Reignite Your Spark

I often find when I tell people I’m an artist they say ‘I’m not creative in the slightest, I can’t draw, I just don’t have the talent to be creative’. Creativity is about loosing yourself and discovering something new about yourself or the world around you with unlimitless opportunities and possibilities.

Creativity is not limited to one medium its about grabbing hold of your passion and becoming lost in it. Creativity is in the conversations we have, the worlds we create, the relationships we have. Creativity can take many forms its how we harness them and share them to the world.

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Shadows of Perception

Writing to you from a cold, wet Wales. Unfortunately this is the typical weather we are blessed with here in Wales. (Sorry about the weather update) Any way today I have been thinking about how I can move forward with my project Nurtured in Concrete, to combine it with Science. I have been researching the Psychological aspect of Dementia ( I actually have a problem using this word – I find it a very undignified, it was often used to refer to my Nan’s illness. I find its to close to the word demented. My Nan was far from demented she was a warrior! in her own right. She still had her wicked sense of humour and love for her family and remind a beautiful women).

I prefer the word Alzheimer’s to dementia. And I still don’t really know the difference between the words? Maybe because it doesn’t sound like such an unusual word or hold negative connotations.

Swansea University recently held host to the Science festival, Unfortunately I was unable to attend but I visited a research exhibition that was held in The Grand Theatre, Swansea. Where I discovered the research completed by Amy Jenkins – College of Human and Health Sciences, Department of Psychology. Titled – Shadow Misperception  –

……..visuoperceptual difficulties in an individual with dementia could experience. Due to neurodegeneration, their brain can sometimes perceive information in accurately from the eye………….the misperception of depth in relation to shadows. A person with dementia can sometimes have difficulty distinguishing between a shadow being a shadow and a physical object. As a result they may for instance, try and step over their own shadow which increases the likelihood of them falling. Therefore, it is often advised that lighting levels are improved to minimise shadows, for instance, drawing the curtains when the outside light is low can reduce the risk of falls.

Amy Jenkins Swansea Psychology Researcher

This information is fascinating to me from a purely scientific view point, how powerful the brain is. I can completely see this with my Nan, the way she would walk with fear. This research is great for purely practical point of view for carers and sufferers to be reassured that these are symptoms of the disease and not Crazy hallucinations.  This is factual where are art is always subjective. Art and Science would be a perfect marriage because opposites attract.It was great reading about Amy’s research and the photographic image that went along with it. (Unfortunately I can’t find it online sorry that I can’t share it with you)

http://www.swansea.ac.uk/media-centre/latestnews/swanseapsychologyresearcheramyjenkinswinscardiffregionalfinaloffamelab2016.php

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This photograph was captured by my Nan – the image is myself, re-telling my Nan’s truth. She would tell me that she would be woken by a ghost of a girl looking out of her bedroom window.

Her Truth……….

I have decided to continue a project that is very dear to me, and combine the concept with science. I think too often we  have a tendency to isolate our practice. This is a paradox because I can only paint, print when I am on my own. But what I mean about isolation is an idea/project needs to breath, a space to bounce around. So its able to collect momentum.

I am interested in working with science, let me make it clear no I am not going to become a scientist. But to use it to inform my practice and ground my work. To empower, clarify, reflect, develop………my subject being Alzheimer’s and my experience of seeing my late Nan slowly disappear as the disease slowly took hold, it was very painful to watch and be a witness too.

The photograph is of my Nan’s bedroom of which she would say to me that at night she would be woken up by a man peering at her at the end of the bed. My Nan was aware that this wasn’t an actual man but she explained that it was a ghost. Whether this was a ghost or an illusion it was my Nan’s truth. And the heart breaking beginnings of her slow deterioration. As she slowly slipped into depression and began to isolate herself physical.

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Can I take your photograph please?

A portrait is not made in the camera but either side of it – Edward Steichen

I shot this photograph in Baron’s night club in Swansea in 2001, it’s a portrait of my sister. Taking a photograph of a human being can be very intimidating for both the person being photographed and the photographer. They are both performances in there own right. What you communicate is the relationship between both. I shot it on 35mm transparency film and then processed in the colour darkrooms. Ohh how I miss those days of being in the colour darkrooms at Uni. I remember we had a music competition between blaring Madonna at one end and Metallica at the other. While an MA student was downing a bottle of vodka in between. But now  the dominance of digital photography this creative environment has now changed.When I caught up with my old lecturer he said that the community of the darkrooms and students busying about has all but disappeared. With students preferring to stay at home and work from their own computers. Oh to the good old days.

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Whats more important the process or the idea?

Looking through my posts there sames to be a regular theme and that is how art school has impacted my artistic practice 13 years on Ahhhh! Art school was my photosynthesis to my germinating seed which was my discovery of art and being an artist. Another fellow artist said to me ‘being an artist is not something you choose you are born that way’ its true! Its been a curse at times believe me but these struggles shape who we are. I’m sure Adele (love or loathe her) wouldn’t have sold millions of records if her life was all plain sailing.

A very influential art teacher was Osi Osmond, he was my first art teacher who inspired me and understood me. I miss the conversations we had, he would always quiz me about art, one of the first questions he asked me is what is more important the process or idea? its a bit like the chicken and the egg. I didn’t have the answer then and 13 years on I still don’t now. Unfortunately Osi past away last year, he was a legend and I miss him and I deeply miss not being able to talk to him about art. His advice to me when I was contemplating moving into arts for wellbeing was just go and do it!

That’s why Osi was so inspiring because he nurtured artists and art by seeing ambition and passion and boasting it in the only way Osi could by being Osib_khx77uyaedsiv

Fairy Tales – Cindy Sherman

“I am always surprised at all the things people read into my photos, but it also amuse me. That may be because I have nothing specific in mind when I’m working. My intentions are neither feminist nor political. I try to put double or multiple meanings into my photos, which might give rise to a greater variety of interpretations…” – Cindy Sherman

Sherman as been a great influence to me, she taught me that a photograph can be constructed to project a hidden world. These images convey the subliminal messages that are forced onto us girls in the western world, to feel afraid as we are the prey to be hunted.

Sorry But I Can’t Put It Into Words

 

There is also another sense in which seeing comes before words. It is seeing which establishes our place in the surrounding world, we explain that world with words, but words can never undo the fact that we are surrounded by it. The relationship between what we see and what we know is never settled Berger 1972

Art can be unpredictable in its nature often conveying the soul of the artist. It can reflect a projection of thought or feeling that is unique to that individual. On the other hand what it projects on to its audience is a totally different array of thought and emotion because everyone brings their own unique experience, likes and dislikes to that experience of looking at/ experiencing a piece of art.

In art school this a process of the art world which is very hard to explain to a fresh faced artist because its about knowing and understanding this concept which evolves within each individual as they explore and challenge their own artistic practice.

 

As Berger explains ……seeing comes before words….. However in art school I remember struggling with this. It was required of me to explain my portfolio, I remember being in crits and feeling very disconnected to my work which in its very nature was  very close to me, in the sense that it was intuitively produced.

After nearly ten years of making these images they have now  become sharper in my knowing and reasoning of producing them. This body of work was a coming of age conveyed in my knowledge/taste in film at the time. The films I was watching along with my peer group, and remember it was before the ubiquitous nature of the INTERNET!; Larry Clarke’s Kids, Harmony Korine’s Gummo, American Beauty and John Carpenter’s Halloween, The Exorcist and Carrie. These films underpinned this work.

If there is any thing else you would like to know about this work sorry but I can not put it into words. Take from it what you will?

 

 

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