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You’ve got to fight for your rights to be an Artist

November 1, 2013


My facebook page and blog has become an important part of my process and gives me a feeling of connection to an outside world that is vital at times. A comment this morning about never giving up triggered a memory from college in 1985, when a lecturer saw my degree show: He kissed the lapel of my biker jacket and told me never to stop making sculpture. And this was from a man who had criticised me harshly for two years. I found this very moving at the time because it was an important gesture having spent my time at college being treated harshly for doing figurative sculpture. Even back then I had a determination to do things my way but it was an instinct or a feeling not contrived on an imposed set of values.
It’s funny because I often think back to when I was in my early twenties and how much I believed in art and how consumed I became with the wonderful process of creating sculpture. But life can be cruel for an artist, you put everything into your art with total belief and bear your soul and in return there is at times nothing or cruel criticisms and advice to do this and that which is often all about compliance and fitting into society that results in the death of the free-spirited artist.
It’s my instinct to rebel and do things my way, it always has been, but my problem is that I’m not very thick-skinned and I find myself wounded at times. So I have to retreat because it’s my only form of defence and way of protecting my being and integrity. For a while I’ve not wanted to exhibit my work commercially and the thought of selling it doesn’t interest me either even though I have to make a living, I feel this is because of how my work became a simple commodity and used against me by many people on many levels. Because as a commodity it can be used as leverage by galleries, potential clients and acquaintances and starts to lose its integrity as a piece of art. When I put work on here it’s not a commodity it’s a statement and I don’t fear judgement, people can look at it or not and comment if they wish. I think it’s really helped me to find my way again and renewed my confidence and self-belief after some really tough years that made me want to quit art altogether.
Just lately my enthusiasm for making sculpture is returning and I’m reaching a stage where I don’t mind sending work out for exhibitions which I’m taking as a sign that my wounds are healing and my relationship with the real world is back on. I feel strong about my ideas and ways and ready to fight for my work because I believe in it and what I do again.
At the moment I think about my student days because back then I followed my dreams and worked with hope and optimism, anything felt possible and in a way I’m returning to this way of thinking because that enthusiasm and joy was what hooked me into following this life. The trials of life and the erosion through time of my hopes and ideals has impeded me at times, but I’ve come out at the other side, older, wiser and a damn sight more rebellious. I don’t have to put up with any bullshit now because I can just do what I have to do. The remarkable thing is that I don’t feel too bitter because my art is my own little world, heavily protected and still a land of wonder to me.



My Reality

Towers Above

A Maquette for the monument to the unknown Artist

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