Today was the first day at Backlit Studio’s in Nottingham, so it was all the necessary stuff of inductions – how to get in the building, how to get lost in the building, how to save yourself if the building starts to burn down and most importantly, where to make a cup of tea. Backlit Studios is in an old factory building, I don’t know much about it at this point, but they have an archive that I will delve into at some point.  After a morning of meetings, followed by another meeting with Quad’s representative after lunch, I chose my studio space.

I had the choice of two studio spaces, one more private, and one more open with no door. My instinct was to go for the private with a door so in pushing myself even further outside my comfort zone, I found myself saying I would go for the more open space, where I will be more visible and not have a door to close.  This is a new way of working for me, and will challenge my desire for privacy.

My initial thoughts on what to do are based around being practice led, I’m going to start by drawing, making marks, using different materials to express what is going on inside my head visually. I can struggle to verbalise the whirling thoughts, so this is a good starting point for me.

I feel the urge to draw the people I will see on my commute to Nottingham, in the local café (great coffee), in the studios and explore how their faces will disappear from my memory within hours or days of seeing them, as I come to realise the impact of Prosopagnosia – face blindness – has had, and continues to have on my life.

We did discuss Vygotsky’s Zone of Proximal Development – the space where you are just outside your comfort zone, where you do most of your learning, but where if you steps too far outside of your comfort zone you will stop learning – but I’m not sure this is the right direction yet.  It did lead to thoughts around the Uncanny, surrealism, Freud.  But it’s early days, so if this is a practice led residency, then I need to not focus on any theoretical studies yet or they will influence the direction.

The intention of taking materials to Nottingham today so that I can get drawing has been thwarted by last night’s bout of insomnia and the Non-Human’s insistence that breakfast needed to be at 6.30am, leaves me back in bed for the afternoon, so it looks like a Sunday trip to Nottingham tomorrow followed by a catch up at Quad in the next couple of weeks.


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It’s been slower than I hoped getting going with this residency, but I think the Happy Pills are starting to do their magic and I’m feeling more motivated to get off the sofa and do some work.

This is my first ‘proper’ residency and my inner perfectionist is constantly telling me I could do better, do more, do cleverer.  So I’m taking notice and taking myself back to basics, of when on my art foundation course we drew for the love of making marks – I loved every minute of it.

Today’s drawings have been inspired by my favourite book on drawing, Drawing Projects, an exploration of the language of drawing by Mick Maslen and Jack Southern.

I started drawing how I feel, literally. This exercise uses one hand to draw with while the other feels your face, as you feel, you draw. It’s a great warm up exercise.  I think my drawings also reflect how I have been feeling, dysregulated, disassociated, flat and numb. The drawings are of how my face feels when feelings coming back to life.