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How to be both

Ok. So I clearly lifted that subject line from an Ali Smith novel. I read one and thought it rather good.

So. I’ve been using this book to help align my strategies for this new year:

It’s been fun writing in all my ideas and plans and actions in The Makers Yearbook and even noting down blog posts I should write (like this one). There are sections for social media (oh how I love/hate Instagram) and spaces to write out the stuff you need to do each day to haul your ass from where you are to a place that feels a little more successful.

My problem is – there are several but for now I’ll list one – I have one foot in the fine art world and the other in the commercial, sort of illustration world. I can’t focus on them both at the same time. The plates stop spinning for one thing whilst I’m focusing on the other.

And as an artist, it also makes it difficult to describe what it is that I do. I suppose I could strip it down to ‘I make art about buildings’ which sounds rather dull. Although, when finally joining a local artists network, I did insert the word ‘decontextualising’ and now feel pretty smug…or ridiculous.

It’s been interesting to watch my social network Likes light up for the different types of art that I make. This also helps me to judge if I’m on the right path for either fine art endeavours or the more charming illustration work. I recently completed this:

It received almost no love from the fine arts crew. However, a photo of a textile piece featuring an electrical substation received hearts from Team Fine Art.

I can see how it’s beneficial to be in both camps but it can also make my planning a bit muddled. And so. This year I have decided to focus on the fine art aspect of my practice. Hopefully the prints and pins will tick over happily in the background whilst I have a play with creating new material.


I am an artist living and working in a rather gorgeous city. My art can be purchased in various shops throughout the city as well as from my online shop. Most of my work is for commission, private and corporate. I am the founder of Crash Course in Art History Limited.

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