It’s nearly 7.30, and the end of January. Time passes very quickly.
Today: I noticed that it’s three years since I started this blog. It’s been an incredible three years – in lots of ways! In the last week, or so, I’ve been thinking about everything that has happened in the last year. These thoughts have been triggered by my re-involvement with wip:sthlm. I have been invited to contribute to their representation at Supermarket 2010. This time last year I was getting excited about coming over to Stockholm for my first visit to the art fairs (Supermarket and Market). And now, this year, I’ll be there as a participant. It has all happened very organically, and I could almost be surprised by the way things have worked out. On the other hand I have made it happen – the great thing is that I’ve done it in my own way.
Started making an artwork for wip at Supermarket.
Went for walk and took photographs in the snowstorm. I’m trying very hard to suspend my fear of the cliché and do it anyway. I am very interested in the way snow creates a formlessness (full and partial).
Yesterday morning (Tuesday 26): Birgitta, Irina and I met at Birgitta studio (at wip:sthlm) to discuss the snow-sculpting festival that Birgitta is organising. Birgitta first mentioned it to me during my residency, we spoke quite a lot about some of our ambitions for education and community projects. It’s great that I’m here and will be able to be involved – though I’m a little nervous about not speaking more than ‘tourist’ Swedish and being one of the workshop leaders. I really like Birgitta, she was one of the artists I regularly bumped into over lunch and coffee when I was at wip:sthlm. She is a wonderfully generous and passionate artist and activist, her enthusiasm is inspiring. It felt really good to be part of team again, talking through ideas about themes and forms for the project.
Yesterday afternoon (Tuesday 26): Oppnet Hus at Stockholm’s royal art college (KKH). I went along because as well as BA and MA courses in fine and applied arts the college has a scheme for professional artists to use their workshops. The facilities there are fantastic – I spent most of my time in the sculpture workshops, they are great. The building looks relatively new with large workshops on the ground floor and smaller individual studios on the floors above. Even the smaller individual studios are a good size (about 4m square), and they are proper rooms, with doors (lockable,) windows and walls that go up to the ceiling. (The difference between these studios and the ones I’m used to is vast.)
The work that I saw there was really impressive. The place (the workshops) felt somehow both traditional and contemporary – there was evidence of modelling from life alongside large abstract colourful forms.
Having see the facilities and spoken with the sculpture tutor I’m going to apply for the artist’s programme. Selection is by portfolio and submission of a project. It ‘s been a long time since I applied to a college, or for anything like this, and I’m looking forward to making some of my ideas presentable as a ‘project’.
Last week (Thursday 21): Went to a couple of gallery openings. The first I went to on my own, at the second I met up with Karen who introduced me to other artists and gallery directors. I had a great evening – it was really good to meet other artists, and to have to say why an artist from London is so interested in being in Stockholm. I try not to be too critical of London, but I had to admit that it’s a very tough place for artists –especially those of us that haven’t ‘made it’.
From the discussions that night it seems that while Stockholm might not have the star-artists that London does, it also doesn’t have the … (what is the opposite of ‘star’?) impoverished(?) artists either. Like many things here the difference between ‘top’ and ‘bottom’ is considerably narrower. And that suits me, I don’t want to be a Damien Hirst or Anthony Gormley, I just want to do what I do, and to do it in a culture that seems genuinely interested in creativity.
I don’t feel ‘slow’ here … and I like that