How I Avoided the Dreaded Artist’s Block:
After finishing my degree and showing the final outcome of a huge body of work, I have been finding it incredibly difficult to then pick up and continue developing my art practice. Therefore, in an attempt to avoid the black-hole sensation of an artist’s block, I am at Joya Arte and Ecología in Velez Blanco, Spain, doing an art residency. By immersing myself in this new and rich environment, testing out my art practice for the first time away of art school, this an incredible opportunity to force myself away from my comfort zone and gather new ideas.
In order to find new directions for my practice, I often revisit previous work and explore previous starting points to find new aspects to explore. Following this technique, I revisited my Body Map Paintings (see left), which are exploratory paintings where I mapped out the internal state of my body using just my hands and acrylic paint. These are a starting point I soon sadly developed away from, hence why I am keen to revisit today. Although I do finish most of my Body Map Paintings, it is the process itself that is so important to me. I map out my body onto the surface using my hands, as honest and as visceral as possible. I am then faced with an unreliable self-portrait of myself, specific to the time I painted it. This captures a visual representation of my internal state in the present moment, and shows me how I view myself and my current state.
As I make the paintings so spontaneously and quickly to capture the moment, I then crave a time consuming, labour intensive process to demonstrate the delicacy and complexity of my internal state (my previous performance pieces such as Thoughts on a Feeling, are examples of longer processes). This was no different when I began painting in the studio at Joya today. After a few hours, I stood up and stared down at an overly
crowded, overbearing painting, and I could not help feeling disappointed at its flatness, its predictability and the way it became lost on the studio floor. However, I then had such an urge to pick it up, out of the restrictive borders of the painting, where the piece would become a surreal, three-dimensional, existential being. I imagined a room filled with these beings, and this only makes me crave their existence more. These beings would be different versions of my internal state, capturing different moments in my life, different experiences, different situations. I imagined how varied and diverse the room would then be, and all I want to do now is try it out.
Previous Body Map Paintings