Wednesday, December 31, 2008


I did it. I moved out. It all went well with help from a man with a van. The most essential piece of equipment turned out to be my leather gloves. Invaluable.

Everything I own is in storage. I have with me a suitcase of clothes and three plastic crates of art materials, books, journals. Hopefully I won't need anything else because I'm buggered if I do ... I didn't label any of the boxes or bags. You can tut if you like.

I should feel a sense of achievement - of accomplishment. But completing tasks doesn't give me any joy. I find joy in the initial idea - the concept - the plan. Once that bit's over the rest is just a chore. In all the psychometric tests I've done, I've always come out as an initiator - never a finisher/completer.

This came home to me afresh as I cleared out my plan chest ready for the move. I found dozens of folders with ideas in, paintings I'd started, projects I'd researched.

For me, it's always "What's next?", as I stand knee-deep in the debris of unfinished things.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Life Redesign

I referred some time ago to a quote about going where you think your clearest thoughts.

I’ve discovered in the last few weeks that this is in my car.

Which is handy.

Especially as I will be spending a lot of time in it in the coming months.

At the end of the month I will be moving from my current location - a flat in Cardiff that has served me well for the last 3 years.

I don’t have another place to move to that I will be able to call home.

But that’s the idea – to unsettle myself.

I am redesigning my life.

And I’m giving myself 100 days to do it.

It will involve new work, new relationships, new finances and a new freedom and mobility.

In the process so far, I’ve uncovered a problem … a kind of over-arching problem, really … I don’t know how to do things.

In the past I’ve been with people who do know how to do things. They’ve taken my ideas and made them happen. This is the first time I’ve had to do it on my own.

But I’m getting help.

One person told me to make a list. Another told me to get boxes and to pack things into those boxes. Yesterday someone gave me the number of a man with a van.

You have no idea how stressful this all is to me.

Other people hold down full-time jobs and still manage to do these things – often on their own.

What’s wrong with me?

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

I was in a gallery yesterday, watching a new exhibition being hung. While I was there a guy came in to collect some of his pictures and to drop off some new ones. They were large drawings which seemed, to me, to have some archetypal imagery in them (people with antlers on their heads, for instance).

The manager of the gallery asked him “if people ask me what these are about, what should I tell them?”

There followed a lot of umming and ahhing and muttered comments like “I don’t know really …” “I guess they’re kind of …” “They’re sort of …”.

I thought “oh my god”.

I wanted to sit down with the guy and give him some coaching. Help him to organise his thoughts; to explain his story; ask him lots of questions so that he would clarify what his pictures were about; help him to refine his answers. He had a golden, one-off opportunity – and he blew it.

And I do the same sometimes.

I was asked about my art at the weekend and I found myself stumbling over my words. Part of it was shyness, part of it was not wanting to be poncey and talk ‘art bollocks’, but part of it was also that I haven’t properly worked out the story I’m telling, and a lack of confidence in telling it.

I want to be less reluctant to be enthusiastic about my art. I want to be able to start a conversation about it; for people to be able relate to the story.

I want to be someone who says “Well …” and then launches into an engaging story full of humour, insight and enthusiasm.

I want my art – and me - to be public, not private.

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