Research and Discovery

Why do I (we?) need permission to do things our own way?

Art research is a thorny, prickly, uncomfortable thing for me. I don’t really like reading other people’s thoughts and opinions… although I do like it when something is pointed out to me in conversation… I really don’t like to engage in what a bunch of old or dead French guys think.

I like my own personal discovery process.

I have been through periods of pretence here. I have hidden parts of myself over the years. And now, I fight against it, or at least try to be aware of the hiding, and try to make it a conscious choice.

If I hide parts of myself, my thinking, then the bits I don’t hide make no sense (I think?)… it is only in the total openness that it will make a coherent artist… a coherent human. Hiding the child-like; or the grief stricken; or the sexual being; or the deliriously happy from making lemon shortbread; or the fucking miserable… makes the picture skewed. The composition is wrong.

This is currently where my research is hovering. This is where my personal voyage of discovery lingers… this composition of my self… and my interaction with the world and those around me…

My drawings are emerging as that connection between the inside and the outside and the inside again. The interaction with materials is either satisfactory or not. I explore and try to push at things… Ink and brush is good, charcoal is not… pencil is good… pastels are not… gliding is good… scratchy is not… watercolour is good, acrylic is not… Gluten free sponge cake is good. Gluten free bread rolls are vile. We live and learn.

Performance is also part of this process… I put part of myself out to the audience, and get something back that provides another piece of the picture. The audience reaction to me (us) and my returned response is the research too. The breathing in and out here… the inside and outside and the connections between. It doesn’t matter that no one else can see the connections between me singing with the band, and these drawings.

I see it. This is all about me after all…


It is a truth of mine, that the personal is the universal. If I make my work generic, no one relates, it is too bland and unrelatable. The closer my work is to myself, the more open and honest I am, the more people relate to the humanity of it.

In my research then, the research that happens in my daily art practice of life-living, if I dig deep into my place in the world and present these findings in the way that feels right, someone, somewhere, will relate, and find it useful… maybe?

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