I’m having trouble writing this morning. I barred myself from checking blogs and emails over the weekend because by the end of last week I had started to feel odd about this online world. Sometimes I struggle to get my head round it. I remember when I started to use Facebook worried I was missing out on something. I began wary of the alien space, and then got really into it, then realised I was checking it obsessively and felt it was warping my sense of reality. Subsequently, I left (although was pretty annoyed that I couldn’t delete my profile but could only disable it). Friday I started to consider how I feel about this online blog space. I read Alex Pearl’s description of what he got out of it and even though it was all very positive I felt deflated reading it. Also last week in a discussion with an artist friend she mentioned agenda and that when reading anything you should consider the writers agenda. Then this morning I read David Minton’s latest post and couldn’t bring myself to write the regular weekly update that I normally do. If as a writer I always have an agenda how can it be untangled in faceless exchanges that solely exist as words? In some ways for me it makes me feel more isolated, more anxious, and more vulnerable than in physical reality. David talks about trusting each other but I don’t understand how you can trust such an obscure world. It seems impossible not to be anxious about being misinterpreted, especially as your whole online identity is based on what you say. It’s quite intense to me but it has made me do a lot of thinking and questioning. That's why I still do it.
I too feel there is an element of courage that I have to find to click ‘publish’ at the end of a post. Gulp.
Last week was a bit of a non-week in terms of art work. I did over-time at work, was babysitting my niece and finishing the decorating. After all this I was only left one day at the studio and by the end of the week found myself getting a bit itchy about my absence. So this week I’m hoping to scratch that itch and get back down to it.
11 weeks until the show which seems ages or maybe not. It’s very hard to gauge time scales. How long will it take me to sew another two houses, get some prints done, finish a drawing, make a performance house and tend to any other last minute issues and decisions? How long is a piece of string? I guess the point will come that I just have to stop and put up and say this is were I am at right now. If I had ten years or ten days it would just be a different stop off point.
It has been a fairly productive week. I have felt quite invigorated turning up at the studio each morning with a clear set of tasks before me. You could say just a little too invigorated maybe… I have noticed that my stuff seems to be growing quite out of control. I have a fair sized space and probably if I was a more organised, less erratic worker, it would be ample for me to operate within without this involuntary sprawl. But for some reason when in the midst of working out some idea my brain can’t seem to operate in an orderly fashion. Suddenly I find myself out in the corridor, lying across the walkway trying something new around something old, tripping over some stray piece of wire or an old bit of work. I push things clumsily out the way, squash little wire doors with my clumsy feet, traipse accidental footprints on my stray notepaper and sketches, tea gets cold and lunch gets eaten about 3 hours after a traditional lunching time. It is a bit like I forget that I am there; forget that the body needs manoeuvring with at least a little bit of care and also does require a bit of food and water at times. There is definitely a touch of frantic in the way I work.
The meeting about the Hertford studios last week has still left a lot of uncertainties. Mainly because it is not built yet and therefore it feels impossible to really know what a space in it would be like. Things are pretty fluid and changeable at this stage. Saying this however, I have come to the decision that I will take a calculated risk and get involved and keep an option in the future. However, it has been agreed that I won’t make a final decision until I have viewed a building that exists and my deposit can be refunded if it is just unworkable. There is real potential for the project though and a great chance for an art community to establish itself. The woman setting it up has a genuine passion for seeing it a success. I really admire her for taking on such a task. The space will be cheaper than what I am paying now but subsequently much smaller…hence my way of working possibly being problematic. However, I comfort myself (and maybe other artists who may now be feeling unsure about sharing a space with such a menace as the one described above) by remembering the tiniest of space I had at uni and I managed. I am hoping that my practice has just grown to fit the space available and therefore maybe persuaded to be reversed and shrunk down a little. I guess we just do what we can with the space we’ve got. It might be time to start exploring the world of miniatures!
Statement is done; Amisha sent me the proof of the invite to look over, which was quite exciting. I couldn’t decide on which image to use so sent a few for her to choose from. She went for the one of me performing – I had a feeling she would.
I find I have a number of different things on the go now and not sure exactly where some of them are going but I am enjoying working in this way and letting one idea feed off of another. Having this coming up has really helped me to focus on the different threads in my practice and follow some that I have only toyed with in the past. It seems like a good time to reflect on my practice as a whole but fortunately doesn’t allow me a chance to get too diverted or confused, I know I must just keep hard at it and stay focused, as well as keep a little faith. I feel like I am just skimming the surface of confusion and bafflement as a survival mechanism now (time for all that later)…. For now just keep making, keep exploring and keep focusing on the ideas but don’t try to resolve. I am really excited just trying things out. It feels like such a luxury!
Tonight I’m going to a meeting over in Hertford about the proposed studios. I hope this goes well. I feel very excited about meeting some of the other artists that are getting involved and looking forward to seeing things move forward. High hopes are risky but I still can’t help but have them!
Another week has sped by and what have I been up to? I worked the bank holiday over at another shop in Hatfield. Joy, oh joy! But it’s a job at least. (restrain the full moan!)
The rest of the week for some reason, I’m finding it hard to recall, it has gone so quickly. I have been working on the drawing on and off but have been combining it with other more pressing tasks – like my personal statement. I find I have a strange relationship with the activity of statement writing. Sometimes I feel a slight resentment at having to constantly be writing, rewriting, searching for words that sum up and justify a whole ever changing practice. Other times it feels like a really useful reflection and reassessment of things. But for some reason the words of the curator of the C4RD gallery come back to me when I sit down to start one… ‘Artist’s usually aren’t good at writing about their work’. Are we the best people to be explaining our own work? I don’t think it’s out of laziness that I sometimes don’t feel it appropriate to write bumf of text (my sketch book is filled with pages of notes) I like writing… I like writing this blog and reflect constantly, but I hate writing something that accompanies a piece of work and could be taken as fact. The word 'statement' sounds very final and official. I don’t know maybe I'm just thinking too much about it. What does everyone else think about this? Do we read, write and value statements and explanations? I just know, like my statements, my opinion of them is ever changing.
Well anyway, I have almost got there with the statement – as much as I can at this point in time. By the time the exhibition comes round though I will probably be feeling quite uncomfortable about my stated claims, so please don’t take anything I write as concrete. It is all subject to change!
I did also last week go and find out more about a proposed plan for a new studio group in Hertford. It looks positive, although very early days so I’m not packing my bags just yet, but it does seem to have potential. Fingers crossed on that one and plenty more to find out.