So it’s nearly 1am and I’m just about to finish up my essay for hand in tomorrow at 12pm. I’m feeling slightly anxious about it all but looking forward to finally handing in after all this time.
My exhibition didn’t really go as well as I had hoped. Turned out all the hung pictures on the walls of the function room are now screwed on in metal frames, so I wasn’t able to actually hang anything. it was all a little bit of a disaster but it’s a lesson learned. In the future I know to make the time to investigate the area I’d be exhibiting in and make sure I plan out how I could go around displaying my work. It was the first time I set up everything by myself and only having one pair of eyes was definitely not ideal. I did, however, really like how my work looked all framed and displayed, even if it wasn’t done very “professionally.” Especially as I totally forgot to type up labels to stick on my work. Rookie mistake eh.
The turn out was extremely minimal as well. The city was quiet and the bar was just as quiet. A couple of people popped up for a snoop around, I had some kind compliments but nothing very interesting or critical. This whole experience, however, has really inspired me to try get a collaborated exhibition done before university starts back up again. I already have some people in mind who I would love to collaborate with.
With a bit of time to kill I decided to sit down and watch something worth watching on Netflix today, except I didn’t want to watch something that would consume my whole day and leave me flapping around the place and panicking about my exhibition and my essay tonight. So instead I decided to use this free time relaxing to mine and my work’s advantage and Google to see what good art documentaries were on Netflix. I scrolled through the results with a bit of disinterest to what suggestions were given to me, until I found out about a documentary called Ai WeiWei: Never Sorry. After reading the description and watching the trailer I couldn’t look it up on Netflix quick enough. I wasn’t left disappointed.
Never before has a documentary on a contemporary artist left me in tears. I was enraged and inspired. WeiWei’s humble approach to contemporary art is hugely based around his hatred towards the Chinese government, and this hatred is his catalyst for producing heart felt, incredible and saddening art.
Without a doubt will my notes and quotes from this documentary be cropping up in my essay. I think I have found my new muse.
I found somewhere to exhibit! I’m going to be putting my work into the function room of The Doghouse, St. George’s street on Tuesday (extremely tight for time I know but I’m just happy to have something sorted).
I chose to title the exhibition “The Inevitability of Being” as I wanted something that didn’t sound really grim, but something straight forward as well. It’s no secret that death is an inevitable part of our time here on planet earth, and that is what I’ve wanted to express through my work. Despite the works being quite grotesque, including images of murder crime scenes, the overlapping of the flowers almost softens the aesthetics of my edits. Instead of making these images monochrome, or dull, I wanted the bright neon-like colours to distract the viewers from the actual nature of the images until they realise what they’re actually looking at. I feel like this slots in well with the theme of my essay in which I want to look at the beauty within the grotesque.
As much as I loved Brighton and being away from real life for a few days, it’s really put pressure on me now that the clock is ticking until deadline. I still haven’t managed to start my 2,000 word essay and it’s not looking like my initial plans of using my workplace to exhibit is going to work out as there’s a private party booked in on the evening I hoped to use the venue. I’m trying to keep calm and think of somewhere else familiar I can use, even for a couple of hours to show I’ve done something. I don’t deal with stress very well, I’ve been driving myself crazy with thinking of what to do for this exhibition and my conclusion is that it would have been so much easier to do with even one other person! The lack of money in my life right now doesn’t help, especially when you have a grand total of £3.31 in your bank until payday which isn’t for another 2 weeks.
Life goes on, and soon enough this will be over and I can put it to rest with everything else in the past. I’m really annoyed with myself for my lack of effort this year and constantly feeling like I’m in a rut and being too stubborn to ask anyone around me for help. However, my old work colleague was able to lend me some really good books for my essay so I’m feeling really positive about that. I love writing, it’s really therapeutic and seeing as I can write this essay about something I’ve found genuine passion in will be quite a pleasure. I’ve been brainstorming ideas for the essay and I want the underlying theme to be about the line between beauty and the grotesque within contemporary art. I’ve been lent amazing books such as “The Book of Skin” by Steven Connor, “The Anatomy of Disgust” by William Ian Miller and a photocopied extract of Edmund Burke’s “A Philosophical Enquiry Into The Origin Of Our Ideas Of The Sublime And Beautiful” which will be brilliant to get inspiration from.
