What better way to get over a metal creative block than to create an art work about it? Ironic really but then so much of life is.
Artist block is a painting inspired by an image by Gustave Dore amongst others, such as readings by Gustave Jung, Albert Camus and other existential works. Dore’s image portrays a prison block, a group of prisoners taking their daily exercise in New Gate prison. My interpretation develops his composition into an artist studio, my studio to be precise, and myself as the prisoners. This painting is an analogy of creative block, a period in my early career when I struggled to shrug of my academic training to re-discover my creative side. At the time when the pressure of living in a new city, attempting to make a living as a young artist and taking on a prestigious studio building created enormous pressure on me and I found it very difficult to focus on my work. I was divided between following my heart and the obligation to continue with the tradition which I had leant in Florence. I became lost and began to doubt and question my-self.
The painting has double narrative; one physical one metal physical. One narrative portrays my evenings in the studio pacing around the room from one work to the next but finding no motivation to physically work on them. The other, a psychological feeling which, relates to the doubt, anxiety and questioning of ones values. My thoughts circling, my mind in a spin. The portrait reflects these different emotions but at times in the circle shows determination and resolve. A sense of isolation is created by enclosing the physical and mental states within the studio, showing the blue moonlight glowing through the large north facing window. Blue is symbolic colour associated with melancholy and isolation. Blue also draws us into a meditative mood. It is cool and calming. The Ladder is another symbolic object, which often stands in the studio, which I chose to keep it in the composition for its symbolic nature.
As well as the painting I worked with a composer to create a soundscape to accompany the work. We made recordings from the studio and discussed the painting as well as my life surrounding the period I conceived the idea and later made the painting. The recordings included sounds such as my footsteps on the wooden floor, brushstrokes, aerosol or fixative, lighting of the wood burner in the studio and a few others. We also included extracts from the interview and from some old art documentaries, which I was watching at the time.