It sometimes occurs to me


It sometimes occurs to me when I’m sitting in my studio and I hear the ping of the microwave as Graham makes lunch in the space next door or I hear the thuds as Andy tacks up his work about how crazy this all is.  I spend most of my days at the moment drawing and reading. Most of it is just tentative ideas, which I described as ‘suggesting a different narrative for my drawings’ before getting soundly laughed at. 

We’re a strange band of people and I think of this now as my work gets down to the possibly important, possibly inconsequential small stuff like a two day slog trying to work out how to draw an inclined line in perspective with a home-made protractor.  We’re sitting here fixedly, huddling in more layers as it gets colder, and essentially making something most of the time that hasn’t been asked for and might never be wanted.

I’ll be honest, I don’t always get it but in the end once you decide on a thing what else can you do? And that’s as much the meaning of Art than any other that I can give you.

Which is not how I phrased it when I spoke to Kirsten this week for an informal survey that she’s leading for a research paper on artist practice and how it is sustained. I rambled on a lot, you probably know I like the sound of my voice or the keys on my rented keyboard, and we merrily expounded on artists and artists pay.

One of her questions, and I’m paraphrasing horribly, was whether I saw my art practice as ‘work’ in the same way as those jobs you take to pay for the art when no-one wants it. It was one of those times when the answer was startling clear in my head.

Yes. My art practice is work, I take it very seriously and I’m really pleased that it’s turned out that the thing that I wanted to do when I was a teenager is what I’m able to do now. It’s a professional activity and it has a value and a purpose that can be measured.  This may not be the hurrah of being fired up by a work that is moving fast and going very well but it’s a feeling that’s just as elusive.

Today I’m back in my studio, waiting for the ping of Graham’s microwave.  I’m also not the starving artist type.

By the way, I know that my entries have been pretty erratic recently, feel the barely suppressed rage below the words ‘keys on my rented keyboard’ but thanks for sticking with me.