In terms of creating new artwork for this exhibition, I’ve been struggling to come up with something quick and effective (and cheap). However, I had some sort of light switch on in my head earlier today when I was sorting through my artwork from GCSE-2nd year of university. I came across a series of screenprints I created for AS-Level Art & Design (pictured below). Very plain and quite frankly very boring James Dean prints done in obnoxiously bright colours (safe to say they are a bit of an Andy Warhol rip off as I stereotypically looked into his popular works for my A-Level at the time).
I couldn’t believe I used to be proud of them, I felt like that they had no soul behind them, just nothing except perfectly layered colours of ink making up a photographic like face on a piece of card. I don’t really know what came about me, but I just threw them on my bedroom floor and started hacking away the ink around each one. Eyes, mouths, noses, backgrounds, ears, cheeks, foreheads…every one become more ugly as I kept scraping away the 3 year old ink. After I disfigured the first one, something washed over me, something I haven’t genuinely felt in an extremely long time. I felt inspired. And even better, they fit perfectly into the frames I displayed pictures in last term. Here are the 4 I have chosen to exhibit:
I always struggle to keep track of dates, they whizz by me and all of a sudden time slaps you round the face and says “Hey, it’s me again, bet you can’t catch up with me!” And guess what? I can’t. Life is a blur, and I can’t believe it’s almost September already.
I’ve been freaking out slightly about this exhibition, especially as I have no money to put into fancy flyers, materials and heck, even a decent place to exhibit my work. My current place of work said I could use one of our venue’s to put work up, but it can only be for a couple of hours before the venue actually opens up to the public. I’m currently looking into it as obviously it would be free, and has a nice atmosphere, but it’s not hugely ideal. Though, it doesn’t look like I have much choice if I want something that will make this whole thing run a bit smoother and lift some weight of my shoulders.
I have a feeling the exhibition is going to be a bit of a flop, I’ve chosen a date suitable for me as I have to work around my hours at work and my 5 days away in Brighton (which was typically booked before I found out my resubmission. There’s always bloody something). A lot of people have replied to me on Facebook saying they’re going to be on holiday, or they’re working, or have other plans. To be honest, I don’t really mind as exhibitions make me feel a bit uncomfortable. Don’t ask me why I ever considered being a fine artist…
In terms of what I want the exhibition to be based around, I think I want to carry on my theme from BA5, and potentially reuse my photoshop edits and my flower skull as I really loved making those pieces. They’re the baby steps I’ve been taking in the new direction of how I hope my art to develop for my final year, so they are very important to me, as well as finding them to be aesthetically interesting enough to exhibit.
I found out a few days ago that I have just over 2 weeks to cram in a unit of artwork which is going to be most difficult but I’m looking forward to getting stuck into it. BA6 is the unit I had been looking forward to most, but unfortunately life got in the way a bit, as it unfortunately does sometimes. It’s been a long, stressful and rather negatively eventful summer thus far and to be honest I really can’t wait to brush this year off and start 3rd year with a fresh mind and a very different perspective on art as I know it. Negativity isn’t always bad, especially to an artist. As one of my favourite musicians once said “I can’t write a good song if I feel too fluffy inside, I feel like I have nothing gritty enough to write about, that’s why my best songs come from being pissed off about something, or about people and the world around me.”
It’s no surprise that the theme of my artwork has gotten progressively darker as my time as a student has developed. Maybe it’s down to life experience, not really knowing what direction I’m going in my life, being afraid of leaving the stability of student life and being dropped into the world of being a real life grown up human being. It’s terrifying, and the type of art I I find inspiring now is somewhat totally different to what I thought I enjoyed looking at and wishing I could create last year.
No longer do polished, detailed, proportional depictions of the human face do anything for me anymore. Of course, I can appreciate the talent, respect the inspiration the artist obviously had to create such work, but now I look at these types of art and…nothing. There’s nothing. Nothing plucks on my heartstrings and makes the rusty cogs within my imagination lubricated and begin turning again. This is where, artistically, I have felt lost for the past year. No longer do I consider myself a portrait artist, or a portrait enthusiast. Why has this frightened me? Simply because portraiture has been my safety blanket since GCSE level art, and it’s taken time for my stubborn mind to agree with my tutors that, well…it really is horrifically boring and does nothing for me or my creativity. I worried too much about creating perfectly life like faces on a piece of paper when I could have just taken a photograph of one instead and called it a day. The fire burned out, but something new has begun to rise from the ashes…