I’m delighted to be one of the 25 artists that have been awarded a bursary by The Artists Information Company to support critical and artistic development. This blog follows the journey of my resulting experiences and learning. Thanks a-n for the opportunity!

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In Conclusion . . .

As my Re:view bursary period comes to an end I feel incredibly grateful to a-n for this opportunity it has afforded myself and other artists. To receive a bursary that enables something as fundamentally valuable as advisory sessions with key arts individuals is inspired. To have that kind investment placed in you as an artist is incredibly encouraging and validating.

My bursary was used to pay for three advisory meetings with curator/gallerist Danielle Arnaud. The main conclusions I drew from these meetings were that:

1) My practice needs continuing exploration and experimentation to reach a point of clarity that is both personal and universal.

2) I need to be braver with my work. I need to take more risks, perhaps work on a larger scale, push boundaries of what I feel comfortable with and produce work that is truely ambitious.

To this end, and as a fitting conclusion to these meetings, I have taken a leap of faith with my practice. I have chosen to leave the comfort of my domestic studio space and invest in renting a 600sq ft light industrial unit. I have also invested in purchasing my own welding equipment. Together these will mean the scope to fabricate works on a scale not previously possible and I hope working in such a space will expand my thought process and result in ambitious and outstanding sculptures and installations. I am both nervous and excited at the start of this new chapter! Thank you a-n for your support in this process!


Before and After – Learning To Be Bold

One of the key points that has come out from my two Re:View bursary mentor meetings is that I am still too timid in my work.

As a result I have been spending a lot of time reflecting on what holds me back and what I can do to move forward in this area. Thinking about how to be bolder and freer in my materials and concepts without resorting to being sensational for the sake of it. Consideration of the audience, especially in commissioned works, has definitely restricted me. My mentor advised:

“your concern about the audience is problematic – your main focus has to remain the work, while the curator will provide the necessary ‘portals’/interpretation needed for a mixed audience”

I think I also have had a tendency to intellectualise pieces from the start rather than to give in more to instinct. As a result some works have been too prescriptive or literal. As an experiment I have reworked a piece that I felt suffered from this problem. I worked on it more from a place of gut instinct and the resulting piece is definitely, in my opinion, stronger as a result.


Wise Words

I read this today by Richard Tuttle and think its brilliant. This is what I will be reflecting on with regards to my practice.

“When the work comes to a point, at that point should be freedom and not slavery. Most of us would rather be told what to do rather than to face freedom. A perceived artwork that tells you what to think or how to act is not helpful to society,”

“It’s a service to do the most with your life that you can do in the world. The job of the artist is to give people something to see not to give them something to look at. You have to know the difference between looking and seeing.”


Second Mentor Meeting – The Fall Out.

Well I finally had my second mentor meeting last week. I have to confess it left me pretty shaken.

We discussed artwork which is decorative but has very little or no substance beyond the aesthetic. This is not the kind of artist I want to be and is why I requested this particular lady as my mentor as I am aware of the intellectual rigour she expects from her artists.

With my ongoing Crystal World project my aim is to create pieces that aesthetically take cues from the novel but rather than illustrate the story explore the themes raised within the narrative that resonate with me e.g. a confusion between truth and illusion, a seduction towards escapism, our desire to create a fantasy and the dangerous line between this and mental instability. I had felt that I was progressing with this however reading between the lines of what was said and not said yesterday I got the impression that my mentor felt I am not achieving this.

Following the meeting I was initially incredibly disheartened but have since pulled myself back up and I’m determined to just keep making, evaluating and learning. It can surely be the only way forward.


The Next Step

The an Re:View bursary I recieved has funded a set of 3 mentoring meetings with gallery director and curator Danielle Arnaud. I have my second meeting booked with Danielle in two weeks time.

We are meeting at The Guildhall Art Gallery so that she can have a look at my work insitu at the Victoriana exhibition, in particular the site specific installation. It has been a long time since our initial mentoring meeting which was quite a general get to know me and my work kind of meeting so I have been having a think about what is most important for me to learn in this second meeting.

I think the thing which is currently of paramount importance to me is to learn how best to orchestrate my current project into a viable show. As the major piece of the project consists of a walk through installation that will be, to an extent, site specfic to the space it has been difficult to know how to progress without first having a venue.

I hope my mentor will help in the consideration of the types of venue most suited to my project, how best to approach them and present my ideas, as well as feedback to the concept of the show itself.

I will share a bit more about the actual project, Victim Of The Crystal, in my next post.