well, I am still drawing, and I think I'm getting somewhere - of course I'm trying not to care whether I'm getting somewhere or not bit that inner critic can't help pushing me forward...
..and I think its a good thing, I'm really enjoyimg the 'craft' of working with simplicity - the same position of the face, the same paper, the same pencil, the same time of day/ light...
and really enjoying the pieces as they emerge, really from a different place to where I normally think/ act from - allowing something else to take over and shutting down part of my chattering mind.. I think thats why booze is so nice because it seems to do a similar thing - got to watch that..
the subtelties are interesting - each drawing there is something different I'm working on, solving - mouth today - the other day it was foreshortening - something has shifted there and I actually can't explain what - which is wonderful - it's a mixture of things..
..and my therapy/ self-development process cannnot be dissassociated.. and my trans-sexual fascination and embodiment - I can't help it, I can't deny it, and no - one is reading this so it doesn't matter - its good to find other artists that have been fascinated by gender stereotyping - from Frida Kahlo, Diane Arbuss - and just discovered Pep Bonet and Christer Stromholm -both creating stunning black and white images.. of men nd women - exploring this..
a sense of self.. a sense that the gender, relationship, etrc.. roles we've assumed are a bit, well, boring.. and that maybe there is this amazing other world where its all mixed up and we can play...
aaaah - well, booze and blogging is a dangerous edge.. I hope I can keep going with this blog 'cause I find it a really great tool for my artistic practise - bit sadly I am coming to the end of this thing so may have to find another blog ..
started another painting - of myself - oh dear - nt happy at all - the drawing has really evolved but the painting needs some attention...
lots of transexual, cross-dressing love to anyone whose bothered to read this...
Fascinated by the process of drawing my face again and again, the different aspects that come out - first the too long-ness - the 'x' axis, then the too narrowness - the 'y' axis, the constant struggle with the eyes, nose, ears, mouth - but so crucial to a convincing portrait.. the tone, the different muscles in the head, the skull, the 3d, the very very subtle perspective - and the curve of the face, the light..
its like trying to do 20 rubiks cubes at the same time…
exhilarating when it goes well, devastating when it doesn't.. but a practice, a rehearsal, a study..
Enjoying the 'painterly' way I am using the pencil, shading, mark-making and rubber..
gotta go and make some food now..
drinking too much..
spending too much money on DIY..
So Sideways is the name of a film that a guy I was at college with produced...
Steven Eastwood - I wonder what happened to him..
oh yes, saw the Marina Abramovich film yesterday and noticed she went to University of Plymouth!! Quick googel - she didn't study in these hallowed corridors - she was made an Honourary Doctor...
The Artist is Present.. Such a powerful idea - Feel like I am exploring 'presence' in my portraits, sitting, stillness, intimacy.. Marina is exploring this very pertinently, and without any masks or interfaces, such as a picture that is hung on a wall that a viewer may interact with as a communication with the artist.. Here she is actually making herself available completely.. Her artist is completely accessable..
Thinking about building my arts practice, and the concept of 'spreading out' - going sideways to look for financial assistance - awards, bursaries, residencies..
Not necassarily 'selling pictures' - although that would be nice!!
But really the practice of art/ drawing/ observing/ dreaming..
The residency idea is a really cool one; the idea of living and working somewhere really appeals, perhaps drawing the parcipitants..
Also wondering about an MA - but the Plymouth one looks too wordy.. More interested in finding more traditional place where I can develop my drawing skills.. The Princes School looks good, but in London - and Phil mentioned possibilty of a new drawing course starting in Plymouth..
So getting clear what it is I want - and then waiting for it to appear..
Creating my own reality..
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...
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 ..
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..
Time : Date: Longitude : Latitude
Every piece of data entered, on any social network, anywhere, has a time-stamp. It is added by default.
These drawings are all time stamped, added by me, by default.
Dangerous patterns are emerging, in our technological utopia, humans are losing something...
I can’t here define exactly what, but I have an instinct that there are some vital pieces of the human experience disappearing, as we evolve, as technology becomes more ubiquitous, and a generation of kids are now growing up with the internet as the ‘norm’..
