I have been thinking about a couple of people recently; one a friend in London, the other more of a friend of a friend here. Both these creative people have become very successful in realising their ambitions, and while they work in completely different spheres of the art/design world I am incredibly impressed with their focus. Focus is something that I want to concentrate on and perhaps seeing how Tine and Halvor have made their practices their focus is a good starting point. What strikes me is that they have both focused on what they want their practice to be rather than on individual pieces/projects – a meta-level focus. It also strikes me that they have both taken on board the cultures in which they operate and have identified what they need to do to establish themselves and generate interest in what they do. What is really re-assuring is that both Tine and Halvor are genuinely good people and they have made it in competitive worlds without losing or sacrificing their kindness, generosity, curiosity, wit, or integrity.
Over the last couple of weeks I have begun to think about new work – studio and installation/live work pieces as well as some community events here in Enköping. In the past I might have laid too much emphasis on thinking that getting to know and understand my focus would come through being able to give it a word or phrase. I thought that if I could know and understand what my focus – “theme” – was (in a verbal form) then I would be in a better position to develop it. I thought that if I could reason why I should make something, if I could understand my motivation to invest in making something before I even began making it, then I would be on the right track. It is as though I wanted to make visual art that could also exist in another (linguistic!) form. My role is to make and to make things that are experienced in their artistic reality. I do not want to feel that I need to justify what I do. Perhaps I became confused between ‘justifying’ and ‘explaining’. I am going to see if I can not be more confident in explaining what I want to do and less worried about justifying what I want to do!
Ambitions for the coming year:
- Extend and develop Following Eugène. Mr Dandy Blue’s Room: an installation – planning, furnishing, creating an interior/environment for Mr Dandy Blue.
- Play with old sewing machines as material
- Seek exhibition and showing opportunities here in Sweden, in the UK and abroad.
- Investigate starting some community art projects here
The last point came to me when in the town centre last weekend. The week before at the Christmas Market I heard a speaker (I missed the beginning so I do not know if they were from the Council or the Shop-keepers’ Association) talking about how vital it is keep the town centre alive. I completely agree and think that with the growth of the physical out-of-town retail parks and the ease of on-line shopping that town centres need to offer something other than just shopping. I think that they need to be culturally vibrant as well, and to offer experiences that capture both the hearts and minds of people. Last Saturday the town streets were wet, dark and dismal by 2.30pm! Most shops only are only open from 11am to 3pm on Saturdays (even in December!) and some close at 2pm! The tail end of a storm made the skies dark even earlier than normal and the Christmas lights seem to be on a time rather than a light sensor. There was nothing to draw people in to town, not when there are the bright lights and Christmas jingles of chain stores just a few miles away. So it made me wonder if I should propose a lantern parade. It could be a little like the ones I worked on in Bromley many years ago, with children from different schools making lanterns and then parading them through town, and a little like the brilliant community events that Birgitta organises on Årstfältet.
There are so many exciting and important things to be done, the only thing that there is a shortage of is time!
Tonight is the eve of the eighth anniversary of John’s death. Eight years ago I (unknowingly) spent the final evening with the man that I love. Not unsurprisingly John has been in my thoughts. He would be highly amused to see me working on costumes for musicals – a type of theatre that was definitely more his thing than mine. He would be shocked to hear me speak Swedish! John had an amazing lust for life – something which is good for me to remember and to honour. He was not one for sitting on the side-lines, and he was courageous, charming and passionate. In being himself he made the world a better place and that is exactly what I want to do too – for him, for me, for us. That is my focus.