College has broken up for the Easter holidays so I have been back in my studio carrying on with work.
Although having a studio is a big commitment I’m so glad to have it. It’s my bolt hole and my space to work freely. I recommend putting studio space high up on your list of priorities after graduating. It really does pay off.
Not only do you have dedicated space to make and store work, potentially you also have other artists working along side you. This network of creatives is going to be vital once we leave the comfort of our college friends around us.
If you are looking at potential studio spaces my top tips would be – make sure the space can be well lit – it doesn’t have to be natural light; if you are sharing the building with other artists make sure you meet everyone first and see if you get on. Artists are each others assets! The artists in my building work in very different mediums using different processes and have varying levels of experience but we all value the importance of creativity and really do support each other . So this covers a kind of giving that artists do – giving to each other in support, encouragement and kindness. (There are more advantages to having a studio of course such as having a place for people to come and look at your work and a sense of your own legitimacy. Having a studio also brings opportunities for exhibitions and open studios.)
My work today demanded that I give of myself emotionally – its work that is personal, it concerns memory and how memories shape our identity and behavior. The subjects of memory, collective memories and history are very much intertwined and I’m interested in how artists respond to ideas around these subjects.
Today I finished a painting about my twin. The painting is based on a photograph taken when we were about 9. On the face of it I could have made this painting at the beginning of this project – made a painting from a photograph in a simple responsive way. But its taken me a year to get to this point and so the thoughts and ideas behind the work are quite considerable. But is this evident in the work? Does it make any difference?
For me there is a huge difference – making this painting has left me drained – I really feel that I have ‘given’ to it. Sensations of returning to that time and place and to the close relationship I had with my twin as a child have been vivid and intense. I still have a great sense of longing for the freedom and contentment I experienced as a child and the fantastic companionship I shared with my twin. Thinking about it now I would say I experienced life as if we were one person. So I feel as if I have given of myself but I’m not sure if this extends to giving to others. Is autobiographical work self-indulgent? Does it give to others in some way – does it need to ?
The reality is that all work gives something. I guess I’m caught between feelings of near embarrassment – opening a personal and usually private side of myself – and the vulnerability that openness can bring. I’ll get over it!
My twin has no idea at this point that I am making work about us! I probably should tell him about it….again it goes back to being so close – its actually hard for us to articulate how close we are and as adults we don’t talk about our relationship in this way. I wonder what he will think? How does he perceive this time in our childhood?
So I have given of myself creatively today – just like thousands of other creative people have – driven by the need to express ideas, respond to situations, connect with others. We can’t be exactly sure where these acts of creatively will take us to next, that’s the magic of it all ‘the unknown’ nature of it. How will we see our work, how will others see it (if we share it) and what will this cause us to do next?