Parallel but intersecting practice
Part of a wider journey (my life), this journey (my Masters) started because a complex idea was born out of my personal experience, my vision of the world and my artistic appetite. I must say personal experience to me goes into the mix as if it was the content and inspiration, rather than a reference or something I directly write about. Sometimes I see art making a little bit like cooking in which the most important stage to me is stiring. It goes a little bit like this:
One of my main aims in doing this Masters is to widen and make use of sculptural materials and techniques that as a 2D artist you wouldn't normally do so. So as a parallel activity, I have been carrying out two projects: one is my first social experiment as a book, which is nearly finished. I have been going to the Minesweeper's Collective boat to silk screen my book 'Th(d)e code and sense' on tiles and it has been a great learning curve.
It was the first time I did the whole complete process by myself (with supervision from Kevin who I am grateful to very much). This means that trial and error was part of the process, so all in all I did 3 exposures until I got some of it right. From making my own screen (I bought the mesh and frame and put it together), to applying the photo-sensitive emulsion on the screen and exposure and retrieval of the imagery. After a few tests I was finally ready to start printing.
So here are the first set of tiles (the white prints), to follow yet not complete are the blue and black. This is a story to be placed in what is a notice board made out of steel, in which these are going to be displayed in a cross-word fashion. (please scroll down after image below)
This project emerged from my interest in messages displayed in the urbanscape and how we perceive them. The whole book's research can be traced back to the sensorial experience of an illiterate person in a busy urban area. How does one feel and behave when one doesn't understand, needing to, their surroundings? From this question, the result is a book in which the reader needs to decode messages encrypted in the script that relate to the environment where the book is placed (a busy train station full of messages and displays) in order to achieve the momentum of questioning what is happening in the story/book itself: a revolutionary sensorial world in a not-so-distant future. I started this project when my masters proposal was born, and because of work, money and time issues, I have only been able to resume its making now: my first Public Book.
Another recent learning curve is wood-carving. As part of adult learning in Southwark, run by Mali de Silva, sculptural orientated courses are run with the main aim at educating people who are in waithood. However, if you pay full concession, you can also take part. So there I am, on Thursday evenings with a group of 4 so far (to be 6 from the next session onwards) exercising the chisel and mallet energetically, as if it was my gym session. Now that I am going to sculpt something I will, of course, turn into a book.
This Scotish-pine slice has already been stripped naked. It is called undress the bark and I was about to start drawing my design on it. I will be using carpentry chisels more often than carving ones because I chose a rather architectural design, hence, straight lines are not given to the round nature of a carving chisel.
Yes, it is going to be a sort of stair case... but I won't reveal the whole concept behind it just now. It needs twicking. What I can certainly talk about is the beautiful smell the wood exhales when I carve it. And the fractalian nature of it, as if it were rocks. The chipping happens in a very geometrical yet organic way. The layers and layers of the grain resemble the layers of tectonic plates forced into each other and crammed into lines. What I can talk about is the fact that it feels like I am working with Nature, eventhough in reality I am working against it. It feels like it's a gift I can choose to take or not, but given that is a skill, and especially an artistic one, I will take it!