So I’m going back to China! It’s official and I’m going to Hong Kong as well! I’m very excited but also have the fear a bit. Last week I had it really bad. I was worried that I wouldn’t have such a fantastic time this time and would be disappointed and then I was worried that I would have such a fantastic time that I would doubt my life in the UK. I get very emotional when I think about China and Xiamen especially because of all the fantastic memories but also because of the brain space that I was able to have while I was there. I am one of the most social people I know but also I love being on my own, or maybe it was more about doing everything on my own terms.
Anyway I’m going back to Xiamen to work, so there might not be lots of time to do other things I want to do, but we will see. I think I need to play it by ear. I am doing an exchange (which is more like a residency) with C-Platform, the organisation that I met through CEAC when I was last there. I applied to them to do quilling as they were only taking applications from people who want to do design/applied arts based work and C-Platform took an interest in my quilling when I was last there. Here’s a link to their website. They are a fantastic organisaiton. http://www.c-platform.org/
I’ve not been doing a lot of painting in the last few months, but I have been doing a lot of workshops, some research and some thinking about my ideas. I’ve also been doing some experimenting with combining quilling and ink drawing and other experimental quilling for the work I will do with C-Platform. I have been making some animations using quilling as well. They are just a bit of experimental fun. I am going to show them at the Quilling Guild AGM and Annual Display this weekend so they are kind of under cover until then but if you’re so into my work that you actually read this blog, then you can see them now on my vimeo site https://vimeo.com/user38939072
Here are some photos of the experimental Quilling with Ink that I’ve been doing. It’s just the beginnings really but I am enjoying it. Sometimes it’s nice to make work that is not so theory based.
The research and thinking I’ve been doing is about three things. Firstly sponsorship of the arts by big oil companies like BP. I went to a talk and read a book by Mel Evans called Artwash – Big Oil and the Arts. I am still a bit undecided, especially about whether the world can survive without fossil fuels, however I do think that questions also relates to the behaviors of consumers i.e. we think we need oil to make all this stuff we want but maybe we just need to have less stuff. When it comes to the sponsorship question I currently agree that arts organisations should not take sponsorship from big oil companies for the reasons outlined in the book which I could go through with you but if you’re interested I think you should just read the book. http://www.newsfromnowhere.org.uk/books/DisplayBookInfo.php?ISBN=9780745335889
The second thing I’ve been thinking and researching about is Gulangyu, the little island off the Xiamen coast, which I’ve spoken about in a previous blog. I want to go there and make some ink on paper drawings when I go back to Xiamen, if I get a chance. I’m still facinated with the history of the place and ideas around ownership of countries, colonialism and the significance of major historical events in a country’s modern culture.
The third thing I’ve been thinking about and researching are ideas I want to pursue in future work, to do with groups, patterns, repeats, collectives…. broadly speaking, the aesthetics of multiples and the human interest in multiples of the same thing, psychologically and visually. I have found a book that I have ordered called “The sense of order: a study in the psychology of decorative art.” by Gombrich. http://uk.phaidon.com/store/art/the-sense-of-order-9780714822594/ I think it is connected to what I am talking about. It is about why we are so attracted to patterns, but I think it might go into why we like to see something repeated and I think that relates to why we are impressed by multiples of items. I am also interested in other psychological research about why we like the idea of groups and being part of a collective and why we want to have many of the same thing, even if we don’t really need it, which then starts to relate to consumerism.
If I come up with anything interesting I’ll tell you.