Viewing single post of blog Sleep-drunk I dance

Last week I had a really good, concrete tutorial with Rosalind Davis, funded through Shape ArtsCreative Steps Mentoring scheme. Kindly she came to my home-studio-home, which meant it didn’t gobble up a whole week’s energies. Rosalind is so open, interested, imaginative, committed, positive, and real, that the tutorial not only gave me lots of leads but turned out to be a pleasure. We ended up on the floor looking at my foundlings and LR’s boy and girl. It meant a lot to have face-to-face contact, to be able to show work. I’ve got an audio-recording to go back to, and a couple of artists to look up: amongst others David Ketford and Nick Kaplony.

Although I am grateful for this opportunity I got upset with Shape Arts, a disability-led arts organisation. After I sent them an enthusiastic thank-you-e-mail they insisted that these tutorials could not take place at someone’s home and that I’d have to go to Rosalind’s studio for the follow-up appointment. When I let them know that it’s not always possible for me to go, given the M.E., they suggested skyping. It seems there are insurance issues. I wonder about artists who are completely housebound, who make great work of which we’ll never know because they are just outside of everything. I for one crave presence – of art, of people, which is why you can see me getting so excited every time I make it to an exhibition. I don’t know what I’d do without the internet, but nothing can replace direct engagement. And to show physical, actual work, not just its image on the screen, surely makes all the difference to how it’s perceived: you get the dimensions of a piece in relation to yourself, the colours and textures as they are, you share the same physical space and from there access the imaginative space the work opens up if it’s any good…

A friend of mine asked why it isn’t enough for me to make my pieces, but it’s not a way of keeping busy, nor is it a rehabilitative work activity. I went to art-college, my work is good, do I really have to make a case for myself? So what if I need support with stuff? By the by: I also struggle with calling myself a ‘disabled’ artist. Labels make me uncomfortable. And this is of absolute importance to me: I make art. Not disabled art. Not outsider art, as an art-professional suggested to me a while ago. Art. If I knew how to change the font-size and colour here, you’d see this in huge, red letters: ART.

Still, skype is a few steps up from chatting on-line or holding monologues, and the opportunities the internet offers to someone who doesn’t leave the house much are wide-ranging. I do want to explore that more, which is why in the new year I will put any Xmas-money I receive into the purchase of a tablet-thingemy (I know I’m dazzling you with my technical terms). I’ve got a computer, but given that my sitting times are’t very long I use a netbook. It sits on my belly while I’m lying down – may it not explode – and has been a great little helper these last few years. However its screen resolution isn’t very good, and looking at art or blogs is done as if through a drab curtain. A tablet is also much lighter and easier to handle. I see it as an investment in my art-future. It will connect me into the world a bit more. And I promise that I’ll keep up with your posts better too.

Good news: I’ve got three small pieces in Mysteryland, an exhibition in Manchester, curated by Blank Media Collective in collaboration with Z-arts. I was ‘found’ through axis-web and invited to participate! Would love to see what it’s like, was promised photographs. I like the idea of a different kind of venue, different audiences – kids will come, families – esp. in a time when arts-education is deemed superfluous.

Edith’s shoes (2009)
Material: tissue paper
Dimensions: 14 cm x 15 cm x 14 cm