Saturday, 14 August 2010

New keyboard/synth! July 9th 2010

I always wanted to play the piano from a young age but I never persued it, I played the recorder a lot instead. Last year I was going to have lessons but then I just decided to teach myself as I did with the recorder and with drawing and painting. I couldn't really afford to by something really big so I started to look at synths, I love the 80's electronic sound..Depeche Mode..Erasure..The Knife..after browsing a bit I found a vintage synth called 'Korg MicroKorg' I heard the demos and decided to buy it. When it arrived, the weight of it made me think that it was going to be really tacky, but when I had a play with it it was amazing! I couldn't believe the range and variety of sounds it created. You can change the temp, Pitch, MOD, cut off, resonance.. It also has a microphone too..a vocoder..which makes you sound like a computer or a robot..

An old friend and I have been working together a few times with the synth and his loop machine which has been great. You can create songs with the loop machine, record them and then get them onto your computer. I haven't yet figured out how to record on to the Korg/get the music onto the computer.

I have made some videos though..there not great but I'm just getting started with it!

Drawings at Bungalows n Bears, Sheffield. July 22nd 2010

My lovely mate Kerry and her lovely beau John invited me to exhibit some work at Bungalows n Bears in Sheffield.
The drawings I showed were three black ink pen drawings, roughly the same size and the same kind of style, on white paper. I think the drawings each depict something different but are situated in the same world - a delicate and obsessive, restricted world. A sense of longing to move? To break free? To spread their legs and fuck?..A desire to liberate oneself..

It was the second time that I'd shown work in a pub in Sheffield. I think it's a good way to get your work noticed, but it didn't feel to be the right kind of setting for the work..or maybe it was..discreetly hidden away..not that noticeable..subtle?

Creating Identities July 30th - August 3rd 2010

Whilst working voluntarily at Bloc Studios I heard about a course that was starting called 'Creating Identites,' I was told about it by a friend who knew I was unemployed and interested in art. I read about the course and found that the creator was someone who I went to University with, Jonny Drury. I contacted him and arranged a meeting. He explained that the course was for people of an ethnic origin/background and it's aim was to help them develop new skills in art and give them an opportunity for employment in the arts. I was interested and originally started out to give Jonny a hand with paper work and working with the students, but I actually ended up as a student! Jonny asked me about my background, I had always been curious to know where I came from and often wondered about my mother's side of the family, her mum never knew her father and my mum's grandma came from a gypsy family (she had similar features of a black woman - to an extent). My father (not biological but he brought me up from being a baby) comes from an Arabic background, but was born in England. Jonny then asked if I would be interested in being a student on the course and I thought it would be an interesting experience.

There were 16 people on the course, from Iran, Iraq, India, Africa..and then myself..from Barnsley! It was quite strange as I sometimes felt that I didn't really belong there and that the other students deserved to be there more than I did, but we were all hoping to explore the same things.
We attended different workshops using film, sound, objects, paint and stencil/print work, all exploring identity. In a way it was kind of like going back to college - being introduced to different materials and starting from the very beginning, and I did seem to feel a little frustrated, like I was going backwards and not forwards, but it was actually nice not to have to put so much pressure on myself as I did at University, I could chill out with it, which was nice for a while.

The students on the course were warm hearted and eager to meet others and learn, some had no experience in art and some a little. The workshops were fun, chilled out and open. Meditation was also something we experimented with which was a new experience. I found it helped, things seem to be moving so fast, like we're racing through life, skipping moments..rushing and wishing our lives away, we forget to just stop and enjoy life..the simple things - smelling flowers, listeing to the birds and the wind, skipping through the grass..isn't that what life is about? Or what life is? Anyway, the meditation was good, although I did feel like sleeping afterward!!

During the 5 weeks we had to focus on creating work for an exhibition that would be created at the end. If I'm honest I wasn't really thinking about the exhibition in the 5 weeks, I was more interested with what was happening in the classes and workshops..and focusing on identity. I mainly worked on drawings, I went back to using pencil and discovered a new style of drawing (for myself). I think the thoughts of identity must have been playing on the back of my mind because they somehow seemed to seep out into my drawings and express what I probably couldn't in words. I began to draw trees/parts of trees (branches and trunks) that formed the shape of a woman's body/body parts. I chose to show four drawings in the exhibition, all of which were the same kind of style.

