On becoming an artist

In October 2018, I moved my life to Valencia, Spain, in search of a more artistic life. It was one big experiment to see what could happen if I put most of my time into making art. I thought of my first year as a ‘self-taught foundation year‘ and even put on my own end of year show.

Now, another year on, with the world turned upside down by a pandemic, I’ve decided to relocate to Kent, in the UK, for the foreseeable future. (Not that the future is desperately foreseeable these days, but you get the gist!) It’s a decision I wasn’t expecting to make and it is with a heavy heart. Living in Valencia over the last two years has been a hugely significant period in my life. So I thought I would take a moment to reflect on what I’ve learnt from my time in Valencia and on becoming an artist, so far!

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Lockdown Art Tally

I planned to spend 1 month in the UK, arriving in early March 2020, to host an art project, The Body Room, in London. As the COVID-19 situation has unfolded, I stayed and it has been almost 5 months now. As I get ready to return to Valencia in a few days time, I thought I’d make a tally of all the new and unexpected ways I’ve engaged in art during the lockdown. In a rough chronological order, it goes like this .. read along and see how many you recognise too!

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On Face as Mask and Self-Portraits

Since mid-March 2020, I’ve been seeing a lot more of my own face than normal. Yes, you’ve guessed it, like many other people, I’ve found myself on a merry go-round of video calls as a result of Covid-19. I’ve used video chat to keep in touch with friends and family, to keep working on art projects across borders and most recently to complete an 8-week online art course. And it’s exhausting. I’m no fan of screen-time at the best of times – yes, I’m one of those strange refuseniks who still doesn’t use Netflix! But beyond the eye-strain and tense undertone of blue screen light, I realised there was something particularly emotionally exhausting about the new prevalence of videochat. And mostly that was my face …

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