After thinking about it for quite some time I have finally made some changes to my website. Since starting my MA in Composition and Sonic Art at Brookes University here in Oxford, I have come to the realisation that for too long I have been restricting my artistic practice by compartmentalising everything I do. So, whereas before on my website I had categories for art, music and writing, I have chosen instead to see these disciplines as more a means to an end rather than an end in themselves. So, from now on, everything I do will come under the singular term ‘art’, even though ‘art’ is not in itself a category on this website; I am an artist rather than an artist, writer and musician.
On the MA, we have been encouraged to explore different strategies for creating artworks, and for exploring ideas. I have been guilty in the past – like so many others – of having an idea and instantly thinking of the end result; designating a medium and visualising a form before I’ve even explored the idea or theme. Working this way has always blocked me, for, rather than thinking about the meaning behind the work, I have instead always thought about the work – or what I have perceived the work will be. For example, I think of an idea, and say to myself, “I will do a 10 minute video piece…” and at once the idea is constrained, strait-jacketed, and, as a result it withers and dies; crushed, more often than not, by concerns over technical constraints (and possibilities).
So, this website marks a departure from that way of working. Now with my ideas, I try and look for a way in using strategies such as free-writing, drawing (as a means of understanding a given thing) and mapping. However, in designing the website, I still required categories of sorts and decided upon three; not Art, Writing and Music as I had before, but rather Places, People and Objects.
Much of my work is centred around the concept of place and deals in particular with memories of that place. These works might – eventually – be video-based, sonic, aural, text-based, paintings, drawings… whatever, but I have refrained fromusing any of these as categories in themselves. Instead, under each heading I have listed the various projects I am working on and within each of these have created six headings, those being; Introduction, Context, Evidence, Approach, Journal and Progression. More may follow, but as things stand these will suffice.
Introduction is just that, an introduction to the themes and ideas which I am exploring. Context is an explanation of my reasons for wishing to pursue the idea; how the Place, Person or Object relates to me and vice-versa. Evidence is an exploration of the thing’s background; it’s history, it’s place in the past, the present and – in conjecture – the future, as well as being a collection of relevant readings and/or images. Approach is a summary of the methods I have used – or am using – to explore the idea or theme, for example, free-writing, drawing or mapping. Journal comprises extracts of my journals and sketchbooks and Progression is a look at work carried out thus far, with thoughts on possible final pieces.
As said, this way of working – and indeed thinking – marks a departure for me, but already I have reaped the rewards. Hopefully, you, whoever you are, might reap some reward too.