In our previous meeting together, back in September, some of the artists mentioned their own experiences of being part of other peer groups or crit groups and possible formats that could be adapted for this group. Some individuals spoke of the difficulty in showing everyone’s work and managing time. One suggestion was to use a Pecha Kucha format for our next meeting together as this would provide a fun and informal way of all members being able to introduce their art practice.
Pecha Kucha is a form of presentation where, traditionally, those showing their work present 20 slides for 20 seconds each (see http://www.pechakucha.org/faq). The images advance automatically and you talk along to the images. Within our group, we adapted this format showing only 5 images though still only talking about each image for a maximum of 20 seconds.
Ahead of the event, artist Julie Turner very generously let us meet at her place. Five artists attended from the group: Julie, myself, Rachel Bailey (Prune), Anna Arbiter and Anna Sikorska. However, three other artists put forward their work for discussion even though they were unable to attend themselves (Sarah Heenan, Mary Heagney and Flor Ferraco). Prior to the night, all artists submitted 5 images which were then collated as a video (see https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5ZP2yGKaRkM).
Having the artists talk briefly about their work using this format was really useful, both from my point of view and, I hope, from theirs as well. Some artists chose to use the Pecha Kucha format to give a whistle-stop tour of their art practice up to now, whereby art works were sequenced chronologically and their accompanying descriptions alluded to how their work had changed over a period of time or since leaving formal education. Oppositely, others showed images in a randomised order and welcomed opportunities from the group to discern common threads which pulled their body of work together. Even artists who were unable to attend had their work shown and discussed and it’s hoped that this will naturally lead to other conversations, in the future, perhaps amongst artists of similar artistic disciplines or interests.
For me, presenting my work in this way was great in terms of consolidating my artistic practice and getting me used to thinking and talking about it as something that was continuously moving and changing. It was great to revisit older works from my first degree and my MA, but I also enjoyed talking about how my recent work had been coloured by my training as an art therapist. The presentation also provided a perfect opportunity to present a new piece I’d been working on, loosely titled ‘Self’. The image was generated from one hundred photographs I’d taken of myself over the course of about year which were layered together as a series of transparencies in Photoshop. The resulting image seems ethereal, I’m undecided what to do with it next. For instance, could it simply be a stand-alone image, or a series of images, or could it be developed into some form video montage. Who knows. Though I’m really glad I had the opportunity to present the work publicly and to gain feedback from other like-minded artists, rather than it simply being an idea that I wrestled with on my own.
Our next meeting together will be in January 2016 whereby artists will have an opportunity to revisit ideas and artworks that were presented as part of this event.