Final blog entry....I think this has been a bit of a tangential mess to be honest. Its been a lot of ranting, a lot of swearing, a lot of computer hatred and more drink than I thought I put away.
As blogs go it wasnt quite as horrendous as I thought it would be to write this, I have amused myself greatly but whether its exactly what the moderators will have in mind im not sure...
Review of my working practise? Swings and roundabouts really. Whats gone up has come down, whats been a downer has improved...I think my application of visual investigation project is something I can be proud of...I think my painting has improved, I think Iv become much more intuitive in general and I now understand the concept of "being playful" when making work...Iv also taken the plunge in being willing to try new things that interest me, rather than recoiling into what I know and Im "safe" with...Making my individual presentation as a short film was a big deal for me, and Im actually very proud of the result...I showed my family, something I never really do, and its been passed around most of the immediate relatives since...My grandad watched it, sat and thought for a minute...and then announced "If Damien Hirst got the Turner for that dead fish in a tank thing, I think you could get something with this easy!" N'yawwh.
My influence file, I worried I hadnt got it quite right, and then I realised its been there the whole time, just not in a coherent form for anyone other than me...I had sheets of artists, books in my head I know to look at, names squirrelled away in ridiculous places, all kinds of stuff, and whether Its what assessment is looking for or not, its what Iv used and whats helped me and thats what its meant to be about isnt it?
Drawing Enquiry...."Lookie Likie" started well, I found it really useful, I completely threw myself into being Jim Dine and I really enjoyed myself. I know its not about enjoying yourself, but what I mean is I felt peaceful and content working in his style, and I could actively see myself improving as the project progressed...Sadly I cant say the same for the drawing book. I hated it with a passion. I never really "got into" doing it, I wanted to, when we were first told about the book I was very excited and motivated to get going, and then just realising that my drawing technique has deteriorated not improved, set me on a downward spiral of self defeat and doom that I never managed to salvage myself from. At least I can recognise that I screwed up? Given the chance to do the project again, Im not sure what I'd do different...I think my concept was sound, its just my technical ability fails me.
I'l start with the Laaaaaaaaandaaan review I did but never uploaded.
London was filled with both joys and disapointments, which I suppose one can only expect to find outside of good old Yorkshire...As grandad constantly drills "If its 'artside Yorkshire it 'int worth goin'"...London especially, being full of "Soft Shandy Supping Southerners"
In fairness, it wasnt all bad, I fell head over heels for the British Museum, the Natural History Museum and for the most part, the Huntarian Gallery...topping off the good times I bawled like a complete girl through the final scenes of "War Horse" by the National Theatre Company, thoroughly embarassed enough to be forced to console myself with possibly the most expensively piss poor pint Iv ever had in my life.
London isnt the best place when your a poor starving waif of an art student, and especially when you have tendancies to be a tight fisted git, London is a financially draining farce...another farce of the emotionally draining kind was the tube at rush hour. I didnt realise rush hour applied to pedestrians and I also didnt realise that people on the tube have developed their own walk, not dissimilar to the Icelandic Horse, which has developed its own 5th gait - a sort of fast, high stepping walk that travels at the speed of a good canter...of course not everyone has seen the Icelandic horse and for those who havent, tube people arent really that graceful, and perhaps are more easily applied to the way in which pigeons will increase their waddle rate when they realise theres a bike/toddler/any moving object looming up behind them...thats the way southerners walk. Slow down, calm it and stop getting your knickers in a twist you daft bastards...
I also now understand escalators have an ettique. left is for standing, right is for running up the stairs like you did at home when you were five and were convinced if you went slowly, the monsters hidden in the hanging coats would catch you...or was it the other way around? I dont care. Its stupid, and for my next visit im going to deliberately walk with a slow dragging limp everywhere.
The Huntarian Gallery pissed me off. Granted the curiosities they have are fantastic and well worth anyones time...I did miss a fairly big section out when I realised it was inhabited by dissected frogs (my ranidaphobia extends to even the dead ones), but the intricate internal workings of the countless other animals and foetuses there motivated me to stay (something I actually havent managed to do before, knowing that theres frogs/toads there)...HOWEVER, (Prior to my expedition to London)I had researched into the current exhibitions, and being the morbid, little person that I am, had got myself thoroughly excited about a particular section entitled “EXTINCT”…”fantastic specimens”, “remains of prehistoric giants”, “a lost world of cabinets of curiosity” and “The immense megalodon shark” claims the leaflet. All very exciting prospects, however, as someone who’s main subject matter at this time, revolves around equine matter, the real lure point, was the “remains of the majestic Quagga”. With visions of doing primary sketches, making notes and spending time absorbing every little detail about this extinct creature, its safe to say I can only describe Extinct as not only a complete and utter Anticlimax but a bare-faced lie.
