I am fresh from a session with The Tutor, that mythical creature who inhabits a mysterious world of dark magic and obscure reasoning. Assessment time. I wasn’t too happy at first with the feedback I had but all that has passed now, the pulsing vein on the temple throbs no more. Apparently the percentage mark for the first two units doesn’t even count toward the final crunch of numbers. If I had known that, could have done less work! Don’t fool yourself; you would have done it all the same. It feels like a time for reflection of some kind, must be the end of year shite.
I am so tired of all the people who go on about how commercial fuckingChristmas has become. It used to be a handful of enlightened souls/miserable whingers (delete as applicable) who would chunter on under their breath about the waste of paper and the empty nature of this celebration and how Jeebers wasn’t even born on December 25th and so on. Now it seems to be the stuff of the masses to prattle on about it and yet, still take part. You could admire the stoic with his doubts about the festive period as he (very few women pass up the chance to spend money/spend quality family time) often backed up the muttering with action or rather inaction; no card sending, no expensive gifts and no turkey. These Primarkians (the collective noun for the masses as this particular shop seems to span the class/income divide) just moan.
“Our Josh is wanting a new Xbox and a PS3 this Christmas and he needs a new bike, not that he ever rides it that much; well, you can’t let ‘em go on their own to school these days with all them paediatrics on the loose, you just don’t know where they live and I said to him, we never had all this stuff at Christmas-well we didn’t, we were lucky if we had more than half a dozen things to open and most of that were clothes, you know stuff you needed-fancy games things and aftershave and whatever. I’ve managed to get the Xbox on the divvy and our Jack is working double-treble overtime on top of his usual shifts so we can get the PS3 and all the stocking fillers….”
There is something in the air that is leaving me in a foul mood. I am all right if I ‘give in’ and watch endless TV, nibbling at the kind of snacks that only seem to appear at this “festive” time of year. Which cunt invented liqueurs? I love chocolate; I love alcohol and especially a good single malt. Together, I hate them both. It should work but it doesn’t. The only way to get through a box is to bite the end off each one, drink the contents and then eat all of the empty chocolate vessels as one lump. It still isn’t satisfying.
I had a quick scan of this blog and much of it seems preoccupied with moaning that ‘art’ is shit and that the art I do isn’t ‘doing it’ for me. I think that is a fair summary of all that waffle. And right now, at the end of the month, awaiting the New Year with an anticipation that you wouldn’t believe, the same problem is even samier and deeper than ever. I might have to resort to some kind of allegory to explain myself fully. Some kind of sex based thing will do, although it might metamorphose into a food based thing with a touch of the animals thrown in for good measure.
While I am here, please look at these people because I think they make some sense http://www.emmabiggsandmatthewcollings.net/ideas.htm I might change my opinion of them eventually, I can do that. I can turn on the edge of a spinning coin in the fraction of a second it takes to switch on a light, I really can. And I will if I like. I used to think it was a flaw, some lack of substance but in reality I don’t think anything is fixed, or should be. Yes, murder is wrong but there are times when it seems right. Or less wrong. What killing has to do with art I will explain later on in the text, please keep awake and take notes as questions will be asked of you later.
Right, what I have is a fairly ‘successful’ hobby as one half of ‘Milk, Two Sugars’. It isn’t a career as I don’t get paid for it. It is a hobby as I do it when I can but not as much as I’d like. See, it is a partnership and can only be as productive as the two in it want it to be or the one keeping it afloat can be arsed. It has been bobbing along in 2008 mostly at my insistence; I was reluctant to see it sink. This isn’t necessarily the truth, just my version of events. It might have been wise just to let it meander really. I see inactivity as bad. I think we need to maintain a certain momentum. It is debatable what good comes from chasing your tail all year labouring under the pretence of being a ‘working artist’ but that is what I did. So far, we have had a nautical theme running. Now, the sex bit.
I’d like to think that on a good day, MTS is the art equivalent of ‘making love’ or at least ‘shagging’, yet I often think it is more of a quick one night stand thing. In reality it is masturbation. So yeah, good wank. All the wanking in the world, as fun as it might be during, amounts to very little. There is no love, no empathy, no other human being there to reassure you and not even a solid result like a disease or a child.
