I'm having 'one of those days' - I'm sure we all have them. I have them more frequently then I'd like to. Days when I finally get into the studio and then question everything. I examine what I was last working on with the critical eye of someone who hates contemporary art, who doesn't 'get' it and can't work out the 'point' of it all. My inner critic is horrid, and I'm sure not helpful at all. I know if I met my inner critic, properly, face to face I'd have so much to say to her about the importance of the arts, how artists work and how we develop our practice, I'd also not want to see her again, clueless critical objectional creature. But she appears without my invite into my studio and has so much to say about it all, all negative of course. I could ignore her but instead I let her get to me and I then too question what's the point of it all, what the hell was I thinking of when I spent all of last Wednesday sieving that mud to make 'THAT'?! How on earth is this benefitting anyone but myself (and on many days I wonder if it does even that?)
I've driven here today in a van that's gearbox is on it's way out, I shouldn't be driving it, it lurches into neutral whenever it feels like it (usually on a roundabout) and drives along as if it's in 1st gear the entire time. When I parked up at my studio, the burning smell from it's poor little engine was overwhelming. All that just to walk into the studio, for the second day running, and sit and question everything. I've been so wretched to myself and my artwork today (and yesterday) that I've had to open up the laptop and start writing in the hope by ignoring my inner critic she'll just sod off.
I don't often come onto my website, I should do more, I need to update it more frequently, it might even help. Updating my website is all part of my job as an artist and yet I know when I leave the studio today I'll still criticise myself for not 'making anything' or 'wasting' my time. It's true, the networking, the updating, the opportunities search/application process usually happens when I'm not in the studio, normally at night. A studio day is an opportunity to get dirty, to experiment, to put on my overalls to feel like a 'proper artist'! Ha, if that programme "What do artists do all day" is to be believed that is all we would do, indulge in the studio and create, however it doesn't work like that, and the comfort I get is knowing that all the artists in my life don't live their lives like that, they juggle other jobs, or use precious studio days to get the car to the garage, buy those belated birthday presents, get some food into the empty fridge, attempt to organise accounts and then follow up those emails etc ...
Am I complaining? No, I couldn't imagine living any other life and I'm blessed and thankful most of the time, I'm just having 'one of those days' which I know when I get home (if my van makes it) I'll look back on and kick myself for wasting it by moaning about it on here. Such is life and tomorrow is another day.
Four long days at the beautiful, spacious and steeped in history, Porthmeor Studios, St Ives. So short a time but it felt like a luxury, a holiday away from the norm, I didn't have to rush off each day to carry on with all my other duties, I stayed, immersed myself and made the most of the space.
It was an opportunity to work in an empty environment, away from the chaos and clutter of my studio back in Marazion. An opportunity to see works in progress clearly and develop ideas and experiment with no set agenda or outcome.
Most of the pieces I'd been working on were destroyed at the end, mainly due to the ephemeral fragile nature of them. It felt good, it always does.
I've been using a combination of synthetic and natural materials to create otherworldly environments, forms and imagery. Hybrid sculptures exploring my observations that out of decay and destruction life form finds a way. I want to get lost in these pieces, make them bigger, more chaotic and more sprawling, sadly there isn't the time here to do that. Also my source of sprawling vine like material is usually gathered in the overgrown yard at my studio in Marazion, St Ives is definitely clear of such neglect!
Mould studies using biro ink ....
Developments of my mould imagery, by having my works on paper and wood arranged I'm able to have a constant reference point with the sculptural work I'm currently playing with. Fascinated with mould growth and the intertwining forms connecting living and dead matter, where ivy grows through a building wall, where dug up roots begin to re-shoot and where fallen trees quickly become covered with crawling plant life, is where I'm gathering inspiration.
Day one of being in Studio 5 at Porthmeor Studios, so big, so open and so empty. I'm not used to this sort of environment, away from my clutter, my works in progress I brought with me from my studio in Marazion seem tiny.
I thought I'd brought too much 'stuff' with me but in this space it all seems so small, so insignificant, barely noticeable. Trying to figure out if it matters, should I be attempting to occupy and fill this space or is the scale I'm currently working with right for me and subject matter?
So grateful to have received an A-N bursary to enable myself and 2 fellow artists down here in far west Cornwall to attend the lively Art Party Conference in Scarborough. Getting out of Cornwall sometimes is a mammoth expensive effort, so there would've been no way we could've attended this event without the bursary. Fun times were had, and although usually a solitary creature, never really being part of a 'club' 'tribe' call it what you will, there were many moments during the weekend I looked up and felt very comforted knowing we were all singing from the same hymn sheet, all passionate about the Arts and passionate it's viewed with the importance it should be within education. A little review of it can be seen here http://www.a-n.co.uk/interface/reviews/single/4078548
"The trees are waiting, heaven sent. Sling a rope
From a lime or an oak
(how good does it feel, the noose on the throat?)" S Armitage
The Not Dead by Simon Armitage– a collection of poems written from direct accounts from veterans all suffering with combat PTSD.
Guilt, lack of sleep, suicidal tendencies, anger and flashbacks are just some of the symptoms of ptsd. The person who is closest to someone with ptsd is more often than not walking on eggshells, afraid to say the wrong thing, not knowing where their thoughts are each day.
During a particularly difficult year I chose to scribble away in eggshells my own anger, frustrations and observations of being with someone with ptsd. Initially to be a wall piece, that interestingly fell and smashed on completion (I kept all the pieces)
On being invited to make work for this exhibition in response to Simon Armitage's poems it seemed fitting to bring out the eggshells once more and bring them to some completion.
There is a repetition in pattern of behavior in PTSD, the same stuff comes up time and time again, it can be relentless. The same lines, the same speeches, the same silences, the same anger, the same … The writings in the eggshells are a mixture of my own experiences and multiple repititions of Simon Armitage’s poems about ptsd.
The eggshells were on the walls in a small space reminiscent of a soundproofed cell – often that feeling of isolation is very strong. Eggshells were also on the floor, encouraging viewers of the work to tip toe around them, though naturally stepping on them in the process.
I always love a peek into fellow artists studios, seeing work in progress and ideas being played with.