The Fall is a biographical piece comprising of a collection of objects, both made and found, presented together to show a figurative shape kneeled on the floor in despair; still carrying the weight of the world and struggling, dragging his feet along the floor as he goes. The objects curated together all suggest a worker of some sort; Wellington boots, a sandbag and the transportation device used to carry them. The wheelbarrow with no wheel has no purpose anymore, it can not function, it has been discarded and is old and broken, pparalleling the figure shown here.
Imagining my chosen piece ‘The Fall’ by Clare Telling (made up), in a gallery space was easy, non art objects as art isn’t an uncommon occurrence in the contemporary art world. In fact it happens a lot. Using non art objects in this way can bring about discussions of many issues from the economy to throw-away culture and even to humour life or it’s viewers. We only need to think about Claes Oldenberg’s sculptures and Martin Creed’s Blu tack to see other examples of non art objects working or appearing as art.
This piece intrigued me as it was a used and discarded wheelbarrow with no wheel, and with various injuries and marks, the paint all peeling and a beautiful array of layers and colours and patterns showing on the surface. The ‘Barrow’ has definitely been used and abused in the past and has now been given a new life.
Firstly I wanted to show the piece in it’s simplest form, balanced on a plinth in a gallery space so the viewer can move all around it. Here I am not delving into the context of the piece, I am just presenting it as it is, how the artist intended.
Then, feeling the artist’s intentions on the barrow being seen as figurative I propped it against the wall so the figure was more noticeable. I could also imagine it being seen in a gallery setting like this.
Using my initiative I played on the back story of the piece and where it originally came from and the fact that the barrow, in its figurative form can be seen as a metaphor for the worker that used it, firstly, by making it ‘wear’ some wellies and then by placing a sand bag in its ‘arms’. Now it not only looks figurative but it has additions to the piece to make it more exciting. To me though this is a little too literal in its positioning.
So next I put the wheel barrow in its normal position still ‘wearing’ the wellies but this time with the sandbag holding the ‘head’ down, so its legs were in the air.
Next I propped the piece up by the handles, still kept the wellies on and placed the sandbag in the barrow and positioned it in a way that portrays the worker on his hands and knees in despair being dragged down by the weights he carries with him which could be a metaphor for the working class as a whole and how downtrodden they are by society and the way they feel. This is the curation I feel has the most potential and addresses issues in an impactful way.
So then still playing with the idea of the downtrodden working class I kept the wellies on the barrow but this time turned it over so it looks as if the working class are laying on their backs looking like they’ve given up.
Next I experimented with the idea of the barrow normally being used to carry things. As the barrow has been thrown away and discarded like the working class feel, I thought I’d show how we have replaced the barrow with shopping trolleys and used a trolley to ‘carry’ the broken and discarded barrow/working class.
Here I am showing the fight between an old model and a new model, something being replaced and the working class feeling like they are constantly putting up a fight and scared that their skill or job can be replaced at any time by a newer skill or robot.
Overall, I quite enjoyed curating a piece in different ways although I know I definitely didn’t exhaust the amount of possibilities. My chosen final curation is this image below, I love how the idea behind the metaphor is quite obvious but not too literal.
Kim Thompson has a striking and memorable afro, the kind i’ve always been jealous of and wished i owned! She also had a memorable personality, she appeared vibrant, creative and determined. Whilst her main practice is illustration, she also covers a wide range of areas such as storyboarding, painting, mixed media, graphics and branding and advertising. Thompson told us how she has recently realised she has quite the talent for painting and so she paints dog portraits for commissions alongside her main practice as her bread and butter work; the stuff that keeps her going when she doesn’t have any illustration work coming her way. I guess this is important to know; You won’t just automatically break into the art world, You may have to do some not-so-enjoyable pieces that you’re good at and can do easily to keep a bit of money coming in.
Kim told us she uses blogs, newsletters, emails and business cards to promote herself. She regularly keeps her previous customers up to date by sending them a quick email or newsletter letting them know what she’s been up to recently. She always gives old, new and potential customers a business card with her illustrated, afro-ed self (pictured above) on the front so they can easily remember her, which she adds is about clever branding of yourself and the fact that customers are buying into you aswell as your art.