Wandering the corridors and staircases in earnest, like a child on Christmas Eve, desperate for a glimpse of the fat man in the red suit…or in my case, desperate for a glimpse of the extinct subspecies of plains zebra known as Equus Quagga Quagga, After much searching without luck, I resolved to asking for directions.At this point I was led down the isles of floor to roof gruesome curiosities…human foetuses, some almost fully developed, some so badly deformed they’re barely recognizable as human at all…almost like a build up, we passed the isles I had already scoured and poured over, to one I must have somehow missed…Pointing cheerfully at a shelf, the attendant announces the “Extinct Exhibition” -The Jaws of a small black tip reef shark…a DVD case for “mega shark”, a few bone fragments of the extinct Tasmanian tiger, and, to top it all off(the real piss in the cornflakes)a poorly painted A4 picture of a Quagga. I might be a mere first year art student, but I am fairly sure, that a single A4 picture…and a poorly painted, crude picture, of something that bore more relation to a badly disabled donkey, doesn’t quite constitute grounds for claiming you have actual remains of an extinct beast…correct me if I’m wrong, but I’m also of the belief, that a DVD of a film, so poor it was described in a review by The Sunday Times as “Unwatchable, almost unreviewable, this stupid monster movie makes the Bela Lugosi swan song Plan 9 from Outer Space look like a masterpiece” doesn’t quite live up to declaring “specimens of the immense megalodon shark” are there waiting for you…And stop me mid rant if I’m wrong, but even as impressive as the jaws of a Black tip reef shark are in their own right, when the exhibition (if a single shelf can be called an exhibition?) claims to have relics of a prehistoric shark that averaged 20metres in length and had over ten times the bite force of the great white shark…disappointment tends to overpower your ability to be grateful for what’s in front of you.
Perhaps if I had gone to the exhibition purely to satisfy my inquisitiveness over all things grisly, I could have looked past the letdown, and have thoroughly enjoyed the rest of the museum more...and as much as I had awed over the thousands of macabre sights on offer in the other sections;from the skeleton of the 7.7ft Irish giant, to the fairly offensive sheep intestine condom…At the end of the day, I had gone to the Huntarian Museum with the promise of a Quagga, and a Quagga there was none.
Anthony Scullion Anthony Scullion Anthony Scullion...How the hell did I misplace a name like that? I found his works and fell in love, and just like in most great love stories I fucked up, wrote his details on my hand, washed my hand, lost his number *or name in this case* and thought he was gone for all eternity. I had his images right there and ready to be used in my influence file, but without his name, It would be fairly useless...Completely by chance, while in a hissy fit, i was throwing old papers away, and on the back of a panini reciept from a local sandwich shop, there I'd written his glorious name...Thank God im not a total idiot and had the presence of mind to save the name in two totally disposable and ridiculous places instead of just one.
Iv always loved Alex Pardee and reading this interview just kind of cemented it within my own brain that its ok to not know what your doing or aiming for exactly, you just have a kind of preconcious belief that your on the right track doing something creative...The highlighted sections are parts which I particularly identify with.
SXH- Who or what do you look at for inspiration?
AP- Realistically? Boba Fett. Other than that, shit I don’t know. I think I am still trying to figure that out. I mean, even when I was younger, I wanted to do something creative, like a cartoonist, or fine art or filmmaking or something, but I never could figure out specifically what I wanted to focus on. I think that’s why I STILL don’t know, and why I seem to always bounce around and get my hands in a ton of different projects.
SXH- Who or what do you look at for inspiration?
AP- Recently I think my inspiration has changed drastically. Visually I absorb anything and everything shiny. Movies, shitty TV, the internet, friends, taking walks, people watching, etc. I do get a lot of my inspiration from pop culture, whether it shows in my work or not. Pop culture, just in general, sparks things in me constantly.
But recently I’ve noticed that I have been a lot more trusting in myself and maybe even a lot more self-absorbed. I kind of accepted the fact that, though I can keep trying and trying, I probably won’t ever get to the “level” of the technical quality of artists that I am in love with. I mean, I’m not ever going to stop trying to push myself technically and try to get TO that next level, but I have beat myself up for years about the fact that I don’t really have the technical confidence in my paintings that I would like. I would just compare myself constantly to artists that are far superior, and I think I have cut that back a lot recently. Doing that gave me a little freedom, because I know the one thing I AM confident with is my imagination. So recently, when I have a big looming project or an art show or something that NEEDS a big burst of inspiration to get started, I have just trusted myself and let myself explore my imagination and just start painting or drawing. I think there’s a balance in there somewhere that I am trying to figure out. I think it’s important to study other artists and absorb every piece of art that you love, and to BE influenced by it, but simultaneously, because all art is so personal, you need to be able to let go and trust yourself to do your own thing, no matter how good or shitty it may be, as long as it’s your own. Was that long-winded enough?
SXH- Describe a typical work day:
AP- It varies a lot. Actually, that’s a lie. The routine is similar, but the filler is way different every day. I get up about 9-10 and freak out about emails I didn’t respond to the day before, try to get some coffee, then it’s a head-spinning mess of errands, drawing, painting, blogging, scanning, and everything that goes along with that until about 3-4 am. If I’m lucky I let myself take a shower. But that’s mostly for other people’s benefit.
SXH- What materials do you usually work in?
AP- I try to explore different materials all the time, because I’m a firm believer in the discovery process. Like, yah, maybe I will be SUPER GOOD at like, conte crayon drawing on bark? So I’ll play around with that, but most of the time it’s a pretty big fail, so I tend to default to inks, or watercolors, which is what a majority of my work is done with.
AP- Feeling guilty that I COULD be creating something productive.
SXH- Is there any Artist or Illustrator you would like to collaborate with?
AP- Yah there are like a billion. You, Skinner, Augor, Horkey, John Pound, Jim Phillips, Graham Ingels (which won’t happen since he is dead which sucks), Todd McFarlane, Gary Larson, The Rock, so many!