Finally we’ve slowed down a little with delivering workshops so I have had the chance for a few days off and a regroup as far as my own art-making goes. My own creative mojo is a fickle thing because normally I need a week of thinking and research time before I can get back into things again. I need to see. I mean really see. I need to consider philosophical things. I need to think of my own place in the world and how I can relate this to my art.
The last few years have been really tough for me in this respect. Every time I get my art head on I have to take it off again to do a variety of other things. I don’t get to go to exhibition openings any more* and I’m no good at schmoozing at all. I’d rather stand in a dark room and just watch people without any interaction at all. Not really in a performance art kind of a way but just in a kind of anonymously absorbing the atmosphere kind of a way. There aren’t a lot of places you can do this in the art world so it’s great to cross over into the world of music and meditate on life, the universe, and everything, whilst bathing in a wall of noise in a dark club.
My nocturnal ruminations haven’t lead to much regarding my art but they have given me a chance to re-engage with my own photography skills. Often gigs are in poorly lit independent venues so it’s a real challenge to deliver something that gives me a creative buzz. I’ve always said that unless a photograph I’ve made gives me that instant ‘wow’ then I don’t feel it’s any good. (That instant gratification of knowing I’ve done something awesome is something I encourage participants in my workshops to embrace.) It can be tough though because I’m often too hyper-critical of the artwork and photographs I make. I have no desire to sit with Photoshop for days at a time manipulating an average situation into something mildly spectacular. Instead I want to know, there and then, that what I’ve seen and experienced matches up exactly with the photograph I’ve ended up with. I want to know that that decisive moment is not a private one, and that I have the ability to share this moment with others if I choose to. I like that I have the skills to pre-visualise a picture and match it to correct moment in time.
I’ve been waiting for this photograph for a few months now. I’ve seen it in my brain a thousand times but never managed to make it happen. I didn’t know what the location would be until a few weeks back and since then it has been a case of just watching and waiting for the correct moment to present itself. This isn’t a photograph I felt I could stage because it for me that would have been cheating. Forcing a set of conditions on someone else would lose that feeling of naturalness. You can’t take somebody out of their own aural creative moment and try and get them to perform differently to fit your own visual standard. The ‘wow’ factor comes from happening upon the picture as part of a bona-fide performance. It had to match up with exactly what I had in my mind’s eye. The art of creating had to have an element of luck as well as my own predetermined idea.
I have a few other photographs in my head that haven’t yet come to happen. I’ll be considering those in a dark space near you soon. If you see me stood on my own with an odd look on my face I’m not constipated, I’m just thinking through what I want to create next and how I can make it happen.
*because the done thing these days is to have them mid-week and I work week nights.