What I’ve found great in books and films recently along with all-time favourites.
The books I’m absorbed and getting a lot out of now are:
Sanctuary; Britains artists and their studios edited by Hossein Amirsadeghi – a great tome with questions around where and how UK artists work plus delicious photos. In was published in 2011. When I’m working at home so much, trying to get commissioned to mess up a wall somewhere as well as sorting out somewhere more permanent to work, this is a tonic for me!
Show your work! by Austin Kleon. A friend bought this for my while in the Tate modern earlier this year – it’s something you read very quickly cover to cover, but I go back to it and open a page randomly for a pick me up. Plus the cover feels nice, rubbery in a nice velvety way (kinda reminds me of another favourite book ‘The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy’ – there’s something about how the Guide is reassuring, even when its giving you bad news…that’s my memory.. but I found a quote now ‘ it does at least make the reassuring claim, that where it is inaccurate it is at least definitively inaccurate. In cases of major discrepancy it’s always reality that’s got it wrong.’ Thoroughly my kind of humour (I haven’t moved on from being 14 in this way!)
As I’m going down the DIY route to trying to get to Masters level without actually doing the course, at least not yet (due to circumstance, not choice) and so I have an overall plan (I probably already said – evolving my practice, attending lectures, giving talks, going to exhibitions, showing work etc ..whatever moves me on). And I felt the need to buy ‘Mastery’ by Robert Greene which has lots of approaches to getting great at anything. One chapter, for example, is ‘see people as they are: social intelligence’. For me, it has tonnes to learn with and from.
I read Nineteen Eighty-four for the first time a few weeks ago, the scenes in it have stuck with me since.
More long term, I’ve enjoyed What Painting Is by James Elkins (you can download a few chapters from his website free, plus other writings.
I read Downcast Eyes by Martin Jay as part of my dissertation (‘What is found in reproduction’) reading. Would like to read it again when not feeling so pushed.
In Praise of Shadows very short and thought-provoking. Makes me think differently about bathrooms..how the Japanese ideally have theirs…
Tim Ingol Lines great, especially for me in thinking about writing… what do walking, weaving, observing, storytelling, singing, drawing and writing all have in common? – they all proceed along lines
Bertrand Russell Wisdom of the West I think about this book as linking Maths, Art and philosophy…prob just rose-tinted spectacles as I was especially into Maths at 14, and this opened up the way I think about it all.
The best live performance I’ve seen recently was New Rope String Band I think they are based in Newcastle, 3 guys – 2 violists and an accordianist hilarious, creative, kinda slapstick performance..if they are showing and you get a chance, go and see.