Showing Up. Why I am here.
My situation is: I changed careers from fitness (14 years working in fitness industry) to art. I moved from Cork where I worked as a personal trainer and fitness instructor, to Ennis, Co Clare, where I had no job. Did this exactly 3 years ago.
I started my MA in Fine Art with OCA, UK in September 2016 and graduated last June 2019.
I manage my art career in the mornings and evenings around my 3 kids, who are in primary school. I am also a carer for my daughter age 7 who has cerebral palsy.
At present I am making performance art and portraiture. Performance work is coming from the physicality of my past job, which involved constant movement, standing teaching and being in front of people instructing and demonstrating- a different kind of performance but performance none the less.
Portraiture comes from my fascination with people, faces, body language, aging, stories, posture. I follow people around if they are interesting looking to me, or making interesting movements. Peoples attitude and intelligence is right there in there faces if you look. I find with drawing people, you really have to keep doing it regularly or you lose your fluidity and ability to respond to the visual challenge.
Portraiture is my link to the community. I’ve met people and made friends through this work that I never would have met otherwise.
I find that managing my career alongside my kids means that I find myself trying to be everything to everyone. Rather than seeing this as a disadvantage I see it as an advantage. My job as a carer has lent me great resilience and also the frustrations involved come out in my work. My kids are a huge source of inspiration and their observations and opinions of my work are valuable.
My career change- at age 40 I decided to leave the fitness industry, my job as a trainer. We moved from cork (where we had been based for 8 years) to ennis, and I literally started again. I knew no one and had no contacts in the art scene in ennis. This was both advantageous (no preconceptions to break, no expectations to meet) and a disadvantage (no-one to ask for help).
The advantages of working on your own. I find working alone hard, sometimes claustrophobically so in terms of being alone with your head, but then if I don’t get alone time I crave it. Also being alone with your thoughts allows you to to come up with ideas and processes otherwise you just wouldnt do.
Opportunity. It wont happen unless you make it happen.
This summer (2019) on the advice of Thomas Conway, dramaturg, and leader of Platforms Artist initiaitve, glór, I asked glór for studio space to develop new live art work from.
‘The term Live Art is not a description of an artform or discipline, but a cultural strategy to include experimental processes and experiential practices that might otherwise be excluded from established curatorial, cultural and critical frameworks. Live Art is a framing device for a catalogue of approaches to the possibilities of liveness by artists who chose to work across, in between, and at the edges of more traditional artistic forms.’ (thankyou Live Art Development Agency)
This oportunity to work in the glór studio space is huge for me- it allows me the physcial space to move around and try out performative ideas I otherwise could not. It also means when I am here I am focusing on getting the work done and not the million other things floating around on the to do list in myhead. Having the team at glór here supporting me is also a great boost and a validation of my efforts.
Process. Have faith
Up till now I had made performative work, as in physical gestural work using my body, and filmed it. Such as the works featured here:
The main component of the work was the film, as opposed to the physical act of making the piece of work. I wanted to change this around and have the process of making the work, the performance and the performance process as such, be the main part of the work, and the documentation of the work be secondary to the making. If a tree falls in the woods if you werent there or you didnt watch a recording of it happening then how do you know it happened, I know, so I don’t underestimate the importance of documentation however I realised I’d started to frame the work around the documentation process as opposed to the other way around.
With this in mind I have been spending my time in glór studio (so far) developing new ideas and trying out new processes. These involve gestural exercises, testing out physical durational performance ideas, and writing about the experiences. I am very results driven ( I sound like a funds trader here 🙂 ) however making work like this is the definition of process driven. I need to stop worrying about the finish line and come in each day, good or bad, and just do the work. I know that results, be that what it may mean by a ‘result’, maybe it means to resolve, always come from this. Over time ideas will foster and develop, and I have to have faith in the process.