I’m back to collecting rubbish. Strangely the streets are relatively rubbish free at the moment so I will have to give it time. The reason I am back to collecting local debris is because of what I am currently doing art wise.
I had been feeling particularly uninspired since Christmas. In fact I haven’t written for a couple of months. It had been a busy November and December as I was involved in a couple exhibitions plus Christmas at my home is a bit of a festival of cooking art event in itself.
Come January I entrenched myself in the studio to see if I could kick start myself into anything but it hasn’t been easy. One of the big advantages of this type of situation is that I get so frustrated that I get to the point I think ‘to hell with it’ and just get started on anything.
A few months ago I had begun work on my refugee series and this had come as a complete standstill. It wasn’t that they weren’t working as such, but more that my initial ideas for developing them felt flat. Looking back at these small pieces on canvas I started to paint into them. I realised as I worked how inspired I was by the ‘Making and Unmaking’ exhibition by Duro Olowu that was on at the Camden Arts Centre last year. It certainly had lingered on in my head and I think that perhaps the vibrancy and positive vibe of this exhibition was just the thing I needed to propel me into a new art year.
My initial work had originated from internet and media images of refugees and migrants. I then had digitally manipulated these images to focus on the small things, blurring the faces of the individuals concerned as an utterance about invisible voices. Whilst this premise is as valid and importance as ever, I needed personally to have a different focus and to cut loose a little.
I started playing with the patterns, shapes and colours within these pieces. I seemed to be abstracting the abstract. I like the idea that I was using the materials and textures of the clothing of the refugees as a way forward, celebrating the beauty and preciousness of cultural diversity.
They are very small so physically hard for me to work on. It was easier to work on them all at once so I didn’t get too tied up with them. It also meant that I was continually refreshing my aspect with them and seeing new potential every time. Some of them have lost their original visual context but I think this has made them more successful.
I tried not to think about them too much but just enjoyed the doing. It has helped me think about my next steps and how I would like to work on the same basis but using the debris that I find around me. So we are back to the rubbish….