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Who? What? Where? Why?

April 1, 2014

1ST

My first Horse&Rider from 1984

Last year when I turned fifty, I experienced one of the most poignant days of my life, because as the youngest of three siblings I was the only one who had made it this far and though I have a family of my own it stands out as the loneliest day of my life. There had been a big build up to the day as I desperately fought with myself to rise from my ashes, a state of decline and a growing sence of defeat that had overwhelmed my life. I’d come a long way in a solitary journey and a birthday that would usually have meant little to me came to symbolise so much, like a day of reckoning and though I was on a comeback trail I had not done enough to turn around my fortune. My decline had been too significant to be able to deal with in one foul swoop and I needed more time to analyse my issues and  walk out the other side. It was a case of admitting to myself that my life was broken at the core and only then could I start to move forward. My decline had been slow and the circumstances of my life held me firmly in this position, so I had no choice but to take this battle on in a solitary way. I of course shared my thoughts on Facebook and WordPress, not only did it help me to just say it like it is, but it felt good too by giving me the courage to be open. It taught me to have the courage of my convictions and speak out proudly and to take my art that little bit further. I could have course continued to live in the manner that I was because I functioned in a satisfactory way, but I wanted more from my life, I wanted to feel alive, vital and challenged. So there was a meaning to life beyond survival in a society and that the lives of my mother and sisters continued to have a reason through my endeavours as an artist. They were all proud of me when they were alive and my success used to really excite me because I would share my news with them and they would just enjoy it without prejudice, something that I have never been able to replicate in any way following heir deaths. So now when I have great news it feels flat, though I do share it with the virtual world. My family life and world had cocooned me in some ways and I’ve always been shocked by reactions of people who are less than genuine, like your moments of success cut deep into them, soliciting a grimaced smile through gritted teeth, because they want some success for themselves. Human progress is dependent on the endeavour of individuals as well as the mass and encouragement goes a long way. Eventually I had to construct a way of being that is solitary, in order to work with a progressive outlook, when I make a drawing or a sculpture nobody sees it in the real world and nobody ever takes an interest or comes to see it. I would say that my father who is 88 is my most frequent visitor and takes more interest in my work than anyone else that I know, so I work in a vacuous environment which is why I share so much work here in the hope of a response, all of which are gratefully received.

 

rutland courtFirst commission in Edinburgh, during the making of this sculpture my sister was murdered making it a bitter-sweet experience

 My world is in part reconstructed and my method of work and isolation is one that has given me great strength and conviction in my belief and I can move on, and even though the warmth of my humanity remains it is not exercised in this reality. Perhaps I’ll live out my life as a curious hybrid sharing images in the virtual world, but who knows, at least I can work with great enthusiasm and passion and always live in hope with a belief in humanity.

A Few Faves

 

Yesterday when I turned fifty-one I felt the anxiety return and frantically made some drawings to see where I was through my creativity and I found that I was back where I belong, feeling like a man who believes in himself and who is as much in love with the creative process of art as ever. But once again I feel proud of myself something that has eluded me for years and can move forward through my own decision making processes.

no69


 

And this I wrote last night:  Sometimes I work myself into the ground, where I feel tired and bereft of ideas, it’s partly out of an insecurity that forces me to generate new ideas almost like a proof of worthiness. When I run low on ideas I fall back on the fundamental questions of being, like, who am I?, what am I?, why am I here? what is my purpose? why should I struggle to make art? what are my connections?  The questions are in fact never-ending and while they may seem to be unanswerable, they do in fact offer a glimpse deep inside, The questions arise from the completion of a creative phase where  you have answered the more ordinary questions and expressed them through your art. By ordinary I mean the everyday experience and interactions of living , which I see more as the physical and intellectual experience which is much to do with the ever-present impact of society. Once these questions and matters are dealt with you enter a more spiritual zone, fundamental to existence, something we are in danger of taking for granted in the experience rich life styles we lead, distracting us from self.

horse rider eagle

 

At times like now, I feel exhausted with the interference of everyday life and yearn for a simplicity so that I can think about the fundamental aspects of being. I don’t want to indulge in anything beyond a simplicity of living, so that I can really understand what life means to me in the present as opposed to a reactionary being, reacting to the challenges of society specific issues. The fact is that I can’t avoid thinking about these thoughts, because that is how I feel my life should be, when I was 18 friends at college called me a caveman because even back then, the fundamentals of being appealed to me. If you look at my work it shows how I formalise the complexity of composition and form into what appears to be quite simplistic works of art, But they are in fact not simple and are constructed on the back of  an endless perseverance and search. Through the search I’m able to dismiss the detail that can drown so much relevance in its confusion and outline the idea in a straight forward and bold statement and on this level my work touches on profound notions. I could be wrong but I believe my approach is quite unique and I come into the art world on a peculiar tangent that is very much my own and one that I hold on to dearly. It is not headline grabbing or wildly different for the sake of it, none the less it is an interesting approach and even though it has never been picked up on or understood in the art world, I still believe in it. I’ve thrown my whole life at it and fought to maintain my existence, often living in penury, suffering with humility and compromise in the trade-off as I struggled through the lower reaches of the art world. In the end this has become too much because my work is more profound in nature than I was ever given credit for, which is why I speak out and explain my actions and thoughts.

Believe

 

Fortunately I still have some fight left in me so that I can right some of the harsh lessons of my life, I have diligently built up a collection of hundreds of  new and innovative ideas for equestrian sculpture in the vain hope that one day some rich fucker or organisation will commission me to make a few public sculptures, I’ve also worked on a whole series of figurative sculpture that could be scaled up into an interesting series or installation and there ‘s plenty more in the pipeline. But I can only produce this work with credible backing because I have absolutely nothing, living hand to mouth from week to week. If I can’t get the backing then I will have to accept that harsh reality and just pursue my ideas on a more conceptual basis as no more than marks on paper. Of course I will still make a few ceramic horse and riders to make enough money to survive. My reality is bleak in many ways and a constant battle, but at  the core I believe whole heartedly in my own ability and will strive to reach much greater heights through the further developments of my ideas. But most importantly I will be totally open and honest, I will not pretend it’s a bed of roses and that everything is wonderful, because I’ve fallen in love with the gritty truth of honesty. By applying the same criteria I use to create art, to all aspects of my life, will reveal a greater objectivity and I will have done all that I am willing to do.

fab four1

 

I sometimes get pissed off when people say don’t feel sorry for yourself, because I don’t, I made the choices I made and I face all the consequences, I say what I believe and I criticise what I feel is unjust in society, I can often be wrong but I’m driven by raw passion and belief. As an artist I am now content beyond my wildest dreams because I’ve gone way beyond my expectations and can see far greater depths to explore, which more than compensates for my lack of success in the lousy art world. Holding on to ones integrity may come at a price on a superficial level but you can’t buy the satisfaction of the soul and that feeling when you close your eyes to go to sleep that you are comfortable with yourself on every level.

no61

 

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