After a few weeks meandering up the East coast, and traveling inland a little, myself and Ian find ourselves at Driftwood Studios, just beyond East London. We’ve been here a few days now and seem to be settling into a more relaxed state of mind.
I’m on my first official artist residency, and so far enjoying it immensely. I had no idea what to expect, not only from the residency but from myself as well. Would there be an expectation to create inspirational work? An obligation to define my work in conceptual terms, or worst, to speak an intellectual language that might pass myself off as ‘an artist’?
I say the latter somewhat flippantly but I must admit I find the ‘art’ of wearing a title an interesting one. I do love wearing titles, wearing hats, and fashioning myself upon my mood, but to define oneself under one title, for example ‘the artist’, and adopt this title wholeheartedly is indeed a challenge.
Defining oneself in terms of a single title seems somewhat confining to me, and just like choosing a hat to go with an outfit my choice of title could very often depend upon my daily disposition. Yet unlike other titles like ‘curator’, ‘facilitator’, ‘visual arts programmer’, or indeed my newest and most unfamiliar title as ‘wife’, the title ‘artist’ seems to encourage a more critical mind, and I find myself asking what does it actually mean to define myself as such?
Once I start defining myself as an artist it seems an unspoken expectation arises, and a desire to hold a certain demeanour presents itself. What this demeanour should be I have not yet decided, but I am aware of its presences, as one side encourages a playful disposition, while the other demands a more serious stance.
It seems obvious to side with the first approach, and enter into creativity with a playful attitude; however from past experiences it is more likely ‘the artist’ will try to adopt a more serious tone. Yet since being here at Driftwood, and although I am struggling to quieten the critical mind I have noticed I am waking up much earlier in the mornings. I feel awake, alert. I am trying new things and experimenting with new materials.
Who knows what hat I may decide to wear tomorrow or indeed the next day for that matter? For now the simple act of turning up seems to be working. Everyday doing something. So for today I have decided to take off my hat, to put down the title of ‘artist’, and simply immerse myself in the process.