I feel that I should start with ‘dear blog’. Prepared the boards this morning for a burst of feverish painting tomorrow, whilst watching Bill Hicks. Chewing over what to put in PEEP! over the festive season. We could leave the MTS show in place until the first artist, Kathryn Cooper, appears in January. She is doing a residency at the Daniel Shand gallery in London at the moment. There is no pressure to change the show, there have been no public declarations of intent. I wanted to make some new work, with a vague festive overtone to put in the gallery. Modern icons of this time of year; celebrities taking on the lead parts in the nativity. Mostly a chance to paint and play. Soap stars do panto, why shouldn’t they replace the Biblical cast. Katie Price/Jordan/Mrs. Andre in full virgin dress with a golden halo, the blue of her garments making a striking contrast with the orange of her skin.
I have until December 10th to either make new work that I am happy with or abandon the idea of changing the show. I wouldn’t use my name in any case. I want a series of roughly painted boards, almost naive, with text. I will hang them in little groupings with other smaller scribbled pieces. Possibly paint on a roll of wrapping paper and let it unfurl down the length of gallery one. I like the idea of there being a gallery one and a gallery two in such a small venue. Gallery one was the original space, gallery two was added later after a chat with the owner. I like the idea of two artists showing, one in each gallery. I like the work that is being offered to PEEP! to be shown, though I still don’t feel that anyone is really going to challenge the space in any radical way. We can play something that I assumed would be attractive to artists. PLAY! was even considered as a name, especially with the added relevance to the location. I like PEEP! though; a bit seedy.
On a number of occasions people have suggested, with the best of reasons, that MTS approaches the arts council for funding for the vast number of projects we have either done or have planned. We have always resisted because we don’t like jumping through hoops and if you have any conviction about your work, you should make it happen. Be creative in finding the solution to lack of money, opportunity or location. The begging bowl alternative is too easy and when refused any help, it is often a poor excuse for an artist not to make any work. Art is a calling; you sacrifice everything to it, no matter what. Anything less is just pissing about and play acting. Artifice.
Deciding that it might be worth asking rather than ignoring them, I tried to contact them today regarding the PEEP! Quarterly. What actually passed through my mind was; if they send us a cheque for five grand, we fund four issues of PQ and divert the rest of the cash into other projects. Two birds, one stone; fuck ‘em. Four issues in and we’d know if PQ was ever going to be viable financially. I sound like such an art whore in that last sentence. They make it difficult. You have to read reams of rubbish to see if you think you are eligible before you can speak to someone local who then suggests you fill out the three acres of paper before they tell you whether they think it is worth pursuing. Added to that was the offensive and patronising woman on the end of the phone who refused to ‘get’ what I was describing about PQ; I tried art talk, normal talk and guttural banter. Nothing, not a twitch.
I will attend their seminar on funding, more for the chance to observe stupidity in action than any hope that they will help. It really wound me up, someone shitting wholeheartedly on a project. Not based on any fair judgment or constructive criticism, just the lack of understanding or insight or breadth of vision. And you have to allow them six weeks to reply, in which time you cannot get the project going, or they will refuse to fund it even if they intended to. We have probably already broken that condition because we have listed PQ in some arts listings as an open submission; I am receiving material every day. Poverty continues to be my future.
I still don’t know what my project proposal is all about and at the moment, I don’t really care. It might be PQ, it might not be. I might write a musical.