In his Reith lectures Grayson Perry called artists “Pilgrims on the Road to Meaning”. At New Blood Art we wanted to gain insight into our artists personal roads to meaning so we asked them 3 questions.
The moment when you are at a party (for example) and someone asks; “What do you do?” You think about how to answer and then you summon up the courage to say, “I’m an artist.” Can you remember when that moment happened for you and tell us about it?
Publicly declaring myself as an artist wasn’t awkward or memorable until it came to officially declaring my profession for my daughter’s birth certificate. At the time I had a ‘day job’ as a curator for a gallery and this seemed like the more responsible option to write down. The fear of future failure cloaked me tightly. After some thought and a few long discussions, I remembered how and why I’m an artist at all. Its not a job, its an obsession, a bona fide process which is necessary to get on in this life, like walking or listening or feeling. We’re just lucky that it often results in beautiful products and ideas, which create an income. There is a grading of professional practice which separates artists.. Rookie, middle league, super league.. It’s a long journey. My daughters now 5 and I’m still very much an artist, except now I’m busy enough to not need the day job.
Do you have any rituals or routines to help the creative process?
I get excited when I find something totally unique and sincere like a handwritten letter in the street or a child’s drawing. These little forms of self-expression are so accidentally beautiful. I’m also a big collector of paper, anything – like wallpaper samples, paper bags, packaging, it usually gets taken back to the studio. I’m very much a studio artist. I need to work everyday, even if it’s just for an hour. My understanding and confidence in my visual language grows with the repeated process, like meditation, you tune in to a heightened awareness.
What was the best piece of advice you were given?
The best piece of advice given to me was by a university tutor, who told me that a tutor passed it on to him and he said this: always ask yourself ‘am I being honest’, simple and powerful.
And the second was from colleague who said ‘if its not working, don’t change what you do, just change where you do it and who you do it with!’.