I think art can help balance our obsession with this very recent, very seductive, addiction...
With these self-portraits I am simply stopping, savoring a moment in time, being still, and responding, to the time of day/ night, the location, the paper, the ash* from the fire, the charcoal, my fingers; losing myself in the interplay of light and shadow dancing across a 42 year old face that has seen some stuff, taken some knocks, loved, lost, got some wrinkles and grey hair...
‘..commodification of human relationships through social media..’
My eye is constantly re-focusing, re-calibrating, having an intensely rich, vibrant conversation with my brain and the muscles, nerves, sinews in my fingers, arms, body - my eyes aren’t stuck in a fixed focal length in front of a screen, and fingers, shoulders, neck stuck in fixed position over the keyboard...
It is a real , sculptural, dynamic, tactile human experience..
And also, it’s really, really good fun..
*Assipatle and the Stoorworm - Scottish Folk story about a boy who sleeps in the ashes
Coming back to art...
I met Steve Berry, my old tutor, in a pub in Totnes and he suggested I apply..
Was quite shocked when I got in!
Have spent 20 years since graduating continuing a dialogue I began at University, where I immersed myself in the conceptual ideas of the 90’s - with sharks in formaldihide, little or no connection to our natural world, a seemingly endless supply of venture capital driving a global thirst for innovation, and ‘new’ - I have since specialised in multimedia design and production - riding the waves of boom and bust in the commercial creative world; where the ‘context’ of my artistic expression became everything; consulting, developing a brief, then designing and building appropriate pieces for production, fitting myself into a team, inspiring people, selling and marketing ‘new’...
And this was my starting point for the AA2A scheme - the world I was in.. taking the interesting bits out of the world of technology design and applying them to an artistic context, as I’d learn’t to do at art college..
Almost by accident, I found I was giving myself an ‘artists date’ - similar to what Julia Cameron recommends in her book the artists way - Which I read a few years ago but had forgotten about until now.. Creating space in my hectic life was enabling me to reconnect to my artistic practise, and to have the support and help of the art department.. and as I sat there, every tuesday, week after week, a new feeling began to emerge.. , a new space in my mind began to assimilate and galvanise...
Its a space I’d forgotten about...
But what I couldn’t get a handle on, was what I wanted to say, my voice, my expression... All my thoughts and ideas were technical solutions, responses - I asked people, but couldn’t find my ‘core’ motivation - what did I want to say, why, and how could I say it??
It kept troubling me, nagging at me, and slowly realising that actually it is something no-one can teach..
“ I just had to paint..”
Its a voice I’d stopped listening to .. couldn’t hear.. until recently...
What I never did at art college, and rarely do in life, is say “No!’ and stand up for me, my thoughts, what I really think, and its because actually often I don’t know.. I have become so used to saying yes, facilitating, agreeing, empathising, supporting others; It has been easier to ‘merge’ - to create art, creative communications, designing for context...
An architectural approach to self-expression ...
I have lost my voice ...
And the AA2A scheme is helping me to find it..
Something I do care about is my kids, and myself, and society, and the way technology, the internet, and this full-throttle evolution of the species, is changing humans, but only a small section of ourselves, of our brains - there are big chunks of our human experience dissapearing - as new, different, exciting, cool pushes us relentlessly forward...
‘The commodification of human relationships through social networks’
And the global concerns over the environment are part of this - we, literally, as a human species, can’t go on as we have been doing.. using up more and more of the worlds natural resources to satiate our insatiable hunger for newer, faster, bigger, better, sexier, smarter, different, exciting ...
So, as part of ‘saying something’ I’m wanting to say - switch it off - smash it up, pour coke into the keyboard, unplug, go outside, have a conversation, a meaningful conversation with someone you’ve never met before, look deep into someones eyes, jump naked into a river, go for a walk, breathe, listen, draw - with a pencil, not an app, write -with a pen, read a book, a proper book not an e-book..
