Ideas? Technical issues?
» Feedback to a-n
By: Josie Faure Walker
BA fine art sculpture
# 17 [15 June 2008]
This extraordinary process is mostly over now. The inevitable anti climax of two private views takes its toll on the character. I've drunk too much and talked too much bollocks and am just glad the whole palava is done with (until it's taken down. that'll be the final nail in the coffin.)
The degree show is bizarre; it's like trying to squash three years of messy process and mad, varied exploration into a compact slick mock gallery environment, only to be looked at by a public comprised of relatives and prospective students. This year it is a really good show, I am very impressed by the range of intelligent, playful and well developed work. I feel inadequate at this stage, like I have disappointed myself. I'm not sure if that's because I ended up making work that looks like a fuck you (or fuck myself) or if it's just my feeling about the course in general.
Weird. A lot of us have said it - it's just strange having people you've never seen looking at your stuff. It's a big mistake to hover around your work like you can't let go. It's not ours anymore, it's been put out into the world, and it's up for judgement. They can say it's shite or they can say it's terrific but in any case it's better than no reaction at all.
Apart from the incredible detatchment I inevitably feel from the course and the work I've produced, it is scary to have to move on. Everyone asks each other what plans we have and I'm excited to leave it up in the air for now, undecided, a mixed bag of opportunities. There'll be more shows, some to take part in and some to try and organize. There'll be attempts at getting into writing, and at paying the bills by working any job that allows me to keep making this stuff.
The last thing I'll be doing is jumping into another art course. I understand that out of the art school bubble you miss the critical debate surrounding the work you might make for crits etc... but I found that for me, this took precedence over the work itself. I was so interested in the whole set up of trying to stand around something and talk about what it looks like, what it refers to, etc. Eventually getting to what it actually is, what it really says about the place and the time - about being made on an art course, under the constant scrutiny of other students and tutors. That is so fascinating to me! The work is almost a by-product of a mad ritual.
So I'm done with the showing crap, I want some time to make something carefully and thoughtfully before showing it to anybody.
Having said that, I'm planning to organize a show with friends and collaborators from the course. In our own context, away from the student world. But we need a few months off first. We are exhausted.
# 16 [1 June 2008]
Well now the work has been done and theres nothing that can be changed. Assessment started on Thursday and will go on for a couple of weeks, show opens on friday the 13th.
Im not too sure about what I ended up with. It doesnt fit together in my head.. I wasn't working to the right deadline... finished just in time, but before I'd had a chance to think about what I was putting in.. I like the things I've installed, just not sure how they work together.
Anyway Im thinking I might change the installation between assessment and the public show. It can be done. I'd just make my new thing, come in one day when we're meant to be re-curating, and swap em.
But at the moment Im art drained and need a couple of days to rest.
# 15 [25 May 2008]
So we've painted (most of) the studio and it looks like an exhibition space not a grotty mouse-infested shitole studio.
I spent the day boring myself to tears printing out documentation. Its good that we have today and tomorrow to do all this otherwise we'd all end up doing it the night before its due and do it terribly. The documentashunn looks rather professhh in a plastic folder... maybe like a marketing report. I should have done a powerpoint presentation for my artists statement.
So I have tomorrow to organize the research blah and the self evaluation shite etc and then, only then, am I going to make my sculpture kebab. Looks like its going to work though. Even if it falls over during assessment or the show it doesnt matter, it'll be funny. The clay could well fall apart. Well Im sure it'll be fine. Embrace chance yes.
# 14 [24 May 2008]
And so we're almost finished. By wednesday (although yesterday was my deadline before) I have to get sorted 2 collaborative works (both nearly ready) and get all my work together - which doesn't get any easier as the days pass because I keep changing my mind...
I have to find a good way to show a selection of small sculptures - that don't necessarily relate, but are all interesting in their individual ways. I can't stand using plinths, because they are ugly and pretend to be invisible. if we can accept a plinth there, it makes me think that lots of my decisions about the work could be part-ignored, and I don't want that because everything is intentional. Yesterday I found a plinth and resolved that I didn't have enough time and would just have to use one - but then I had the idea of stringing all my sculptures on a wire like a kebab. Now this may seem bonkers but I think it could be quite effective.
They'll be crammed on and for many of them the full form will be obscured. That's a good thing in my book because a lot of them I don't like that much. Im also thinking that showing them in this tall, thin upright way is a method that means they are not really read like sculpture, or like individual objects - but as one long mixed up column. This is interesting for me because there is a lot of architectural influence emerging in my other work in the show. It would be a way to get what look like disparate works to connect. The small sculptures are weird and I can't say much about them. They are in french white wax, black wax, painted and unpainted clay, plasticine and chavant....
