Project Work


 

This is how I chose to present my work during my interview for Chelsea College of Art and Design. I couldn’t decide whether to put the work in a really slick portfolio for them to leaf through, or whether to put everything into a powerpoint presentation. In the end the deciding factor was that presenting the work like this is the only way that I felt comfortable. It was much easier to chat through the work – which was much more fitting.

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The trail of my new ideas went a lot better than I’d expected. 

It was exhausting and possibly not the best time for me to do a trail but I wanted it for my portfolio so went for it…

I tried Trafalgar Square: No body took a blind bit of notice of me. I was practically shoving my newspaper in people’s faces – but to no avail. It is amazing what people can ignore, even when you begin to invade their personal space out of shear desperation and fear that your project is about to fall flat on its face before its even begun!

 

Into the National Portrait Gallery. “You can’t take photos in here love”. Of course not! Strike one. Strike two – nobody is giving me the time of day… but its still art… Strike three: New tactic! Give someone my card without drawing any attention to myself, without speaking – just hand it to them then look at my newspaper – surely that will make them look and understand the context surrounding what I am doing – I would get it.

 

I see a young woman sat seemingly alone on a bench looking at a painting. I approach and sit next to her… easy does it. I give it a minuet – she hasn’t noticed the writing in the paper. Right – try the ‘New Tactic’. I nudge her without making eye contact and slide a card towards her. She takes it. I’ve got her attention now surely. No – she doesn’t appear to be looking at the paper, infact she seems to be fidgeting!?! Quickly I angle the paper more towards her – nope she’s getting up. I decide to stay seated and hope and pray that she will notice why I gave her the card. I don’t look up from the paper. I hear an American accent behind me say “What? What the fuck are you poking me for? What – what the fuck is that? Who the fuck gave you that?!!? What the fuck!” I dare to glance over my shoulder and realise that it wasn’t a young woman at all but a girl of about 14 on some-kind of school trip!!! Strike three and I was out and running as fast as I could before I was escorted out on suspicion of soliciting young girls… open public spaces obviously don’t work to my advantage with this project!

 

Feeling a little more than disheartened at this point I headed back to the tube station. On to the tube! It was a much better place. The close proximity and lack of anything else to look at or do worked to my advantage. People began to read what I’d written whilst blatantly pretending not to – exactly what I was aiming for! I’d give them my card, get off the tube and on to the next one. 

 

I received a real mix of reactions. Some people were out right scared and refused to take the card. One girl said “Oh My God! Did you find that paper?” I said “no” and turned the page for her to read the rest – she wasn’t overly interested in that then… “are you an artist then?”

“Yeah I suppose so”

“Oh cool – I’m an illustrator. What’s this about then? I love it. What kind of reactions have you had?”

And I began to chat… it was at that point that I realised that the whole carriage was listening and more people were reading my paper than I realised – which was a good thing to note for future reference.

 

At the end of my day I wasn’t sure how I felt about the project. I went home deflated.

 

When I got home I had an email waiting for me.. just the one – but it was the start I’d wanted. Someone agreeing to help and write me part of a story to do with his life or someone he knew! Brilliant!

newspaperThis image more-or-less sums up where I am starting with my new project tomorrow…

 

Last week I was on the tube and the woman sat next to me, in a genuine manner, asked if she could turn the page of her news paper… had I finished reading it!?

 

It is such a bad habit of mine. I read EVERYTHING – usually over someone’s shoulder. I listen to conversations on public transport and make up fictional narratives for the people without turning round to look at them. Usually, both of these activities are just ways of entertaining myself, but it has got me thinking… I don’t pick up the London Newspapers on my way to work, yet I always know what’s in them and can participate in a conversation, based on Rihanna, in the staff room because of it. 

 

How do we form common knowledge, common experience, opinions, an understanding of ‘what’s hot and what’s not’; I don’t have a choice but to participate because I take it all in involuntarily. 

 

A police notice in a tube station has stuck with me recently “If you’re reading this then you are on our beat.”, the point being that we all are, because we automatically read when words are in front of us. We take it in – it might not stick, we might not care, but we’ve read it. 

 

Where does our information come from? How much do we participate in society, often without noticing that we are doing it? There are a few other issues that I am trying to work out at the moment to do with this project. But for tomorrow – I just want to see if people will read what’s inside my newspaper.

 

I really want to know / or get a feel for how people respond to knowing that they are supposed to be reading my newspaper. Does it make you think about the information that we take in? The way in which we receive our information? How does it feel – a spontaneous performance that no-one else can see. An involuntary participant.

My last show, ‘The Art of Taking Tea’, was all about  the journey that I undertook whilst trying to recover my Grandma’s memories, as she had seemingly lost them due to Alzheimer’s Disease. I’m really sad to say that my Grandma passed away this week.

 

I had applied to the Accidental Festival to try and get T.A.T.T on there. I’m kind of hoping that they turn me down now, as I don’t think that I will be able to perform the show again – at least not this soon and not without re-writing the whole thing. I don’t want to leave the performance alone forever, I just don’t think that now is a good time to be performing it. 

 

I was playing with the idea of opening ‘T.A.T.T’ back up again and doing more tea but I feel like maybe it is a show to let go of. I don’t know. I loved the show so much and find it hard to think of never performing it again: I don’t like work that talks directly about death or grief very much and wouldn’t feel comfortable changing the show to reflect that. I feel like the performance was something positive created out of something negative; I don’t want it to become final and gloomy. 

 

I suppose that that is one of the hard things about creating work that talks very honestly about elements of your life – sometimes things are too raw… that’s it really. I just felt like it was worth mentioning.

After some careful consideration about the nature of the paper that I wanted to write on, I decided that it is important that you can recognise that it is newspaper that has been regurgitated.

 

My initial idea was that I would find a way of removing the print from the paper, hence thinning it, then layering it to make it thicker and writing over the top… Do you know how god dam hard it is to remove print from a newspaper!?!

 

I tried everyway possible. I got a headache, felt sick and then gave up! I have also tried nail-varnish remover – it also failed to remotely remove the print. The paper just goes into holes before anything really happens!

 

recycle-pRecycling. Not really an environmental issue for me I have to say, but the context of what it once was and now is – another space inbetween. 

 

I was moaning recently about money and the cost of materials when i can’t pay the rent… just make your own stuff, there’s always an answer was the reply I received. 

 

I’ve always liked my ‘enthusiastic child’ aesthetic. I love craft…but am reallly bad at it. This makes me do it even more. At school the kids think I’m great at art!

I’m not 100% sure if this is necessary yet for my new project. I might have a play with paper anyway. It might take away from the project by injecting too much time into the process, but what draws me to making my own paper is:

 

I like the destruction of words. The removal of one story to replace  it with another. A layering. A shredding. The time and focus that goes into the process transforming it back into what it already was, purely to painstakingly erase part of its history. 

 

Despite this arising from my money rant – I would still need to buy materials to recycle the paper! Maybe I should just buy a ready recycled pack of A4 :o)