Been a bit awol haven’t I? This last couple of weeks has been fairly manic! Several things have happened that I should have written about, but because there is some time lost, they have lost their immediacy. It’s hard to write when it’s not fresh.

Things I will no doubt come back to –

Making a Living’s open letter to Tate and Tate’s ‘No Soul for Sale’ weekend.

The new government and the state of the arts.

The difficulties of trying to make ambitious new work for an exhibition where there is no budget available for anything. Currently £123.81 down. More to go…

So, the sun is a blessing as I am working on a 14ft high tower in the garden. I love making things like this, although I am not the best at it and can get very frustrated when things don’t go to plan. A family friend has been incredible with his van and local wood yard discount. He is taking the work to Liverpool on Monday, so that means I have to finish the thing tomorrow – good deadline; a week in advance. There is no projector, so one piece of the work cannot be shown. It changes it all completely of course, but I just refuse to pay to hire one myself, and I’m certainly not buying one. So, sculpture and drawing it is, there is a slide projector, so maybe that will do.

Anyway, enough whining, apologies! Spreading the drawing paper in London was a joy and prompted lots of great conversations. If you asked me for one and haven’t had it yet, please remind me, I got confused with my mailing list!

I also saw this when I was catching up with the papers: http://www.guardian.co.uk/money/2010/may/22/fine-a…

What to do with a fine art degree. Hmm, sorry Guardian, but this is pretty useless as far as the title goes. It is essentially saying that fine art graduates don’t so very well as far as employment goes. Yep, we know that. No mention of how crappy the data might be given the difficulty of collecting statistics in this area.

It also goes on to say what skills you may have gained, but the focus is on practical skills and creative flair. No mention of any other transferrable skills or of the kind of roles that a lot of artist make money from.It’s also too simple to say artists might be good in jobs that will use creative flair, because altough this may be true, employers will generally have difficulty making the imaginary leap when looking at a CV with no industry experience. This also misses the vital point that people would need certain skills like using photoshop to a professional level for this kind of role; a different matter to being self-taught and using it to edit images of your work and make the odd flyer.

The graphs at the bottom mean little to me. Data here, collected by the Higher Education Careers Services Unit and Graduate Prospects

This shows the kind of work people are doing – retail, catering etc, gender breakdown, what happens after uni and lastly, a sector breakdown using descriptions like commercial artist, fine artist and photographer. Trouble is, it just doesn’t mean anything. It’s all too generalised and doesn’t account for people saying they are a fine artist, but not receiving any money from that and so on. I remember putting that on a questionnaire for ECA one year. There was no way I was calling myself a waitress, although that is how I payed my rent. It seemed very important to hold onto the fact that I was an artist, however dishonest.

Looking at these statistics doesn’t give much idea of what actually goes on in the art world and how graduates operate. Also, it would be hard to look at this kind of thing and use it to improve things, which is surely what an overview should do; make obvious the big gaps/problems. The only thing that seems obvious is that there are too many fine art graduates per fine art related work opportunities.

Thanks for putting it in though, better than nothing I guess.

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I have sent out a batch of Drawing Papers this morning, another one tomorrow or Wednesday when I find more envelopes (there must be hundreds in the house somewhere…).

I reached my limit yesterday for sending out, so if you would like two free copies, please send me an A4 SAE with 81p paid on it. Email me for my address:

[email protected]

Cheers +


Heard from a magazine in China this morning that my copy of their May issue is on the way:


They have featured me on their discovery page, with Inhabitant. Not sure what it will be like exactly, but looking forward to seeing it.

Conversation with Dan last night about the fact that everything is so manic at the moment and we are both a) exhausted and b) ratty and that c) the house is a hell-hole. He seemed to be realising that things might not ever change and that was a bit hard to fathom for him. No matter what I think about the old stereotype of the artist working all hours for the love of it, I do work an insane amount of hours. Things are especially mental at the moment though and my incredibly tight schedule for April/May got messed up by a death, a car blip and a birth, so it’s worse than I thought. I didn’t allow for life in my bad-timetabling.

His worst fear, I think, was that life is going to be a perpetual battle for time and non-stressed wife. But I have learned my lesson (a bit) this time, it has been too much to manage over the last two months and all for things that weren’t necessarily awesome uses of my time. I’m sure I’ll keep making dodgy decisions – but hopefully less all at once.

At the Taxed Skillmarket last month, Susan Jones advised me to keep track of hours worked. I have been doing that and it is working out between 10 – 14 hours a day, including weekends! I’m not sure that’s very efficient working mind, there is a lot of anxiety getting in the way of that. She also advised that this could be used to budget time for future jobs, but that you always need to add 25%. ADD 25%. Got it. 25%. I might just make it 30%.

In other real-life news! My twin sister Ruth had her baby last week. Millicent Rose, who is a divine little creature. She smells delicious and I have been quite greedy about going round and holding her all the time (when I can get past the neighbours and grandma’s – honestly!). Far more important than all the other worries. Dan is broody.

Right, back to that YSP book and student loan deferments….

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It suddenly feels like everyone is waking up.. there are lots of exciting things afoot in Liverpool and the weather is nice enough and it is light enough to want to leave the house.

Last night there was the pre-launch of the Drawing Paper, a new, free paper concentrating on drawing (see images for an idea). The first issue had 20 artists in, me included and we all put £40 in the pot and Mike Carney designed and printed 3,000 copies. If you would like a copy, email me your address and I will send one. If I get a million replies I may ask for an SAE though!

[email protected]

Some images and a bit more information here:


Next weekend, although it is light night and there are an insane amount of things I will miss in Liverpool, I am going to London. I want an art-saturated couple of days, to catch up with old friends, and to buy lettpress ink. My studio group is in ‘No Soul for Sale, a festival of independents’ at Tate Modern from Friday – Sunday for the 10th birthday celebrations. I have put some things in, so would like to see the chaos in person.

Next exhibition up at Royal Standard ‘This Matter’ looks incredible, as much for the music at the opening night (the Grubby Mitts) and the programme of talks and things running alongside it as the work. This is really interesting and ambitious stuff, and I can’t wait!


I am almost settled into my new, double sized space there too and it is awesome. I feel delieriously happy there and I had a dance around in it yesterday. It still needs a tidy and shelves assembling/filling, but it is a GOOD space. The Royal Standard just keeps getting better and better.





On the subject of applying for things (money) – see last post, I came across this while cataloguing for Intute today and thought it might be interesting.


It is a publication (downloadable as a free PDF), which contains proposals, both successful and insuccessful from a number of artists. It’s interesting to see how other people go about it…

Have you voted yet? Well go on then….