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I got to the SOA with time to see the 2nd year painting show, but Cold/Flu had me in its grip even after a Lemsip,

Cold or Flu

So as I’m not very good with stairs at the best of times…. You see, if I park at the top, I’d have to go down; if I parked at the bottom, I’d need to go up… the SOA needs a bloody lift! I sat resigned in the highly comfy sofa of the Soddy, complete with its lush disabled toilet and ramps… these things count and make a real difference!!!

I was also Soooooo….disappointed to have missed the presentations, but you didn’t need my bugs, so it was best I got it done and left. But I was so grateful for the lovely feedback and support. It’s hard getting through that PDF in 10mins!!!

Thank you to those that put their final project info on their notebooks, which are always full of inspirational ideas… here are some extracts from mine.

Side conversations were terrific, as always….

Saad’s fabulous neuro sounds

Abid’s shadows and photo shoots…

Issac’s curating…

Outside on the way home, Karen and Chris talked about colonial art repatriation and the Benin artefacts (which should go home); I brought in holographic projection and how everyone could share art…

Talking to Paul about A.I. art …

and seeing Miranda’s amazingly delicate number art all in one short afternoon!

It’s all like this soup of ideas.

It’s coming together into a dish, a menu, a performance…

What a fantastic semester it has been. I feel like I’ve come home and found a door through into my secret garden of digital art practice and more.

Miranda’s stewardship, inspiration and guidance have been outstanding all semester.

The Everyday Pain team have been with me all the way (they never leave), but it will be interesting where we travel next year…. Next year… listen to me! Twelve years ago, I was diagnosed with heart failure and told to get my affairs in order, make my will and arrangements for the kids (they were going to live with my best friend, Helen) …… But I am still here, and Helen is dead…. I am still flying the plane, and she is returned to the fields she loved so much…. The WWEP team and I go on as if we have unfinished business…and the nonsense I’ve got up to in those 12 years would make Kubota blush … but the tumour did slow me down somewhat (understatement there). I had an abdominal clearance like Emin and learned more about my own body by doing artist research on Emin!

Still flying the plane

I was lucky to keep my bowels and bladder; no bag for me, but only because it was all such a mess the surgeon didn’t know what to take out. So, he hosed me down, shoved it all back in, and said he’d done his best under the circumstances. Maybe that’s why I’m still fascinated by Sherman, Rosler and Hock’s kitchen knives, sliced and disrupted images of self.

Artists/ideas I want to explore more have come up this semester, and there is so much more depth now….. Smith’s The Black Tower, wow… it’s rhythmic use of stark images, cut with colour and meditation monotone voice over.

Akerman’s schmaltz and ashem hypnotised…. And what is it with bloody Rothko that won’t get out of my head!!! Pigments, I think…

The Dadaist or rather the Contemporary version…

The production of wall cushions is simply no longer enough… I don’t think it ever was for me but I couldn’t see the difference between didactic wall art and artistic triggers….. I saw this quote from Brian Eno today, It summed up perfectly what I wanted to say… ‘Stop thinking about artworks as objects, and start thinking about them as triggers for experiences.’

I’ve not painted at all this semester except for the pre-semester sketchbook… nothing… that was deliberate and difficult to resist at first but then artistically freeing…

I wanted to see if I.P. changed me… it did… I now know that my painting is hamstrung by my need to control… fascinating how or if I overcome that…. Maybe I never will, and it’s too late …And that is no longer an issue for me … that statement is a massive artistic step forward for me!

Next semester I intend to audit digitally my artist materials… because I never want to buy anymore…. I have collected so much over the years that it might take a while. A semester’s work in itself… Lee John Phillips in his grandad’s shed will have nothing on the room of requirements that is my front studio!!!

I feel whatever project I delve into next year; I need to draw a line under the loss of my best friend… no one can truly live with unresolved grief…Helen is how I came to university in the first place… I think I’m ready to do that now… Sr (2022), a documentary film about Robert Downey Jr’s Art Film making Dad and his final days and death, came to mind. A few frames from one of Downey Sr’s films…

Chafed Elbows

Chafed Elbows (1966), a bloke, is painting a long line down an alley in New York, and this guy comes up to him and asks what he’s doing. He replies, “well, you got to draw the line somewhere”….. that seemed to be the most genuine and perfect filmmaking I’ve ever seen…..

I’ve made many new friends here at university, and this I.P. group, in particular, is amazing. I will be eternally grateful for the glimpse into your lives and art practices…. never enough time… never…

The Black Suitcase opened up its delights this week for me with a visit from the Lockerbie air disaster. The news of the arrest of the bomb maker brought it all back. I’ve been in far worse situations than that night; flying, mountaineering, paragliding, snowboarding, backcountry skiing, motorbike and car racing all have provided spicy moments… hell I’ve even been mugged in New York… Twice…

but nothing compares to the horror of that night… it doesn’t haunt my dreams thank Gawd… another flight, or should I say a combination of flights, do that…. No, Lockerbie causes a full-blown puke-up shaking fight or flight PTSD response with just one image… 34 years later, and it still triggers… which is the absolute definition of the power of the visual.

If my art can ever tap into a fraction of that power, it would be extraordinary…… I am exploring the contents of the Black Suitcase, but as for Lockerbie I am certainly NOT READY, and that shit is going firmly back in the black suitcase and getting buried deep.

I am, however, extremely excited for next semester, I have so many ideas to explore, and I’m looking forward to both the takeover and the graduation exhibition.

No it’s not the end this is my Christmas present to you. A link to my visual inspiration of my favourite childhood cartoon happy Christmas.

Roobarb learns to fly

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