I was so privileged to show many friends, colleagues and arts professionals my work at an event I called Resonance, we had stunning weather and it began with taking visitors out in 2 rowing boats, 4 in each boat to view the work up close and to get a sense of being on the water where the drawing was initially inspired. People and their families came in droves, there were queues for the boats!
I ran a workshop teaching how to start a basic weave in the way I had started the final piece and most of the maquettes, 18 people had a go and made some interesting 3d forms.
We had a BBQ and drank prosecco in the sun, which was so dazzling and bright we couldn’t see the film Anna Winter had made of the construction process until very late. It’s now on my website felicitytruscott.
I recorded conversations with people in the boats and after the dramatic rescue of the work, stuck in reeds downstream from high winds the week before I had plenty of stories to tell. It’s really hard to get a sense of the event here but I felt I had to mention it, what is difficult to convey is the atmosphere and fun that we all had, there was so much laughter and new experiences from rowing and having to brave the rocking rowing boats writing a blog doesn’t come near so go to my website for a short snippet of one of the conversations … its just like a sketch unfinished, strands of speech overlap rippling across each other. I have started recording conversations and listening back which is a very interesting thing to do, it has the effect of getting me used to heating my voice, of hearing speech pattern and of some things I miss because I am distracted momentarily. I like the cadence of conversation it reveals who is listening and who is not. I want to be able to use this somehow but I am not sure in what way yet. Hidden beneath the surface, beneath the reflection.
Talking is something I have always done a lot of! Recently a few people have said try recording yourself instead of writing and as I get braver I will do this more and more and interesting things will happen such as this:
Part of a conversation I had today with a friend and Drink and Draw curator Jane Runchman resulted in me deciding to start burying things…Jane messaged early in the morning announcing we should go to a field and create something…so after discussion about all sorts of things including being at a cross roads, death, burrowing and Becky Beasley we decided to find a field (non specific at present) and take a shovel….
I have found it incredibly difficult choosing images thinking of where they are going to be placed. Should I choose according to what people might be most likely to buy or want. Or stick to my favourites. My favourites have up to now always been about the work on its own as a form. But I have come to realise that it’s the process and the story of making the work that is most interesting and most accessible to people … it is me the artist that is interested in the interpretation of form or context or material and their relationships. Others can interpret these in terms of understanding their own inner thoughts or just as an interesting technical achievement.
Selecting images putting work in public spaces that feels ….like a compromise it feels like I’ve sold out – it’s like the ‘take away’ part of the art… I am thinking about the way big galleries also monetise art with shop products Hockney mugs, Blow cushions and even dungarees! I decided to do this residency 2 years ago because of getting fed up of galleries making me feel like I had to come up with something saleable, or telling me they were going to curate the work but then putting all of it up like a market place.
I wanted to gain control and integrity and so I have to choose how necessary it is to a) make some £ b) for the work to be seen in context c) place work where people visit for other reasons.
If I am receiving public funding there is less pressure to sell work, but it is better to try to develop ways of supporting myself other than public funding, and I said as much in my application, in reality of course these ways are not sufficient on their own, nor is the temporary nature of public funding but they do provide a framework of support to build over time. In an environment where there are no clear career paths it is a constant challenge and the agencies that have helped me are Arts Council England, a-n.co.uk, Axisweb and local artists network Blue Monkey (Towner Gallery) providing professional support where they can. Yet I still need more! It seems to me the more I do the more I need further support with as it involves breaking new ground. Is this the same for other artists I wonder?
The commercial side of making art is a real drag, it’s a completely different skill set. It’s about what the market wants not what the artist is pursuing. Getting the balance right is the main thing I think. The dependency of artist in relation to work, to funder, to consumer the anchor must always be the work or the artistic practice, then the funder supports that on the surface and the consumer takes the image or experience away. That’s how I want to keep it.