A condition of receiving my re:view bursary was to share my experience of the bursary with my peers, so when I was asked by the Bluemonkey artists network based at Towner, Eastbourne I had the perfect opportunity. It was also a great time to re asses the last 9 months and think about what might come next.
Unfinished business is an event in the Bluemonkey calendar where an artist presents their work at any stage in process and can ask for feedback in any form that will support them.
Reflecting on the work I had done I was surprised how much there was and yet (to my self critical eye which I can now keep more in check) what also seemed so little given the many possibilities. (Its OK I tell myself I have the rest of my life to fit this in ….there is time!) I have had a wide open mind for the last few months which was one of my aims. This has led me to keep trying more and more new ideas out without any fixed idea of where they will go. So I have a lot of started projects and not so much tangible presentable work. But this in itself is revealing as much of the work I have made is in new and varied formats – and after my Bluemonkey presentation a respected fellow artist helpfully pointed out that I had a the chance to make films or a book or both and not to restrict myself to existing formats which I was subconsciously using as a bench mark for quality. Kaboom! Suddenly I was liberated and found that actually I make work most naturally with unconventional materials (I was using shoe polish to draw with at art college) and that in all that I have been doing the trace of a physical presence has been a key factor not the form of the work. The irony is that I told my partner this and his response was ‘but that’s what you’ve always done, its just who you are!’ #DOH!
I am better able to see and asses and stand back from what I am doing now and feel like I have a clearer idea of how to keep my process fresh. I am also looking for opportunities to use collaboration of skills to open up new work for me with a new level of confidence. As its all about trying something out in the present and seeing where it takes me. (make now – edit much much later)
So the season now is to set a plan. I want to make some site specific rotational structures which stem from drawings done onsite at Ashburnham. I am presently researching this and will apply for funding to make them along with a book of images and a collaborative audio response to the images.
The project has changed a lot since I first thought of it in September and has gained integrity as I have trimmed down and focused on what work I want to make out of the resources I have around me. Another reminder to me that work with longevity takes as much time to figure out and there is no need to rush!
The only way I have got to this point is to keep testing out ideas that make perfect sense in my head until I try them becoming something else in physical reality that is in nearly every case better.
Clarification of what idea I am researching and what work I am making is now embedded in me and I trust myself now to step out of a potentially self limiting trajectory.
Yesterday on site I made a huge drawing at the edge of Broadwater lake using the wooden posts on the jetty and a reel of VHS tape. The tape I am collecting for a drawing workshop I have been asked to lead and I wanted to find out how long a tape was. Just by winding it round the posts it became instantly a moving line drawing (something very exciting as it fits the brief so well of play, human and elemental intervention) – the weather was ideal with a glassy lake disturbed only slightly by breeze and sun flashing the reflection on the tape and the water behind.
Requests to create more skating drawings have enabled me to continue this theme of searching for a trace or an impression such as a line or curve created by physical movement. To risk pushing it further in new locations is a challenge and always an opportunity; for example planning a ‘drink and draw’ session I am going to be working in an exciting large industrial location and because of certain limitations I am forced therefore to creating new ideas, new work, trying new materials out of necessity…. all of which are essential to my progress keeping it fresh and a little bit dangerous.
Looking back to the coaching I received last year I realise I no longer want to be one of the greatest artists ever (sure it would be amazing but an empty aim in itself) but am content with the honest day to day practise of trying out ideas and enjoying the process – working with others serves this twofold it presents opportunities and also feeds in new ideas and fresh approaches at the same time preventing me from over controlling. I can now step back with more confidence and say what it is that I want from the opportunity and then let it evolve within that remit – it serves to further my own development while honouring those collaborators input as well.