Happy Independence Day to my American friends. According to my oh-so technical research North America makes up for 18% of visitors to my website, and that number is increasing. So thank you to all of you.
Right, arse kissing out of the way, my attention turns to the pressing matter of ‘what the hell have I been doing these last 6 months’. Well, lots of stuff, that’s what. But what ever became of the 14 projections I initiated at the start of the year, detailing what I wanted to achieve over the coming 12 months?
Well, as this Independence Day falls neatly between two artistic endeavours – with a co-curated exhibition about video game landscapes completed a week ago and a collaboration investigating Leviathan due next week – I believe now is an opportune moment to take a step back and reflect upon how the year is going. I present to you the fourteen aims I wrote at the beginning of the year, along with an account of how I’m doing with each of them. Let’s begin:
1. Produce a quality body of work. The first third of the year saw me extend my body of work and produce quality pieces. Though the piece I completed for the Jamestown exhibition took my paint making to a logical conclusion. A period of evaluation, reflection and re-assessment as since occurred, but an upcoming exhibition in Liverpool provides me with a suitable creative catalyst.
2. Sell my paints. I’ve sold one! That’s seven quid in the back pocket. My aforementioned period of reflection highlights a desire to place paint-making on the back burner for now.
3. Go to more exhibitions. Well, it’s the summer, and the Liverpool Biennial has just started, so I predict a fair few exhibitions will be attended over the coming months.
4. Go to more restaurants. Best get started on this one.
5. Carry out my upcoming exhibitions with success. Well I’ve certainly learned a lot with this one. Solo exhibitions are difficult to manage and promote, as you find yourself working in isolation. My group exhibition in Jamestown was received well, yet my personal contribution saw my practice become a little too predictable for comfort. Yet I needed to exhibit what I exhibited to arrive at that conclusion. Overall I’m happy.
6. Look for opportunities. Something I’ve discovered at the beginning of the year is the ability to make my own opportunities, rather than seek them out. This culminated coherently with ‘Far Lands’ – An exhibition only possible due to my initial contact with an artist whom I was intrigued by.
7. Become better at networking. This is something currently in bloom. I find it much easier to converse away from online networking than I did a year previous. There has been no substitute for hands-on experience.
8. Do more workshops. Best get started on this one too.
9. Make a book. Well, I’ve done a zine based on mouldy cheese. That’s a start I suppose.
10. Link my practice to a strand of the local community. I’m in talks with a few schools at the moment. We’ll see what comes of that.
11. Improve my website. Well, I have two now, in an attempt to distinguish food-based endeavours from video game endeavours. I will see how I get on with this, though it may be that I’ll just have one and attempt to make both disciplines gel.
12. Hire a venue for a call for submission. Done! With a very special thank you to Access Space for being able to hold my open-call regarding video games in October.
13. Find relevant part-time work. Still looking.
14. Make money. Last year I made £90 in total. This year so far I’ve made £32. Well, nobody said it would be easy.
As a conclusion of sorts, I’d say that I’m currently in a transitional state. Wanting to remove myself to an extent from food – as a concept – and place myself in a position whereby I can produce a body of work informed by video games that is, in turn, informed by the knowledge gained from my paint-making endeavours.
The principles of paint making will still exist within my practice – that of deconstruction, challenging what can be regarded as art, and extracting something and placing it in a different context in order for it to transcend any limitations. Indeed, my work may still manifest itself as paint, or medium, or tools, as I seek further investigation into how art can be de-constructed and presented. But for now a large part of my above list is redundant, as it has not accounted for any video game developments.
Such a transitional state leaves me unsure of exactly how my practice will emerge. But a multitude of upcoming exhibition opportunities and an exciting new studio move puts me in a great position to investigate, develop and play. It’s already safe to declare 2014 a success.