I am currently transforming my studio – I’ve moved and painted the exterior blue, the interior has now been insulated, I’ve painted it white and building shelves and worktops.
It is an equally big transformation for me psychologically as I create the place and space I want to make things happen and I am clearing out headspace and centring myself before a thoughtful and concise period of work.
I have always loved the colour blue. Now it feels an appropriate time to allow myself to feel it as last year my half-brother Stuart died and the loss of my step-father in a car accident when I was 23 and an unfortunately high number of deaths of other people key in my life has left me with ongoing feelings of loss.
Something which has struck me as incredibly hopeful and beautiful is Stuart’s mother and step-father planting rhododendrons in their rainbow wood behind their house (named after DH Lawrence’s The Rainbow.) This got me thinking about the hope and associations of colours.
Having just painted my studio blue I am embracing both the colour and its associations and life as it happens. It is also my long-time favourite colour. The blue of my shed reminds me it is ok (even if it doesn’t feel that way) to feel loss, to grieve and to understand that this loss is always going to be there with me. Loss of someone who’s been a part of my life, in the end reminds me to go forth in what I do more boldly and bravely than I have before so that something very positive goes into the future with me from those who are gone. Then they are not entirely lost. It is the way I function after the shock of loss, it also means I can think and talk about them as if they are simply in a parallel universe; not exactly gone forever.
When things are going and flowing well the colour blue grounds me, as success is much harder to handle than failure (rejections – or at least not yets – are as common for artists as for actors!)
I have kept emotion out of my work until now to an extent, have kept a distance from emotion as it is too difficult and I am afraid of getting it all wrong (because I reckon my scale of appropriateness in emotion is uncalibrated.)
I look at the world as if they are systems within an overall Gaia-like system and I am using the discipline of a structured process system, creating the prime conditions for me to make my best work. I am more like an orchid than a daisy in the type of environment I thrive in and need things to be in quite a particular way. My rules.
My method of making work has echoes of Sol le Witt, Art & Language’s a social base in shared conversation and the highly organised way social media professionals schedule their posts for maximum impact.
Doing these things I must do, all the while keeping lost people etched into my neural connections and showing up in unexpected places within my work.
As artist and friend Fernando Holguin put it:
Stop thinking and feel your way through life…