After finishing university for the Easter break and a lovely one to one with AA2A Artist Katherine Russell a long awaited break to Liverpool is much appreicated even though this has meant scrimping, saving and collecting tokens to pay for the break means a stay in Ainsdale with a 20min walk to train and catching a train to either Southport or Liverpool for the day is well within reach. Liverpool has the Tate, Walker Gallery, Lady Lever Gallery, Liverpool Museum, and a recently opened gallery called appropriately The Open along side the many real ale pubs has made for a lovely Monday to Friday break at just under £100 including transportation to and from events. Having done the Tate and Walker gallery several times in the past explored Liverpool Museum with its newly opened film about how Liverpool was a vibrant and trading area the suprising thing learnt is how many slaves where traded in the docks and how people where thought of as commodities. To then go on to The Open where an interesting selection of old photographs of the second world war mostly of families and how poor these people, along with maps that had been reproduced made for and couple of interesting exhibitions and made me realise that the printing techniques am currently exploring could be a new direction.
The AA2A artist from Manchester School of Art have got together to do a talk to BA and MA students about their experiences in April and I will be recording the presinations hopefully to upload onto the blog soon!
At the university.. sitting in the canteen... tuesday afternoon... no-one around except some people doing crit-type reviews with tutors.. half-listening and wanting the attention, and half-enjoying not having to talk about what I'm doing too much...
Its funny looking back at my initial application for this course, and my early artists statement, I'm almost doing the opposite of what I set out to do - (which makes me worry I've slipped into my bi-polar, crazy pattern I've had throughout my life..) - but this drawing, painting thing is real..
Had a wonderful life-drawing session with Martin Brooks last friday - I knew him at college before but never had any classes with him.. I was off in techno-art land - It feels very special to have an opportunity to learn from someone so experienced in this field..
We were talking about William Coldstream and the technique of 'sight-sizing' - which, to some may seem overly technical and tricky, but to a computer-programmer, it seems utterly logical and fabulous, combining the two sides of my brain in a very beautiful way.. Really looking forward to doing some of this - and finding someone who can actually teach me feels very special..
'When the student is ready, the master will appear..'
(I think thats from Star Wars..?)
..was very pleased with my second drawing of Leonard...
also, politically, I feel it fits with my feelings of stuff disapearing with our collective techno-obsession.. A technique like sight-sizing - could very easily die out, like the dodo..
and up until now I've thought - so what - let it, let the glorious evolution continue.. but now I'm stopping, and I'm discovering other stuff - that the practise of stopping, of drawing is extremely meditative, and its almost the process itself that is so special, not the finished result - which can and will at some point be shovelled through the mincer of art critique.. good, bad, ugly, pretty, saleable, popular, relevant, etc.. - all that is always there.. But at the point of creation, I am recording a movement, the marks i make are as if a dancer had attached crayons to her arms and legs and is dancing across the paper.. And something undefinable.. When looking, really looking... really seeing..
Someone once said to always do something which scares you.
I'm scared of many things. Balled up bits of paper, slugs, frogs, exams, sun-dried tomatoes for example. Organising an event for me; is beyond fear... it's the very probably possibility of publicly falling on your ass and the self-doubt which follows the humiliation. I've just last week hosted a public event in the name of art. It scared the be-jesus out of me, and it still does, but isn't it funny what one will do for what they love?
I blindly found myself acting as a secretary for a volunteering sector in the Ouseburn valley a few months ago. Thats a small area in Newcastle, with a very concentrated community of artists and creative people. Its beautiful and has so much to boast; and yet, its quite insular. In some sort of moment of sheer madness, I volunteered myself to run a networking event for all of the like-minded people. And heres the recipe for what (thank the Lord) turned into a very successful night.
1. NEVER refer to a networking event as a networking event. Its an instant way to put people off. Networking conjures up images of men in suits, shaking hands and talking in mono-tones voices about stats and printer inks. Think of a FUN and FRESH name. I went with SCHMOOZE. Say it. Go on. Its just nice to say.
2. People stick in their groups. Its not often someone comes along who will approach a stranger and start having a chat. And lets me fair, if they did, we would probably dismiss them as odd. This is why networking is probably doomed to fail, without some organisation and a good concept. Enter brainwave number two. The SPEED-SCHMOOZE. Speed-dating meets networking. Genius.
3. Find a venue. Design a poster. Publicise. *It might be handy to have some computer skills at this point. I don't recommend making the poster by hand and spelling the title wrong, twice. TWICE.
