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By: Edward Lawrenson
As I settle back into life in a small semi-rural village, light years from the notion of contemporary art, I intend to examine and record, how I fare as an artist in the real world despite being penniless, unemployed and living with Mum and Dad. I am trying to stay afloat and upbeat-pursuing my career from the cultural obscurity that I tried for so long to escape.
# 21 [16 November 2010]
Building on the future.
So far this week I have spent both Monday and Tuesday helping set up Associations at Kettles Yard, Cambridge.
This has been one of the best weeks since leaving college. Until now I hadn't realised just how much I actually enjoy the knitty gritty, bare installation of exhibitions and how I had missed being surrounded by like minded people.
Tomorrow morning I face hopefully one of my last visits to the job centre. Tomorrow night I begin night shifts at tesco to save some money for Christmas.
Inbetween these 'non-degree specific activities' I have another day at the gallery, puffing, head scratching and lifting. I won't get paid but it'll be worth it.
# 20 [10 November 2010]
What value does ridiculous tuition fees give to higher education?
Will the University degree become a sought, hard earned prize or a commodity of wealth?
# 19 [9 November 2010]
NOT DEAD YET
It's ridiculous. For the better part of two months I have been having a creative meltdown. A complete panic stricken block. It has always been a periodical feature in my life since focusing in on art making as my primary purpose in life. Ironically, instead of using the blog as the place to tease out these issues and anxieties, I've avoided it like the plague to save the world from my apocalyptic visions of my artistic career.
I am however, going to try and make a concerted effort to try and use this blog for positive gain.
A key factor in my problem with my work (I believe) is the persistence of my diminishing bank balance and inability to find employment, not just in the creative industries, but part time temping jobs which I once swore I would never do again.
It seems I ought to make the most of my situation, and in-between applications, dedicate my time to considered art making.
I have recently participated in onedotzero's graduate workshop, cascade, which enabled me to work with some really interesting creative practitioners from a broad spectrum of disciplines. Whilst gaining mutual respect for other industries, it affirmed my sense of importance not only as an artist, but specifically a painter. I don't believe modes of existence must necessarily be categorised, but I do advocate the recognition of established and important fields of research.
I have found the journey to where I am now, as a graduate trying to establish where to aim next an arduous if not enjoyable process. Though I am conscious of the sublime history stacked up against every contemporary practitioner, I still find my self a gibbering wreck in considering my position in this world.
I find reminding myself that despite my efforts I might leave this world choking on my breakfast cereal a comfort and a reality check.
With my mortality tucked safely under my arm, I scan through the short list of the Celeste Art Prize and the John Moores Painting Prize.
I am humbled.
I am shown that, there are some very good painters out there. I tell myself I am twenty-two, and museli permitting, still in with a chance of making some half decent work before my time is up.
I feel as though since moving home my nervous ambition to move further and higher at a frightening rate has mellowed. In contrast to everything I'd planned, I don't need to be in London, I don't need to do an MA right now....
I am attempting to convince myself that the spark hasn't died;
I just want time.
Time away from the institutions to find my voice. Develop my message, and make it coherent before yelling it from the rooftops.
One issue lingers. Will I find my voice, and will it be worth yelling?
# 18 [19 October 2010]
I have somewhat neglected the importance of blogging recently, but I feel as though I should make an active effort to regain that momentum.
I can allow the inspiration to re-begin the blog since being lucky enough to be part of this year's cascade project hosted by onedotzero.
For those who haven't heard of it just take a look at onedotzero.com.
The workshop has given me the opportunity to re-establish my practice within the context of collaboration and attempt to bring something positive to a group of creative practitioners who all excel within their own fields.
I am finding this experience, day one down-several to go, really challenging but crucially important. I think I had underestimated the comfort and quiet complacency which soon arrives after leaving University, [if you move home, out of your creative sphere] where by the sudden reduction of challenge to your work allows you, perhaps blindly, to work away-somewhat with your back turned to the outside world.
What's also especially challenging is not merely justifying your concepts or viewpoints to a group of relative strangers, but people who perhaps have no experience of the discipline in which you are trained and vice versa.
I believe this week is going to be a huge challenge in communication, diplomacy and to some degree, a political challenge.
