Why do we need it?

I’m always happy working in the studio, either on my own in the building at whatever time of day or night. I’m not always happy with the results but I am happy with the endeavour… and happy that I am fortunate enough to be able to afford to be there, even though some months have been a squeeze.

But all that endeavour, I feel, needs to go somewhere. Otherwise its just fancy paper consumption and recycling…is it? (I’m not sure if I believe this, so I am being provocative in writing it) (does “going somewhere” count, even if it’s only in my own head?) (yes)

But anyway… at some point I want to ask of somebody “what do you think of this?” Sometimes asking Louise or Sarah or Simon or Pete or John in passing is enough… sometimes I think I need to get it all out and up in a big space and step back and ask that in a louder voice.

I (we?) need the validation of other people.

A conversation with fellow blogger Stuart Mayes prompted the question whether it matters who does the validating, and whether the rubber stamp of a body of people, a respected organisation, is worth more than a studio mate saying it’s good.

Maybe it is my age/generation, or the fact that I returned to this art-life later on, but I think that the endorsement of an established, reputable group really helps. It helps self-esteem, confidence, and it helps place me among my peers. To be situated… in a place you feel good in.

These last few weeks have been bloody amazing for that. I have got ACE funding for this work that will last about a year. I was selected to be in the RBSA Friends exhibition first, then also in their prize exhibition, and then yesterday I was told I’d be getting a Highly Commended certificate. I am really chuffed, and as my energies for working in the current circumstances was starting to flag it’s been an incredible boost.

Those things are the external manifestations, and they are great. But what has also been happening is the “going somewhere” bit inside my head…

The collaboration with Michael Clarke is so exciting! The backwards and forwards of files is spurring me on. I am loving what he has done, is doing, with the things I send him. It is hard to describe really, but I feel an affinity with this man somehow… I send him words and sounds and describe the feelings that go with them… and he absorbs all of that.. respects the direction and the idea… and adds music to it, in a way that makes me gasp, because he has so NAILED it! My dark lyrics, unedited, understood, reflected back to me with haunting music, disturbing rhythms and sweet soft vocals… it’s like me in sharp relief, focussed. It is extremely emotional. I sent him these lyrics… what he did with them and the sounds I had made, gave me goose pimples and made me cry. 

Then all of that gets fed back in to more writing, and more drawing… an ascending spiral.

I feel at the moment, my art-life is certainly “going somewhere”. 

That’s why I need other people in it…

Photo by Laura Rhodes at

Photo by Laura Rhodes at
Photo by Laura Rhodes at

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