I was introduced today as an artist. No matter that it served my introducer’s purpose to provide the title, after all he was unlikely to dumb-down his proposition in his bid to provide a service that had, at its core offering, two practicing artists. I was referred to as an artist.
I was also approached very recently by the “Jam Factory”, a gallery space in Oxford, to hang an exhibition of my work “I look for him, I think I always will”. They seemed interested after seeing the work on my website and viewing my artist statement. Ostensibly then, two endorsements to a journeyman artist about to fledge the nest of study and launch himself onto an unsuspecting public.
I suspect, of the two opportunities, the former offers me the most value. My time at the “Echoes Group” was very rewarding and helped me to start to comprehend issues concerning memory that have resurfaced during my studies, especially the BoW project “I look for him, I think I always will”, and it is echoing again as I continue with the work around my mother’s recollections. When I started working with them nearly four years ago I had thought I’d be working in the realm of documentary. I am not sure at all if working with these other users – Multiple Sclerosis, Parkinson’s, and others with chronic neurological conditions – will provide me with anything other than satisfaction (and now a small fee as a practicing artist), but I am keen to work with them.
The pilot project will last for six weeks and it will be in two blocks of three weeks with ninety minutes per project per week. I will take the second block, although I have ‘volunteered’ to document the first block and assist the first artist – she will reciprocate during my sessions. I will do some cyanotype printing with them and together with the other artist and the project leader, had a session earlier today to brainstorm how we will run the project. The project will be reviewed with the clinical staff and if thought to be a success it will be written up in a proposal for grant funding for a larger project.
Again, I have no idea how this will inform my bourgeoning practice, if at all, but I have an instinctual feel that it will benefit it in ways I can as yet not know.
The offer of an artist show at the Jam Factory is something that isn’t drawing my interest a great deal. It is a space that offers places to “artists’ that for a fee, £200 typically and a commission 30% on sales they will package and promote the exhibition. Up until now I haven’t thought that a “white-wall” exhibition is the best way to take my work public and despite the professional capabilities of the Jam Factory, maybe even because of it, I am not warming to the idea.