The visit to Harewood House was interesting. It was a bit different to what I was expecting but I am not really sure how. It was good to talk to the people organising it and get a better idea of what their vision is and how they feel I might be involved. It was a very interesting place, a very traditional stately home and typically laced with that hard to penetrate, ropped off feel. But once you start thinking about it in different terms, looking at what it is and how it has changed through the hundreds of years, you really do start to feel something underlying and very interesting lurking beyond it's cold exterior. It's contrast to how most of us experience the home today is bewildering. I felt that I had to focus very hard to even imagine it as a place to live. Is it merely the scale, the grandeur, the extravagance, the smell of years held in the air, that gives it this distance? I felt I had a strong desire to be in there when it was empty, just me wondering around. Maybe because it was something I knew I would never be permitted to do it.
So now I have come back home to think about how I might respond to this place and what I might put forward as a proposal. It has produced a million thoughts which are all buzzing round my head so I will get into the studio this week, draw up some plans and try a few things out.
Last week was a bit of a slow one in terms of working on ideas. It was my four day week at the gallery doing ‘real’ work and even when I was at the studio it was getting ready for the presentation on Thursday. Cleaning duties again.
Thursday did go well. We had a bit of a run through on Thursday morning and decided to cut out some bits and emphasise on others. I felt very relieved not to be the one presenting it. Steve is the natural in that area, so he took on the responsibility without batting an eyelid. Phew! We decided not to make it too polished though and throughout the presentation each artist had the opportunity to add, briefly something in particular about themselves. The format worked really well, keeping it open and natural but structured enough to not loose the thread. The actual presentation came out being the best we had done it, so we all felt pretty positive at the end.
I’m not sure how much we might get from it immediately, but the experience has definitely helped improve our confidence as a group. Before the event I think we had doubt about showing ourselves on a professional level. We were presenting to a group of people who didn’t necessarily have any interest in art and where maybe sceptical about artists and how they benefit the community, but we have already received feedback from the head of the Chamber of Commerce saying that members have commented that it was the most interesting meeting they had been to in a while. It is so positive that we where able to get ourselves across and spark interest. Hopefully this will be the start of something we do more regularly and get ourselves increasingly engaged with the community around us. We really need to raise our profile across the board and learning to do presentations about ourselves is an ideal opportunity, especially now we know we can pull it off!
Friday I spent the day at my boyfriend’s brothers house. He kindly filmed my performance piece at the open studios event, so I was having a nose. He’s going to edit it down for me, so hopefully I can get it online soon. It was so exciting to see it from outside the house. I am really pleased with how it has come out and will hopefully be able to use it to apply for new opportunities. I would like to do it again, somewhere else, to a different audience.
This week I’m off to Yorkshire on Tuesday to visit Harewood House and find out more about the exhibition they are planning for next year and hopefully how I will be involved. Fingers crossed x
It's so surprising sometimes, slightly wearing really, how up and down this all is. I never quite know what is going to present itself to me each morning when I get up. Last week was so depressing and over-whelming. I felt so disappointed and tested. It was as if I had been pushed back 10 steps and my confidence wavered and the doubt seeped it. Losing the C4RD exhibition and the way the whole thing made me feel was so frustrating. The goal posts moved and my opportunity slipped away.
But then at the end of the week I get a lift. I was contacted to say that some of my work that was being looked at by a hotel manager had been bought. I sold three of my photographs to them. It's an unexpected consolation I guess. Not something I was pinning my hopes upon but it could be looked at as something that helps me finance myself in creating more opportunities in the future. You lose some and gain some all the time, it feels.
This week the Surface Gallery have got back in contact, inviting me to be part of something coming up. It's been such a long, drawn out lead up to something with them and there are still no set dates that it's hard to be confident but still, I am now more eager than ever to be involved. Fingers crossed, as they always are these days.
Next Thursday we have got our Digswell presentation to the Welwyn and Hatfield Chamber of Commerce. We had a run through last night and realised we still have such a lot of work to do. It is a good experience for us, even if nothing else, but I remain hopeful. As I always try to be these days!
I wouldn't normally enter a post again so soon but I feel like I have a million thoughts buzzing around in my head that I need to get out.
I have this week received a number of emails from the Curator of C4RD. From the first email he sent to me at the beginning of the week, I really felt that something wasn't right. He was asking me to justify what I was doing and the imagery I was using in my work….this I thought completely reasonable although a little strange since I had applied openly and honestly describing where I was at with my work and where my interests lie. But anyway, I replied and reinforced my area of interest and some thoughts about what I might do. I had no original guidance or instruction from them about what they wanted, I had basically been told very little apart from, we like your work. He then emailed me back, saying basically that he had thought to include me in a show with two other artists, who when I checked out their stuff, I thought very constrasting to mine, but yes, I could see the connection. He also changed the time frame from about 6 months (although I was given no date or even an idea of a month, just next year) to 1 month. I said I would try my best, and come to the gallery to discuss it further.
Yesterday however I was sent a mammoth email which without trying to sound childish, did sound really pompus and over intellectualised purely for affect. It specifically instructed me about what I should do and what I should be dealing with in my work. He ended by mentioning that he believed his ideas about the direction I should take my work in would be benefitial to my progression (adding…and the gallery's of course) To say it felt completely over bearing is an understatement!
I hate to sound ungrateful for the opportunities that are offered to me, but in this instance I have felt squeezed and pushed and all that needed to be different was for them to be more open with me in the beginning. I know I am early in my career, I know I have lots to find out, and lots to learn but I also know what feels right and what feels contrived. I therefore turned the opportunity down and although very disappointed doing this, also confident that I had no other option. I'll take what I can from this experience and move on, what other option do I have?
This week so far…not off to a good start. Stress at work on Monday, at work again on Tuesday. And email yesterday from the Curator at C4RD wanting me to produce something for an exhibition in Novemeber! This November. I had originally been told first half of next year. This changes things a lot and after all I had written about the wonderful amount of time to consider and reflect on what I was going to do, to really have the chance to be organised and try out something new in the space. Guess that's not going to be the case anymore. So it's head down. Except it's hard to get head down whilst we still have open studios going on and of course it's stop, start, with lots of interruptions.
How negative I sound and after such a positive week last week. Right I will stop with the moaning right now!
Last week was great, the studio was busy and I had lots of interest and encouragement about my ideas and people wanting to talk about what's going on at the Digswell. We had a big group of 15-18 year olds which was a little scary to begin with but actually a great excercise for me. We each gave a little introduction about our work to each group (about 60 of them!!!!) But they were mostly great and mostly really interested. One of the guys that teaches them mentioned to me about doing workshops at the college, but really would have to build myself up for that. I left it open and said I would consider it. We'll see.
I gave my little talk at the Open Dialogues on Thursday. I really enjoyed it and felt it was a very valuable experience, especially chatting to people afterwards and them coming over to me to say, I feel just like that, I really identified with what you said. I guess it's that connection and encouragement that you're not on your own that is helpful to both sides. I met some very lovely, open people who I hope I will be able to chat with again.
I have started to realise how much of my life is being taken over by my practice recently. Most of my conversations are about, ideas, work, opportunities and future plans for my art work. Very little time is talking about future plans for personal life or just everyday things. It's a worrying thought that it seems to dominate everything. I wonder if my boyfriend feels like he is second to it. I guess it must feel like that at times. A career like this seems to never be left behind but manages to seep into every part of your life.