Wednesday, 26 October 2011

Letter Lucky Dip 2

A few posts back I promised a regular feature called Letter Lucky Dip, with all my exciting adventures of late I have been very lax in fulfilling this with no further adieu I present you with the next letter lucky dip.
Eastern Fleet,
Rear Headquarters.
10th July 1944

My Dear Olive,
              Well, Many happy returns, I expect that it will be very near to the time when this parcel arrives, it is the last thing I could find to buy here and I thought that it may remind you of India and my travels here, I am leaving here this next week and where I am going they dont make anything like this at all so I had to get while I had the chance.
              I am wondering if you have had other things yet. I do hope so cause they were so very nice to put in the small desk. It seems rather strange to think the war may be over by the time these things get to you, I hope it is anyhow.
              Well I have a heck of a lot of work to do and piles of packing and your weekly air letter to write so I must close down and pray that this arrives safty.
Tons of love,
If you're anything like me you're imagination will be firing away trying to picture what Harry sent Olive? So your challenge, if you choose to accept it, let your imaginations run wild with suggestions in the comments below. This blog post will self destruct in 5 seconds......5........4.......3......2......1 Poof! 

Tuesday, 11 October 2011

Winning Streak Pt 3

No your eyes are not deceiving you I did indeed win, believe me nobody’s more suprised than me. Like all good prize givings the announcements were in the classic reverse order and by the time it came to announcing the winner I was happily daydreaming to myself about nothing in particular. Now this is where I’d like to be able to tell you that I was a most graceful winner that handled the situation with great aplomb, this however was not the case. As soon as my name floated from the announcers lips into my ears my jaw seemed to have managed to detach itself from the rest of my face and hit the floor in the most undignified of manners. In my defence my only acting experience to date is playing a cockney bartender in a school production of My Fair Lady, not really skills I could utilise in this situation, the immortal line “Come on Doolittle out you go I ain’t running no charity bazaar” isn’t the easiest to adapt. I can find some comfort in the fact that my sister was in a similar situation with her jaw, maybe it’s an inherited condition?! So there I was making my way up to get my certificate edging ever closer to a case of full blown hysteria, it was then the inimitable words “I’m so suprised” found themselves tumbling out of my mouth, I know truly inspirational stuff!  Thus my facial muscles began their adventurous work out.

Posing for photographs is not an experience I find myself relishing, especially when my ability to control my facial muscles is being brought in to question, a roomful of eyes watching me doesn’t help much either. But I choose to bob along happily on the river denial when remembering this particular part of the proceedings. If you’re under the impression that it was at this point in the evening that I could relax and try take it all in, I’m going to have to set you straight. I found myself being further suprised when I was told by the gallery that they had been in contact with my local paper and they wanted to do a feature on me (my facial muscles silently wept at the very thought of this). Not long after this another exciting and suprising piece of news found its way over to me, someone had bought my piece and wanted to meet and have a picture take with me. I was more than happy to oblige, the idea of someone wanting to buy a piece of my work is still something I find quite thrilling. I’m happy to say he was a lovely guy too, my sister and I had a lovely long chat with him. What was particularly pleasing was that he worked for Network Rail and would be hanging it in his office, I don’t think I could get a better a compliment!

Now to the business end of this entry, the prize, and boy what a prize! Here goes:

- A big version of my work is going to be on display in the new south entrance of Blackfriars station for a year (Olympics year no less!)

- A copy of my work will be buried in a time capsule to celebrate the opening of the new entrance.

- £1000 worth of art materials from GreatArt and a £500 voucher (that’s right folks I will never have to buy art materials again!)

- Lets not forget my lovely certificate, frequent glances at this have confirmed to me that I have indeed not dreamt all of this!

Friday, 7 October 2011

Winning Streak Pt 2

As promised what shall follow is a continuation of my exciting and rather surprising September adventures. In my previous post I told you about all the things I’ve been entering lately, in the hope of getting my work out there in to the wider world. Another of these endeavours had the most magnificent and unexpected of results, it involves a slightly obsessive hoarding tendency, a few train journeys and an inordinate amount of grinning.

