Well, university finished on the 18th of December and after the fun of Christmas I had to go back to work to create a new painting quite quickly with a deadline hand-in date of the Monday the 5th of January. This was definitely challenging when all I wanted to do was to relax and enjoy my family and the time off.
My starting point was the photographs I took early December at Middleport Pottery and my meeting with Phil who is a volunteer at the centre. It was the conversation with him in which we chatted about Middleport Pottery, its history and its aspirations for now, together with his more personal story of his life that I began to realize it was the human side of Stoke on Trent that I was interested in, not the bricks and mortar but the people and their story. I went through the photographs I had taken to find a starting point. I was not entirely comfortable with the photos I had as I wanted to feature Phil in the painting so I chopped and changed a little, I felt the front view of the Pottery was the most interesting and if I removed a lot of the extra information in the photo, then composition wise, it created a classic line of perspective as the line of the building scaled down into the horizon. I then decided to put Phil in the painting on the left hand side, so you had the bricks and mortar of the place and the personification of the people that made it.
I have learnt through this experience and the proposal process how to respond to another earlier artists work, to listen to the requirements of the project and put forward a proposal that answers their requirements but also stays true to my skills and interests as an artist.
As I have been doing a lot of text paintings recently, I thought I would build in the Stoke on Trent words into the sky. Also behind is built in bits of the Sentinel Newspaper. I thought this may add to the depth of the work and date it relevant to now.
I am the first to admit that I am not a painter of buildings and given the timescale, this did present a few challenges but I spent a few days on it and in the end I got to a place where I was happy with it overall.
If I am being critical I would say it is not my best piece of work but in terms of gaining experience and exposure, it was been fantastic. Even the process of coming up with a 100 word artist statement to accompany the work had its challenges.
What thrilled me the most was the thought, that when I started this college/university experience four and a half years ago I never thought for a moment that my work would be on a wall in a museum, and that has given me a kick for sure.
It is on display together with the artist Sam Mace’s work until the 22nd of February. There is also an artist Soup Kitchen on the 7th of February where Sam will be doing some performance work, so looking forward to that.
A steep learning curve in a short timescale and a privilege to meet the curator of the museum and gain an insight into professionally exhibiting.