It’s a bittersweet day today…my time as the “Artist-in-Residence” at the Fire Station Arts Centre in Dubbo comes to a close today with one final open studio event.
For the past three months, I’ve held the above title, which brings with it a weight of responsibility and commitment to those who invest such trust and faith in my ability as an artist to do something with the space and the time. I’ve mentioned this feeling of being committed to creating before in my blog. It works.
While I’ve spent 15 days in Studio 2 over the past three months, I’ve probably spent an equal number of days thinking about different elements of the work, as well as working in the field and from home. That’s probably more dedicated creative time than I manage most years!
I’ve gained an enormous amount from the opportunity provided to me by Orana Arts and the creative directors of the Cementa contemporary art festival. Not only have I produced the start of a body of photographs, drawings, soundtracks…and a very large collection of cardboard boxes, I’ve been given the chance to experiment, to change course when needed, to make mistakes and to simply contemplate my navel on those days when the creative juices aren’t flowing. It also gave me a chance to prove myself as an artist – taking it on as an identity I don’t think those around me often associate me with. Being an artist is a way of being, of thinking, of communicating, it’s not just about painting pictures and selling work. There are too many myths about artists and studios, and the art created in studios, which I hope I’m dispelling bit by bit.
When I hand back my title of Artist-in-Residence today, I hope I don’t also hand back the feeling of what it means to be an artist. I’ve felt closer to my identity as an artist over the past three months than I have ever done before. For once I felt I didn’t have to prove anything, I just had to be. It has brought me great joy. Those days in the studio when I was completely absorbed in some activity were some of the best days I’ve had over the past three months. Thank you to all who made that possible.
As I write this (in advance), there are noises of construction going on outside my house as preparations to lift a 40ft (12m) high cube container onto concrete footings are underway. After many, many years of wishing, I’m finally getting my own studio space at home – out of the house and completely dedicated to my needs. As a container conversion, it’ll have its limitations, but I’m excited by the possibilities. I’ll keep you posted!