Major Rager: A week in the life of an artist.

I forgot my phone one day and was reduced to sketching this interesting paper bag over lunch. It was good to get back to sketching.

Last Sunday, out leaning on a gate and looking for whales I was interrupted by a neighbour new to the area, who, in climbing the gate told me in what direction to look. Sigh. There is a legendary figure in Irish mythology, Cú Chulainn, who is said to have tasted the forbidden Salmon of Knowledge which made him super-intelligent (or so he imagined I imagine). I think this myth is code for the sort of men who think that by possessing a willy they know everything – the salmon is quite phallic – and I refer to these men as being a Willy of Knowledge (WoK). This WoK was following his dogs who were running about the fields and cliffs – a Special Protected Area – as they always do which annoys me no end. I walked away raging at this attitude of entitlement but wondering why I was so angry – they aren’t my fields after all. I realised that entitled people like him enrage me because I have spent my whole life assuming I am not entitled to anything. When I realised the rage was all mine I calmed down. He’s still a Wok but I think I will be taking a few leaves from the book of the over-entitled from now on and asking for my share, so watch out.

Again, no camera when I saw this man in grey in Lidl cradling two yellow melons as his wife shopped.

This week also I installed an experimental ‘idea’ into the gallery space I work in. It is an ambiguous installation in that you are not sure if it’s an artwork or an accident…or that was the plan until a social media person decided to post about it in a way that declared it an artwork, creating a label with my name – MY name!My f**king name! – slapped on it in block capitals without consulting me. This person, a female, is another of life’s annoying types, one so dim and yet defensive that they run rings around the rest of us. Less the Willy of Knowledge and more The Fanny of Unknowing (FoU).

Minor stuff in the scheme of things, but having, worked on it for nearly two years and seeing this post stuck on Instagram for 24 hours being viewed by my peers, there I was raging yet again. I even woke up in the middle of the night I was so annoyed. One of the only benefits of being an artist is that your work is entirely your own to do with as you like. How I haven’t had a heart attack this week I don’t know – agewise I am edging into that territory. But… the wonderful thing about the installation is that two of the Box Office Staff have come up with a story inspired by it which I hope they will illustrate and we will make into a small POD book. I’ll post photos of the installation another day.

I also had a two day install in another gallery with an artist friend. The show is a collaboration between herself and a woman with such crippling ME she is in a nursing home, so quite an emotional exhibition and as with all installs there was some stress as artists get very close to the work (see above!). The inevitable cock ups with framing/tools/labels/AV equipment etc can cause huge distress. As an artist, installing for another artist is a tricky line to walk too, as I have to make sure to have my ‘installer head’ on while using my artistic experience without giving away or imposing too much of myself. So a lot of boundary setting which I am getting better at. There was an additional challenge too – another installer from an affilated group arrived unexpectedly – a man!Would he be a Willie of Knowledge come to show me how to do it? However I was pleasantly surprised to find that he was one of the lovely ones and we all worked very well together. And because of my tiredness I was being very clear in making decisions. Bossy even. Like I said, watch out, I am starting to stake my territory. Here is the link to the show

The day I forgot my phone was the day of the install so I had to make drawing notes instead of photpgraphic notes. Here’s an attempt at mapping a pile of boxes we used as ‘plinths’.

I also managed to get an application off for an artist’s residency. I had started it before Christmas and worked on it on and off but completing it took me until 2am one morning. I was pleased to get that done. I probably won’t get it but as applications are such a massive part of the artist’s life, I see them more as ways to review my work and it’s direction. If you get awarded anything its a bonus. Refusals still sting though. I got a refusal for an online gallery last week – ouch – and am waiting on hearing about two more applications that between them must’ve taken a week at least.

As part of the residency application I managed to get a very small photobook published on Amazon. Well sort of. The paperback keeps being sent back with notes to ‘make the document larger’ – Amazon is a pain in the poopy like that, but heres the EBook. I think it may be free on Kindle. You may be very unimpressed. I am also working on a big painting of our theatre’s defunct but funky old projector. It’s such a cool machine I had to. I’ll post more on that another time.

Another setback: During the week I also received a laptop I invested in with the aid of a grant. It took me week’s to pick it out so I was happy to have it finally sorted but when I opened the suspiciously light box it (received by my neighbour) it was empty except for the charger. Sick to the stomach I spent an hour so at the end of a long day on chat to to someone in India who assured me I would get a refund when I returned the ‘laptop’ that I did not have. That’s all still ongoing. I can’t even rage about that right now because …I just can’t.

And this also from memory – this wee boy dressed in navys and greys, sitting out in the cold, on his phone, despite his soft young face he looked like a miserable little old man.

There was, unbelievably now I think of it, another couple of things going on this week that were taking up time and headspace but I won’t go there now. Today, a day off and finally a chance to Sunday stuff – after I cast some more concrete pieces for my installation – including cleaning out my car and replacing the headlight bulb. It took a good half hour to take out the headlight and when I had it all dismantled I found the bulb I had been sold (by a Wok) was the wrong one. After the week I’ve had, I didn’t even flinch, and put it all back together and went and had my dinner. I normally not this busy so lets hope next week is calmer….



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