Tuesday, 27 October 2015

I am not Ai Wei Wei

I'd like to take a break to explain why I stopped producing fine art work.

When I was at University, not only did I have less of a student loan than many students now, but I also received a regular small grant to cover materials costs and the expenses of producing work.

Since I graduated, I've applied every now and then for funding and not been successful.
Not wanting to allow a lack of funding to prevent me from creating work, I carried on regardless, but the disparity between the concept I had in mind for the work and the available non-existent budget, meant that I was producing far lower quality work than I would really prefer.

I thought about this this morning as I cleaned the kitchen.
Some artists have incorporated cleaning as a work of art itself.
Other artists have second jobs that have informed their practice in some way or another - they've somehow used knowledge or skills from those jobs or materials as part of the jobs to produce work. 

But I still think that compromises their work!
After all, Van Gogh never worked in the cafe in Arles other than to paint it.
He didn't get a job as a barista to pay the rent and buy canvases; that isn't realistic.

Anyway, I had a concept for a project last year - the Onochord Bicycle Bell project. It was run initially as a test cycle ride back in 2014, but I had hoped to run it as a larger cycling art project.

Realistically, this is a social art project. However, it was included as part of a larger funding application - can you guess what happened to this??

Instead, the Jason Bradbury illustration, which has been supported by workshops, was successfully exhibited at the Engine Shed last Thursday as part of Future Fest.
At the event, Jason came over and had a look at the work, said we'd get a photo with it when he's in his Back To The Future gear, and later on we found some time to do that. 
Jason really liked the illustration, and it received a lot of positive feedback from visitors.
I also took the opportunity to have a look around at the various technology at Future Fest - there was the Oculus Rift again, and when I tested it out, they had zombies. 
Lincoln Tech Hub were doing 3D scanning, and there was @lindastrands the robot, taking pics of people and tweeting them.

I am prevented from being able to produce a lot of work because the funding would've allowed me to purchase a new imac - my current old mac has obsolete software and will no longer update, so its use is limited.
The guys at Lincoln Tech Hub will tell you that 3D printing has a cost, so it's not as if you can come up with an idea and just 3D print it (although that's supposed to be what engineers do).
I did think of making a Back To The Future Jason Bradbury in his DeLorean comic figurine - of the kind that is often marketed at comic cons, and having a few 3D printed to sell, but would still require a production budget.
Oh, and btw, the IP for that is mine.

I've been thinking about this, and thinking about the Onochord project, as the
Nobel Peace Prize was announced, and I'm preparing another trip to Oslo in April. 
I'm really hoping to be able to make this a work-related trip - I've made a suggestion for that.... a discussion to include some of my older work perhaps, but I came up with an even better idea.

If Lincoln won't allow me to produce the Onochord project, then I'm taking it somewhere where I hope it will be appreciated! 

There is a part of me that doesn't want to let them win. 
The naysayers. Those that know that if they ignore my work, don't bother to fund it (knowing that they could), I won't be able to produce it, and that suits them fine, because they'd prefer it if I just curl up and die so that students can get the opportunities for free.... or something.

Is that what they want? To destroy my career? By not funding my proposals?

I do wish I could have a career in the arts still. 
I feel that my potential has been wasted, neglected, and I don't wish to give any more to those financial abusers, the tax credits cutting vendetta.

If I was Ai Wei Wei, I could announce that Company X had refused me materials and offers of said materials would come in, but I'm not Ai Wei Wei.

I've also had to take a break due to my eldest son's diagnosis with depression.
Becoming an unpaid carer was not the career I had in mind at all.

Teenagers these days are obsessed with YouTube and Minecraft.
"You should do Minecraft!" they say. In the words of a villager

I made a Minecraft skin then created this.

I've set up a Youtube channel. I don't know what I'll do with it yet.
I don't think I can compete with the 'rockstar' status of gamers such as PewDiePie or Markiplier, but at some stage I'm considering a number of options.
I used to upload animation work, but I don't know if I have the time or resources to create animations any more. Another is to upload expertise and tutorials, but I don't know why audiences don't just go to University like I did? 
Currently I'm thinking of relaunching my graphic novel Kickstarter, but either way, I still require a new iMac and funding to produce new work, whatever that may be. And I'm not Ai Wei Wei.