Tomorrow I am going to meet two fellow a-n bloggers!  Elena Thomas and Wendy Williams are here with their group show.  It will be the first time that I have met them, and my first experience of meeting people who I feel that I have come to know through their blogs.  The show is the other side of the town that I am moving to so it is a perfect reason to check out what is happening there.

This week a spat between the Academy of Fine Art and the Royal Institute of Art has re-confirmed my belief in, and commitment to, art schools as places of practice and process.  The academy has made a very public and provocative protest against the new rector’s budget which includes the appointment of a chair of philosophy and a significant increase in taught course content (as opposed to experimental content) in the architectural programmes.  I am happy to be finishing my studies this summer.

Last week’s art fairs were interesting in a rather low-key way!  I spoke with an artist-led initiative from Berlin and another from Uppsala.  In different ways both made me think about potential ways of working once I am settled in my new home.  At the commercial galleries and fair I saw two places that I can think to ask for feedback from.

At the moment I am enjoying focusing on my presentation for the end of the course, though it feels as though I am only at the beginning of something that could be far larger!  I am in discussion with the owners of what remains of the naval bath-house on Skeppsholmen.  The building is a little wooden pavilion that was the entrance to the baths.  My proposal is to open the doors to building and invite people to walk through from the land to the water side.  In doing so they will trace the steps of Eugène Jansson and the other men who swam, exercised, and hung out there 100 years ago.  In addition have been looking at making a guided walk through Stockholm.  The walk will refer to Eugène’s life and/or work.  Visiting the addresses where he lived I thought about the Blue Plaque programme in the UK.  There is nothing marking the places where Eugène lived.  In Stockholm there are a few plaques commemorating literary figures and others noting historical buildings but nothing so comprehensive as the blue plaques.  To some extent I can understand that Swede’s generally democratic attitude that all people are equal might make such a scheme uncomfortable.  However I have always enjoyed spotting those plaques and like the way that they connect my contemporary presence on the street to history.  I was delighted to ‘come across’ the plaque marking the studios of Ricketts and Haslewood Shannon (amongst others) when out cycling around Holland Park at Christmas.  While I was walking around the building my friend Kim started talking with a big family group who spotted us looking at the plaque and asked her if she knew about the artists – which she did!  A few minutes of discussion about cities, gentrification, and artists unfolded.  I like the Blue Plaques!

Funny, I had not made the connection between Ricketts, Haslewood Shannon and Eugène Jansson before.  The connection is tenuous to say the least but they were gay artists of comparable ages working at the same time.  Why am I attracted to these artists?



Perhaps because I do not have my own home my studio has had a very significant role in my life since moving to Sweden.  It is not only where I come to work, but also a sanctuary when I need somewhere simply to be.  The room is full of things that used to be in my flat in London as well as things from my studio there and of course materials, artworks and ‘bits’ that I have acquired over the last three and a half years.  I think that this quirky five-sided room is one of the best studios in the complex – it has been a place of contemplation, production, refuge, and relaxation  – and now I am going to start the process of leaving!

I have bought a flat outside of Stockholm and commuting to the studio is neither financially nor logistically viable.  It is a big move for me, one that I am sure will be rewarding but at the same time one which is rather scary.  Moving out of Stockholm enables me to have my own home with a very reasonable monthly service charge, and until I have a more regular or easily demonstrable income it makes really good sense.  So sometime in June, hopefully, I will be moving to Enköping – a 40-minute train ride north of the city.  Initially I intend to use the bedroom in the new flat as a studio, then once I am a bit more settled (and earning something) I will look for a studio close to home.

A friend of mine proclaimed 2015 to be ‘Year of Change’ when we met up between Christmas and New Year.  He was right!  Another friend, quite independently, said that it takes at least three years before one feels at home in another country.  She was right too!  Despite being tempted to apply for further courses I have decided that when I finish at Mejan this summer I will concentrate on my own practice and securing some income.  Living on my own and within my means will give me space to do this.  It is incredibly exciting and feels as though I am entering a new phase.  Concluding my recent studies exactly 25 years after graduating from Dartington has a comforting sense of completion about it.  Might I finally be ready for really engaging with the professional grown-up world?


It is Stockholm Art Week and later this afternoon I will go to Supermarket – the artist-led art fair.  Tomorrow I will go to Market – the commercial fair and make a trip around the commercial galleries around Hudiksvallsgatan.  Part of me would like to identify some galleries to show my work to, and part of me is scared of hearing that no-one is interested.  I do not think that my work is un-commercial, especially not the most recent glitter pieces, but I am not good at selling either it or myself.  Perhaps this attitude might too be due for change!