Seeing others

It’s really easy to let blogs slip when you have to work for a living.

Like most artists, I have to prioritise what I do on my days off.  For those non artists out there, that’s probably an easy decision – you see friends and family on days off.  You go out and enjoy yourself (hopefully anyway)  and just do stuff.

For those of us stuck in this way of life decision we’ve made, in between doing all of the above, you somehow have to fit in not only time spent on your own work (artwork that is) supporting other artists by going out to see their work and then letting people know what you are doing work-wise. Blogging…social media etc etc.

How do you do that if 5/7ths of your week is spent just earning money?

You probably don’t.

So this is a weird way of starting off a new set of blogs for this year I suppose , But what’s the point of writing about how wonderful and fluffy being an artist is…when it isn’t really. Is it?

Its day 29 of the year and I can honestly say that although I have thought a lot about work in those 29 days, I’ve done very little physically.  Its taken me this long just to work out a plan of action for an exhibition I will show my work in quite soon.   Being a small space with 8 other artists involved,  I’m limited to what I can do .

I wanted to do something with slate, as I found a stack of it dumped while out walking my dogs.  I’ve cleaned it and broken some down…. (actually, just realised that I have done something after all …hmmm…)  But then trawling though the internet for ideas, all I could find were cheesy images painted on slate. Blurgh.

So yes, hmmm… I’ve digressed, this blog was going to be about what things have inspired me, exhibitions I’ve seen etc etc, but then I got totally sidetracked.

Being honest, despite planning to see so much over Christmas while I had time off, the time just went. I didn’t see one single exhibition OR produce a finished piece of art OR blog about it.

So yesterday, I forced myself to go out and see some exhibitions in Liverpool . That sounds awful saying that doesn’t it?  Oh what a chore…It was cold and i’d rather spend the day wrapped up, watching TV. What if we all thought like that though? Would artists survive?

First stop was an exhibition by Michael Lacey at A Small view in Liverpool.  The exhibition had been on absolutely ages, but yesterday was the last day.  The space is upstairs in the Gostins Arcade. Couldn’t find a website, but you can follow them on twitter   The arcade is a really interesting concept with loads of independent shops and a couple more galleries opening ( as I was told by the Small View person) I hope more people go, as it was really quiet when I visited.

As the name implies, the gallery is a small room. Nothing else.   The best possible use had been made of the space though and it complemented Lacey’s work. I tentatively asked what else was coming up… partly because I was half contemplating applying for an exhibition..   I bottled out though.  I’m not happy with my work at the moment and I need to think it through more.

This ‘overthinking’ has been my downfall I think.  Especially when I visited exhibition No 2 at the Walker Art Gallery.  Looking North  is an exhibition of work by North West artists.  I recognised all but two names.  It is a really good exhibition, but it really made me question how artists are picked for these shows.  I didn’t mean that to sound disrespectful to the artists involved – all have work worthy of showing,  I was just curious. Is it that they work constantly so always have their work on show somewhere?   Do they know the right people? Mix in the right circles?  Or do they know how to get their work ‘out there’ by other means? Blogging, social media etc etc?

Do they work? Or are they supported and can spend every day in their studios?

I’m glad I made the effort to go out and see what is happening.  I’m not saying that I now feel happier about my work, but I have felt ever such a small spark triggering in the grey cells.




Paper Houses

I started making these paper houses last year in response to an exhibition about housing. I had many problems with the design though and found that they travelled badly ( got crumpled easily)  So I put them away in a box and left them.

It was only when I started putting together The Cruel Sea Installation and I had to think about making the ships more sturdy and ‘people proof’, that I was able to go back to the houses and  redesign them.

The 400 + paper houses in this artwork represent a possible regeneration of the derelict terraces in Ducie Street and surrounding area in Toxteth, Liverpool.

The demolition of these buildings is highly contentious, with many residents taking the view that the houses are ‘fundamentally sound’  and that ‘renovation would be preferable and cheaper.’

With arts funding cuts greatly effecting public artworks , a question of how we can  sustain the level of art visibility – which has grown immensely due to the popularity of the Liverpool Biennials, with the regeneration of the area.

Each house in this installation is covered with a reproduction of an artwork.

The houses will be shown as part of  Liverpool Light Night :