"This year's onedotzero_adventuresin motion theme takes a Utopian approach. In the past mankind’s visions of the future were largely optimistic, full of bright new ideas and technology benefiting social harmony. Now however, a decade into the 21st century, we find there is a propensity for doom and gloom. onedotzero wants you use the theme of utopia to bring a sense of adventure, hope and positivity about our future world to this years cascade project and the festival"
So feel free to follow the progress of our creative process at http://isthisthegrayarea.blogspot.com
# 17 [4 October 2010]
I am not posting anywhere near as often as I should be.
Last week was a good week-
I attended the Jerwood drawing prize private view and prize giving, it was a tremendous turn out, and though not awarded anything I felt privaledged just to be there.
I finished the second of my commissions since leaving college and this one went a lot more smoothly than the first. Its startling how you can psyche yourself into not wanting to do something.
On Saturday I was sent an email inviting me to a month residency at Arteles in Finland in the new year. Needless to say, I am incredibly excited and I now have some thing palpable in the near future to work toward.
The submission of work into shows, the job applications, the visits to the job centre...it all continues.
# 16 [26 September 2010]
Calling All Arty-Sci-Fi-Philosopher types.
I have been wanting to properly pursue circulating a Zine for a while, under the title _dust.
I have found it incredibly difficult so far in gaining submissions, as it is practically unknown. I am looking for any material, image or text based from contemporary, practicing artists to be printed and distributed via my paper based zine. The idea is the promotion of random thoughts and ideas that are of current concern to today's practicioners. I do not have set ideological or political agendas, just the wish to highlight the diversity of research and debate amongst contemporary artists. If you wish to have your thoughts heard, poems read, points of view addressed or artwork seen, please submit something, anything to firstname.lastname@example.org
# 15 [19 September 2010]
I NEED THERAPY, NOT A BLOG.
How and why does one experience incredibly unproductive weeks and then have a fantastically inspiring day or two?
If I had the time and money, I would go back to University and study Psychology with behavioural therapy. I don't know how to begin attempting to map the cocktail of factors which affect ones mood and subsequent creative output...but I wish I had an inkling.
Three weeks and three attempts after having begun a straight forward commissioned painting, I am no nearer to completing it. The trouble is, I want it to look good, whilst simultaneously not caring for the subject matter.
I keep producing real awful work because of this disengagement and I do not know what to do. All my life I have grown up with the flouncing artistic-pre-madonna stereotype crying "I don't do commissions!".
I always thought it was pretence;now I realise just how hard it is to stop expressing yourself and follow someone else's specified idea of art.
I'm pretty sure my own painting I produced while whining about this tiny painting that, I have to do, is in someways inspired by this stranglehold. I also seem to be distracted by the disastrous character of 1986.
# 14 [16 September 2010]
WORK IN PROGRESS
# 13 [15 September 2010]
# 12 [10 September 2010]
AS IGNORANT AS THE EXTREMISTS THAT THEY ARE TRYING TO UNDERMINE.
I seemed to wake up in a bad mood this morning. This is becoming a far more common occurrence as the weeks wind on. I got up in a mood, had a coffee, was pissed off the whole time I was jogging and got back to find Pastor Terry Jones on the news. This, really pissed me off.
The idea of burning the Koran as some sort of symbolic defiance to the Muslim world is ridiculous, and why the likes of the CIA or another government facility doesn't remove someone as troublesome as the Pastor surprises me.
I am not suggesting the censorship of free speech, I am simply explaining my exasperation at the unrelenting effort made by the human race to fuck about.
I have three family members in the armed forces and possibly soon to be a fourth. I am a pacifist, and personally couldn't imagine a much worse fate than military life.
I also found this today, an article on a Jeremy Deller and Esam Pasha project from earlier this year on the Art Newspaper website: http://www.theartnewspaper.com/articles/Taking+the+war+in+Iraq+to+the+American+people/17387
I admit that though I am a pacifist, I am fascinated by histories great conflicts. I found the aforementioned project, as Clint Eastwood's films Flags of Our Fathers and Letters from Iwo Jima depict; It is what it is, and there are real people having to live their lives amidst violence orchestrated from an airconditioned office.
Education/Winchester School of Art, Ecole Nationale Superieure des Beaux Arts
Discipline/Visual Artist(painting, drawing, video, sound and everything inbetween)
Career Goals/To change the world...whilst refraining from lying to too many people about what I studied whilst sheepishly scratching my head.