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.
Last week was the first week of Hertfordshire Open Studios. So we've all been around regularly. It's meant a lot of chatting with cups of tea, debating and discussing. Reflecting on the launch, we have all felt really positive about it. Proud even, I can see it coming through.
Next week we have planned to meet up to start getting ideas and a plan together about the presentation to the Chamber of commerce, but I was so frustrated to discover that I am going to have to miss the meeting because I have to work that night. Work always feels like something that just gets in the way all the time. I rush my 'earning' days through and then my week can begin. Having to do extra always riles me!
Anyway, not to dwell. I will have to catch up on what was discussed afterward. I am now starting to get planning together for a few things that are coming along. I had a random opportunity come up a couple of weeks ago. I have been invited to show some of my work up near Leeds at Harewood house next April as part of a 'House and Home' exhibition they are planning to coincide with an anniversary of the building. It sounds really exciting and I'm going up to Harewood mid October to chat to the curator and discuss ideas as well as get more familiar with the place. The ideas behind the exhibition sound so relevant, I'm so thrilled to be given this kind of opportunity, especially to be asked to be involved and not having applied. It's such a wonderful feeling, to be invited.
I'm also going back to the Centre 4 Recent Drawing in October to get my plans moving for that, so lots to do at the moment. Exciting times!
Tomorrow evening I'm talking at the Open Dialogues in Cambridge, another thing I was absolutely delighted to be invited to do, but must admit…feeling a little scared as it's getting closer. Talking in front of lots of people is a very new thing for me and I'm not sure if, even a year ago I would of dreamt of being able to say I'd do it. But wrapped inside all the fear, is a lot of excitement too.
The lead up to the launch on Friday was busy. I finished my piece ready for my performance by the Tuesday but the rest of the week was filled with organising the hanging of the other work. We had three performances, five 3d pieces and a very limited amount of space. Wednesday I spent most of the day wondering around trying to work out where everything was going to go, changing my mind and then changing it back again. Luckily on Thursday there was two of us doing it and we could spend a good amount of time discussing the pros and cons of different lay outs. It was much easier doing it with two of us. We got most of it hung on the Thursday and just had finishing touches to do on the Friday but like always, the stuff you think will be quick, ends up taking ages. Friday was subsequently pretty hectic.
At 7.30pm on Friday, I got in my white suit and climbed in to my little white house, and began to draw (at first a little shaky handed). I was drawing on to the walls of the tightly stretched semi-transparent fabric. This meant that as I drew, the line showed through to the viewer, on the outside. They could see me as well but it was a bit like looking through a heavy fog. I traced the room, doorways and viewers as they walked around me. I hadn’t planned the drawing at all, so I just responded to what I could see from the particular angle I looked from at that time, therefore the representation was very fluid and changeable. I work round and round and across the top panels. It was great when someone would work out what I was doing and stop to allow me to trace their outline. They therefore had complete control over how long I could draw them for. Quite often I would get half way round and they’d walk off, so I was left with half figures, bodiless legs, and many empty shoes. The thing I really enjoyed was this interaction, each viewer changing the drawing and choosing how to act, being delighted about being recorded. People appeared, from my angle to be dancing around the house, I would catch parts of the same person several times around the house. I couldn’t quite work out always who was who, so even people I knew, past me by as just another viewer. They kind of became this whole other, separate from me…my audience.
The whole evening was fantastic, there was a great buzz and I really got the feeling the audience where really engaging with us. Most pieces seemed to be creating a reaction. We all felt proud of all our efforts and went home with and excited glow!