The last week has been very much about change for me. After several years as an adult student, I completed my Diploma in Therapeutic Counselling. This represents the end of a substantial chapter of my life. This isn’t a bad thing though. Whereas I left University with a Media Degree and absolutely no idea what to do with it or even what I was good at, my Diploma training has given me clear insights into the way I work, my strengths and weaknesses, the things that appeal to me and the things that don’t. Of course, as I’m no longer a student, I need to find a job. And perhaps for the first time in my life, I’m going to be looking for employment with a sense of what I can offer as well as what I need.
On Wednesday I met up with a friend who shares my interest in art, to take in the Painting in Time show at the Tetley in Leeds. Perhaps I was looking for things that reflected my state of mind, but many of the pieces – including inflating and deflating sculptures and an interactive Yoko Ono work that could have been a toilet for Pinhead from Hellraiser – seemed to be in a state of transition too. It was all great fun, especially the performance piece in which two of the attendants danced with a silver sheet under strobe lights, making it appear fluid. I love this kind of thing. Metamorphosis is a theme that has a powerful draw for me. I remember as a kid being fascinated by the Doctor’s change of body in Doctor Who. Regeneration always appealed greatly.
Continuing the subject of transformation, I’ve been reading a book about body modification. I have quite a few tattoos and piercings, but the artists discussed in this collection of essays edited by Mike Featherstone – notably Orlan and Sterlac – have taken the field into new, radical and inspiring directions. The book has re-ignited an itch that has been dormant for a while.
My own art has been going through a process of change too. As a student with fees to pay, I wasn’t able to afford Photoshop, so I had been using PowerPoint to create sequential and patterned designs. As rewarding as this was, I wanted to move in new directions, so I have been testing the limits of the Paint software on my laptop. Partly inspired by Robert Anton Wilson’s marvellous Schrodinger’s Cat trilogy (track it down on Amazon, you won’t regret it) I have been exploring the interaction between every day scenes and boundless, abstracted spaces. This appeals to me as a way of exploring the human experience in the digital age, which seems to offer a new kind of infinite.
The Spaceman Ascends
Entering the Void
It feels that the next step will be add more organic elements.
I have a sense that my work probably lacks cool. But since turning 40, this seems less of a priority. Another change.