Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Here we go!!! Surtex 2015!!



It's that time of year.  And this year I'm a veteran.  I know how it all works, don't need to get into a state, it'll be ten times easier this time round. Won't it?
I'm panicking because I feel like I was way ahead with the planning last year but yesterday I had a look through my 'to do' lists from back then and actually I wasn't.  I started preparing in the second week of Mar.  So I'm only a week behind.  Last year I was confused about every tiny detail, the size of the booth, how I'd hang, display, transport things.  I nervously read every line of the exhibitor manual.
It reminded me of when I brought my first new baby home and the idea of her growing teeth and eating real food and not wearing nappies was an alarming prospect in the future and I had no idea how we would do all that.  Obviously, when I brought the second new baby home there were no daunting mysteries and I felt confident that his baby years would be much easier.
But they weren't really.  I still had to do them/deal with them.  The difference was that I knew how the second time round.  Which is what  I'm finding now.  I know exactly what to do but I still have to get on and actually do it!!!!  And more importantly - I have to find the time to do it.
So, with that in mind, I started my preparations with an extremely important task that couldn't wait a moment longer - making a pretty 'to do' list.  It's pinned up in front of me as a jolly, happy reminder of the hellishly busy weeks ahead.
It will be worth it though - I can't actually wait to go to Surtex - it's the highlight of my year - just like having my babies was the highlight of my life.  No pain, no gain, what doesn't kill you makes you stronger, you get out what you put in!!!  Here we go!

Friday, March 6, 2015

I think I like collage best!!







I just listened to this interview with Lisa Congdon by Monica Lee from Smart Creative Women - here.   Lisa talks about  my friend and fellow Jennifer Nelson Artist,  Jennifer Orkin Lewis (August Wren) and her brilliantly successful sketchbook project.  She talks about it in the context of finding what makes you enthusiastic - what makes you want to leap out of bed in the morning.
I've been working as an artist/designer pretty much my entire adult life, in one way or another, and obviously there have been creative peaks and troughs during that time.  
I think university was probably one of my highest points creatively, where I had the opportunity to exercise the purest freedom to be myself and experiment artistically (for zero money). The grimmest period was the first few years after having my first child - where I wearily cranked out miserable looking designs two and a half days a week, to try and keep my hand in and earn enough to pay some bills.
And now!!!  I'm riding the crest again!  I'm doing what I want - and it's okay - clients like it!  And a lot of it turns out to be collage!  I don't know why but this really appeals to me.  It's messy and chaotic and I can draw and paint on it... and I can't keep clicking the back button when something is wonky.  But it's also clean and flat and bold and brightly colored.  And at the end of it I'm holding something in my hand that can be propped up or hung (or scanned and photographed and messed about with!)  
I can't tell you how many times I used to sit in an NY design studio and dream of expressing my own taste like this.
I look at what I'm creating now and think - well - it's not difficult is it?  You always liked this stuff, these colours, these shapes, these layers.  Why couldn't you have been doing this before?  And the answer is...because I wasn't ready.  I was in a constant low grade panic, with a (misguided) voice in my head telling  me what was okay and what wasn't.  And I didn't have the context or support to exercise that level of  freedom.  Over the last few years I've worked towards building that context and support, surrounding myself by voices that override my own when it tells me what I can't do.  
One of those voices is Jennifer Nelson's.  She's shouting loud and clear.  The other voices are those of my online artist friends around the world.  And then, most importantly, there are my clients  - the ones who want to work with me, who think I'm doing a great job!   Of course, at the end of all this though, there's me isn't there!  I'm starting to understand what I REALLY like and go where I want to go.  I'm  cheering myself on - and on the days when the enthusiasm is ebbing, there's always Wilson (the disembodied head stuck to my computer stand) to remind me!