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I feel I’m properly in now, which is surprising seeing as I haven’t got a door yet.

The shelves have nearly filled up. I do think I could probably bring some of the stuff in from the loft, so save us worrying about ten tons of fabric crashing through the bedroom ceiling, and it would make me sort it all out. Maybe.

It feels right. Home, but not home. The only space in the world that is totally mine. I have been without for eight months. People who follow this tale will know that in some ways, that’s worked out fine. But oh boy I was ready for it. It’s been on and off and on and off and on again for so long!

It can be an expense, yes, obviously. But the feeling you get from working in a studio is different. It is my professional space, not my hobby space. It is where I earn money – or at least initiate the process of earning money. It involves professionalism, validation, a seriousness of intent… That this thing I do here is legitimate. I find it hard to feel like the real thing at home. I know this sounds self indulgent and that many artists work at home, but I find I don’t think ”properly” at home. I pick at it. I write a bit, maybe for 15 minutes, then make a cup of tea. Then I might draw for an hour while someone is watching Pointless. Don’t get me wrong, I like watching Pointless as much as the next retired teacher or geography student, but that’s not where my head should be.

and I’ve just read that paragraph back and it annoys me…

If I was an accountant no one would think that having an office was self indulgent, so why the hell is an artist’s studio? It isnt! I have to stop saying these things, we have to stop each other saying such things. We all do it. I’ve heard you!

Anyway…

I’m getting to the point now where I have done most of the unpacking and sorting and shelf stacking and can get on with the task of actually working.

Today Ian my band-mate popped round for a nosey, a coffee and a cake, and a bit of a strum and a sing. So that was good – even without the door! (we were the only ones in the building).

I have a proposal to write, an ACE project application, someone else’s application to support, I have recordings to make, drawings to draw, songs to sing…

And now I have a place to do it.

(I’m going to try to post one of those panorama photo things… if it doesn’t work I’ll take some ordinary photos tomorrow.)


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Conversations with certain people “bring me on”. By asking the right questions and not being afraid that they are difficult questions. They tell me their truth, and it encourages me to face my own.

I’ve been laughing at my “weird” works. By doing this I preempt any suggestion of weirdness from others. They have nowhere to go because I’ve already said it. I shut down any possibility of discussion . Other than by those awkward people who poke me with a stick to make it happen (thank you). I’m not yet prepared for the conversations that might ensue if I show that I take myself, and this work, seriously. Beneath the ridiculous bluster of “I’m a weirdo I am!” lies a vulnerability and a rawness I’m not yet ready to encounter in public. Two conversations with two people who know me, and my work, well, have brought me close to tears. Ok. Not just close. Over the edge. But they are both a safe place, so I’m ok. But I need to feel stronger before showing this work in a formal setting. Just in case someone astute asks the wrong/right questions. I need to prepare myself. Writing this post might form part of that preparation.

A discussion over dinner wandered all over the place, but touched on when and why we exhibit the work: do we exhibit when it is “finished”, done and dusted, safe, complete, and we feel we know everything about it? Or do we exhibit when it still feels raw and a little precarious, in the hope that exhibiting it will help us learn more from those who view it?

So… In forcing myself to encounter these drawings properly, by pinning them up to view, I look at materials, methods, meaning. It’s like REALLY looking at yourself in the mirror and accepting what you see. (No I can’t do that either.)
I don’t think I have REALLY looked at these drawings. I don’t think I have accepted fully what they are about. They scare me a little…. They are NOT weird to me you see? They’re not. They are a true thing. They are a true expression of what my brain is trying to process. To be honest the last few months have been a bit shit. I’m still coming to terms. I’m still trying to find my equilibrium here.

The methodology and the process of my drawing have rules. I extrapolate those rules from the patterns that emerge. I pursue them until they bore me, and then they mutate until I have a new rule. Materials, composition, technique, the colour palette all have a place within this rule-making.

Meaning then? Digging deeper, but also simplifying. Drawing I find is a purer, more straightforward way of working. It is more immediately connected – brain to paper… No filter…. No distraction…

Abstraction is attractive. Liberating.
I have lived a life filled with symbolism. The Catholic Church, Renaissance art history studies, and the occasional dip into semiotics. I see symbols and infer meaning all over the place. My brain seeks it out.
Abstraction could be my saviour then?
Abstraction is my secret confessional?
I can’t help myself.
Abstraction is a shouted whisper.


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