The last few years as an artist have provided little signposts and milestones along the way. Small moments of clarity or change that have propelled me to the next level, next challenge…
I remember when I first started calling myself an Artist.
I remember when I put “Artist” on my passport application.
I remember when I put Artist on my car insurance form, then changed it back to Educator (Art) because the premium shot up! Apparently knackered, strung-out, depressed and overworked teachers are a better bet than a content self-employed artist behind the wheel… are we really that flaky?
I remember when I started writing songs it was an add on, and I was apologetic, and had a hard time trying to explain to myself, let alone other people, why I was writing songs. And a harder time working out how singing them was part of my practice.
I remember when I got over myself and stopped apologising.
That was only about 18 months ago.
The songwriting and singing is now part of my practice and I am comfortable with it. It just is. I don’t give a shit about explaining it to anyone. You don’t have to listen, and you don’t have to like it.
Last night, at a friend’s new event, the No Covers Club in Moseley, we did a couple of songs and my friend said “Plug your event!” “What event?” “Your exhibition!” “Oh that! Really?” “YES!”
So I did. I said to the crowd, that as well as being a singer-songwriter, I am a visual artist, I make installations with music, and that Nine Women included a performance with Dan Whitehouse (was there a small hum of approval? I think so..…) I also said if people wanted more info I had a few cards. I ran out of cards and ended up telling people to search on Facebook!
So now I have decided that my Facebook artist page, which for the last eight years or so has been titled Elena Thomas – Art and Textiles, should now be titled Elena Thomas – Art and Songs.
Self-acknowledgement of the shift, and that the division is now more equal.
That feels like a milestone worth celebrating don’t you think?