Phthalo VI, 2016
Phthalo VI, 2016
Disturbing Dirt, 2012
An embroidery commission from a few years ago. Looking at it with slightly older eyes, I do like the accidental mixture of the domestic and the Gothic; subversion and juxtaposition is always welcome.
Just a short post. So happy and excited and flabbergasted and speechless and wow, I won the ‘People’s Choice’ award for the work that I had up in Galeri Caernarfon, in their Open 2012 Exhibition. It was awarded on the last night, on Friday, I have never, in my whole life, been so amazed and surprised. I had resigned myself to the fact that I wouldn’t win it, I was up against some very good work, and a hell of a lot more experienced artists. This was my first proper grown-up post-uni exhibition. And I won an award. Truly overwhelming. Wow. So yes, WOW, things have been going shockingly well art-wise since graduation, and I have worked bloody hard to make things happen! Take that world, just you wait, I SHALL BE AMAZING.
Two weeks ago today I moved into my very own tiny little flat, and I am loving it. I’d just like a bit more time to spend in it…. so far, I’ve spent most of my time here asleep I swear. And over the last two weeks I have had flu. It is going now. I think it was flu, if it wasn’t flu, it was one bitch of a cold. Sold a painting on good old Newbloodart this week, and had a very long, if slightly uncomfortable, debate/argument about truth in art. Heading up to Caernarfon with a dear friend in the the morning to go pick my work up from the Galeri Caernarfon exhibition, and attend the final evening prize giving shindig thing. Should be a pleasant little adventure 🙂 Shall make sure I am armed to the teeth with sewing for the train journey. There is never any time to just sit and sew anymore- it shall be lovely.
Here’s the ‘painting’ I sold the other day. It uses the idea of chromatography (like what you did in school with filter paper and felt tip pens)- fabric was left with one end dipped in a brown mixture of watered down paint, and then as the paint soaked up the fabric, the colours separated out. I did a whole series of work exploring this during the second year of my degree… it was a lot of fun! The end result is totally out of your hands. I like that. Beyond your control. There are turquoise bits that are easier to see in real life I think… It all looks better in real life actually. Need to work on my photography skillz. But now it is bed time.
I am moving into my very own tiny, lovely little flat on Thursday!! It is between the city centre and Cardiff Bay, and has a little balcony which I shall buy a little table and two chairs for, and eat breakfast on in the sunshine in the summer. I am excited, but it is scary, I never, EVER thought I’d live on my own! I think I’ve grown up. Just a little bit. I fear I am spending too much time working to make money, and not enough time making art, although I am still making stuff… but I wish I had more time. Why can’t I be paid to just ‘be an artist’? Oh dearie me, there are never enough hours. Especially as I am buried by all the packing this week. Which I should be. Doing. Right. Now.
Soon, fairly soon, I shall have work for sale in the Fashion and Textile Museum, which is, OH IN LONDON TOWN. Oh yes. And they found me. And I will have work for sale in an affordable art show in Cardiff in March, more details to come later!
Silk embroidery 2011
I fear that the following words are not the most coherent of words. What follows are a lot of thoughts which have been flying around my mind for a while, gradually making more sense, and this is the first time I’ve tried to pin them down as letters. Have a conversation with me about it in the real world; I’ll probably make more sense.
“It is easier to write something than it is to say it.”
This has had me intrigued for a while. If you have something difficult to say, it is easier to write words for someone than it is to say those words to the persons face; whether its a hand-written letter, an email or a text message. This creates a distance between the person with the words and the ‘listener’, whoever they may be.
And so some people find it easier to make art about things, things which they may find difficult expressing verbally. Maybe it’s easier to create something visual than it is to write things down. But ‘art’ tends to be something for the public, for a viewer. But these viewers are usually anonymous. And because they are anonymous, it is easier to say, without censorship, what is on one’s mind. And visual art (perhaps more so than words?) can be ambiguous to the viewer, even if the person who has created it feels that they have expressed something satisfactorily. People expect to be shocked by art, and so if something is expressed as ‘art’, is it easier to deal with, easier to discuss? Does it make difficult issues and themes more acceptable’?
Art can be solid, visual proof, or representation of how one is feeling. It can feel satisfying to see things that were once only in your head in the real world, in front of your eyes; they become something tangible. (And something to ponder another day; where does self-harm fit into this idea of ‘visual communication’? Or is it even relevant at all….)
Everything comes down to communication. Visual, written, verbal. Communication to a large, anonymous audience, or a single, close-friend. (Or both at exactly the same time, within the same piece of work. Yes, I like that idea a lot.) And distance. The distance between the original, initial emotion, the way that it is expressed, and the person who receives this emotion or information.
And so I have put off getting started on new work for long enough today. The start is always the tricky bit. I have grand plans, but they shall stay secret for the time being.
I have longed to move away
From the repetition of salutes,
For there are ghosts in the air
And ghostly echoes on paper
Flicked through an old sketchbook from three years ago earlier today. Some surprising things in there, a lot of rubbish, but oh my, I’m really intrigued with the contents of my own skull, I always have been. But then maybe everyone is? Of course. I don’t know how best to describe it…but then, ultimately, isn’t all art selfish, is all art auto-biographical? I think I’ve tried to use my art to make sense of my thoughts. Some of my old sketchbooks scare me. Yet if displayed as ‘art’, in that context, is it ok for people to look at them? Are things which we would otherwise keep hidden, things we are scared of, ashamed of, secrets and bad memories, are these suddenly ok to show to the world, if they are displayed as ‘art’? Is it easier to share things if we see it as art?
That is definately something worth pondering upon.
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Art and Criticism by Eric Wayne
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Email the artist at JanetMcShainArt@gmail.com
Bristol, United Kingdom
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