I received an A-N artist bursary 2018 that I used for mentoring sessions with the artist Rory Pilgrim and to run a moving image discussion day for artists working in Devon and Cornwall. Here I reflect on the impact that the mentoring sessions have had on my practice.
It is quite a moment when someone asks you to tell them what you were making before art school.
You really want to know?
To then spend hours with you going through everything you have made up to now (9 years later), whilst pulling out common themes and words through gently probing questions.
We talked, whilst munching sweet potatoes, about gut instinct in filmmaking, voice, narrative, and combing through mountains of footage in order to create visual edits, silent edits, only audio edits and edits that just focus on cuts. Rory gave me practical advice mixed with critical thinking, but it was the time Rory took to examine everything I have been making that has had the greatest impact on what I am making now, as he helped me to see links between different bodies of work.
The time I spent reflecting on previous work during my mentoring sessions has led me to a point where I feel firmer in what I want to make now. I think it’s going to look different to previous work, as I become truer to ideas that have been quietly running through much of what I have making for the last nine years.
Mentoring allowed me to check in with someone who has experience and the benefit of asking questions and devising solutions with someone who has done it before is massive. This is my second experience of mentoring and it is something that I now see as an integral part of my development.
So, don’t go it alone all the time.