Forever; mixed media collage with graphite, 2013 size: 12.5 x 9cm
This post is about why I created the experimental art e-course. I'm getting ready to run the next one (it starts Monday) and after writing a post about the blissfulness of doing one's 'life's work', I get the first ever really spiteful comment left on my website for me alone to read. I'm always open to comment and feedback (after every course I always send out a feedback form). However, I find it intriguing when people make comment anonymously - those who can't own up to their feelings? Know they are being purposefully spiteful?
I'm not perfect and nor is anything I do, (or anyone does for that matter). Life is plain shit at times and no-one knows about the times I virtually have no sleep to get the thing that I'm doing perfect for me and for others (my art & my course) and no-one here sees the times I weep over family commitments and hardships that involve being a lone parent, runner-of-a-household and carer of AS alongside running my own business.
It was for some of these reasons above I designed my e-course. For busy people who get overwhelmed by life, but at some possible midnight hour they might want to snatch something for themselves that involved being absorbed in EXPERIMENTING and PLAYING and so I designed the course with activities that encourage going back to being a child in the way we access these things. Adult life can be too serious, too heavy, too prone to 'professionalism' and the perfect way of doing things. So here in this course I give you permission to be child-like and playful again, taking the onus away from being dry, academic in approach, and technically 'correct' in technique.
There are many ways to approach art and creativity and after teaching art within the community in various settings I noticed people often wanted to get creative but didn't know how to approach the blank white page, or they would get overwhelmed (and often put off) if they couldn't paint or draw a masterpiece first go!! And I noticed how people didn't do art or be creative when that's all they really wanted to do.
I've put so much energy and thought in to my course. And I always look for ways of improving. I've now extended the course to 8 weeks as there is so much packed in there and I gathered I needed to slow it down for people. I'm also posting sketchbooks out all over the world for those taking part, along with hand-assembled collage packs of beautiful reclaimed papers, photocopies by me and bits I've collected - why? Because I love what I do. I love doing art and I want to share it with others and the world.
Who knows, maybe I won't continue doing art courses as I often want to spend more and more time doing my own art but there is an impulse to share art that often draws me. I look forward to doing each and every course. And I'm fortunate enough to have grown up with a father who taught me about techniques that art-school never taught me - maybe the more traditional techniques, and so I have a good base in many ways of doing art. I feel lucky from that point of view. And as luck would have it I've been invited to be in a great show next month including my father and Frank Bowling - watch this space!
Right now the days are long as I wrestle with the statementing procedure for my son at school, as I attempt (with three others) to get a great public art business off the ground (ArtLacuna), whilst still doing my own art - and thanks to those who recently bought pieces from me at The Revolution Will Not Be Televised - our first show at the new premises.
I wrote a book - each one individually hand-written - that I gave away at the show. Celebrating the invisible labours of love those of us do who are parents and/or running their own businesses. Many people insisted on making a donation (very heart-warming), the title: HOW TO BE A REVOLUTIONARY. Well I thank you person who left me a spiteful comment. You've confirmed for me how much I believe in what I'm doing and I won't stop. And I love sharing with others and you've shown me that the more I put myself 'out there' I will probably get people who will challenge me and I may crumble or I may fight. What maybe you don't know, is that because I was once at the lowest point one could ever go, I made a resolution with myself never to go back there and to live life on my own terms and that's what I will continue to do. I hope you are happy with whatever you do too. I send love to you.
PS I have one book left (How To Be A Revolutionary) that never made it to the show because it's still at home being made and
I will give it to the next person who signs up to the course (you can be new or you can be a returner!) along with your collage pack and sketchbook. (the book has now gone but there a few places available if you want to join us!)