A couple of days ago I was so proud of my boat/raft thing that I thought I should enter it in a competition. Once I’d downloaded the forms and everything though, I noticed something alien was creeping into my decisions about what to include and what to put where, and I realised I’d have to be very careful to keep the work honest and close to me now that it would potentially be seen – and more specifically be judged – by other people.

What starts to happen is a persona emerges who takes my place, and my actions and the work itself settles into a citation of itself. I start wanting to put signposts all over the place to demonstrate things and mark things out, even when I don’t know what those things are myself. I suppose this happens to some extent whenever art-making is taking place, and perhaps this is what people mean when they describe work, positively, as self-conscious.

But I want to limit the separation between myself and my work. I find it very hard to keep hold of my own immediate need to make my work, and my own genuine interest in it. I think it’s a very, very hard thing for any artist to do when they have an awareness of market forces and so on. Not showing my work ever, at all, would help me to focus on the direct relationship between myself and my work, which at the moment at least, needs to be intimate and personal and strictly two-way.

I don’t expect anything I do or make or write to directly meet or reflect me, but I want the relationship between us to be honest. It’s taken me over a decade of daily diary-writing to come to the point that I feel more-or-less fluent when I write. I’m certainly nowhere near that with my artwork yet, though I think it’s fair to hope that the time may come. If I’m to learn from the model of my diaries then the way towards this is to keep my work secret and to never let anyone see it, which is a thought that thrills me!

Although I know there’s a big part of me that needs my work acknowledged. Here I am putting photos and writing about it online, for instance. And I wonder how significant it is that I assume one day that my diaries will be read again, either by me or by someone else in some form I’ve edited. There’s a contradiction here isn’t there.

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