When the drawings were displayed in the exhibition I had a think about what it was they were expressing or, evoking. The body - a woman's body, trees, a connection between body and nature? The drawings are unfinished but yet they look finished (or they seem to me that way, ?) Sometimes I don't really know who I am, or like I am  unfinished..diconnected..torn apart..rejected..somehow. Exploring my identity on the course was difficult, having just moved into a new house with strangers having lived with my mum for almost 23 years, I was feeling lost, alone. Not because I didn't have my 'mummy' there, I just felt a sense of heavy loneliness.
The course was a good experience for me, but I feel like I should be putting myself in situations that will push me more - where I can assert myself intensely..if I don't have that I feel like I fail. From working on the film 'Itches' and pushing my mind and body to it's limits, I feel like I have taken a big step back instead of forwards..I've retraced to my shell, yet again repressed and become the subdued being that I was once before.
I do hope to stay in contact with some of the students from the course, there were two lovely sisters from Iran who I would mostly speak to, they always seemed genuinely interested in what I had to say and listened intently..a really warm nature. Their names were Vida and Zahra. Vida loved poetry and drawing, and Zahra loved paintings and was quite new to creating her own work. I was having a conversation one day with Vida, we were talking about dreams, I told her about a dream I had about being alone in the middle of the deep ocean..nothing there but water..all around me. The next week - on the opening night of the exhibition we were talking and she asked me if I could remember about the dream I'd told her about. She said that she couldn't stop thinking about it and she recreated the image in a drawing of what she saw about what I'd said. It was so lovely..and I was touched..

Exhibition at the Clocktower Gallery, Sheffield (Northern General)

'Drawn' took place on July 19th and ran until August 11th 2010. It was a display of artists drawings. I was asked by an artist at Bloc while I was invigilating in the gallery. I had just finished University and  was eager to carry on with my practice so was thrilled to be given the opportunity. The work I had in the exhibition were drawings from my degree show, one large ink drawing and two small pencil sketches. The larger one was intricate and delicately detailed, portraying anguish and anxiety. The smaller two were from private skecthbooks that I had kept whilst at University, I wanted to reveal a part of the hidden, so I chose a series of 5 drawings (for the degree show) and displayed 2 of them in 'Drawn.' They are not as detailed as the larger drawing and were created unconsciously.

The space was amazing!, it was huge and the work seemed to fit in really well. There was a lot of great work there - a huge variety. Some very intricate, some bold and some quick and sketchy.


'Itches' is a film I created with a second year student during the last half of my final year at Sheffield University, (Jan - May 2010) I wanted to find a way of working where I could liberate myself on a larger scale (if that makes any sense?!) My way of working (in drawing ) is a very delicate and confined process, although this is a way of expressing/ridding my fears and anxieties I needed to find another way of working where I could rid these fears, and these desires, as well as aiming to touch on the erotic,
intimacy and nature.

Making the film was a mentally and physically challenging experience, and I couldn't have dont it alone. I felt extremely lucky to have met someone like Tobias who was an open, honest and energetic person to work with. From the beginning we discussed ideas and thoughts together, and made short storyboards to prepare for the filming. When we began filming I was very nervous but highly stimulated, I knew that I had to put myself in fearful situations (doing something that frightened me or made me anxious) in order to overcome fear. For example, getting naked for the first time in front of a stranger and a camera in the woods, out in the open world, amongst nature. I put myself outside of my comfort zone, in doing so I learned that being in fearful, anxious and intense situations makes you realise you are alive. 
The film took just over 3 months to make, including the editing. Editing the film was a fun and rousing process, but I felt that I needed to do it alone. We started editing together but because the film was more about myself we decided that it would be necessary for me to do by myself. It was tricky and very stressful at times, but I did thoroughly enjoy it. I think that I edited the film mostly subconsciously, which was quite important I think, and I was really pleased with what I had created in the end.
The experiences I shared and had were ones that I will never forget, I opened myself up and shared my body with another. I wanted to find myself in some way, to discover an identity. I retracted back to my childhood and confronted traumatic experiences that had been repressed for a long time, I explored my sexuality and I delved into the unknown.
I was quite sensitive to the fact that the film was going to be exhibited in my final degree show, the film is an intimate insight into myself, which you could say is quite self indulgent, but I think it is important to know ourselves, to know who we are, and to explore and free ourselves. I didn't just want to do this for me, I wanted to somehow touch people somewhere that is not seen, that part of ourselves that is not noticeable or explainable, the part of ourselves that we don't even know but that part of ourselves that we can feel (?)
I felt great support and inspiration from my tutor Hester Reeve, who also gave me the harsh push that I needed , her voice and opinion was of true importance.
I don't know if the film was viewed by a lot of people but it was lovely to here what a few of the people that did thought about it and how it made them feel, different for everyone I think. The film is ambiguous and possibly unanswered which leaves it open.
I am very eager to propose the film and have it exhibited again, shown in a more intimate space as the space I had in the degree show wasn't ideal.