Work has at last begun on the Wenlock Road mural. Gary Drostle
and his assistant began gridding up on Aug 3rd, and I set up a
new blog on WordPress which you can access
here to follow the progress. Look out for pix on Instagram
July 2015 Having worked flat out for the past weeks,
to get work ready for an art fair and two exibitions, I'm ready
to take a break. But not yet! Still waiting to install the mural
for Wenlock Road,
which should begin very soon!
I'm thinking about work for an exhibition in November/December
- the theme is children of conflict. It will be a group show,
and all the other artists are engaged and working on their pieces.
I'm considering my personal response - it's a very emotional and
disturbing subject and I don't feel I want to be anything but
2015 Brook and I set up in the little Gallery next to
the Pie factory in Margate, and wondered how things would develop.
We made work: Brook had already made a self-portrait head, and
began work on a portrait of herself as a young artist. I had collected
Selfies daily, and written the draft of a condensed tongue in
cheek 'memoir', illustrated with prints. (Preview
'Why I Never Made it as an Artist' here)
the three week period we made 'things' but our most important
product was the process itself - the conversations with visitors
and each other, about Self, Identity, Self-image, Sexuality, Feminism
and Art, and so on... We documented these in video. (see vimeo.com/patwilsonsmith
for a taster) We concluded that our take on 'socally-engaged
practice' (which often comes over as rather tired and 'worthy')
was both valuable and empowering for artists and visitors equally.
We still have conversations to finish, and editing to complete.
28 January 2015 Before I begin 'Who Do I Think
I Am?' some
thoughts about Self and portraying oneself
I took down my paintings from the SOIL exhibition yesterday,
crammed them into my car, and wondered what I would be painting
in 6 months' time. It's like that, at this time of year, when
the cold and rain/snow/wind force us indoors, away from the natural
light. I want to paint, but the last three paintings tell me that
I need now to be more in control of my creative process.
Meanwhile I turn my thoughts to a collaborative project I've been
invited join.. Self portraiture! How do sculptors
make self-portraits? That is the problem that faces my friend
Brook Hobbins. I think about Self itself, and how that is interpreted
and expressed in two dimensions. Is painting or photography any
easier, for being 2-dimensional? What is 'self'? What is 'a likeness',
how do we achieve 'verisimilitude'? Or perhaps we don't feel that's
important... When I was in my twenties I painted several self-portraits;
the fact that I was painting a mirror-image never gave me pause
for thought. Now there is so much more to consider.
So I begin by scanning a handful of faded negatives I'd been given
by my mum some long time ago. So little of my childhood memory
is available to me that these negatives are very precious clues
to a lost life.There I am, aged maybe 12 - 15 months, then four
years old, then perhaps seven, and suddenly seventeen. My self
as others saw me.
The immediate context to this picture is not available as memory,
but as learned information, put together from reliable and unreliable
(old, analogue) photograph doesn't lie'... It doesn't say
It can't tell me who took the picture, what time of year it was,
where I was, or why I was there. It didn't tell me that I had
no father, because he'd been killed in an accident at work just
before I was born. That my mother must have been struggling desperately
to come to terms with that, and to keep things together for six
of us - I had four brothers and sisters. That's the learned context
that replaces memory and becomes part of Self. As Barthes observed,
an old photograph simply tells us 'that was so', and we have to
do all the rest.