I’ve often wondered when it is mentioned in articles, job descriptions and so on, what the difference is between an emerging artist and an established artist. Number of years served seems an inadequate descriptor somehow, as we all start, develop and work at different times and rates. Qualifications also are unfit measures as some people achieve the heady heights of PhD before the age of 30: while some of us see ourselves as unlikely to achieve (or want to achieve) such a thing.
But I have reached, I think, a personal epiphany here. Established means feeling able to say “Fuck knows!” with an air of confident insouciance when asked “What does this work actually mean though?”
I have reached that point, sporadically, and I welcome it. It isn’t a constant, but it does exist.
Take these recent drawings for example. Up until this week I had no real idea what they were for. But I trusted my brain to do the thinking while my hands did the drawing, and that something, some sort of excuse, would make itself known to me. This is happening… in glimpses… in fits n starts… but it is.
That is gratifying.
THAT is what established feels like… I think… trusting the process and not feeling worried about it, or saying it.
So this is it then… I’ve developed over the last few weeks and possibly months now… a collection of ingredients, motifs, ideas. These ideas are related to each other, they ripen from each other, they spread spores, they communicate, pass information, memories and qualities to each other, that communication works both ways, makes connections, and evolves into something else.
I think my textile work had sort of stuck because it could not find a way to evolve past the figurative, whereas the drawings are pushing past the knots and making themselves into something else. It may be that once past the obstacle, I will find a way again to the textile, but in a different way, and with a new language. But for the moment, I shall carry on drawing until something makes itself clear. There is something I haven’t yet pinned down about the quality of drawing that allows this to happen, that the stitching did not…
In the meantime, I shall feel free to answer “Fuck knows!” to anyone who asks, but will listen attentively to anything they have to say… just in case!