Ok, its coming on Christmas and its the start of my Flash Residency at 44AD Gallery smack bang in the centre of Bath and just a stones throw away from the historic thermal spa which was constructed by the Romans around 70ADI am going to be based at 44AD in the basement studio until the end of February with the aim of making art ,running some workshops and holding one or two discussions on what it means to define one’s self as an artist. I’m interested in where as artists where we place ourselves and where we are placed within the creative spectrum. What does it mean to be defined as an “Outsider” or “Emerging” or any other kind of artist?
A little bit of history.
I was creating my own work ,my own images long before the notion of becoming an artist entered my head . I would draw as a child ,look at pictures of paintings and be intrigued by them (like wise wallpaper sample books, of which there seemed to be an abundance of at home for some reason ) my Father could draw and my Grand Father could paint in oils but they never considered themselves to be “Artists”. Maybe its was a class thing, a lot of people would say so and maybe for them it was just a hobby, something that they did when they had some spare time after a days work. I dont think either of them thought to show or exhibit their creative output beyond their own family circle. I dont think that they were trying to say anything particular about their work other than that they could draw or paint something which was pleasing to them and their family and freinds nor do I think they thought it important to exhibit their work in the public domain.
I am about to put together a body of work over the coming weeks under the working title of Now That’s What I Call Leider 2016 . The word Leider is of German origin ,its English equivalent would be something like Art Song . I like the idea of making Art Songs, not in terms of the 19th centuary musical form but in terms of creating visual work that relates in someway to certain songs that have engaged my attention .
For the Record
I grew up on vinyl , bought my first album with pocket money even before i had a record player of my own such was my anticpation. I loved the whole process of going into a record shop ,deciding what record to buy ,looking at the art work ,reading the sleeve notes , and then when i got home , listening to stuff that would take me to some other place,it was a sensual and experiential , something incredibly personal that could also be shared with others . So records have been very important to me, as important if not more so than art. I wasnt part of the Pop Art Culture more of the Blank Generation of Richard Hell and the Voidoids and although I had taken up photography I didnt see how what I was doing (photographing bands such as theVoidoids and The Clash for a self financed Fanzine ) could be linked to the Art World.
Equal But Different
There must have been a point where my passion for music was matched by my passion for art but I really cant set a date for it. What I do know is that they both aquired equal importance in my life but were very different in how they were represented . Every Thursday i could buy a music paper such as the NME or Sounds from most news agents .Art magazines were far more exclusive ,harder to find ,more expesive , staff in art galleries seem to view certain viewers with suspicion . I think that I am still trying to understand this relationship between art and music where they seem to share so much common ground such as within counter cultures ,yet can also seem so estranged from each other . I am not wishing to advocate a world of Rock Artism or to create some visual facsimile of songs that i have loved (or even disliked ) but to try and work with and around the spaces between these two forms of creativity that are such an intinsic part of my life.
Equal But Different