The Art of vulnerability.
My work has been described as ‘an exploration of the human condition’. It is autoethnographic in nature and ponders, questions and analyses ‘life’ from many perspectives but mainly my own ever-changing lens. Religion, philosophy, personal history, literature, anthropology, psychology and spirituality all inform my personal practice which has covered all manner of characteristics, events and situations that have composed the essentials of my human existence thus far.
Themes within my work have included – Aspiration, Emotionality and Conflict (Fairy Tale, 2003), Growth and Aspiration (Love, Lust and Pain, 2006, The I AM Story 2010), Relationships and Love (This Cuckoo Thing, 2007, Tell Me Something About Your First Love 2008-2011), The meaning of Life (Unanswerable Questions, 2006-2008), Perceptions of the Self (Mirror Mirror 2005 and An Intimate Distance, 2008) and Mortality (The Tale of Annie Get Your Gun, 2010, A Life Lived Through Lillies 2012).
I am a mixed media fine artist whose practice incorporates elements of drawing, sculpture, print, textiles, poetry, painting, video, audio and performance art.
I am a human and as such I often make mistakes. I am not infallible – as much as my perfectionist streak oftentimes wishes that I was.
I am also an artist. An artist is a person who actively allows themselves to make mistakes in order to be creative, in order to develop their practice and in order to grow.
The Art of Vulnerability is my current project. For within this project I am attempting to turn my mistakes into a masterpiece. Over the next 24 months I will be using the Hoffman process tool of “recycling”. Working with my very own negative patterns, beliefs and behaviours in order to remove and overcome them and to turn them into something better. And I will be using 16 years worth of art making and educational experience and skills to create this mixed media body of work.
This project is not just for me however – this project is for everyone who wants to engage with it. I’m opening a dialogue. Putting on display through the titles of the pieces – the things within me that I wish to change in order to become my ‘best self’ and I am doing this through my practice – in order to develop and in order to grow. Perhaps by my own admission of fallibility – others will realise it is ok to admit to your mistakes. It is ok to open up and admit that you are human. And it is more than ok to want, to need, to take action in order to evolve and in order to grow.
My favourite line ever and that you will oftentimes hear me saying to children at the start of an art led session is this: “creativity is making mistakes – Art is knowing which ones to keep”.
And what a perfect sentence to sum up a human life. For we are all alchemists in the making if we choose to accept our mission of becoming the best version of ourselves that we possibly can. Each day actively vowing to take ownership of our lives, to develop our inherent human creativity, to learn from our mistakes and transmute them into gold.
To be human is to err but to be an artist, to be an alchemist is to transform. We’ve all been given a precious human life so why not use it to become the best version of ourselves we possibly can and enjoy the ride while we’re at it.
The following images are from my recent exhibition at the Tapestry Gallery in Liverpool as part of the Not Just Collective. Thresholds: The Adjacent Possible, February 2018.