Wednesday, 20 August 2008

Wednesday evening (after work)

I've re-read some of my earlier ramblings and am rather embarrassed; I veer from saying how tough and combative I was as a child to whingeing about my total lack of self confidence, a pretty odd segue; another time I manage to have a moan about the people in the Creative Arts group, when I want them to feel appreciated, not moaned-at! Maybe this blog has become too much of a spleen-venting already. Apologies if so. On the other hand, just wait until I get onto "stories of stroppy customers I have known"!
It's been pointed out to me that I began a little history of the reasons for the site a while back, and then left it with an image of myself looking round a lecture theatre at art school in the spring of 2000 and thinking "How do I get to carry on making art, then?"
Basically, what happened then was that I began looking for any and every tip and trick and piece of advice on the problem that I could find. I asked anyone who would listen to me if they had any suggestions (except those whose opinions I didn't respect in the first place - most of whom funnily enough gave [completely useless] advice even so!).
I realised that one of the key problems was lack of time when I saw that within a matter of months most of my college friends were saying "I simply haven't the time for art, I'm too busy/too tired/my job is too demanding". So I refused to solve my student debt problem the obvious way by getting a decently-paid full time job, and instead worked part time and painted in my spare time.
One of the best bits of advice I received came from an art teacher I modelled for. She had recently been given the chance to put a piece in a small show and was rejoicing that she had been doing some painting recently, and so had something to hang. She told me "Most of my fellow-students from Royal College days are still showing their degree show work if they get an exhibition opportunity, because they haven't done anything since, and I know how much it depresses them every time they drag the old stuff out." That stuck with me, as I'm sure you can imagine. They "drag the old stuff out". YUK.
Another thing I noticed a lot of people from college doing was rejecting possible chances to exhibit their work for reasons that were essentially snobbish - "I can't exhibit with Whitstable Art Society, they're all kitten-painters!". Mostly they are, kitten-painters that is; but they still have an annual Open Exhibition for local artists. I shamelessly exhibited with the kitten-painters and the Sunday painters. I even ended up as Acting Chair of the local Art Society for a year (after the chairman was thrown out of office for trying to defraud the society's main sponsor!). If it works, don't knock it, as the saying goes. It got me exhibited and it got me sales, and all the satisfaction of knowing some of my work was hanging in someone's home or office, instead of sitting propped against the wall in my mother's garage.

It seemed to me that the big hurdles I had to get over were
1. keep making art work
2. get it shown - somehow, somewhere
3. keep in touch with other artists
4. don't give up!
So I focussed on those things.

More tomorrow... Going home.

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