Every time I hear a sentence about achieving, I flick back in my mind to the scene in The Big Lebowski where Mr Lebowski is asking Jeff Bridges’s character about his achievements. Mr Big L then goes on and on about how he has achieved this and that and the speech just goes on and poor Jeff is just looking baffled and of course we are all to think that Mr Big L is a massive wanker (look at me, using my British words!) and man, just leave Jeff alone. The poor guy is wearing his robe and nobody deserves to be verbally attacked whilst still wearing a robe.
But anyway, I achieved this by effort and luck: Wall space at the RSA
It’s the back story of this piece that is the interesting story. It wasn’t easy. Not much about this last year has been easy.
What has been easy has been the way I have come into contact with such amazing artists. I seem to be gravitating towards artist mothers because having crossed that divide, I now understand how much more difficult it is to achieve anything beyond a shower and getting dressed. For the both of you. I’m an advocate of the mother artist and I applaud every one of you that has continued in some way to tap into both callings: Mother and Artist.
My most recent acquaintance has been of the riotous Freddie Thomas. I was just minding my own business whilst walking down Howe Street, when I saw a hot pink sign with the words ‘Off with ‘er head’ scrawled onto it. And so I just had to have a look. Big massive drapes of shiny cloth and illustrated French ladies with their heads hacked off. Respect. May I please collaborate with you at some point because I think it would be crazy fun.
As for my story, I disappeared into this artwork as things around me were crumbling. L was my focus and to keep myself sane, I made this work specifically to submit to the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition. ‘I’ve got the power’ was shortlisted but didn’t make it to the final show. It’s all part of the game of being an artist: Acceptance and Rejection.
And the game of life. The image of my then partner going out the door, with the sun blazing behind him and his silhouette appearing through the glass of the door, will always be seared into my memory. My daughter and I watched this together and although it wasn’t until a few days later that he actually left, it was that moment when I realised it was happening.
So, no, none of this has been easy. Everything I have achieved since then has been nothing short of miraculous. Keeping up with supplying prints to the shops. Taking down and rebuilding then taking down L’s cot, followed by putting together her small bed. Taking a course at Edinburgh Printmakers. Five days of quarantine with L whilst she overcame a virus and thinking of ways to keep her entertained without her friends. Keeping up with the laundry. Putting up pictures. Submitting artwork for the RSA. I’m patting my own back for all of these things. I have greatly achieved.