“I reckon you’re really good at saying what other people want to hear”
Head of Art. Plymouth University
The more traditional forms of art - story-telling, folk-music, dance, performance, drawing, painting, sculpture, craft - are there to help us connect back to this part of ourselves, that they actually serve a vital function in childhood - and adult development of the psyche - that tv, internet, playstation, simply can’t provide..
There’s a psycho-physical-chemical-brain-relationship-thing that happens when we engage, listen, interact with, or are taken on a journey by, a ‘real’ , 3dimensional experience, that simply can’t be replicated by proxy through the screen..
[various TED lectures can back this up - that something is lost when Disney tells the Little Mermaid story and distributed to millions on DVD - compared to the rich, dark, Grimms brothers original told to a handful of kids round a camp fire.. ]
[research about kids with learning difficulties; making shapes with bodies so they can create ‘c’ shape with pencil..?]
[Fascination with my face. And the minutae of changing details - the wrinklles, the changed bits.. With beauty, ugliness, people, places]
[reconnecting - drawing at reading - remembering how much I got inspired by the city, by the chaos, the maddness, the tall, sharp, buildings with stained concrete, the soft human faces and bodies squashed into suits and offices.. ]
[part of reconnecting - remembering being 18 - taking first steps out into world - quickly getting involved with a woman - getting married, then trying to build a castle.. - and kind’ve taking on role of support, not for myself, but for family, maybe community - because myself needs to get in and deal with pain - avoidance, empathy... ]
[also - gender - perception - changing the code of ‘how to be a man’ - choosing alternatives - androgyny - actually allowing great freedom ...?]
Alongside AA2A I am also evolving - my personal circumstances are in turmoil, but am beginning to find the strength, and the theraputic tools I need to move forward, and my creativity is a part of it...
So for me this is the just beginning, the first steps, of me simply allowing that quiet, but immensely deep, powerful and strong, artistic voice...
having a bit of an exsistential crisis...
begun this scheme with a fascination with and a belief that by using the medium of technology I would be able to comment/ affect change/ create stuff within the world I am in on a daily basis - that of multimedia design and technology..
but as I keep doing this, my regular artists date, I am finding other things happening..
I'm finding myself looking out the window - looking at the setting sun, out onto a city ravaged by years of development, like us all, like culture, like our sense of selves..
over designed - we are all victims of too much design..
and my daughter being Facebook bullied, I'm increasingly aware of the invasiveness, and the inherent problems of technology, the students unable to communicate with each other, the porn addicts, the social media bullies...
and another side of myself is being activated, the side that did a runner, went walkabout to australia - wanting to live, to experience life beyond what I could feel was an increasingly dangerous trend toward too much technology…
rediscovering songwriting, story-telling, that over the years I have immersed myself in and then dropped completely, it has kind've been 'my art' - and, for me, poss. unlike contemporaries?? this course is about reconnecting with my artistic self.. my dance also - performance,..
and re-connecting/ opening to the world of story-telling and theatre and people that I know and am around here in devon, really embracing, and finally, truly, seeing the value in the aural tradition, the live performance..
so am now thinking of the space I have to fill, and a space to express myself, and I'm thinking I want to go lo-fi, just me, my guitar, maybe some pencils, and do a live drawing on the wall, write and perform some songs, could record it all and play it back.. and start to research and immerse myself in the stories of old plymouth, and exeter, and cornwall, of my family roots in cornwall…telling real stories of my great uncle bill who left plymouth in 1800 to discover the americas - and became a cowboy..
a sense of self, a real sense of self..?
a sense of place, a real sense of place..?
a sense of time, a real sense of time..?
wrote this one a few years ago - but it kind've has all the elements i'm looking for - a bit different, a poetic mix of sentiment, etc.. but most importantly, for publication, is the only one i've got where i like the recording - thanks to my friend Drum and his lovely little studio in the countryside for this...
finally, have found the library I need to make this thing happen...
been a long day...
but good to have found it..
not much else to report..
good to hang out with Rachael and Vikki this avo'
and arranged meeting with sound geek for next week..
slowly, slowly catchee monkey..
also looked at this:
which is awesome - but too much for what I need...
be good for a game idea I've got though..