Thursday, 11 June 2020

#carersweek - #wagesenotclaps The Lost Wages Totaliser!


It's #carersweek this week, so my campaign is #wagesnotclaps

Carers charities are campaigning to make caring visible.

As an artist, I am obviously the best person to do that!

But not for free, as obviously this is my career, not an expensive hobby.

Carers FIRST apparently produced some kind of virtual magazine featuring carer's artwork.
I wanted to promote my last workshops, which they had funded. 
But I had an email asking for artwork. So obviously, I'm not going to just give it away, as I'm a qualified illustrator, and would need to know the publishing fee.

I don't know if it was included, as the link from Carers FIRST on twitter won't open.

Current events that are overshadowing #carersweek are the obvious events happening globally for #BlackLivesMatter

Which is obviously important.
I wholly support #BlackLivesMatter 

AND it's also important to note that carers remain shockingly unpaid.
In no way does this mean I wish to be accepted into any racist all lives matter bullshit.

We are told of our rights, our rights to work, which we seem to be given no choice but to give up.
We are told we are entitled to benefits, which are Kafkaesque to claim, and are not enough to live on, and force us into debt against our will, which is economic abuse.
I'm not the only carer to point out the basic fact that it is modern day slavery.

I am still waiting for my son's PIP appeal. If he is awarded PIP, I might be entitled to Carer's Allowance, which is a pitiful £67 per week.
There is a limit to how much I can earn on top of that, and if he is not awarded PIP, I will be entitled to nothing.

Zero. 

•Update Thursday 9th July* We have a date for his PIP appeal coming up on Friday 17th July.

Yet I still have bills to pay, food to buy, higher household expenses, and on top of that, to be able to practice as an artist, I need materials, the internet, time and labour costs, and respite breaks. I also have hobbies that are unrelated to my practice as an artist and illustrator, and for self care, it's important to have non work related activities.

It's EXPENSIVE!

Quite rightly, statues of slave traders are being removed. I went on a tour of Lincoln's statues, as an artist, whilst out on a bike ride for exercise.
The Usher gallery has several non slave trader statues
What I'd like to see in this space outside the Usher Gallery, or maybe outside the bus station or train station, is a neon piece about being a carer, commissioned for me, not any of Lincoln BIG's God awful statues. 

Now is the time to recognise artists that are carers, and to pay us! 

The current amount of lost wages is now £998,172.8 MINIMUM
The first three years following graduation, 2008 - 2011, works out at £63,225 per year x 3 years. Plus the next two years, 2012 - 2014, works out at £82, 982.75, then from five years postgraduate, it is £91,790 for 365 days per year, times 7 years up to 2020, which comes to £998,172.8


I'm a single parent, and now a carer, so I never get any holidays, so I should be paid for every day of the year. "Holiday pay" or "sickness" should be included on top of that. I'm not going to deduct any benefits or wages from non arts jobs from this amount, because I am an economically exiled artist, who has been prevented from producing work.
I applied for two COVID grants for artists unable to work due to the current situation, and BOTH OF THESE WERE REJECTED.
I can't live like this!
But equally, I'm NOT going to give up the career I have worked to achieve, because there are MANY that have tried so hard to ruin it at every stage.
The bully that framed me for stealing art supplies at G.C.S.E. level. 
The vengeful student at college that hated me for rejecting him on induction day, and spent the rest of the two years being an abusive loser.
My abusive ex, who tried and failed to destroy my university ambitions.
And the maniacal struck off mental health nurse that kidnapped my son and nearly drove him to suicide. And these are just a few of them. 
NOTE: If you're thinking of causing any more mayhem, you're NOT welcome!



I'm not here to provide unpaid mental health care. Nor am I here to watch as my sons are denied NHS mental health care in place of claps, virtual cuppas, signposting, self referrals, waiting lists as long as a piece of string, COVID excuses, mindfulness, or any other virtual signalling about talking, visibility, awareness etc, whilst actually doing NOTHING to change the fact that caring is slavery in the UK.

And no, I DON'T DO IT OUT OF LOVE. LOVE IS NOT GOING TO CLEAR MY OVERDRAFT. 


Oh yes. Full Joyce Byers Mode Activated.


If however, you're an organisation that fits this funding criteria, you could apply for this funding, and then fund my work.

This blog will still be here next week, and the week after, ad infinitum.

I will no doubt see tweets, articles and links from all sorts of sources, asking what to do about artists ineligible for SEISS grants, and those that fall through the cracks of government support.

None of this must be permitted to be used to sidetrack from the ongoing care crisis, and the appalling lack of proper wages for carers and artists alike.

Nor must some male politician, or any other mansplainer be allowed to take any credit for repeating the same words from this blog to advocate for change.
Most will continue to cook up various media storms designed to distract.

*Update Thursday 9th July*
I rang HMRC earlier this week, to check Tax Credits.
Remember that women are usually told to apply for these things, because no one seems to ever seem able to provide us with properly paid work.
I did this back in 2009 when I became self employed, thinking it would be a temporary measure until I started to receive a proper income. Austerity destroyed any chance of earning enough, and I've been stonewalled from arts funding since approximately 2016.

