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The rebellious spirit that defines difference.

September 9, 2014

533College work from a mask project 1982

I feel that in order to make interesting and different art, I have to be in touch with my rebellious spirit, put two fingers up to the establishment and dig deep. You see in my experience being a polite minion subordinated to the status quo leads to a level of mediocrity and complacency, because the art world is an elitist domain. A world often subject to a culture of  self-serving ego’s, carrying out an agenda that can at times make art incidental. I find it to be a questionable world with more than its share of bullshit and whilst this may sound harsh, it is a strong reaction to the confines of a world that subvert’s art into a convenience. However the true nature of rebellion goes way beyond the confines of societal imposition and into the core of the individual and in my own case I can feel the tempestuous energy building up inside of me. Sometimes I feel on the verge of exploding as I fight to overcome my limitations and broaden my way of seeing, there just has to be so much more within. Yet I feel unable to access it without the wild determination that overcomes my being, if I expressed how I feel I’m sure I could be heard shouting  and screaming miles away. The problem I find is that my ability to think freely is compromised by the conditioning and control of socially engineered societies.  I feel that I may have more than my fair share of issues lol, but then my history is complex and I have a string of unanswered questions that will not go away.


I often feel that my exposure to the art world early on in my life had a profound effect upon me, which is why I was never able to embrace the accepted protocols and this has always left me in no mans land. As an artist working without any true support I feel  my task is  immense, particularly now the moral support and encouragement I had earlier in life has disappeared. I now work without goals beyond self-realisation, which is very complex and has created a paradigm shift in my ambitions, as my priority changed to a deeper expression from within. My personal battle rages over the ludicrous dichotomies that tear me apart and I try to find a single path of truth, but it’s not easy. Again and again I’m confronted by the reality that making sculpture is becoming increasingly impossible for me as my material wealth is under so much strain, I already make less sculpture than at any other stage of my life, as  a consequence of trying to develop the concepts that underpin my direction. I already have so many unmade ideas that there is almost no point in continuing to develop them. So as a sculptor I’m compromised by the material world and I feel that this is confusing my art because I’m working without intention beyond concept and it doesn’t feel right, there is simply no point in designing sculptures that will never be made. Sometimes I wonder if drawing could be enough, mixed in with painting and writing, though in truth it would deny my greatest strength and lessen the quality of my life. Of  late I keep looking through my 3500+ archive of drawings in hope that I could find some answers and a way forward taking all my knowledge with me, but these answers are elusive to me.


As an artist I fly solo now, which means all my answers will have to come from within and so I must learn to just be and to enjoy the good moments, thriving on the continual challenges. In one sense I feel lost, yet I’ve developed beyond my hopes as the sands of time shift and keep moving my horizons in a life of continuous development. To feel so lost is harsh, yet I know without this feeling that I wouldn’t be able to dig so deep to find some hope that will sustain my interest and determination. My art is now gradually becoming a personal resolute expression that is less effected by others, because it’s coming from an empirical knowledge base, which is unique to me and one that I fully believe in. I no longer make art with feelings of insecurity and the reaction it gets no longer interests me to the point of influencing my work. Quite frankly if I couldn’t make work that I fully believe in after thirty years, then I don’t deserve to be called an artist, yet I struggle with fully accepting and embracing this reality. However the strength of belief within seems to carry me through these relentless hurdles and I always seem to keep on going heading towards my personal vision, sometimes running and sometimes limping.

534Mask Study Oil on paper 1982

Many years ago I was pretty happy, my work was going well and the family I grew up with were all near, I had ambition and a direction, but slowly following the deaths of  my sister Wendy, my sister Amanda then my mother Maisie, I became a victim of grief and I lost my ambition and in a sense my identity. I didn’t cope with grief and I drank too much wine, and existed in confusion. I never knew if it was grief, too much red wine or a mixture of both that severed my timeline and led me to the place where I am now. Whilst the place I am now is a profound place for me and I would say pretty advanced on the artistic scale, I can’t help but fret about the great fissure that sub-divides my existence into periods with tenuous connectivity. Whilst I was laid low the world changed around me and people changed their attitude towards me, further complicating my dilemma because it altered my perception of self. It was a very low position from which I’m still fighting back, I’m about there now but I still feel the gaping chasm, because life forced a change upon me, which is what I’ve been writing about on my blog for the last three years. When you experience the deaths of loved ones it changes you, you can’t resist the consequences and the only hope is that you can find something positive to move forward with as a tribute to their memory.

5351982 Mask Project

I find it hard to accept that I can never return or even pick up the threads of that old life that were severed through loss, even though the act of moving into this clear new chapter is like a gifted opportunity. However soon I will work fluently again as this period of my life runs its course and the metaphorical Phoenix rises from the ashes, my only hope is that the lessons I’ve learned will continue to open my mind and give me the confidence to go on.


The artist’s life is complicated, there is the dark torment and soul-searching and there is the joy and sense of achievement, but it is not a stable existence, even though you know and understand the cyclical nature. I guess it’s like a series of adventures that lead to a continual pattern of growth and self-awareness and each time you feel you’ve reached a summit you know you are about to fall into a pit of despair, as you see through your achievements and experience dissatisfaction. I believe you can’t  escape these feelings unless you lower your expectations and accept the mediocrity of ordinary existence, something that I refuse to do. So I nurture my rebellious spirit in the hope that my life will be meaningful and real. Writing about my art and life has become crucial to finding my way and finding the courage to be open and honest in my search for authenticity. I like the vulnerability of being human and the potential we have if we have the courage to be open and honest and I have found that honesty starts within before it radiates out into the world.


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