I have been reflecting on the past few years and the struggles I have encountered. I have finally realised I have actually been through a lot, and I’ve coped better than I gave myself credit for. I have dealt with the several house moves, several relationship break-ups, money problems, mental and physical illness, the loss of baby and the death of three friends. I have been physically abused, threatened in my own home, made homeless and had a mental breakdown. Throughout this I have upheld a job, achieved a first class honours degree and I’m still alive, still have hope and have plans for a big change and a bright new future. When you see it all in black and white it puts some perspective on life.
I think it is important to reflect every now and then and give yourself a pat on the back. Life is tough, we deserve some recognition of our survival on this rollercoaster even if it is from ourselves!
I have just achieved a First Class Honours Degree in Fine Art!
I am soon to debut my latest film work at Southampton Solent’s Degree show!
My degree show work is a selection of films. They explore how society serves us badly. “Look What You’ve Done” is about tragedy, addiction, mental health and assassination. “Rats in a Cage” explores the administering of badly prescribed pharmaceutical medication, the lack of support for a life free from mass-produced, nutrient depleted, environmentally disastrous food and energy sources and uses lab rats and street and graffiti art in parallel to reflect society’s flaws and a stand against them. “Fight for your Rights” documents one the ways I cope with these realisations; to fight, constructively. All films explore my ethos but from different angles; pain witnessed so publically, a reflection of personal protest and my coping mechanism for these mental reflections.
Look What You’ve Done uses my muses; the people whose music and messages I have listened to and felt an overwhelming empathy for. I feel that their deaths were in vain and that if we lived in a world that cared less about money and power and more about the health and wellbeing of our fellow humans, then they needn’t have suffered such fates.
Rats in a Cage is a visual development of a sound piece I made entitled “Dear the Powers That Be”; an attack on the pharmaceutical industries and consumption. The film documents my slow struggle to achieve self-sufficiency; sourcing materials, building planters, compost bins, planting vegetables and creating sustainable heat sources. It also gives clues as to why I am embarking on this journey and uses the parallels observed in the Rat Park experiment.
Fight for your Rights shows my way of coping with my turmoil in the best, healthiest and most constructive way that works for me. It paradoxically uses violence as a solution by practising the sport of Muay Thai to cope with feelings of anger and maintain a positive mental attitude through exercise and distraction.
Where does art stop and life start? In the ever expanding concept of art, artists face great scrutiny when their artwork doesn’t fit into the outdated conventional standards of aesthetics and commodity fetishism. It’s somewhat surprising considering the advances in technology; where we are surrounded by a virtual reality, that artwork that doesn’t take a material form is not more widely accepted such as the email, smart phones or video games seem to have been. People seem to be slightly more at ease if the artwork is categorised, such as performance or relational aesthetics. But surely creativity should take us out of the bounds of such titles.
I suppose the one question is where do I think the line is between art and life? It’s definitely a blurred one. For a start, your life affects your art. Whether it’s your environment, your mood, the people around you and even how much money you have. Previously I have journeyed into my mind, extracting and dissecting parts of my subconscious. I turned myself into laboratory specimen, or a confessional artist as it’s known in the art world and opened myself up for all to see in a quest to find myself.
On my journey, I certainly didn’t find myself, but I did find some potential to ease my suffering and this is what lead me into the next phase of my artistic practise; working towards a better world, internally and externally. I suppose if I had to classify what I do now, it is a form of relational art. Whilst before I was bringing about awareness of my internal to myself through confessional art, now I am bringing about awareness of our collective exterior world, through art activism.
To create art as a commodity would be a contradiction of what I stand for as an artist; an anarchist, an empath standing up against the forces of capitalism, consumerism and materialism. How I choose to present my art is dependent on what I intuitively feel my audience would to relate to on both a creative and informative level. So the output of my creative practise and what others would scrutinise over as they stumble over themselves in the question to define what art is, would be anything that meets the criteria of my message – an empathic protest with a wide and varied audience in mind.
Action Art….that’s it, I’ve decided….Now for some divine inspiration… 😉
Mother: “You need to stop psychoanalysing everything!?”
Why? Because it has taught me that my issues stem from my sheltered childhood and my disjointed relationship to those held dearest to me? It helps me to realise the reasons for the issues that entertain my conscious. If do not know myself/my selves, how can I make sense of this nonsense that is my mind? If I am not aware of what I should not entertain how am I to know what I should? And how would I make a distinction between what is reality and what is the lie that we live, conditioned and consuming.
I believe in true happiness, that which is pure and not sought through materiality. This is something that you will never understand, and a view that you will never accept.
So wish me happiness and peace. Bless my journey; every right and wrong turn that will be the making of me. Be thankful that I know the truth and don’t question that which I know. It is better that I question everything than live I life not lived.
I am now stepping into the realms of relational art. My new website and forum are part of this and the whole project is the bridge between my personal and creative interests confirming even more to me that life is art and art is life. I will also be partaking in some relational art as part of the project at Basingstoke Live this Saturday.
I have recently had an epiphany that I have set unrealistic expectations for most things in my life. This in turn makes me frustrated when things don’t play out. I think sometimes our views can be polluted by external sources such as media and history and these views are not in keeping with reality and the times that we live in. Sometimes panic washes over me that I am now well into my thirties and I haven’t got a mortgage or 2.4 children, but if I did I wouldn’t be well on my way to an art degree or have freedom or choice. It may have suited the average Joe back in the 20th century, but we are not there and I am not him.
Even the smaller things in life can be tainted by expectations, from how a film should be enjoyed or how a night out should pan out. I find myself striving for idealisms that just don’t exist and things that I think will make me happy don’t. It’s then that I miss out on true happiness, because if you are always striving for this unattainable reality then you are never going to be satisfied. Although it’s simple enough to say “lay back and enjoy the ride” of course it’s easier said than done. But maybe it’s a useful affirmation to remind ourselves when life seems to be getting out of control.