Sketchbook Honesty

I have sent off my submission for the John Gingell Award to the nice people at g39……meep. £5000 for 6 months and help and an exhibition at the end of it. Yes please! Fingers, toes and everything else crossable are crossed. If I got it, I’d probably be able to take a couple of months off work, to be a solidly art making artist. Oh to have so much time! We will see.

So I’ll be in an exhibition in The SHO Gallery in July. This is the one that I bought a wall for, and came up with big exciting dark crochety delicate felty vulnerable plans for. They haven’t worked out how I’d have hoped. I’m getting somewhere, but I think I was too ambitious. This plan may be a few years in the making. So much experimentation to still be done. It’ll come together one day.

BUT I have another plan. Honesty and secrets. How honest can anyone ever truly be? We only share with people the things we want them to see. We’re all different when we are alone. We all have thoughts that remain in our heads and never leave. We all have thoughts that we are too scared to even write down in a private diary that we know no one else will ever see. Because then we have to admit these things to ourselves. We do, don’t we? I am sure this is universal, but no one would talk about it. Uncomfortable.

I don’t keep a diary, but I do have sketchbooks. (Which are mainly full of words, cos, y’know, I like words. And ladies. Because that is all I draw. I think they are pieces of me?) Anyway, I had the idea to rip my current sketchbook apart, and nail the pages to a wall. That will be honesty. That will be me. Because at the time of filling the pages up, I knew that there would never be an audience. And so there is no censorship, I am being myself. I bloody hope. Nothing will be contrived, or fake, because it is real and I like that idea a hell of a lot. Although this may ruin sketchbooks for me forever, I can’t just keep surprising myself with HEY, PUT THIS ON A WALL, SHOW PEOPLE! Ha ha, na, it’ll be fine. Although it is a terrifying idea, and I think I shall need to warn some people before hand of the content… my sketchbooks contain my head. Not pretty sketches of landscapes and birds. They’re introverted, and scare me some of the time.

Anyway, it is an exciting idea, and I hope I have the guts to pull it off. I THINK it is a good idea. Argh.

Although it is very likely I will change my mind. Again.

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Sanity/Insanity

I have a fairly solid idea of what my next exciting artistic endeavour shall be about. Oh yes, I have planned and plotted. I tended to just throw myself in at the deep end when at uni, got on with making work and waited to see what would happen or where it would go. I think I need to find a healthy balance of working intuitively whilst also having a bit of a thought-out plan!

It shall be the contents of my skull, and what it means to be ‘sane’ or ‘insane’. It shall be a combination of all of my words from my mind, and all of the shiney new information I am learning due to my current psychology and mental health obsession.

Please tell me this- does everyone worry that they are going mad sometimes?

I feel like this may be a universal experience. And this pondering may be the main focus of the piece of work. I’m not sure yet. I think things will become clearer as I start work on it. There shall be embroidered words, because I love embroidered words, and crochet, and wool. I’m currently experimenting with crocheting into thin, fragile stretched out tops (tops is the wool that you use for felt-making). So far it’s been exciting, very cobwebby and delicate. I have a general aesthetic in my head, but unfortunately I just don’t know how to achieve it yet! The words shall be from recent sketchbooks and diaries. Words which keep recurring, or which have stuck with me for whatever reason. Although they shall be ambiguous and taken out of context and displayed alongside each other so that no sense-making is obviously apparant. They’ll probably only make sense to myself and people very close to me. As long as I feel that I am being open and honest with myself in my work, no one else needs to know what it’s about. I hope that the viewer will be able to relate to the sentiments in their own personal way.

I fear I am rambling on, I should really go eat something! Hope this has made some sense.

Oh, and I’m going to see the Damien Hirst retrospective tomorrow! He confuses me. I don’t know if I like him, and this annoys me! I have no opinion, I am indifferent. Hopefully tomorrow will sort this conundrum out, one way or the other.

I Love Words.

How can anyone feel that they can express themselves adequately without the use of words? I don’t think that I could. I sort of feel that maybe once you start using them in your art, it’s very hard to stop! But the visual is still just as important as the meaning. Anyway.

One more shift at the coffee shop, and then I will have my weekends back, and much more time for making new work. Which is just as well, as I have got myself into a month long summer exhibition at a little gallery in Cardiff. I have a wall, and I can do what I want with it. I have grand plans, oh yes. A big installation. None of these silly little dull things in frames. Something grand. Lots of words, lots of honesty, on paper and fabric, tatty, lacey crochet. Threads and nails and sewing and biros and doodles, and the contents of my skull on a wall. Black, white and cream. Hopefully beautiful and fragile and intriguing and terrifying. Let’s all question the sanity of the artist! I have an idea, and an image in my head, just gotta make it happen…. Trying to get my thoughts in some sort of coherent order at the moment. Could take a little while.

But, it led me onto an interesting train of thought. If we can see something with our eyes, it is solid, it is real, it exists. If we can see something it is true. Visual = truth.  One reason of self-harm is that it makes abstract thoughts and emotions real. It validates them. One see’s proof of what one is feeling, and this is satisfying, and comforting. I am intrigued by the parallels that seem to exist between the creation of art and self-harm. Bear with me. So with regards to making art (and more specifically, from my point of view, making art which involves text), if we make our thoughts into something solid, turn them into part of a tactile object that we can see with our own eyes, this can be comforting and satisfying. Thoughts in our minds could be fleeting or confused and jumbled, but once they are turned into something solid, outside of our skull, they become something else entirely. We can see them and they are part of our real, material world, they exist and they are valid. They are pinned down, trapped, and so are easier to contemplate and deal with and make sense of. They become something we can see, and so they definitely exist. And so is it this process, of taking something abstract, from the inside of our skulls and making it solid and part of our real world, is it this act which is central and very important to the creation of art?

And breath. Oh dear. Words. I fear that I may not be expressing myself very adequately. I’ll get there.And I guess what I’ve said can be thought of in relation to art psychotherapy.

And I shall leave you with a wonderful quote;

“I am a freak user of words, not a poet.”

Dylan Thomas