For personal reasons I haven’t really worked in two weeks. I’ve managed an hour or two here and there but really, I that’s not work!
It amazes me that two weeks feels like a life time on the internet, or in other people’s perception, through the filter of the internet. – You haven’t been making work! It’s true that social media has been a great tool for inspiration and motivation, but jebus what a distortion when it comes to the value of time.
Look, I’ve had a bloody great year in terms of my art. Shortlisted for four prizes! TWO solo exhibitions – but this isn’t the norm. It’s really not! This probably won’t happen all the time, it might not even happen again – who knows, and I’m not being self deprecating, I just know that this is how the game is played.. Or, rather, I don’t know it and I know I don’t know… But anyway, a year like this also requires a huge amount of work that’s not the work work – to get things packed up and shipped, to travel to the openings. There’s so much going on that people do not see and this alllll takes time. I’m totally not complaining by the way, I just don’t think people get that there is work that surrounds making the work and it’s invisible. I think it’s important that the invisible is made a little more visible so people can appreciate the work that people do.
Over the years I have stumbled through the many different ways I could get creative. Writing, fiction, articles, blog posts. Illustration, digital, cover art, illustrations for stories and for anatomy. Art, oil painting, drawing.. It’s through these explorations that I have come to really single out and focus in on what it is I want to do – which is drawing. This took time, this took many mistakes. Some of which still make me cringe – oh, the bad writing, the things I opened up with which left me so very vulnerable and I deeply regret that – for what it did to me. Oh, the bad illustrations. Oh, the painting.. Noooooo. All that wasted time! But no, not really wasted, because I say no more to things that get in the way of what I really want to do.
I’ve had to take a huge leap back in terms of my social media use and interaction. I just feel like it has infiltrated my life and my practice in ways that aren’t good at all. I’m so sick of everything in that space having meaning – when ultimately it has no meaning. It frightens me to think of the hours that I have spent on facebook rather then looking at the sky, or the ground, or the flowers – my kid. Or tending to those scary but necessary moments of not knowing what the fuck I am going to make next.
I feel so much pressure to have new works and have new things to say/ announce, but my art – as a lot of art and craft – needs time. And not internet time – real time. It needs the time where I am not actually making work too!
Maybe I’m stuck with the blessing/ curse of remembering what life was like before social media infiltrated it in ways we never could have imagined?
Making artwork, getting it photographed, writing about it, organising exhibitions, wrapping and boxing artwork for shipment, promoting exhibitions, having the exhibitions, deinstalling exhibitions, researching new ideas for new work and then making that new work – this stuff takes years and years. A life time even. I feel so exhausted by the expectations. Being an artist – like being a parent – takes more than just one person doing it all on their own. So the best I can do is remove myself from it as much as possible and focus on real time. Keep doing what I know to work and what I know to be realistic.
My shortlisted piece for the JADA 2016 in a crate that my man built for it.