An artistic haunting.

DSC_0036

I had a crisis of faith not so long ago. I still felt that I was an artist, but, oh dear god, blasphemy – I was no longer creating art. A fake! A fraud! A misguided fool! I wasn’t proclaiming this status to the world, but even within the realms of my own mind I felt uneasy merely thinking of myself as an artist.

What criteria do you have to meet to be deemed an artist? A question that bears similarities to that fiendish art-school conundrum – “What is art?” I have lived by the rule that if an artist has said that something is art, then it is so. It is one person’s intention that counts. So why was the definition of artist causing me so much anguish? The guilt around not making art felt unbearable, and the prospect of just stopping, drawing that final line in the sand felt… relieving. The easy way out. I could leave it all behind me, accept that I was no longer an artist and move on with my shiny new teacher identity life. The word ‘artist’ has been so entwined with my idea of who the hell I am, this notion left me feeling… bereft. Irrational, peculiarly narrow thinking, wouldn’t you say?

I stopped obsessing. I let it be. I let it all be. I gave myself time and space… and waited for the blessed Easter holidays! And it all makes sense.

Painting makes me happy, and so I will continue to paint. Some days I will wear my artist hat, and some days my teacher hat. Most days, I hope to have both jauntily perched on my head, although they may be rather precarious…

Advertisements

A Monoprint.

In My Craft or Sullen Art – Dylan Thomas

 
In my craft or sullen art
Exercised in the still night
When only the moon rages
And the lovers lie abed
With all their griefs in their arms,
I labour by singing light
Not for ambition or bread
Or the strut and trade of charms
On the ivory stages
But for the common wages
Of their most secret heart.

Not for the proud man apart
From the raging moon I write
On these spindrift pages
Nor for the towering dead
With their nightingales and psalms
But for the lovers, their arms
Round the griefs of the ages,
Who pay no praise or wages
Nor heed my craft or art.

 

 
A favourite poem that keeps coming back to me. Dylan Thomas is wonderful. Sweetdreams x

Embroidery- Works in Progress

Two embroidery pieces that I am working on at the moment. I’ll let you in on their stories when they are finished. I am listening to HIM (I love them, and I aint afraid to say it!) this evening, drinking port and drawing. Good times. But unfortunately I have a cold. Bah.

Recent Sketchbook Pages

 Irresponsibly drinking port on a sunny afternoon, and I have installed my new scanner. New drawings, all done with Biro. I need to get my work out of sketchbooks and onto walls, I think these are quite good. 

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.

A Short Thing

I want to go to bed. But I have words that I am meant to say- the Washington Gallery opening went well- I’d say 75% of the people that turned up were people I invited. Ha ha. It was quiet, but it was nice. It’s on for the next three or four weeks (it got an extension), so do go see it.

I got a ‘Warning; there is content in this room that may offend.’ sign. My work was the only thing that could possibly have meant. So that made my week. May it be the first of many.

I am fairly useless at everything at the moment. Which isn’t very nice. But trudge on and make do and it will all be ok. Or go into hibernation?  (Like a wombat. I think they hibernate? I should know, I had a slight obsession with them a couple of years ago. It came after the Dylan Thomas one. I have an EXCELLENT childrens book about a wombat- Diary of a Wombat. I highly recommend it. Cheery making.) I put a lot of pressure on myself I have realised. It’s never good enough. But I did spend last night making monoprints on my living room floor. I like monoprints. 

Night night dearies, there shall be a much more thrilling post soon.

Embroidery, 2011

The F-Word.

I do like a good swear word. When it is appropriate, and in moderation. Use any word too often and it loses all meaning. Slightly off on a tangent, a tanker driver in work annoyed me yesterday. Can’t even remember what we were chatting about in the office, but he was going to swear, and then stopped himself, because I was there. Oh the poor little innocent lady who can’t cope with swear words. BAH.

I unexpectedly sold some embroidery on Newbloodart the other week- ‘False Hope 2’. I like it, but it wasn’t overly…..well done. But I think it had some oomph. Feeling. I made it the morning following one of the most traumatic nights of my life which resulted in absolutely no sleep. Rather mad, though lovely, friends and a bridge and shouting and ringing policemen and ambulance men and panic and…yeah wow. Not good times.  Yet still we ended up in the school of art somehow the next day….?! So that is when I sewed this. All art must have a story behind it, I guess we just don’t always find out that story. I want to tell people my stories.  Oh no, I’ve been rabbiting on about this, and I can’t find a picture of it… Oh no. Please don’t tell me I sold it without taking a photo? Oops.

This page from my current sketchbook seems appropriate.

Handed my work in at the Washington Gallery in Penarth this morning, tis a lovely space, I am very excited about the exhibition opening on Friday! Although wondering what they’ll make of my swear words… I managed to leave before they’re had a look. Oh it’s art, they can’t censor me. Ha ha. Pretty, huh? Well I like it 🙂

Oh I do like to be beside the seaside, oh I do like to be beside the sea….

I have ‘Happy’ perfume by Clinique. I wear it and therefore I am happy. That’s quite nice. ‘Wear Happy perfume and be happy.’

I feel like I am killing time until something happens. Filling the time up. With felt making and bread baking. I don’t really want to make ‘art’ at the moment. Always drawing though, always. I just haven’t been working on the tricky bits of the project-what-I-should-be-working-on. So that was a little lie. I am making art. Just the easy bits. The non-traumatic bits. Haha. Why oh why bother? Life could be easy. Bloody art. Ah, but I wouldn’t be with out it. I think that perhaps being an artist is one hell of a love/hate relationship. I am getting better at making very thin fragile lacey felt. Which is good. It’s starting to look right. I think I shall start having a look for some studio space in Cardiff. My little flat is constantly a mess of arty crap and it doesn’t much like it. The-job-that-pays-me is going well. It’s very repetitive and gets a bit dull, but the close proximity to concentrated hydrochloric acid and other dangerous substances keeps things interesting.  And I get to do a titration which goes fluorescent purple, it’s pretty.

I feel like I had something worthwhile to say.

Some drawings. The first one’s from last week, the second one is a few months old.

Oh, and I am happy to say that I have decided I don’t like Damien Hirst. The butterflies were the best thing. But butterflies are awesome in themselves, so you probably can’t go wrong if you use them in your work. The case that the skull was in was filthy with smudges and fingerprints, which kind of detracted from it! Quite funny. Ha. Take that, ridiculously expensive kitsch art. The exhibition didn’t make me feel excited, and it didn’t make me want to make art. It didn’t feel intelligent. Why all the repetition? Hirst’s obviously been very clever at ‘playing’ the art game, and getting noticed, and making money, which is impressive and to be admired. I just don’t think his art’s as interesting as the story surrounding it all. It’s all a bit daunting, innit?! Christ.

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.