Wednesday, 6 March 2013

Some thoughts on art and other things

Swings and roundabouts. Last weekend I left the house once (for chocolate). The weekend before I was out and about all over the place. 

I was actually working last Saturday, overseeing the production of a short film for work, part of which involved orchestrating and participating in a walking tour around some of the lesser known art spaces in Peckham. 

The tour was run by an organisation called Art Licks and the interview was with its editor, Holly. The two girls making the film are being mentored as part of the Film School we’re currently running and the intrepid walking group (I say intrepid because it was snowing and sub-zero) was a posse of young people I regularly work with on a handful of other projects. Lots of balls in the air, all metaphorical, none literal or otherwise made of snow, but it was still a really rewarding, interesting, inspiring day.

At The Sunday Painter (so named by the group after an insult from a tutor during their fine art studies) we had the chance to hear from the exhibiting artist. It was such a useful, effective reminder about the importance of looking with care (read: thoughtfulness, not: glib distraction) and of the value of talking to and hearing from artists themselves – no rhetoric, no bullshit press release of overwrought adjectives – just an honest insight into process and inspiration.

Artist Rob Chavasse talks to the group at The Sunday Painter
Distracted and time poor, I would have overlooked and consequently forgotten the show if I’m honest, without having had that insight. Five minutes of humble conversation and my appreciation and patience was amply bolstered. 

I do think you should have to work a little to "get something" from looking at art - but what that is, is up to you. At the very least I really believe we need to ask ourselves: “How does this make me feel? What does this make me think of? WHY?” Judgements of good and bad are kind of redundant if the work doesn’t engage you. So, yeah, I appreciated the reminder that I need to give each its due before I move on to the next thing. 

My new life mantra...
I need to remember my favourite quote from all the many I read during my trip to Documenta last September. My articulated philosophy, as eloquently said by Charles EscheDirector of the Van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven, Netherlands: "Art is a way to imagine the world otherwise." It's so true and so beautiful it's almost screaming to be ruined by an ironic Sanskrit tattoo. 

Anyway, yes, it was a good, solid, satisfying Saturday. Which was chased by epic Oscars Monday and Tori’s annual feast to end all feasts.

Eggs en cocotte courtesy Amour and the talented Tori
This last week’s been a bit chaotic – thoughts and plans and attention spans spat in every direction like a round from a drunk machine gun. It’s been exhausting actually. And not helped by the fact that this unendingly grey, miserable weather is giving me the complete shits. So much so, my irritability has began to manifest itself in actual out-loud mutterings for people to get out of the fucking way, to stop fucking dawdling, to hurry the fuck up and to just fucking get their fucking shit together already. 


Do you get the impression I’m ready for a change in season?

Today was a glorious 14 sunny degrees and it felt promising for the first time since last Spring, which was so long ago I barely remember it. I actually caught of whiff of Jasmine about a month ago and after a heart-searing second of hope, had to scold myself for falling victim to such a premature seasonal tease.  

Peckham Peace Wall
That being said, I’ve done my annual chuck out, I’ve straightened the cupboards under the sink, I’ve bookmarked some summer essentials on ASOS that just need another pay day and I’ve organised more holidays than is fiscally sensible in the hope that excessive planning will make the summer come faster.
Lakes District, Peak District, Yorkshire Dales, Snowdonia, Paris, Provence, Venice, Reykjavik, Paris again, Berlin and maybe Warsaw in September. 

If I hadn’t heard today that my National Portrait Gallery book is finally, definitely going to be published in October I’d have said that might be enough to look forward to. 

But now there’s that too. So I should probably stop being such a crabby bitch.

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