(Note to reader. I have no structure on which to write anything considered, I just wanted to indulge my love of writing about something I do indeed love so apologies for a passage of nonsensical writing)
When I am drawing I feel it is a love hate relationship. I love the act of drawing and making marks in a way that is peculiar to myself, a method in which to leave my own mark on the world, no matter how small, leaving a record, a comment of what I have been thinking or feeling at the time of each mark. What I hate is the fact that it flows out of me but is then bottle necked at the tip of the pen or pencil. You see I have developed an intricate style of drawing that feels so natural and so like second nature that sometimes I barely need to think about what is coming out. The problem is it is so time consuming – sometimes to even make the smallest gains. I don’t tend to know how the drawing will ever look when it comes to that magical moment of perceived completion, however, I tend to work in waves that cover the paper which builds in stages and can envisage these…this is when the size of the task ahead always sprawls out in front of me – I sigh.
I think I am slightly obsessive about some aspects of my work and this is not always a beneficial thing, sometimes though, just sometimes it is. It helps me ensure the honestly and integrity of each drawing I make. It has taught me to focus and enabled me to plunge ever deeper into each piece. This I love. Sometimes though it is a fucking heavy weight to bear. Things must be so, sometimes the smallest detail that would never be noticed by someone else viewing it makes the largest difference to me. It’s a pain in the arse.
I’ve always considered my work…well considered but organic, scrub that I’ve always prided myself on this and it has always been a founding principle within my work. I love the unstructured structure of what goes into my head to what comes out of the pen on the paper. This I know is a shockingly romantic notion but to me art IS romance. This may of been instilled in me by the beautifully pastel colours and idyllic scenes from the impressionists I feverishly studied as a child from the safety of the family sofa. (I know the reality was rather different to this biscuit tin notion. That of artistic rebels struggling to work, live, survive and be acknowledged by the then art world). What is wrong with this romantic notion? Well for me nothing, it enriches what I do and also allows me to tip my hat to the sumptuous past.
Anyway that brings an abrupt end to this instalment of my self indulgence, if anyone has managed to get to this point – I thank you.
In terms of being able to draw and the time it takes I struck gold by being two days holiday from work quite unexpectedly. This prompted me begin to plan my free time the night before and decided it would be a good idea to review the ideas dragnet that is a multitude of sketchbooks and loose sheets with drawings and records of undeveloped and unrealised ideas on them. Through circumstance and lack of space I was forced for several years to work specifically from sketchbooks – the ultimate in a portable studio. The downside to this was although I was always recording a large volume of ideas almost none of them cam to any fruition. It also made me lazy in a way as I knew I was limited and in the mindset that my work should be operating on a larger level. This of course is ridiculous as any resourceful artist would of just made do and used the resources available to its further point. I however did not.
This has almost become a blessing in disguise of sorts as I now have a relatively large bank of work that is yet to be explored, picked from, developed and integrated into more meaningful pieces that I am now in a position to make. The issue of scale has also influenced my drawings also because I like to work to a small scale now (although larger pieces are in the pipeline), I find it helps to keep me fresh and interested in everything I do. Leaving aside my lifelong passion for the visual arts it is still important for anyone practicing their craft to remain engaged and willing to go through the rigour of producing work at the avant grade of their respective practice – if you understand what I mean?
Anyway, the reviewing of older work and ideas can definitely be fruitful and would advise anyone to do it from time to time. This allows parts of the portfolio to remain firmly in the past – whilst learning from those parts and other parts to be pulled into the present to be used to developed.
This will almost sound pretentious beyond measure but how exciting is it to be able to explore any idea that enters ones mind, it is akin in my books to the dreamlike power of flight – creative flying if you will.
I have actually been very proactive and disciplined towards my practice for sometime now and been enjoying my work developing in ways that I did not altogether expect. I guess it is a knock on effect of the mind working and thinking more about what I am doing which in turn is loosening the creative clutch and direction my mind imposes on my pen. I have become more receptive to trying different things and adopted the attitude that you live once – enough preparatory work and now just draw, draw, draw. Take risks, do it. If it works I win, if it doesn’t – it is a lesson learned.