It was by pure chance that I happened to notice an art competition that The Guardian were promoting called London Lives: Travel, I checked it out and noticed there was only a week left until the deadline, normally this would have made me write it off completely, but after my experiences with the QR-3D and Blast/Bless projects I was fired up and chomping at the bit to get stuck in to something else. So I decided to just go for it, what did I have to lose! If you’ve looked around this site at some of my other work you will have noticed that a lot of it involves objects that have their own personal history, frequently entangled with that of my own. It shall be of no surprise then that I love to hoard, it is almost impossible for me to throw anything away, I see too much potential for interesting art in all of it. One such thing that I have held on to for the last few years is a collection of train tickets from my travels to and from my time at Winchester School of Art studying for my degree and the occasional London trip for birthday celebrations. This wasn’t just a case of not cleaning out your purse I consciously kept hold of them because I thought they were a powerful record of a very important time in my life and would be perfect for an art project further down line (pun only slightly intended). This competition provided me with the perfect opportunity to utilise my stash.

So to the creation of the actual piece, as with all my work history plays a strong part in my ideas and what comes as a result of them. The competition was tied into the redevelopment of Blackfriars station so it was only right to incorporate the station's history with that of my own. One of the things that I find fascinating about train travel in particular is that so much of it is about waiting, the simple act of standing or sitting still, hoping for the swift arrival of your next connection or the train that will take you to your final destination. It is in these moments of stillness that my love of people watching comes in to play in a big way. So many creative people get inspiration from simply observing those around them, be they writers, designers or artists. So much about art is to do with the human experience, what we see in others around us can tell us so much and waiting for a train is one of those perfect times. People lost in thought, the weary traveller laden down with bags who just wants to be home with their feet up, the busy who hate those enforced moments of stillness they can’t avoid, these people are all in a shared experience but their reactions couldn’t be more different. I wanted to really engage with this in my work so I scoured images of people waiting at train stations for silhouettes that really struck me, I didn’t stick to the passengers of today, I found images from those travelling at the beginning of the 20th Century. Marrying the old and new I used my tickets for the modern silhouettes and images of old Blackfriars train tickets for the old. Thus with it’s completion my entry was sent out in to the great beyond with only the faintest of hopes that something would come of it.

Skip to a week or so later and there I am sitting at my computer doing the morning e-mail check, clicking through the usual circulars from the all the arts organisations I follow, hang on what’s this “Dear artist, We are delighted to inform you that your entry for the London Lives: Travel competition has been selected for display at Bankside Gallery.” To say I was anything less than a squealing and slightly hysterical schoolgirl version of myself would be insulting your intelligence and mine (what little there is of it). When the initial shock and glee started to wear off the terror started to creep in, my work was well and truly out there that meant that I had to be too. Insecurity, an artist's best friend, the annoying co-dependent sort that you can’t seem to get rid of. If it wasn’t for my most fabulous family  my brain may well have exploded, especially when it came to the printing and framing of my work, something I’d never really done before, working mainly in textiles I’ve never really had to call on the services of either a printer or framer. With the help of my own personal superhero (my wonderful sister) and her super powered chums especially the faultless and generous work of @mustardpost, my troubles were soon defeated. Here I’d like to pause for a moment so that you can all play a small snippet of rousing music, Eye of the Tiger, Superman theme, your choice.

Right that’s enough. Back to the story, that’s if you haven’t fallen asleep yet! With my piece framed and packed off to the gallery ready for hanging the only thing left to do was attend the private view. So off I went armed with a nice dress, pretty earrings (now dubbed my lucky pair), a mum for moral support and of course a new train ticket for my collection. On arrival we met up with my sister who was to be my +1 for the evening. After a day of enjoying what the glorious London had to offer we set off for the Bankside Gallery. Upon arrival we were greeted by the lovely gallery staff and I was given my very own name tag, all very exciting. We both pretty much spotted my work straight away, situated rather delightfully opposite the gallery’s front desk, it was such a thrill to see it there on display. After speeches from the gallery, Network Rail and Cancer Research UK my sister and I took in all the other entries. There was such a huge variety of work and so very different to my own, I was in no doubt that I wouldn’t win anything and was still riding high on the fact a piece of mine was on display in a gallery in London, next to Tate Modern no less. The possibility of my work maybe getting sold during the exhibition was as far as my dreams would dare to take me. Shows what I know!

It is at this point in proceedings that things took a most unexpected turn. The time had come for the winners to be announced........