It’s holiday season

so some of the things I wanted to do this week just didn’t get done due to people being away… well I’m hoping they’re away otherwise they’re just ignoring me ha ha.

This should be a good opportunity; I have a backlog of tasks that really should be addressed but which I find ways of de-prioritising. I should be writing to galleries, and to be fair to myself I have started, but I need a bit of momentum and, because I know the chance of a reply any time within the next few months is slim, I have tended to relegate the task to the ‘later’ pile. This is stupid of course as knowing something has a long lead time should really make me speed up sending the proposal in order to get it back sooner, but it doesn’t seem to work that way. I’m sure there is an interesting psychological phenomenon at work here.

I’d be interested to know how other people approach this task, but personally I have decided to be very selective with who I contact. I did that with my last show, only sending one proposal to Durham gallery, knowing they incorporate a military museum in the same premises. As the piece I wanted to show had military overtones it was appropriate to the space. That approach obviously worked as, at our first meeting, the curator actually said he found it more appealing receiving proposals from artists who fit the ethos of the building, and wished there were more like that.

Thus my plan is to approach galleries that I feel have a link in some way to the essence of the Rink Project. I guess a case could be made that the project relates to issues inherent to many communities, and that is no doubt true, but I am wanting to be more prescriptive.

I really need to show somewhere in Leeds, as my father spent most of his life there after leaving Hartlepool and it therefore became the place I was brought up. That would be of no consequence normally, however this piece has a ‘back story’ element which involves him in an obvious way (he will be filmed making the journey back to Hartlepool from Leeds as part of the project) and me; less obvious, but interwoven throughout.

My role, as the instigator of the piece, is the unseen hand, threading the stories I’m given and deciding how to re-present them. In a way of course the whole story is mine. It’s me selecting a subject to examine, based on a vague impression I gleaned as a child. We never made trips to Hartlepool and yet I knew one side of my family came from there. Living in Leeds was my roots, my normality; our little house in Horsforth. Hartlepool was my Narnia.

Except I was never inclined to go into the wardrobe until now…

…and now I have all these things I want to bring back.

When I was a teen I worked in a newsagents that opened out onto the main drag, the Headrow, opposite Leeds City Art Gallery. In my lunch break I would often pop over the road to have a look at the exhibitions. Preparing as I was to go to art college, that gallery was my main regular contact with high art. It’s the obvious place to display my treasure. It would close a circle, and this piece is characterised by the many circles that overlap, concentric and eccentric, making shapes I could never have anticipated.

Don’t expect a reply for 6 months says the form… I can wait.

There are other places too that I think might connect with the ‘otherness’ of Hartlepool. Glasgow would be one of them, perhaps even Liverpool. My experience of Wales is limited but I’m thinking the Welsh would understand. The east end of London too. I’m thinking shipbuilding, docks, a sense of identity and pride in a community that might have taken a few knocks. I’m thinking Hull because of its geographical position out on a limb.

One or all of them would be good. Fingers crossed. It’s the only lottery I play.