Friday, November 26, 2010

Art + GSOH = This

Saw this and had to post it, it's by Craig Damrauer, it tickled me, and then made me think, it could always be Modern Art = I could do that, but I didn't because it's pointless, but from there it's a slippery slope into "what is art for anyway" value judgements on quality and skill versus thought-provokingness, like can a can of Manzoni's shite and a beautifully executed and intelligent painting really be under the same banner, and the self-referential in jokes of and about art... etc etc. Anyway, I digress, I found this piece on a U.S. website promoting affordable art for art lovers everywhere. It's run by Jen Bekman whose promo bags were everywhere at The Armory show in New York early this year. She also has a wee little gallery on the Lower East Side that I visited in February and saw the work of the wonderful artist, Clare Grill below. This lady can paint a damn good cake. Paint and cake my two favourite things! So I kind hit jackpot coming across this, will most likely get me a very very reasonable $20 (£12.82) print!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

The Fear is Abating

Well, have just been working on the third painting I've started in a week, it is all but done. The other two are still in progress. It's weird without obsessive planning, and without (much) anxiety I've been able to begin these and they are full of what I've wanted my work to be full of for ages. Reading I've done has somehow influenced everything about them. Maybe my thinking, once given the go ahead with the action of finally working on something concrete, has become useful and implicit, the interesting and arresting things that inform and provide me with the motivation to do this kind of work are there without struggle. As my good friend Sarah often says quoting Bjork "It's not meant to be a strain".

New journal/zine am planning with a friend.

She's going to be called GLORIA and the theme is the Bjork song "Unison". Email us at if you'd like to contribute and we'll send the details.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

The Fear

I've been so scared to start, I plan and plan and plan. I make notes for concepts and motifs and all sorts of things that are very interesting, but the problems is I have ideas constantly, all (well that's pushing it a bit) many could be developed and worked on and they fire about in my skull all day and, most annoyingly just as I'm drifting off to sleep. Do I wake myself up and write them down or trust that they're so incisive I'll remember? These days I tell myself that since this I have a backlog, if it's that good I'll remember it and if I don't, to hell with it.

Anyway, my point is to start, to begin and not in a little notebook or sketchbook. This approach is not for me right now, that's too easy and too much like the preparation I've come to use as a crutch, I've done enough of that. When I was doing my A' Levels my teacher complained that I didn't prepare enough, he could tell I'd done my "prep" work afterward to meet the criteria, he had no problem with the finished pieces, just that he had no idea how I'd gotten there. Most of the time if I had done any draft work, I'd throw it away so there was no evidence that I did "rough" work, I didn't want anyone to think I ever did anything that wasn't to a very high standard, sorry I mean perfect (I think I believed that was actually possible at the time). I missed out on some of the thinking that's generated when working practically. Maybe I realised then, that if I think too much, I'll think myself out of doing things, so I decided to jettison the preparatory drafts, and perhaps missed out on something in the process. That was 12 years ago and now I've gone totally the other way. But instead of rough work there are pages and pages of notes and musings and occasional sketches, doodles and repeat patterns. And much fewer paintings.

I've come to rely on reading about all manner of things relating to what I want to convey and that has got in the way a bit. I can be a bit literal at times, I've been running this way and that forgetting that in reading and researching, (which I would never jettison) by osmosis my work will change and be as influenced as I am. I'd also dabbled with graphics in a very rigid way, ignoring the fact that I could incorporate text and design into a fine art portfolio without having to change my professional identity to fit the method. I had wanted to be concrete where I never had before, really I want to create mood and representations of people and of fluid ideas that are mutable, gently humourous at times and intelligently beautiful.

Well, I'm starting,...again.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Catharzine dose #1

Artistically, and I suppose professionally over the last 10 or so years I've compromised a lot, I've thought there were rules that are not there, I became obsessed with a literal and objective imaging of feminism that I could not express, or even begin to, mostly because of the impossibility of the task. I don't want to say I've wasted a lot of time because my experiences have been varied and interesting, and my portfolio is pretty big, but it's not the portfolio I ever imagined I would have. It is full of design and illustration which although to a high standard, these avenues were "sensible" alternatives to fine art, I thought it would be better to put my energies into these things as trying to be a painter was considered unrealistic, I'm not sure by whom really, I think I took it on myself because fine art seemed like a luxury for people with money to pursue. So depsite being so passionate at school and then college, with encouragement from every angle I somehow lost what I wanted to do, even needed to do to stay sane, and these things all combined contribute to a frustration which I cannot give a clear voice. Catharzine is a personal project I had the idea for about 18 months ago, but having turned thirty and a corner is timely for me right now. It is based on the idea of writing and painting as a therapy and drug. As cathartic and analytical. Playing with the word catharsis in zine form it even sounds pharmaceutical. It is unintelligible because emotion and frustration are usually hard to define, sometimes hurtful, sometimes angry, sometimes comic, often so many things at once, it is tragicomic even, the melodrama is not lost on me, and this makes it even more enjoyable and useful I think, it's serious and stupid. Inspired by the work of an artist and psychoanalyst I studied for my BA dissertation, Bracha Litchenberg-Ettinger, I have made these pieces as palimpsests writing over and over the words till they lose their literal meaning and become meaningful in their illegible chaos. I'm tired of my self-imposed restrictions, but have some baggage to shed whilst taking the brakes off and these pages are the illustrative equivalent of screaming into a pillow, as was once recommended to me by a doctor...

Saturday, November 13, 2010

WRVS Heritage Plus Portslade

I've been really lucky to work for WRVS Heritage Plus on four occasions, the three year lottery funded project has just come to an end and I'm just finishing up my last reminiscence art project for my group in Portslade. Above is the collaborative painted quilt made at the end of a five week reminiscence activity programme. The theme was "Parenting" and I for one enjoyed myself immensely working with Rod, June, Janet, Mel, Jen, Chris, Christine, Bill, Sathi, Eileen and Frank. They're all parents with lots to share about the joys and hardships they experienced bringing up their children. I learned an enormous amount and I'm in the process of producing a booklet based on our discussions so that these valuable tales can inspire others.

Shape and Situate

A little while ago, I posted a poster I'd painted and designed for a zine on inspirational European women, well, the first issue of "Shape and Situate" is now in print, isn't she lovely?! Conceived and brought into the world (sorry for preggo metaphors) by the fabulous Melanie Maddison also responsible for "Colouring Outside the Lines" and "Reassess Your Weapons" among other projects. Issue #2 needs contributors so...

Thursday, November 11, 2010

A Woman in the Art World

In March, I mentioned an artist called Deborah Kass, I saw a piece of her work at Anna Kustera's gallery in New York and really loved her use of text - am doing some painterly words myself at the minute, they'll probably not see the light of day due to their "experimental" nature ie they're a bit ropey, but it's very cathartic and fun. But anyway, that's not the point. The point is I just thought I'd go visit her site and saw the piece below, it's gorgeous gorgeous. And smart and wonderful. It's got it all. It's called "After Louise Bourgeois"