Tag Archives: artist

Week 8, Day 050 BOOKSHELF

Hello Flossie,

We didn’t receive any comments today however I have a question  for you. In the small gallery there is an arrangement of  ‘books’ placed on plinths. Is there any significance in the way they are arranged, or is the choice of placement purely as a way of presentation? Cheers Jill

Hi Jill,

The eight artist’s books displayed as BOOKSHELF have many pages – some are transparent, some are collaged, some are hand drawn, etc. They are peculiar books because they are joined in a way that does not allow all the pages to turn of even be opened. These stand in a closed square as a metaphor to people who have some public areas and some private areas of their lives. When we know people it is rare to know everything about them…even if they are family. So, the arrangement of the eight books is both planned and haphazard, as is our ‘familiarity’ with others.

What would a book about your life show? Would it be words or pictures? English or other? Would it open completely or remain closed and private? What of you and your life will remain ‘on the shelf’ for future generations?
What would a book about your life show? Would it be words or pictures? English or other? Would it open completely or remain closed and private? What of you and your life will remain ‘on the shelf’ for future generations?

‘Use it, Baby’

When faced with the seemingly insurmountable odds against becoming ‘an artist of note’, I frequently find myself at the point of despair. This happened again recently with my visit to Paddington where ‘real artists’ are presented daily to a buying public in the best spaces by the best galleries at the best five digit prices. When with immense bravery I inquired about whether I could send in a CV and some images for the Director’s perusal, I was met with a nonplussed stare. The cool receptionist tried her best not to be patronizing but what she said settled that. ‘Our Director only exhibits those who she herself has noticed on the art scene. Perhaps you could try the artist’s run initiatives and work at coming up through the ranks.’ This was actually good advice – for someone just starting out and in their mid-twenties. For me, on the other hand, it was immensely degrading. I am aware that I am not known in any capacity in NSW, but the presumption is that I am, therefore, not a quality artist. Should I believe this? No!

‘Use everything in your life to create art’ is what the playwright, Sidda, in The Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood was told by her colleagues when her mother cruelly upstaged her once again.

Yet, in the still, wee hours of the night……..and I am awake, thinking…I could do without this eternal struggle.

Playtime by Alasdair Macintyre

What fun to see an artist take a jab at the art scene and then be bought by those very same people! Playtime is a satirical dip into the world of art with all its crass trashiness and its discriminating commodification. Here the artist is portrayed as both the sign and the signifier and as such, is easy pickings for each cynical diorama. I like it!

Using toys for art is not new. Consider Destiny Deacon and her dolls of social consciousness. Also, Emily Floyd’s ominous rabbits caught in art intrigue.

It’s all fun and games until someone….gets collected. For big money. I wonder if Macintyre’s art can maintain the edge of sincerity now that he is clearly endorsed and widely consumed? In fact, isn’t he himself now completely objectified instead of flippantly objecting? Still, I wish him well and applaud his droll yet refreshing sense of ‘joie de vivre’. Anyway, what’s not to like?

Briefly wrapping up.

Hunting and Gathering…isn’t this a woman’s job?? But David, work/study artist helped me with the trolley, the lift and up the winding staircases. The studio is full of hand picked stuff….I especially like the dozens of discarded brass lamps, rescued from the snow bank.

I want to tell about David…He will be tying his art – his canoe – to his car roof as he does not have another place to store it; plus it is a conversation starter he found. I admire his candor and sense of fun!

Met ReBecca Paterson from the Maritimes, too.

Self-Directed Artist’s Winter Residency 2009

This has been a very, very long day as I travelled directly from Wollongong, New South Wales, Australia to Banff, Canada. I went by train for two hours, then by plane for 12 hours to LAX. I called my sister there but ran out of coinage. I left LA for Seattle in a two and one half hour flight. The airport was overflowing with people as the snow storms in Canada delayed the north bound travel. As it was, my plane left the airport appropriately sprayed with de-icer, an hour late to fly to Calgary – one and one half hours. Arriving late into Calgary – where there was a Tim Horton’s donut shop! Hooray! – I had missed my connecting bus to Banff. It was no problem as I went with the next one – two hours on the road. I arrived, obstensively, not long after I left Australia; at least is was the same day.

So, a really great trip and so, completely without intrigue. As such, it seems entirely without note that in this particular time space, I changed hours, days, dates, hemispheres, seasons, geography, countries – twice, locality, traffic flow and more- with my baggage in tow – all at a comfortable pace with nothing especially noteworthy to report. How blasé is that? It is indeed a small world. I even retraced my steps in one moment with a phone call to my husband back home. What an amazing time to live…

Now I am here at The Banff Centre, Alberta, Canada (http://www.banffcentre.ca/about/), for three (3) weeks to do….to do….something profound – or not, in my art practice.

Upon arrival in Canada I had a strange feeling of being home, though not quite. It is after all, western Canada. It was not really seeing the Canadian flag again or the soft spoken accents -what accents?- but, it was the winter’s squeaky snow, the muddy snow blocks hanging to the underside of the cars, the written text used on the road signs, the French language, the flooding raging melting river, the crisp air that made it hurt to breathe, the clean and cozy bathrooms, the civilized heated rooms, the weather sealed entries, the silly hats everyone wears, the snow blowers, everything, every little thing I remember and wanted to share with Tom, as he remembers too. Everything familiar to me and my senses, known in an instant yet totally unknown to my children. How strange. I have lived away from Canada for thirty-eight years. And yet, it was as if only yesterday. I am totally stretched between hemispheres and the decades. It will always be.

Remind me…if ART is the answer, what is the question?

You might think I am being amusing here but the answer to this witticism is of very real concern for me. Once upon a time I thought that if I was a really good artist and worked diligently day and night, I would be rewarded with fame or fortune or quite possibly, both. But I was wrong! So wrong.

Neither ‘talent’ nor ‘hard work’ in themselves produce the necessary kudos or shall I say, validation needed for becoming an artist. At least, one who considers oneself ‘viable’. I now think the main quality needed is simply the ability to NOT know when to say ‘Enough of this foolhardy life’ and then quit.

I have worked my alleged 10,000 hours required to become a genius in my area

I have spared no faithfulness to the practice of art – apart from not sleeping with the right people. I have kept up with contemporary art practices – traveling to Documenta 12 in Kassel, Germany, The International Melbourne Arts Festival, Sydney’s Primavera 2008, Canberra’s exhibition by Bill Viola and others. I have up-graded my academics – MFA from Monash University in 2002 and a creative PhD from Victoria University in 2007; articles to peer assessed journals, international speaking engagements and more. I work in the latest media – digital production and installation with maximum material application, having once been solely a watercolourist. Still, have I made it as an artist?

Having completed my PhD with flying colours, I decided to take my ten years of art production ‘out for a spin’ in 2006. I was so successful at applying for the best in prizes and awards and grants that I received a rejection letter at least once or twice a week, sometimes on the same day, until Christmas. Within a few months, I was completely disheartened – the equivalent of an artistic grease spot. Where was the reward for believing in all I did for art? It was only vapor.

I wanted to give up. I wished for any excuse to stop arting. I asked the heavens, ‘Why am I doing this?

And another day goes by…