seen on another networking site and hopefully something will come into my own practice for the better for using this website. At the moment I have another year studying for my Masters and although have been offered a PHD in London do not have the funds at the moment to even consider the posserbility of this. I want to concentrate on trying to find my medium, studio space, get some funding, commissions, hopefully sell some art work, get another part-time job that is also art related to replace the current job I am about to lose due to lack of funding. But am very hopeful as have a casual post at a local museum and art gallery which I love and get a little work and pay from this to fund my self while studying. Life as an artist is never easy but if you are wise and network it could help you in the future. Being an active part of a AA2A student blogger has enhanced my practice and for this I thank you all.
So March 18th was the last session at Salford that I attended.....since then the NYC residency has been postponed and my body has been catching up with itself to recover from the build up to going as I thought I would be!
Disappointed that I couldn't do the intervention I wanted to do because I wasn't leaving the UK but there are other opportunities to so this so the next step is, get back to Salford to continue with the engagement work with the students. Still wanting to do my French Knot workshop and see what we can produce in collaboration with one another.
The whole process has been a learning curve about my fear as an emerging artist. Confidence in ideas is essential.
Now is the right time to do what we have to do, so despite the current stress with workload outside the residency, I can't wait to get back to see what comes out of the workshop.
So after the collection of the belts came the experimentation!
I had a very trusty assistant in the lovely Level 6 Visual artist Amanda Twigg who agreed to assist me in my madness. Essentially wrap me in the belts I had so cunningly procured!
So we spent a morning experimenting.
I really wanted to understand the starting point of this enquiry about how all of these belts had come together from different histories and how it was restricting to be wrapped in these belts, no freedom of movement. It made me think about immigration and my image looks so shocking (see the following linkhttp:/
The images were very strong, and yes suggestive of the whole BDSM culture, but that was actually the last thing on my mind.
I was more concerned about how I had become 'sculpture-like' and how placing myself in different areas of the project space added to meaning.
What was interesting was how, given what I thought what little time I had to develop this idea at the time, just how instinctive my practice has become. Thats a good thing.
So we're getting the hang of this process,my process. Its very often interrupted. And I often have to look back.
Leapfrogging forward to last month, March when I was all started up again for the residency, what had happened between the first session (November) and beginning of March was that I was all set to be going to a residency in New York (where I should have been now!)
Ideas a-plenty abounded bout a piece of work based upon re-performance and collaboration/public engagement that I had undertaken in Japan a few years ago so time to put those plans into action and involve the students at Salford in this research.
Current enquiry surrounds the use and symbolism of belts and how this symbolises support, dreaming of cutting belts apparently signifies cutting away from the past, which would be the case if I'd gone to NYC. So felt this was symbolic really...
The work I wanted to do with the students related to a re-performance of an intervention I did in Japan regarding a Senninbari or 'Thousand Stitch Belt' - so this again would be another layer of my ego stripped back (See 'Death of The Ego' intervention in Tokyo at: http:/
So late March I would engage the students in French Knot workshop to show how textiles can merge with performance art.
Massive mind maps later...started thinking about other creative processes including that wonderful ' Oblique Strategies' (love Eno's brain!) How can the use of these cards add to the creative process?
Ended up getting involved in a conversation with a Level 6 student who cut the cards and needless to say whatever it was seemed to inspire her to move her work forward.
Next session - I realised I'd never done a French Knot before (on my previous Senninbari I had just done a regular stitch) so another first in this project....
Its made me want to use this not only as a piece for the outcome but also as a process to getting to and outcome - so the stitching is the 'meditative' process and will create the outcome as well.
It gave me loads of ideas on how to move the final piece forward, but I wanted to also explore the idea of the belts as well....put a call out on facebook for old belts from friends so that I could experiment with them.
Historically, in wars, getting the opponents belt from them once a battle was won, was a sign of victory.
This call out for belts also enabled me to interact with people and re-connect with people and made me think about their part in this collaboration, as well as their individual stories and histories which maybe I could play on in the final outcome?
For now experimentation with the belts loomed!
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 ..