'The place where inspiration hits the page running... A sketchbook to fail and reflect on my work and my process'

Thursday, 26 July 2012

NAILING IT! or at least starting to!

Well!.. the work below (prawns, seafood ex-cetera!) was a bid to work on a portfolio for more commercial work, to bring money in the door. I see work out there exactly like it, so I did something that I thought would be equally as popular, or fitting, but actually it has the tint of 'other', so therefore doesn't grab the attention I wanted it to. What I mean by 'other' is that it wasn't done with me solely in mind, it serves a purpose and a market. This is one reason why I believe that the commercial work I do has a small audience and may not be the right path for me, financially and soulfully? Or am I not trying hard enough? do I want to try that hard?
The work I am working on in my spare time, ready for the solo exhibition and the feature with LETH, is solely for me. I believe I am beginning to get to the core of what I do best, and getting the right response from the people I want to respond to it. In other words I guess I have a passion for a certain kind of work / niche / genre, and that is now where I believe I fit best and nothing else will do. There is no competition of better or worse, there are no rules, the work just sits in it's own place, comfortably and confidently. I hope!

I have constantly struggled with representational work. I go too far with it and past the place where the marks work on their own merit. I have spent the last 3 years struggling to reduce the amount of lines and marks I make, and for each mark to stand alone with integrity and confidence. I cannot produce successful work on a constant timescale. There has to be mistakes, bad ones, unsuccessful efforts etc, but the time I have to produce the commercial work doesn't allow this to happen, so I feel the work I am putting out there is substandard, and that upsets me. So I have been working on this for the last couple of weeks and I think it's been there all the time, but it is only now that I see more clearly where my marks lay most comfortably. I have learnt that as soon as I have anything that I want to represent, to reference from there is a strong part of me that wants it to look as much like it as possible. (commissions are particularly tricky because you have another person in your mind critiquing!)

There is another part of me that wants to record shapes, pattern and texture from it, this is what I want to continue with and move forward, the shapes and textures. I love responding to marks I have made already on a page, mistakingly or purposely. I learnt on the MA that the first, carefree marks are the most fitting in my eyes. The marks that have no visible reference. They are a mood, a feeling or moment. So I have been looking more closely at my paint pallets, which is where this happens a lot. The place where I make marks only to clean the excess paint off my brush, or to water a brush load down, or to test a colour. They are truly the footprint of my artistic personality, my energy, how I hold my brush and how much pressure I use. Oddly they work in complete harmony with my commercial work.. they run underneath it...literally. They are the un-thinking marks I make when doing the considered, briefed work. So in contrast to the work I have to do, I have found a new body of work that is an antidote to it that is created because of the commercial work. Creating a distance that I feel I need for my work to not be contrived or too considered.

I have always had a passion for marks, made consciously by an artist, or incidental (to some) marks on lamposts, scraps of paper, mail, old bits of card etc etc. I have considered them beautiful but didn't have a place in my work, but they do now. Maybe it's a continuation of my MA project, the impact of humans on the world and the wildlife in it. The trace of Man, his footprint. I am interested in making these traces, these footprints of my own, into the art I create.

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