So, this is my first post. I guess I should introduce myself and say something suitably epic about what it is that I am trying to do here. Well, I'm trying to sell prints so that I can eat. I'm trapped in a bad place and I want to get out. My music was never going to go anywhere outside of my bedroom and I was even worse at football. So when I hit 40 I decided to study art. I enrolled on a foundation course and through a lot of hard work and brilliant tuition (from Andy Fairbank and Chris Wiles then Anna and Desmond and others at HSAD) I discovered that I could draw. I began to draw the things that for me best symbolised the power and the mystery of existence: prehistoric standing stones. After a while I mixed, or maybe I juxtaposed, these megaliths with scenes of everyday life here in Hull.
I think the drawings kinda worked and I became excited about where this work could take me. You see, I'd been unemployed for a long while and I had pretty much given up on myself. It's a long, sad story. They say that life begins at forty and for me it really did. I developed a love of art and also found that I had a serious condition which had made me very ill but could be controlled through changes in my diet. After two decades of oblivion I began to feel alive again. Kinda. My illness had forced me to live a rather introspective life -- I looked in rather than out. Over a couple of lonely decades I went a little mad and developed all sorts of crazy notions regarding the nature of consciousness and reality. That's now all in the past but in some ways I'm thankful for those lost years.
Anyway, in the course of my recent studies into art I discovered an artist who had been similarly cast out from ordinary life. He had developed an interest in and had conducted explorations into the deeper and darker realms. His name was Austin Osman Spare. His art and his life story immediately gripped me. He painted the ordinary people of London years before such social commentary was fashionable. He entered trance-like states and made strange, ghostly images years before surrealism had been given a name and he was eventually dubbed "the first surrealist".
I made a portrait of him as a young Edwardian at the height of his powers. Once I had penciled in the basic outline I detuned my mind and let my hand wander in scribbles. I tried to enter a trance as Mr. Spare had done when making his transcendental works. I was really pleased with the end result. It had real power.
He was looking out at me through my drawing. He asked me what the hell was I doing with my life. He told me that life is short and that I may not be here much longer. This drawing would still be here when I am gone. The idle hours spent dribbling in front of the TV or daydreaming in the sun would disappear without trace.
It's time for me to get my life in gear. I want to make great work and I want my work to feed me. In more ways than one.
I'll try to tell the story here behind each of the images I make, so please, check back when you have time.
There's a lot of shit in this world but, in the last few years since I stepped out and began to open the windows of my heart again, I've discovered that there are tons and tons of beautiful, warm people out there who want the same kind of world as me.
Magic is everywhere.
I'm receiving a lot of support from the people at ENRG. Earlier this year I applied for a job at The Goodwin Development Trust here in Hull. I knew I was not qualified for the post but something made me phone them. As a result of this call I was invited to join a development program for creative people who are working towards self-employment. Over the summer I saw Phil King there a couple of times and he helped me to think seriously about the ways in which I could make my art more saleable. This was my first serious step towards thinking of myself as a self-employed artist.
I'm now seeing Phil and Gill Hobson regularly and receiving huge amounts of support and ideas from them. They have even offered me the opportunity to show my work in what will be my first real solo exhibition in a great new space here in the centre of Hull. I'm being guided through the process of seeking funding for this show and I'm feeling quite excited. Knowing that there will be a solid outlet for my work has helped me focus my vision as I picture the work being displayed as a single body in a gallery. If there are any creative people in the region who are considering becoming self-employed I would definitely recommend getting in contact with these people: http://www.enrghull.co.uk/