Really a win – win situation.
The piece of advice I have given myself and have started to work to is this:
Work – and keep working, self doubt – push through, discipline problems – push through and let the creative current do the heavy lifting. You soon get swept into what you are doing.
Be ambitious. If you think it, try it…
I really feel I have laid down an established set of roots now and can feel myself looking into the future and what could be possible, it is a great feeling just to be active.
Now that my practice has a foothold within my sometimes extremely busy life I have begun to think about how I can begin to possible exhibit and take up some of the excellent opportunities there are available. Please watch this space, oh also if I have uploaded the image of one of my new drawing please feel free to comment. What do you think?
I have been pushing quite hard recently and trying to work out how to move my work forward and develop what I have being doing in essence for many years. Whilst pondering this creative conundrum I realised what was probably my problem…since leaving the confines, safety and relative structure of the academic world where self propelled learning and deadlines ensure (at least to a conscientious student) results and continued development is almost gauranteed.
My point is, since leaving the academic walls – ironically walls that symbolised freedom and then plunging back into the working world I have used drawing and art in general as an escape so I had become happy to just draw and do my thing as it were, it was my indulgence, my passion – and always – always better than work. Slowly as working life begun to twist tendrils of ownership into the threads of my life once again the professional aspirations and ambitions slowly, inpercievably slipped away. The work ethic of a professional artist mutated into simply being grateful for having this avenue of enrichment in my life still as an antidote against the poison that is a nine to five job. This is all terribly dramatic for what is essentially a problem so many people I’m sure must endure silently along side me.
Anyway, as they say knowledge is power and hindsight is a wonderful thing. In this curious situation I feel I have the strange benefits of both – to a certain point…
So whilst giving this some thought and using it a the carrot to my proverbial donkey I have started to really stretch my legs again and push out of my comfort zone…in short treat this thing, this passion, this consuming weight as work, this is the only way I feel I could fulfill any potential ambitions I have – and do you know what? It seems to be working for me right now.
Small thoughts can lead to large gains.
Thank you as always for indulging my theoretical indulgences. Pun intended.
There seems to be a strange dichotomy in what I appreciate to what I actually produce as an artist, I assume this is probably the case for most people? Nothing really surprising in that appreciating the qualities of an 1880′s Cézanne still life may not translate or permeate into whatever project an artist living in 2016 is working upon…or is it? I think it is actually.
I spend a lot of my nine to five driving around some of the how should I say – less desirable parts of London (and many of the nicer parts also) and as a result have developed a deep appreciation for the work of street artists. The bohemian brick lane area is a literal canvas for the masses, parts of Islington littered with pieces – some by the infamous Banksy. From simple tags, stencils to full blown murals – I love it all and have taken to photographing it in an attempt to record it. This of course would be more than a full time job to make a even halfway accurate record of street art – even just within the confines of the London boroughs – the walls change hands in at a blistering pace in a colourful turf war where the tenure on a section of wall can only be classed as “temporary”. This perhaps reflects our mighty capital and it’s incredible history. The relentless surge of progress and development which is reflected upon the walls with pieces being covered, covered again and chunks of wall cut out, rendered and demolished. I think the fusion of old Victorian buildings and the fluorescent newness of the artwork is simply intoxicating.
The strange thing is I have never sprayed paint from a can in anger onto a wall, I have never been part of any subculture that holds graffiti in a particular high regard so it has seeped into my subconscious indirectly via my surroundings on a daily basis, even stranger (for me) is the fact that it doesn’t seem to have found its way into my work as of yet, not really anyway. I don’t mean by way of me integrating some chrome bubble writing into my drawings. More the spirit and the gusto with how it is delivered to us pavement punters. It has guts, it is bold and often beautiful – always ephemeral. I am thinking perhaps I should think more about the things that have the power to seduce my thoughts such as the perpetually vibrant street art that adorns so many walls I pass everyday. Drawing is perfect medium with which to leave history on the paper.
That is enough jumbled rambling for this evening. Thank you if you have read this blog entry.