The other newish thing I decided yesterday is that some of the drawings are going to be carbon copies. I bought a (fucking expensive!) triplicate book so I can make 3 copies of every drawing. Its a very simple form of printmaking, and I like the numbers on the pages and the thin coloured paper.. I'll put a couple up today before we paint the studio floor.
# 13 [22 May 2008]
We started making concrete decisions on curating the space today. Everyone is tense and exciteable. I walked round the whole show and was really impressed; it's going to be a great one.. just want these next few days to be enjoyable, because aside from our show, they are also the last few days of our course.
# 12 [21 May 2008]
I've worked really hard today and I don't want to touch what I've got out of it...there's still a bunch of questions and ideas mixing up in my head about it but I think overall thats a good sign.... I'm still intrigued by it... feel absolutely exhausted so im going to have a bath and go to the pub to watch the football
i feel like im shouting into a hole here! im talking to myself. actually ive been doing that all day. i even made a blue peter style how to of me making the sculpture! hm.
# 11 [21 May 2008]
At the peak of my indecisiveness, I've decided on something new and I'm going to give it a shot today. What's the worst that can happen. It's going to look crafty like blue peter and crap, proud but pathetic - monumental but temporary - like everything in this degree show, it'll be torn down in a few weeks and stuffed at the back of a cupboard.
drawings are coming along well, I got some frames from the £ store and they do lots of sizes so I think I'm going to do a little clustered arrangement. Claimed my wall space at college so hopefully there'll still be somewhere for me to put them when I go in tomorrow.
I think they're going to be £3.99 for A6, £5.99 for A5 and £9.99 for A4... got to sort out some deal for a bundle... maybe £50 the lot ONO.
My reason for pricing them a couple of hundred pounds less than the standard is that a) I want to get rid of them b) I can churn these out like farts c) I'd prefer them to be hanging on somebody's wall than in a box in my cellar. If I want to sell them I should be bold about it - what about buy one A4 get an A6 chucked in?
The reason I had to wait until days before the deadline to make these decisions, I've realised, is because I don't want to be in the same category as anyone else in the room. The work can relate, but I had to wait and see the mood of the space before deciding on a mood for my work. Maybe that's a foolish way to decide on your own practice as an artist - but I always end up with 2 strands of work - the things I make for exhibition and the things I make personally day to day. Obviously it all feeds into eachother but my exhibition work is outward looking, I'd hope, I'm trying not to be insular and easily pinned down.
I can imagine I'm a complete pain to work with.
# 10 [20 May 2008]
I just want it all to be over now. The atmosphere at college is tense and unpleasantly competitive. If you're still working at this stage, with days to spare, and still thinking, (of course, not dead yet) it is very off putting having to listen to the smarmy buggers who finished their masterpieces weeks ago. I want to get away from everyone else, but it's not all that easy at a college that is renowned for its stuffing in of students in every last inch of space.
Looks like my work will take the form of lots of objects that map my changing ideas, although I keep having new developments that make me feel like I should jack in all the past stuff I've been doing. It's a risky strategy, leaving it all to the last minute. But at least I'm not bored - although I'm torturing myself with the looming thought that I'm not happy with the work I've made. There's definitely a 2 side personality situation here where one is a vicious art critic and the other is a crushed over sensitive artiste and they are warring it out at the moment.
# 9 [18 May 2008]
I have finally written an artists statement that I believe reflects something of what I want to say. It's a nightmare to write but was assisted by a ridiculous 'how to' article I found through a google search. I felt like a plonker writing "words that describe how I feel about my work." After I'd got through 'embarassed' and synonyms I got to the good stuff and eventually it worked well. Can't help but sound pretentious but I suppose it just needs to be a concise and direct explanation of what I'm trying to do.
The book on finish has been very useful and I'm still trying to keep my view opened up rather than closed down by committing to something: I've made a few bits and pieces and found a funny little miniature city cast in resin at the flea market today that might form part of my show...
Also had some new ideas about showing the documentation... and I'm thinking about pricing a bunch of drawings at £4.99.. maybe buy 2 get the 3rd free...
# 8 [17 May 2008]
Through a series of chance occurrences - being in the library and choosing a book I'd never seen before - starting to read it, and seeing what I want to see in its content - I have a new surge of energy.
This book is about artistic process and the unfinished artwork. We can't draw a line under anything because it all bleeds together. Once it's finished it's dead. So I've got threads that are all alive at the moment, although they all seem disconnected. In the midst of this, I can't even try to look at the objects and ideas from a removed position - and am wary of relying on what other people say about them. Sometimes I think that being repelled by something you have made is a good sign.
artiste who likes to make fings with her hands and talk some rubbish about it until the person listening has definitely stopped listening. I want to know what makes us want to make art, because I want to.. but sometimes I can't. I only can when no one is watching, in the dark, and I'm not concentrating.