Every now and again the universe throws you situations and circumstances that reveal their true intentions later on. Hindsight really is the most accurate art. Over the last week or so I have had an insurgence of such energy. I was made to realise or rather be reminded that being a creative person is not something that we try to be but something we have honed and thus become. Although to an extent I do agree with Mataraso’s definition of an artist which is not someone any different or special from anyone else but rather a person who makes and creates art. In that sense, we are all artists and can be artists, never really born artists and I do believe that.
However, I do think that when you have been a certain way for so long there is no other way to be. Art or rather the creation and appreciation of it is merely creativity. I believe we all have a creative gene within us the same way we all have a pragmatic gene, a scientific gene, and a clumsy gene. Along the way, our circumstances and personal biases guided us to develop one gene more than the other. Being creative has always just been a way of thinking and seeing and thus being, becomes one with the act of creation. What is strange is when that bubble is broken by an individual who sees this world and theirs as different. But in fact, all
I couldn’t be in Derby last week as I had to go home to work and earn some money. I also had my 'Domestic Dystopias' paintings on show. 'Domestic Dystopias' are a colourful series of large paintings using bitumen paint that are about homes, women, children. Intended to be dark and funny, I realise I’m not entirely happy with the overdramatic use of ‘dystopias’. I had merely wanted to question ideality in the home and play with the opposite of Utopia. So I asked: ‘What lies in between ‘utopia’ and ‘dystopia’? My husband said: ‘Everyday life’. Not such a catchy title though.
Today I just want to be able to sit in the studio and make new work. I’m still surprised sometimes that I make figurative work yet figures ‘perform’ in ways that I can’t. We feel, empathise and respond to the movements and gestures of other humans - and I think to mimetic sculpture and drawings too. The small clay figures take a long time to create. They must ‘fit’ an object and tell a story of their own. The figures can be kitsch, classic, awkward, fragmented yet the stoneware clay always has a classy aesthetic - once fired.
These small sculptures do not illustrate the stories literally. They might link or be inspired by stories that I am collecting from people about their domestic lives
The magic of encounter, the constellations and points of arrival and departure when you weave things together in conversation
I’ve been reflecting and reading about 'creative engagement'. For all the years that I have been able to call myself an artist I have wanted to engage people – take them on a tour or talk to them in the street. In the early 90s I made a lots of street performances that were about talking to people – about things. They would ask what I was doing - usually something strange – and the conversations that ensued would be the real ‘art work’. It was never possible to really capture this process although you could sometimes see glimpses in video documentation or ‘vox pops’ .
Visiting the Hepworth with my granddaughter, we were really taken with the materials they provided for ‘creative engagement’. Together we played with the wood, metal, soft ‘holed’ material that had been carefully designed and provided. The physical engagement with tactile and physical objects that related to the work on show, created conversations and a joint experience and exploration between us.
I also visited Manchester Art Fair and galleries and loved the Promethean vase on display. (Minton vase, 1875-1878) with captives hanging from the top of its beautiful blue Celeste glaze. It reminded me why my small sculpture for Small Promethean Acts reference this classic story: Prometheus stole the secret of fire for mankind. As punishment the gods chained him to a rock and commanded an eagle to peck
This blog post is an excerpt from my research recces, part of my process of scouting for locations, mapping Derby and having a psychogeographic approach to how my narrative is formed. There were 18 points in all and the recce took 1hr 26mins
(A Very Planned Scouting Walk On Paper)
Wednesday 16/10/2019 Temp: 13°C, Sunny Start Time: 03:43pm Start Point: Albert Street (Green Point)
[A0] East Street : The middle of town was sunny. So sunny it was like walking in white light that makes you feel like you could be walking in the darkness because either way, you’re still blind. I am hesitant because I don’t know if I’m going left or right yet and I’m just having one of those days as well. Turns out the way was just straight ahead.
[A1] Post Office: Maybe it was the light but I completely passed it. I think the post office was inside the shopping center and one dare not go in there for fear of not actually surviving the masses.
[A2] Green Ln: Again, completely missed it. Not for the sheer panic of navigating wrongly nor overthinking but because the road naturally leads you forwards when you are on foot and my lost spirit seems more in tune with being efficient than when I try to navigate purposefully.
[A3] Macklin Ln (part 1): Walkers, the abandoned theatre or
Someone said to me this week ;
"A home is merely a transient space where the people you love come and go."
Oftentimes many mistake houses for homes. A house is four walls, a floor, and a roof. Logically, there is nothing special about a structure that provides shelter but everyone remembers the house or houses they grew up in. They remember it because in some form or the other this is where they were first loved and this is where they learned how to love.
The philosophy of phenomenology, which inquires and investigates the meaning of pre-reflective and lived experiences, when applied to the object, the house or architectural spaces has an instantaneous tendency to re-create or find the familiar. Our unconscious mind finds a home everywhere we go and yet our conscious mind rejects this as it isn’t exactly the same.
Somewhere along the line we forget what it looked like and focus on what it felt like. You fill your home with your futures, tomorrows and dreams.
A dream is a thought From an idea that sought To make us think Of all the things We've never done. "But it could be fun," Whispers the Dream in our ear.
So we start With sleepless nights And endless lists Just searching for the things That can be done. And as we break Our backs and bones We build the walls Made of bricks
Last week the apparition of the ‘Knife Angel’ next to Derby was an example of the ways in which objects can be used to reflect on social and political meaning. As 'social sculpture', the 27 feet high sculpture made from around 100,000 bladed weapons collected in knife amnesties, and created by the British Ironwork Centre with sculptor Alfie Bradley is a stunning and topical National Monument.
Tuesday morning, Birmingham. Bad luck. Someone thought that it would be a good idea to break into my car. They didn't get in. Nothing was taken because there was nothing of value to steal and some of my personal belongings were thrown into the road. I spent the day getting 2 car windows replaced.
Later in the day my disappointment in people became re-enchantment as I talked to Brummies on the bus back to where I was staying. More than 4 people gave me advice about buses and directions, one old lady her life story and the bus driver waived payment for the ride.
I was even happy to find the rock used to break the windows, inside the car. Perhaps an interesting object to make art from? An opportunity to change its story and create a new one?Just as we change our stories about ourselves and our lives, manipulating objects around us can change the
We recently moved to a small village in Cornwall where news and gossip travels fast. One of our neighbours passes our house regularly, stopping we are sure to collect any gossip about us that she can share in the local shop. Since she has a zimmer frame and she moves extremely quickly onto the shop after talking to us, so our nick-name for her is ‘hot wheels’.
We also have meaningful conversations with ‘hot wheels’, as although she plugs us for information we manage to change the subject. One day when she was talking about our new home and how we were settling in, she said “home is where you are understood.”
This evening finding time to relax in front of what I call ‘sad telly’ - there was a scene where the main character returns home and sees the old teapot her mother has on the table. She asks why she still has it. Her mother replies “Nothing says home like that old teapot”.
Visiting Derby Museum and Pickford’s Museum this week, I enjoyed some of the objects and the idea that much of this particular display was selected by people from Derby.
Tim Shore’s exhibition throws up stories in contemplating ‘Derby Meantime’. Little Red Riding Hood in the paper theatre display is a story that is never threadbare no matter how it is multiplied, mutilated and retold. We tell
On The Streets (Commercial Street, Bangalore/India)