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What is it that you do?

November 22, 2013

Found on the beach in Devon

Ah, that old chestnut! The question that strikes fear into the hearts of many artists/creatives. Especially those like myself who don’t really know yet.

At the moment I am thinking about a whole lot of stuff and experimenting a bit.

I have moved from being a Photographer, to a Filmmaker, to a Crafter to an Artist. All through this my processes and ideas have been similar but just with different outputs. At the moment I am most comfortable calling myself an Artist/Maker as that seems to encompass all of the above.

Although I have a degree in an art based subject (Photography and Audiovisual Media) I am starting at the beginning in terms developing my artistic practice. I don’t want to be limited to one medium and I see the connecting factor in elements such as use of colour, certain themes that keep emerging and my observations on the world. Being part of Islington Mill Art Academy is part of my art education. I am taking part in discussions, reading groups, crits and event. It is taking me out of my comfort zone and allowing me to develop into a more rounded artist who asks questions and develops work slowly, noticing and enjoying the process.

But when someone asks me ‘what is it that you do?’ I get stuck.

What do I do? Can I define it? Should I even try to define it?

So, a few possible answers;

– I walk around looking up or down taking pictures of things that I see.

– I am an art student.

– I pick interesting things up off the floor, my latest additions are a tiny gold chain, a circular piece of metal and broken sunglasses.

– I collect interesting colour combinations.

– I make things, recent makes have included a giant kaleidoscope and a tiny forest box (still in production).

– I collect, document and make things around topics that interest me. A recent one is collecting and pressing ‘weeds’ from Middlewood locks.

– I lead courses demonstrating different art and craft techniques and try to inspire others to explore their creativity.

– I am part of a peer led Art Academy (Islington Mill Art Academy) where I am constantly learning. About the art world, about other people’s practice, about art education, philosophy, history and myself.

– I make collages on the go using found paper and a glue stick. I especially like doing this on holiday.

– I sometimes paint and I take pictures all of the time.

– I occasionally photograph bands and musicians (but I don’t enjoy it unless it is someone I know and like, even if I like the end result)

– I have made several stop motion animations in the past and I may well make another one.

– I think a lot. About everything.

How do I put that in a sentence?!

Maybe I will experiment with a few different responses and see how they feel. Maybe it will depend on who is asking to what answer I give. (If I ask a question like that it is usually because I am interested in how their creativity is expressed, rather than an ulterior motive of forcing them to define what they do).

Maybe I just shouldn’t worry about it so much.

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