I recently completed a masters degree, coming from a background in video production, publishing then running my own design business for around 12 years. I had the idea that I wanted to get involved in public art, but had no portfolio of work to get me started, this is how it began…
I set out with the intention to embrace every opportunity offered to me whilst on the MA. I was quickly drawn into a number of projects which saw me working as an artist and curator in a variety of community settings.
Trips abroad to France, Cyprus and the Czech Republic all led me to the same observation, I was using installation as a means to communicate with communities; be that bringing school children together with old folks for tea in biscuits in Arras, France, or creating a trace of a human out of light in an abandoned prison, to open up dialogue with students who had had family held in the Czech prison we were residents artists in.
It was my luck to volunteer for a week with artist Shaun Caton as part of the Spill Festival, (‘Rainschemes for Insomniacs’) which pushed me further than I imagined into performance art and taught me so much about using art to communicate ideas.
In my final module my practice encompasses; installation, performance, walk as art and curation. I use these methods to investigate the idea of relational aesthetics; projects based on or inspired by human relations in a social context.
Walking has always been a passion of mine and having worked as a designer of walking trails it was no surprise I was drawn to walking as a method of bringing people together. My research has taken me through the rich history of walking artists from Marina Abramović to Richard long, and the social principals of urban activist Jane Jacobs.
Working with Kinetika in Tilbury I met an incredible group of artists from the Essex region and learned the true meaning of collaborative practice as we toiled on a set of ten 6m tall flags, the projects intent; to create a community of artists and volunteers from the area, as part of a walking art project that twins the river Thames with the river Hooghly (Culcutta) in India.
But further than that I investigated what the actual definition of ‘the walk as art’ is, and what that represents through my walk ‘Place, Story, Artefact.’ With a series of unexpected installations along the route this curated walk facilitated dialogue about the regeneration of the cultural quarter in Colchester.
I have researched curatorial practice, studying a short course at the Whitechapel Gallery in London, and am inspired by the likes of ‘super curator’ Hans Ulrich Oberist, by his drive to meet people and engage with them; perhaps a really vital quality in curators.
I aspire to create works of public art that inspire discussion and even court controversy inspired by the work of artists such as Jeremy Deller. Exploring a variety of techniques and materials to create my work; what unifies it is the social nature of the work, whilst I do not consider myself a political animal, I uphold a set of principals about the environment and have a social conscience, I endeavour to create work that enriches or enlightens in this vein.
It has been my goal throughout this work to observe the formation of communities through the interaction with art/artists, for people to be drawn into and involved in it and for it to be inclusive. My last project the curation of an exhibition at Space studios, a new studio space, it was my aim to create an artist constructed social event to engage the newly formed community of the building, it acted as a catalyst to such a degree that the members commented on it themselves. Enabling communication is the realization of the exhibition.
Where next? My projects have led to continued community involvement, running a version of my walk as art (‘Place, Story, Artefact’) as part of ‘Street Hunt’ in Colchester, and am planning on curating an exhibition of work by Peter White one of the ‘Bardfield artists’ once the dust has settled, oh and then there’s ‘Rainschemes II’ on the horizon…!