This is a collaborative research project undertaken by Fran Wilde and, myself Gordon Flemons. The aim is to investigate an area of Chelmsford currently undergoing rapid redevelopment. The research will be carried out by collecting primary data through, drawing, gleaning, and observing. The project has purposely been given a short time frame, to keep the results raw and unresolved, finishing with an exhibition in mid November.
It’s been a while since my last, somewhat, frantic post. The exhibition is down and the adrenaline rush has subsided. I’ve even recovered from the shock of dropping one of my light boxes the night before the opening! More importantly the house is almost tidy again.
I always feel rather embarrassed and apologetic at the number of people who turn out on a cold November day to view my art, but I was particularly pleased that, with its specific focus, this show reached beyond the normal arts audience and attracted local residence. I learnt a good deal more about the area and realised afterwards that these stories should have been recorded; another lesson for next time.
So with only the evaluation report to write the project comes to a close. Yet these things never really end, instead they spark new ideas that flow off in fresh directions and the project is born again in a new form.
Stress levels are rising, as is the pile of lights, wiring and projectors, in what was once the living room. I have reached that familiar point where I now know what I should have done and how I should have done it, if I was just starting the project from scratch!
At the moment nothing I do seems to work quite right. I’m in that panic phase when I don’t want any one to come to the show. But I’ve been here before. Deep breath, hang on, and it will be ok – I think. If I can just find the right bulbs for my small light boxes……..
It’s strange how, as an exhibition gets closer, time speeds up. Somehow I never quite manage to tick off as many things on my daily ‘to do’ list as I hope to. However, a gas company has just started to dig up the road outside my house so this encourages an early exit to the workshop to escape the noise. I always enjoy being there anyway and besides I’m finding it reassuring being back on familiar territory- making objects ready for installation. Ironically I’m busy making road signs not dissimilar to the ones directing traffic and pedestrians round the road works. My signs, however, are intended to shepherd people around our exhibition. This will hopefully lend a flavour to the show of the area we’ve been studying which seems to have an abnormally high density of signs hectoring and cajoling commuters on their daily grind!
The core of this project has been about observation, more specifically observation aided by drawing. Somehow drawing makes you look more closely. The eye flicks repeatedly from the pen to the subject, but these are not casual glances they’re analytical stares. Each time you look you see something new. Having said that some of the drawings are quick jottings of salient facts, private aid memoirs. Often these are the ones I like best – though they’re probably only meaningful to me.
Some days the drawings have just not worked and I’ve tried taking photos instead, but on such occasions these too have been lifeless. Both activities require an engagement with the subject, which just does not happen if your minds off worrying about something else like a forthcoming exhibition.
I cleared my workspace at the start of the week with the intension of having a concentrated creative splurge working on the drawings and photos I’ve made in the town over the last few months. But as usual things didn’t work out quite like that. For a start the good weather tempted me out to get some better photos of one of my inflatable sculptures, then it was back to being bad tempered in front of the computer, sorting out distribution lists for the exhibition advert, and trying to source materials and equipment. Is it just me, or do others have the same problem that there always seems to be something getting in the way of doing the art? The week has, however, ended on a good note. I’ve just heard the flyers have been printed, and I’ve been promised a projector. What’s more the studio’s in a mess, so I must have done some work.