Last year, they were too low, due to the situation with my son's destitution (see previous blogs). But I'm told I am "receiving the maximum amount".
THIS IS NOT ENOUGH TO LIVE ON! 
IT'S NOT MY WAGES! #ExcludedUK
They steal your entire livelihood, then weasel out this option, then try to make you feel somehow guilty / indebted for the measly amounts paid, that you should somehow be grateful for, as if it's a loan from some "generous" benefactor, not money paid for services given, or work done.
It's simply not good enough. 

It's my birthday coming up, so I would prefer to go back to wishing for travel somewhere nice, not to have to fight for basic survival income that is constantly stolen.
I can't use money off vouchers for things I can't afford anyway.
I need regular online shopping deliveries, not discriminated against by supermarkets. Sainsbury's have been good for this during lockdown, Asda have lost a lot of respect. Morrison's have been great for nipping in to get the things that weren't available.

News this week from my carer's group was that one of the carers lost her son.
We are all carers of people with mental health, and we all dread this every day. 

If you wish to help with the #wagesnotclaps campaign, please email Rishi Sunak here: https://www.rishisunak.com/contact and tell him that carers cannot live on clapping. 

*Update Jan 2021*
This year, my lost wages goes up to £1,089,962
Please donate generously.
Thank you.

*Update Jan 2022*
This year, my lost wages goes up to £1178,752.80 with the Business Revival Grant reducing it from a higher amount.

Monday, 4 May 2020

Lost Dreams




I wasn't going to release Lost Dreams online, as I was in the process of seeking a gallery or festival to potentially perform it this summer.

However, Coronavirus has changed all of that.

It's made some decisions for me.

During lockdown, I made some very basic videos for the tracks in Minecraft.
The only reason for this was because all I had to do was do a screen capture, and it created a video with no work involved. I am still avoiding any effort to spend lots of time doing lots of work that I will not be paid for.


“Artists-as-Artists value themselves for what they have gotten rid of and what they refuse to do” – Ad Reinhardt, How Art Made Pop (And Pop Became Art), Mike Roberts, 2018, Tate Publishing.

Shirking is now the new working.


It was for me all along, but now it's for everyone else too.
Many people have been plunged into my world of home working and panicking about not being able to pay bills.

The reason I made the videos was merely to upload the sounds to Youtube so I could chordify them, to find out what the chords are.
Then I can pretend to play the songs on the keytar as a performance.







I later discovered a button on Soundcloud to monetise uploads, so I have uploaded them there, because that was where the original Apparatjik collabs went.
I have created a Patreon page for Lost Dreams, so I decided reluctantly to upload there.

I have sent the track Hlör U Fang Axaxaxas Mlö to BBC Introducing, and it was also played live here

I'm currently the only carer campaigning for #wagesnotclaps

Please do not feel bad if you don't clap on Thursday nights.
We didn't ask for clapping, and all it does is insult us.
It is no replacement for the income I have lost due to austerity, or actual wages.

The next broadcast is the first track Dreamfall. An update - due to #BlackLivesMatter the previous scheduled broadcast will now be this coming Saturday 13th June from 12.00p.m. live here
Listen out for Dreamfall, the first track from Lost Dreams :-D

Massive thanks to Filip for supporting the project :-)
Number one Soundcloud musician Filip Clements says “Hey cool! Best of luck with your project :-)”
Filip’s song Spaceship is #1 on soundcloud’s new hot and trending rock chart in the UK and Norway, and #4 worldwide.


Thursday, 23 January 2020

New Year, new research


It's a new year, and although still fighting against my own economic exile, I was given this book for Christmas - How Art Made Pop.

I'm interested in how artists studied at art college and then continued their career as pop / rock musicians after graduating.







This is of particular relevance to my practice, in refusing to do tons of work for little or no income as a powerful statement against exploitation.


John Lennon on Yoko Ono
Obviously it covers John and Yoko.


Fanzines are something I'm exploring via my Illustration practice, as the art side, and amateurs, try to exploit artists and illustrators, trying to make us create and produce editorial work for no money, when I so obviously need to earn a living.


I'm experimenting with the keytar when I can...


Interesting info from the Sheffield scene of the 1970's.
I've been observing the activities of Weird Garden, and the use of tape loops.
It's something I moved away from following Apparatjik work, as I wanted that piece to be far better than any amateur or DIY aesthetic, and I felt that the only people that were supporting my proposal were amateurs, not fellow art grads that had a similar practice to my own.

I couldn't do the collaborative work that I had aimed to, due to all the economic exile that has done nothing but increase since 2012 onwards, and I have no intention of returning to that at all.

However, I'm thinking a lot about Cindy Sherman, and how those who are interested in hearing my sound work will experience it.
I've thought of ways to "perform" it, and ways it would work as an installation.
I keep thinking of doing lengthy music videos that would require a lot of unpaid work that I would risk not being recompensed for, and I can't justify doing that at the moment without a record company to finance it. 
And I don't even take it that seriously!