Perhaps it’s because I haven’t settled in to a routine yet but time is passing very quickly. I guess that going away at the weekends and meeting up with friends keeps things moving at a pace too.
The Week 1 project is on-going and I’ve stated to do other things alongside. I’m really enjoying working in the studio – it makes such a difference to me to work somewhere that is spacious and light not to mention clean and neat. It would be wonderful to always have a studio like this one. The other day I glimpsed inside another studio (the door was open) and saw that they had put up an additional wall which made a seperate space. It got me thinking how great it would be to have a studio where you could have an ‘office’ area as well as a making/creative space. That way I could really spend all my day there rather than having to do online and admin stuff ‘at home’. Of course I’m not going to start building walls during my residency but it’s something I will bear in mind when I’m looking for a new studio.
Had a good meeting with Alex last night. We had a lot of ideas about how the residency could work – I hope that we can achieve some of them in the next two months!
The concrete things are a presentation to the artists at wip:sthlm (next Friday evening) and an Open Studio event towards the end of the residency (which is actually mid October). Alex is also going to let wip:sthlm’s mailing list know that their residency scheme is up and running and that I’m here!
We talked about making contact with local art schools. I’d like that and would be very happy to meet with their students. We also discussed studio visits for curators.
I get a very good feeling from Alex, she is really committed and enthusiastic.
A quick post – I’m heading off to the studio before a weekend in the archipelago …
Had a brief and very exciting chat with Alex the director of wip:sthlm last night. We’re meeting properly next week to discuss how to make the residency successful for everyone. She’s just taken over and is really keen to establish the residency as a core aspect of wip’s activities and identity. Previously the residency studio was run by IASPIS now wip:sthlm are running it themselves. And I’m the first visiting artist.
It suddenly seems a lot more significant. I’m delighted that Alex is so supportive and passionate. I’m really pleased that I have something to offer them too – not least through this blog and therefore my connection to a-n and other artists and artists’ networks.
Thankfully the work is going well too!
Thank you for your comments on my recent post – they are very much appreciated.
Sarah Rowles’ choice of Emily Speed’s and Jennifer Brooks’ blog got me thinking …
For the last few months I’ve been trying to allow my practice to find me.
It’s been a rewarding if somewhat frightening time.
I know that I can think too much, that I can spend time and energy trying to second guess what other people want from me (in both professional and personal relationships).
Perhaps it is because of the intensity of the period when I was caring for John, and because of its very real threat to my practice, that now I’m the other side of it I have been better to myself. What do I mean by ‘better’? And what has this got to do with the question of whether I have ‘found my practice’?
Thinking back over the last few years (and even further back) I realise how frustrated and angry I used to get about many aspects of the art world. I was unhappy about my position in it. I was unhappy about other people’s positions in it. I was desperate to find and identify my practice by other people’s criteria. I tried to twist myself into the kind of artist that I thought would get grants, exhibitions and funding – I was unsuccessful. Not only was I unsuccessful at getting those external validations, I was unsuccessful at achieving any internal (personal) validation. My practice was completely out of balance and satisfying no one.
Now I do my best to satisfy myself (primarily). I allow my practice to be what it needs to be. The more allow myself just to ‘make’ the more I enjoy it, and the happier I am with what my practice is becoming. When people ask me what I’m doing and how things are going I find myself talking with excitement and passion.
It could just be that I’ve reached the age (41) when many of the external pressures to define oneself fall away. I know I’ll never be the ‘hot young thing’ now and I’m okay with that. The ‘lack of time to find oneself’ is the lack of time we give ourselves. There is a sense of panic that we (artists) absorb from the frenetic pace of the market. I often recall something a young German art historian said “… no artist makes serious work before they are 40.” Perhaps it is a little blunt but it’s pertinent. How many artists leave art school each year and expect immediate success? How many expect to find their practice by the ages of 22? How many are able to sustain their practice to the age of 30 let alone 40?
‘True practice’ comes from knowing oneself and that takes time, and time is the one commodity cities like London rob you of …
Recently I’ve begun to consider the attractions of by-passing those restrictive criteria of funding applications and instead spending time finding one or two people who simply like me and what I do …
I like having a ‘private’ studio – one where people don’t have to walk through to use the kitchen or toilet.
Natural light is good too.
Set myself a week project to get started. After arriving with nothing I’m starting to gather materials, and realising how well I know where to get things in London.
I also bought some coffee, milk and a simple radio ….
Week 1 project;
Second–hand dinner plates
Wall mounted dinner plates covered in blue and/or silver glitter …
I need to find the right adhesive. The ceramic glue I used today isn’t right – I can’t spread it evenly and I think it is designed for repairing broken china, so it’s some kind of contact adhesive.
Glitter is very expensive here – I’m tempted to see how much it would cost to order it online and have it sent here. (I found glitter from a UK supplier in Rochdale in one shop – I don’t know where I thought glitter came from but I didn’t expect to find glitter from northern England on the shelf of a Stockholm hobby shop.)
I thought of dinner-plates months, if not years, ago. But I didn’t know what to do with them. Yesterday I went to a big charity shop and bought some. This morning I picked up the Paul Auster novel I’ve brought with me, and read a passage about the central character and his granddaughter …
“Inanimate object, she said
What about them? I asked
Inanimate objects as a means of expressing human emotions. …
Remember the dishes in Grand Illusion?
Auster describes a scene ‘right near the end’ of the film when the woman washes the dishes after possibly the last meal with the man she loves, her daughter and her loves friend. The man and his friend need to escape the troops that are closing in, they run off through the woods.
“… every other director in the world would have stayed with them until the end of the film. But not Renoir. He has the genius – and when I say genius, I mean the understanding, the depth of heart, the compassion – to go back to the woman and her little daughter, this young woman who has already lost her husband to the madness of the war, and what does she have to do? She has to go back into the house and confront the dining room table and the dirty dishes from the meal they’ve just eaten. The men are gone now, and because they’re gone those dishes have been transformed into a sign of their absence, the lonely suffering of women when men go off to war, and one by one, without saying a word, she picks up the dishes and clears the table. How long does the scene last? Ten seconds? Fifteen seconds? No time at all, but it takes your breath away, doesn’t it?”
I’m not cleaning my dishes, I’m glittering them …
Erik at wip:sthlm has been wonderful in getting everything sorted out so that I have the studio from 1 August.
I can’t quite believe how well it is all working out. After meeting Erik and seeing the studio on Wednesday afternoon I agreed to take it for the three months. On Thursday afternoon I was able to collect the keys and leave my details for the contract to be drawn up.
The studio is great; big, clean, light. The windows are double-glazed and there are radiators. It makes my studio in London look very poor.
I said hello to my studio neighbour and two other artists. It is fairly quiet there at the moment as most Swedes take summer holidays in July.
The bookshop is an open area immediately inside one of the entrances, it is clean, neat and full of books. I can’t imagine that a studio with nearly 100 artists could have such a bookshop in London or anywhere in the UK.
The studios are divided into four ‘zones’, each zone has a large shared kitchen and toilets, there’s even a shower.
The studios are on the second and third floor of a large modern industrial building on the south-west edge of the city centre. And even though I will be staying on the south-east side of Stockholm it shouldn’t take more than 30 minutes form door to door. I’ll find out this afternoon when I go there …..