I accept that social media in all its’ forms can be a fickle friend and rarely get involved in controversy having learned not to underestimate its’ power, but saying that, I love Twitter and the humorous interactions, as well as emerging news platforms and arts and culture….
Being nominated to take part in various themes really isn’t my bag and one that I usually ignore but one ‘project’ online sparked my interest and rekindled something of my degree training……7 days, 7 black and white photographs, no explanations, no people (though I cheated slightly on this latter being a rule breaker)….it was fun, made me think in a different way and of course encouraged myself and others to be perhaps a little more enigmatic with image (re)production too…..
An artist’s / designer’s working day is never ever standard 9 to 5 and it is (or should be) the case that there is no real division between life and work; work is life and vice versa….constantly seeing the world through different eyes and making notes and observations are all part of the everyday (and night). A recent long summer sojourn in a beautiful Greek town produced a body of work which now takes me through into autumn designs for textiles….
Ordinary streets often provide endless sources of imagery and design inspiration. The simple act of walking – and really looking around – with camera and sketchbook, making notes and snapping away can often produce the most surprising and exciting design ideas…..and graffiti as another form of art (whatever your views on that) always appears more interesting in a foreign city….though granted it may be just as errrr left field shall I say….!
Most artists would agree that art can be seen as a political tool, an expression of and influenced by world events….not just the obvious war artists, poets, musicians and photo journalists but fine artists have, since time immemorial, recorded the horror of war and the importance of peace, the turbulence of governments and peoples….my own favourites are Picasso and Rauschenberg. Governments have also been known of course to see art and artists as a threat to regimes, targeted as subversive and cast to the margins of society. It would seem that today we have just as much turmoil as ever, particularly here in the UK and the artists’ job and role in society is as important as ever….
Sometimes life can take you by surprise; a child’s coming of age, a blanket of thick snow on otherwise familiar territory, a particularly powerful book or play, or a random encounter with a stranger…..all these things – and many others – make for a rich rich tapestry…..
Being (largely) a photographer, constantly behind the lens is where I am most comfortable….the odd times I have been asked to pose in front of a camera is a total anathema to me…..I recoil in horror, consequently look stiff and formal (‘just relax….’!) and generally hate the whole experience. I think this is probably part and parcel of the job, goes hand in hand with the territory and some people find my reaction a little strange…..but there it is….
That great philanthropic doyen of British Design, Sir Paul Smith, wrote ‘you can find inspiration in everything…and if you can’t, look again’. His book of the same title is a fine romp through his ideas and views on design as well as a go-to reference for anyone staring at an abyss of a blank sheet (or screen) wondering where the hell to start…..it really is just looking and often the most ordinary things bring a spark…..