STARTING THE 365 DAY CHALLENGE – THE FIRST WEEK
The 365 day Challenge. I have always thought that setting out on any creative endeavour was like looking for a door. You are stumbling about looking for clues as to how to open the door, gathering resources, experimenting with ways of working and playing until something clicks and the door opens. This is what I am trying to do with this challenge. I have been working with photomontage now for a number of years and I have found a way in. I’ve developed a visual language, a way of working – well that works, but I have reached a point where I feel a disconnect between myself and my work. I don’t know if this is because I need to find a new approach to my work, a new subject matter or is it because I don’t have much time to connect to it right now?
I am hoping that My Creating Art in the Cracks challenge will open a door for me, a fresh approach and connection with my work.
I recently read a book which said the thing that all successful creatives had in common was that they turned up for work, no matter if they were feeling like it or not. It was a job. This made me think that even if I felt like I didn’t have time at the moment to make work, I should work with the time I did have, and do it consistently.
In my experience, inspiration isn’t something that you just wake up to in the morning. More often than not, it is something that comes after I have started working and it intensifies the more I engage with what I am doing. I have realised that doing something/ anything can start this process, because once you have created something, you have something to work with or react to or improve or change. This is why I am trying to be open to whatever comes to mind in this challenge.
I wasn’t quite expecting to begin like this however.
Day #1 Creating Art in the Cracks: My head said I need to get started on submissions for the RSMA Exhibition but my heart got the paints out. Every time I work I think about how I could translate what I learn into painting, but I tell you everything went out of the window when I started painting. I lost any ability to work with colour and texture, where I usually feel confident. I didn’t know what I was doing at all. I started off very self consciously and then it ended up a bit like landscape, but I am not going to judge. I am in awe of painters, who make this look so easy. I think this was my way of slowing things down, of feeling I had the luxury to play.
Day #2 Creating Art in the CracksReflecting on yesterday’s painting I realise that recently I have been very drawn to landscape painting, and Painting in general. I love work which starts from a point of looseness and freedom and then gradually tightens as the artist realised what they want the work to be. I enjoy abstract work, because i love colour and texture. My recent work is quite tight and place based and I want to try and get more fluidity into it. I decided to start just working with the simple image of sea and sky and layering photographs up to explore this.
On Day#3 I came home from work feeling really uptight, and about to explode. The challenge sort of helped, because the lack of time to engage with my artwork meant that I couldn’t dwell on the negative feelings I had brought home with me from work. I just sat down at the computer and tried to let my frustration come out through the work. I was feeling quite angry and wanted to see how I could translate this into imagery, by working with images of rough seas. I liked the idea of things clashing together. This theme continued into Day#4 when I woke up unusually early at 5am. I used the opportunity to go and cut out an image I have taken of a rough sea against the railings. I came back to this in the evening after cooking dinner and tried to place it in the context of sea and sky. I enjoyed being able to heighten the drama by using dark textural photographs in the layers.
By Day#5 I couldn’t cope with any more stress and just wanted to find some sense of serenity. I really realised this week how ruled I am by my emotions. I must be a nightmare to live with!
On day#6 I felt a bit lost like I had reverted to what I knew in the way I worked. I started panicking a bit about how I could keep this challenge up. The lack of time I had now seemed to relate to the time to reflect on the work I had accomplished, and work out where to go with it.
I drove to Margate on Day#7, the next day to deliver some cards to the Lombard Street Gallery and worked out that I was going to use the opportunity to take some abstract photographs along the coast. It is the Saturday of the Royal Wedding and therefore really quiet everywhere.
Just as on Day #1 when my head told me to do one thing and my heart said another, I wasn’t really getting excited by the abstract photograph idea and what really grabbed my attention was the numerous seagulls along the shore. I didn’t quite have the courage to run into them shouting, camera poised to capture the ensuing chaos, more through fear of what everyone would think. I did realise that what I was interested in was the movement that would happen when they took off. Luckily a helpful soul starting throwing food at them, which got them going and I tried to capture this.
After just one week of working in the cracks, I am heartened by what I have done. I have touched on some things that excite me. I have shown up and done the work. I feel the insecurity of not knowing where it is going, but must tell myself that I always feel this, as many creatives do when they start something new. I feel the pressure of figuring out what to do tomorrow, and not knowing how much time I will have. However if this week has told me anything, it is that I will do the complete opposite of what I plan, so why bother? I have to trust the process and be open to what next week brings.
I came across the quote ‘You can’t make Art in the Cracks’ in an interview with Jessica Bell in a book entitled ‘Creative Block’ by Danielle Krysa. Jessica Bell was quoting an Artist friend of hers, but the phrase stayed with me, because it was exactly how I felt about making my own work. This is partly what inspired this challenge. To read more about what inspired my to set myself this challenge, please read my blog post CREATING ART IN THE CRACKS
To see more of Claire Gill’s finished prints work please click here SEASCAPE LIMITED EDITION PRINTS