4. Plan in advance and stick to it. This is much better than realising late the night before that your plan is ultimately floored as traditional speed-dating only means half of the people actually meet, i.e. the men and the women. This may result in detailed floor plans, colour and number assignment and a small panic attack.
5. Find a buddy. Someone who makes you calm and is good at brewing tea. A collaborative arty partner is fabulous for this. This tip is especially helpful if you have organisation-phobia like myself.
6. Revel in your success when people turn up and you realise that there was some sense in your original plan. Thank everyone profusely, especially the people who you near-drove insane. Collapse.
The things I should have said a long time ago, at the beginning of this project, I believe the phrase is 'better late than never'...
One of the few things I like more than receiving a letter in the post is sending ‘brown paper packages tied up with string’. Or indeed parcels wrapped in old military maps, with 1940s luggage labels used as address stickers. A hand written letter feels much more personal than an email. Yes, I am definitely old fashioned compared to my peers. I like how clunky a typewriter feels, I secretly like queuing up in the post office and I think the Royal Mail is an undervalued institution. I think it is this part of my personality that enjoys to sit in a dimly lit gallery and draw, that relishes putting on my wellies and apron to go to the print room, that thinks the day has been a success when I go home in the dark excited about the prints I’ve worked on and unaware that I have unwittingly dyed my ear orange during the course of the day.
I like the feel of pulling dye through a silk screen and the knowledge that the tiny squeegee in my pocket will be needed to print on the bias binding that will complete my design. And the knowledge that scrubbing the screen clean will enable me to produce something entirely new. I like the satisfaction of drafting a pattern, of hand stitching a label or the tiny details I’ve laboured over that others may not even register. I am delighted to have been awarded a place on the AA2A scheme, I will experiment in the print room on paper and cloth. My project will be inspired by old military uniforms, early aircrafts, sailing ships, the art of correspondence, the delicacy of Victorian stitches and the preciousness of memories.
see things in different light, use my imagination, New things, open up my mind, learn, try different technique, create something new, be spontaneous, try new things, look more, communicate ideas, experiment, dream, discover new concepts, think, actually be bothered about something, express myself
... express myself
... use my imagination
... see things in different light
... actually be bothered about something
... discover new concepts
... communicate ideas
... look more
... try new things
... be spontaneous
... create something new
... try different technique
... open up my mind to new things...
As I discovered that one of the AA2A artists would be completing their hours at Coventry University and finishing on Friday 22 March 2013, it was a deciding factor in me arranging to meet up with Katherine Sullivan with a view to talking about her experience as AA2A artist and what her art practice has been during her time with us. I ( with permission) took photographs of some of the pieces that Katherine had produced, she had brought in an old light switch and using latex made a mould of the switch which she then cast using plaster to create a set of identical switches they make for an unusal piece of art work. She also has a small collection of photographs that she has taken of windows I am not sure whether she has photoshot these images but they appear kalaidascope technique where there is a mirrored image of these windows. Katherine kindly let me trail around her while she worked in the metal workshop with the piece of art work she was currently in process of creating this piece includes using lace and a suspender belt which have both been prepared by being dipped in copper and then drying these out using the gas burner in the workshop it is an interesting process watching this dry on the cotton lace fabric and then becoming a more solidified. When it has set she then puts these together by using copper wiring to create a lower set of skeleton outer garment of a whalebone inner housing for the material the general idea is that of an element of a out-line of a victorian female body. While tidying up her studio space it is very sad to see Katherine clearing out her space but the delicate way she wraps up each individual plaster light switch is interesting to watch, I have enjoyed watching her at work and it is a shame that this process is now over but hope to engage with this artist further as have passed on my details and have requested a visit to her studio in Dudley and am looking forward to further engaging with this artist and wish her well for the future and would like to thank her for taking the time out to talk to me while engaging with her practice.
What is art? What can you achieve? What is cheating? Do we have to make it ourselves? What about designers? Do we have to know where it is going? Lots of questions to reflect on and maybe not even answer.
Work has gone well tonight. Have experimented with different fabrics. Velvet and a fabric table cloth which will be excellent to dye and stitch into. Tested a block repeat idea ready for divore. Hope to be in again tomorrow. It will be busy with fashion students so am excited to see there work.
Saw a subversive print this eve which is an exciting technique and have printed the glue to try foils.
During the Easter break I will prepare new images to print hopefully on glass.
Managed to get to the college for a few days this week and finish modelling the clay portrait head. He has been hollowed out and is now drying ready for firing. A few students were working in the studio and got to see the process which they found facinating, they also recognised the head as one of the other students, which is a good sign. One of them commented on it being spooky as she felt like it was going to move.