The first task was to revise my artist’s statement; a little less generic, a little more about what I actually do. I’m beginning to realise that generalism is something I’ve honed professionally over the years because it suited the context. It’s been second nature to use distance as a way of being less prominent in relationships with patients/clients while maintaining authenticity. It’s their time, not yours, and that includes your personal footprint.
So now I have to pull up the opacity on my presentational layer; to be less ghostly and more tangible; and goodness me, that’s hard. Still, has to be done.
I’ll paint almost anything, but I have to be emotionally engaged, connected in some way, to the subject; and then I follow the idea of it, letting it develop on its own rather than having the finished thing in mind. It’s often impressionistic; I aim for the essence of the subject, the life of it, rather than a reproduction. And it’s rarely abstract because I’m a storyteller, I want the work to say something and to do that inclusively. I’ll add a bit of tech if that will help – a QR to a video maybe, or to the web page where there’s a blow-by-blow account of how it was made. In the end, it’s all about the viewer.
I usually work in acrylics because they’re really forgiving; you can dilute them, mix them with sand, lay them on with a trowel, scrape bits off to get at layers you left underneath. And they dry quickly which is handy when you’re a bit of a sprint painter.
I’m still not talking much about what kind of subjects I like to paint, and that’s because really I have no particular preference. In fact one of the effects of a course like this is to unmoor you from your preferences so that you have to face new challenges; and, COVID notwithstanding, I’ve found myself horrified by almost everything I’ve had to take on. My guess is that preferences will begin to emerge when there is a more settled period, possibly at Level 3, although it’s also true that I have no consistency in my writing either which goes everywhere from science fiction, speculative fiction, and humour, to grim social realism – some of it coming in at thousands of words and some fewer than 250. I’ve compared this to the difference between helicopter and long haul flying – up and down and in and out, or high, steady, and time to watch a film. I’m definitely more helicopter than BA!
The final version of my artist statement is contained in my parallel project video, ‘Mitigation‘ and was written on the fly so there is no other document.
So, those Assessment pieces.
I have a number of candidates, some of which are still held away from public view due to their links with publications but two at least will be out of quarantine by Christmas.