This is Where It Hurts

how i feel

Last night we had a gathering of my Testing Boundaries group online. It followed a long day at work and I was already feeling rough when we met. I don’t think I contributed much, and did much temple rubbing and nodding. It was useful to have the group commenting on my plans and their advice and thoughtful suggestions have been duly noted. I was surprised that we were all constructing some street-related project which involved getting outside and brandishing our work with some kind of emotional abandon (except for the-group-member-who-shall-remain-anonymous who is having to do slightly more delicate placement of work, avoiding security cameras etc). We’re all rushing to experience some sense of public display, opening up the door to, well, who knows what?! That is the test, I’m sure. That none of us know what the reception will be like – will people think we are just mad exhibitionists, or will the release of creativity into environments which perhaps seldom see it, prove dynamic and thought provoking. By the end of the meeting I felt awful. Apologising to the group I had to leave and hold my head in my hands for some time. Parental responsibility out the window, cereal for supper for my son whilst I retreated to make small animal noises beside my bed – yes, not even well enough to get INTO bed. Still, the recent meeting and the pain behind my eyes seemed to blend together in a toxic mix of emotions: all is bad, pain is bad, writing is bad, energy is gone, representing oneself is ridiculous. I visualised a few pieces which needed to be made, including the image above, layering some art from previous months and thinking specifically about personal distress. It was all part of the journey; of feeling physically unwell. I am aware that the image above is open to a broad range of interpretation, and the image below is rather more confusing:

how i feel 5

But this piece inspired me to draw. I liked the lines and the marks in the piece above and felt it necessary to put ink and dip pen to paper, using some of the up-cycled postcards I had put oil paint bases onto for drawing on in public. (see below). During my sleepless, twisting, distorted night of planning my own funeral and wondering what will happen to my son when I die (melodramatic?) I also envisaged myself alongside the underground window on which I had blu-tacked some art. One end of the District Line to the other. My ‘home turf’ and straight through central London. Me, a stack of work, a small exhibition; offering people any work they like. Then I was sitting under a bridge, opposite a homeless man, a selection of works tacked to the bridge alongside me, discussing these and connecting. These offerings from my ‘twilight breakdown’ may or may not evolve into actual reality, but I liked them. And they seemed logical, and to fit with the nature of my project: taking work to the people, infiltrating environments, engaging with others, making connections. How bizarre that even when I am struggling to regain normal brain function I am STILL planning strategic development of Testing the Boundaries. It is an obsession, a medication and a survival strategy, surely?  Did it keep me from the light? I’m not so sure, but …these pains are lessened and I am relatively normal again – whatever that means.

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Those Dreams, Those Dreams.

Ink & oil paint on card.

 

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River of

Ink & oil paint on card.

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Flow. Flow. Flow

Ink & oil paint on card.

 

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