A few weeks back, numerous days into lockdown, I was feeling a bit frustrated about having nobody to talk to about work I was making. I was posting on instagram but nobody really get's into a dialogue on there, apart from on the extremely rare occasion. I'd let my Facebook page slide and Twitter doesn't seem to be the place to share art.
I had been used to my work in development being seen by my peers, during my education and afterwards in my studio space at Coventry Artspace. I no longer have a studio in a shared space. My making spaces are now spread around my home which I share with my family.
As you can see, it is rather cramped!
By sharing work that is not yet complete also makes it accessible to more people, not just artists. I live in a bubble that mainly comprises of other artists. I talk about art, I visit exhibitions, hold exhibitions, go to events, lead workshops. I've overheard and taken part in conversations about whether or not art should be explained. By which, I mean, a question around should there be a detailed statement next to each art piece? I suppose that depends on who the artist is trying to reach. If they want their work to be understood, I never assume that everybody will be able to do that.
Are we, the artists, only talking to each other and those of privilege? This is a question I often ask myself.
The only way I could see to resolve some of these concerns was to use my website as a platform for sharing my processes. This wasn't an easy decision. Sharing my work in development is not something I have previously included on my website. Works in development have a vulnerability and fragility that is often kept within the artists' studio, or shared after the event, unless opportunities present themselves for peer critique. The global situation that now see's more of us confined to our homes, has highlighted even more, the isolation and precarity of working as an artist.
Isolation isn't something new to everyone. There are many artists who are isolated for a variety of reasons. I hope that arts organisations and funders take note and continue to offer more online support and opportunities than there were pre Covid-19.
I have also facilitated a regular online Peer Group Crit via Zoom. This provides an opportunity for an artist/s to present work to a group of peers for critical feedback. Getting a group of artists together often results in intriguing dialogue as they bounce off each others feedback.
Placing the work on here allows for anyone to look at it, whether artist or not, and by removing the mysteriousness of how work comes to be placed in the public realm and why, I hope it makes art more accessible to more people.
I am currently working on 3 bodies of work, each linked to the other through an exploration of language: visual, auditory and written. I am sharing some of these in this digital space. Using the blog format seems a sensible route to go - I've already tried just posting on my webpage and it quickly became difficult to navigate. I can't promise myself or others to post everyday or even every week. That would add a layer of pressure I can do without, so I will post as and when.