I don’t really believe that rejecting all that I do now and suddenly adopting a new way of working, finally making the ‘work’ that I think I should be making, will make a difference to anything. The crucial point is that I don’t have the confidence to really do anything. I don’t think I am any good. I know I can draw a nice picture if called upon to do so. I know I can write endless pointless sentences. I can parody things in a fairly clever way. I’m not useless. I have a few minor art skills; I am organised, and fortunate that I don’t have a very taxing work life. I lack some kind of drive or ambition to really make an effort. I think it is because I don’t want a tangible end result like money or fame so there is nothing to reach for other than personal satisfaction, which frankly I can get in easier ways than being ‘creative’. There, said it. I’m not lazy but I don’t have a thirst for this thing, not anymore. Not today at least and not for a while.
I want to retreat from any scrutiny of any kind. I am sick of working to order, for art courses and the private wanking sessions and the exhibitions that follow. I need some space to just piss about and not care what it is or what context and so on. Things are back to front; instead of wanting to make a book and then seeking the content, I should be making images and then wondering what to do with them and if the conclusion is ‘do nothing with them’, great. Leave them in a folder. I used to enjoy drawing and painting, cutting and sticking. I liked not knowing what was ‘out there’. When you see ‘success’ all around (define that in your own way) and then make the inevitable and biased comparison to your own work and with the way my head is wired, the obvious and usual conclusion is that ‘I am shit’. And then the equally irrational dissection of this and that; it all leads to inactivity and misery and I have had enough of that.
I am tired of being stuck in this loop. I don’t hate art, I love it. It shouldn’t matter to me that there is a lot of crap art and poor artists out there, some of whom make a lot of money or have a lot of fame, as I don’t strive for those things, I have to believe that I hope to make work that is worthwhile, if only to me. Well now, no. If I could, I would make a lot of money from writing. If I was a different person, I would perform. I lack the confidence to perform outside of a safe closed environment which is all right. I can’t change that. I do like some attention; I don’t think that is a horrible confession to make. I don’t know where it comes from, perhaps from a lack of it in childhood. Yeah, maybe. And the writing thing is about creating a controllable world, one that is worth the hours you have to put in. But to make any progress there I would need more than a random selection of words or riffing on a theme, or string of loose connections; I’d need structure of some kind and I just don’t like that. I used to be able to do it. I would do drafts and plan work, essays whatever but now that bores me. If I can’t toss it off, I’m not connected.
Kerouac and his roll of paper on a typewriter thing. Nah, he still had notes and reworked it. I could manage the notes, the reworking would kill me. So work with what you have.
I was thinking of starting a new blog for the New Year, nothing to do with art. I thought I could make it semi-autobiographical and anonymous. It would be therapy more than anything and at least I realised that much which is why in the end I thought I may as well do it but not on-line. I am looking for patterns. Grams of salt taken daily, number of units of alcohol and so on. Log it, make graphs, and seek patterns. Days in the studio; productive ones highlighted in pink, wasted days in lime. Low days and days when I could care less about any of this shit. Can you make yourself work, does that work? Every day I will write four hundred words and do two drawings. Is that a better method than doing what you have to when you need to? Keep it regular and methodical as opposed to intuitive. I don’t have any answers. I would guess that some middle ground would be best, plan for so much, don’t fret if it doesn’t happen, which is more or less how I work now. So again, I come back to not whether I should be making art or not but what art.
Studio Plan 2009
Today I will be Picasso, tomorrow Tapies. Today I will work on one painting; tomorrow I will make 100 drawings. The process is the important thing, not the end result. Every now and then, I will still spurt a new issue of MTS, send some cups off to a gallery and so on. Draw fruit, finger paint the walls, make a box and fill it with broken glass and stuffed birds, compose a landscape in oils, shit into a tin. Do all of it.
MA Plan 2009
Finish it. Pass.
When you consider that MA study is self-directed, it increasingly seems self-deceptive. I’m not trying to piss on the course at all or the work I have done, the effort I have put in. I can’t remember where PEEP! came from or why or what purpose it has anymore, or ever had. The only answer is to destroy what there is; take a selection of ‘art’ from people and abuse it visually and hope that in doing so, something vaguely wonderful happens.