“When I look through my own recipe for the perfect cup of tea, I find no fewer than eleven outstanding points. On perhaps two of them there would be pretty general agreement, but at least four others are acutely controversial. Here are my own eleven rules, every one of which I regard as golden…”
A Nice Cup of Tea, George Orwell, 1946
A friend asked me the other day how I manage to balance the different areas of my practice (studio time; solo work; collaboration; research; admin; promo; breathing etc). Given some of the postings across Artists Talking recently, this is something that is clearly on people’s minds.
If only it were as simple as working out eleven personal golden rules (however controversial); but trying to work out a way of getting art practice as conveniently streamlined and efficient as possible is far harder than actually getting art made. I’m not saying making art is easy, but it’s easier than all the other stuff, because that’s the bit that I actively want to do and enjoy doing.
In coming up with an answer for my friend, I thought about what I try to achieve on a yearly basis:
· One major collaboration (currently knee deep in funding application with great apprehension about my chances of success)
· One major solo project (this year’s is site-specific and luckily, I’m working directly with a gallery on it, so admin time has been cut right down to a minimum… phew, at least that’s a current positive)
· Pursue avenues for previous year’s projects (this year that means getting “Down” in particular shown as much as possible)
· Continue with smaller side projects, both collaborative and solo (waiting for final piece of writing from the architectural writer I’m collaborating with; get next Tenneson and Dale piece sorted; carry on with Still Lives series)
· Keep looking for new opportunities…
… but it’s not really that simple, as all of the above is always subject to so many factors I cannot control, which might best be abbreviated by the word “life”. Perhaps I should just believe what the swirls in the bottom of my mug tell me:
· Expect change, surprise, stress (and more tea).