Over the past three months we have contacted over 400 organisations from across Wales including archers & astronomical societies; motorcycle, merchant navy, mensa, medieval re-enactment & model railway clubs; Societies of bonsai growers, bowmen, bat watchers & badminton players and cactus enthusiasts, postcard collectors, bee-keepers, quilters, miniaturists, ufologists and not forgetting the George Formby Society, to name but a few.
At times it has brought a wide heart-warming smile, at others a furrowed brow deep with concern turning alarmingly to abject fear when the conversation turns deeply into odd. The sweet majority of those we have spoken to, via telephone and email, are happy to give up their time to share their obsessions and interests with our motley bunch of artists. I’m grateful for their generosity, giving us an insight into what they do, what they like and how they go about liking it. When the bus sets off we’ll be taking in skills, history and tradition for a couple of hours so we can create something in response.
Of course, there are always a few who are knee deep in misinterpretation and however hard we try demand art workshops! They push forward the ‘artistic members’ of the group with the ends of their own paint-brushes, often these aloof members have a penchant for thick impasto flowers that I’m thankful to say look nothing like any female genitalia I have ever seen. Thank you Georgia!
On the whole though, it’s been great. I have spoken, talked, discussed, nattered, chatted and e-mailed with each group. Giving me a real insight into lives and passions that I wouldn’t have been privy to before or, for that matter, will probably be since. I feel very proud, and strangely attached, to the groups for their flexibility and indeterminable spirit that keeps them together. Whether it be sharing their love of WWF Wrestling (who hasn’t admired the skills of Hacksaw Jim Duggan or Bret the Hitman Hart?!) or from astronomical observatories cataloguing and studying the hazards posed by Near Earth Objects. I now live in fear and find it difficult to sleep at night but this, amongst others, is a sacrifice I’m willing to make.
These many discussions allowed me to see a window into the groups’ past & present supporting my original belief that artist’s groups are very similar to other bands of merry people who meet up, unite over something which to them is vital, and keep warm together around their little fire of interest. I just hope that our group will stay together and not set eachother alight with matches.
I’m hoping Cerbyd will get across that artists’ aren’t weird, unintelligible humanoids designed to dump unfathomably large and useless public art across the nation’s cities. No, we are just like you so the probable 60’s protest song goes. Artists can be your friends y’know.