It is becoming evident to me just how much the visiting artists are always seeking out opportunity, always trawling through artsjobs.org.uk and constantly using the internet and other resources as a way of promoting themselves and finding new connections and opportunities. Also, another must is keeping up to date on your chosen industry and artists work. Keeping informed and up to date with newsletters, subscriptions, artist websites, gallery websites, magazines etc is vital and can only be of benefit to you in keeping you in the know of what’s going on and how your work will fit into today’s market. The creative industry isn’t an easy one to break into but it IS possible, As Kim said in her lecture; It’s never too late, be confident and wait it out and as long as you’re doing and you believe in yourself, other wills eventually believe in you too and it will pay off. The underlying message for the lecture though was to make your audience and customers believe in you and believe that they need you and your service(practice), this can be done with clever branding, advertising and perfecting your people skills and smile aswell as your art. They are all equally important.
So after arriving 20 minutes late to the first visiting artist’s talk, I very quickly began to kick myself for it. Within probably 30 seconds of walking in, I was already lost in her discourse. The way she engaged her audience was apparent straight away; everyone was silent and mesmerised. The way she spoke openly about her work, and in an inspiring manor but mostly the way she spoke honestly yet intriguingly about the processes and trials and tribulations of being a practicing artist. As much as she didn’t sugarcoat anything and say it was all a straight forward path of roses, emphasising how many hours a day she trawls through pages and pages on artsjobs.com etc, she just made me have the confidence to believe that I too, could achieve and succeed. She was inspirational.
It quickly became apparent that Woolston’s underlying backbone and motto was ‘Location/material/Relationship(commission)’. Whenever faced with a situation where she had an abundance of material or a too-good-to-be-true location she would consult this triad to see if it would work, or if she could make it work. Nuggets of information like this are those things that always stick in your mind, and hopefully, rightly so, as it seems to be doing her justice!
Robyn Woolston has a broad scope of projects under her belt, ranging from photography and moving image to print and installations but also covering and digging deep into environmental issues and impacts, waste and causes and effects. ‘Previous installations have included 7500 ice-cream containers, 45,000 carrier bags, a selection of trees from Ash to Silver Birch as well as a reproduction Las Vegas sign. From site-responsive interventions to socially engaged practice she activates spaces by confronting dogmas, re-appropriating ‘waste’ and initiating conversation.’ She is a woman who knows that she can’t single handedly change the world or force anyone to think differently, and she isn’t even saying she’s the epitome of an eco warrior, but she’s very aware that she can talk about issues, and put them in a context that can be seen, understood and hopefully make an impact on a few people and she damn well will when she gets a chance. Talking about it and acting on it is better than doing nothing at all.
One last thing that stuck with me from Woolston’s inspirational lecture, or ‘pep talk’ in this case.. And as much for you, as me, i’ll leave it on that note.. (I didn’t quite manage to get the full quote written down, which I do believe was her own.. but the latter part went something like this..)
‘Try not to allow the exhibition of your work be confined to the walls in your mind – Your work needs an audience; it’s in THEIR minds that the work becomes activated.’
Right then, I better get started on this thing! I am a 2nd year Fine Art student and blogs are an integrated part of the course, I am yet to find out whether this will have a negative or positive impact on my work; I’m hoping for the latter, of course! Personally I see this as a perfect opportunity to network, get myself out of the four walls of my little 1 bed apartment and see myself on a platform with other artists and hopefully, hopefully(!) get some work, which is what all artists are struggling and wishing for, right!? Along with a few compulsory aspects of the course, I will be writing mini reviews on the visiting lecturers and artists we have at our art school as well as documenting my own portfolio, projects, and processes too.
Anyway, I’m Lucy and I like to think I can be seen as a contemporary fine artist. So, along with the first post on this blog, comes the first day of the rest of my life. I’ve come to a point where I must start seeing myself as a professional and having the confidence to call myself an artist. Repeat after me: I am an artist! And I am a professional. So here it is, the first post and hopefully the first stepping stone laid down on a long and winding path. Let’s get this thing on the road. Path? Ah, you know what I mean..