All posts by David Smith

Magic: like a rabbit out of a hat

#Letter365 No360 goes in the postbox
No360 gets posted

I am a bit like Psycho Killer at the moment “tense and nervous, can’t relax, I can’t sleep ’cause my bed’s on fire, Don’t touch me I’m a real live wire” so with all the other things I am trying to do (and not really succeeding) I was beginning to worry about how I would come up with something. Even worse I started with something that requires a bit of time/elapsed time. I had photography and mounting to get to grips with so after starting the piece I had to put it to one side and concentrate on photographing the work that I am mounting for the browser in the installation while the light was ok.

Now here is an interlude: the mention of Psycho Killer called out to the unseen worlds and brought me IT annoyances to  make me angry and frustrated, wasting my time and draining my creativity. I thought in the past that the occasional odd loss of data in WordPress was because the session had expired. I changed the setting to not log me out but still, just once in a while, it lets me carry on working on a post and when I go to publish the post it says “are you sure you want to do this?” and whichever your answer is you lose the page and the last bit of the entry. Normally just a slight occurrence because of the regular auto-save of the draft, but just occasionally it doesn’t seem to have saved the last 20 minutes or something. Like today! Arrggghhhh!! Oh yes and the it helpfully tells me that the back up is different to the draft you are working on: hopes rise and you open it in another tab to fin it is identical to what you are working on. I hate computers. And phones for that matter. Every time Android has an update (we are on “Lollipop” [puke] now) I have a breakdown. Rather than an enhanced experience they tinker the GUI so you waste hours finding ways to restore what you had or find a workaround all for the sake of something that is “cool” rather than efficient. Rant over!

Now you can’t really expect me to find the wit and words I had written before and though I appreciate the loyalty of the 5 or so people who look at this once in a while to be honest I can’t be arsed to try to recreate the mood and resonance. Suffice to say No360 turned out very well when I was expecting to struggle.

Afterthought: maybe my computer annoyances are due to inanimate objection?  “Inanimate Objection” is a SF short story by H. Chandler Elliott which I remember reading on the plane back from holiday in Spain in, probably, 1965. In it a man is increasingly plagued by the objects around him being actively hostile. This morning I made a note in my sketchbook about making assemblages from old phones under the series name, Communication Breakdown. Perhaps this was a warning shot across my bows from the increasingly hostile world of electronics?

After 359 days it’s hard to find stuff to say

#Letter365 No359 gets posted
No359 goes in the box

What do I say? I have been working at all the things I have to do to make the installation a success and to present other relevant work to put it all in context (and grab the opportunity to present pieces to a wider audience with the hope that people might buy it!) I have selected some pieces to mount for display in browsers and started to put them together. I am aiming to have about 20 pieces, but I won’t stress if I can’t get it all together for the opening night, I can always add some as the show progresses – after all it is continually unfolding! I have also picked up the pieces I am submitting to Drawn the drawing open at RWA.

So I have created a piece of work and, annoyingly, I didn’t have the time to play around with some ideas that arose from it. Now I feel I have to write something but I don’t have the time or energy. I will perhaps use ideas from today as a start for tomorrow but enough words for now.

Next Friday will be my last

#Letter365 No358 goes in the box
No358 gets posted

It’s not that I have booked for the Grim Reaper to pop round at the end of next week, but I am now on my home run. At the time of writing this in a week’s time I will have finished the Preview Evening and the world will be able to judge where on the line between genius and nutcase to put this project.

I had another look at some of the photographic record of the work I have done and feel happy that I have produced good work. It is a shame that less has been sold so far than I had hoped and I cannot see a sudden surge this week or much more than trickle over the weeks. But I will have a story to tell and I will have made a mark with the largest piece I have ever made. It would have been different in a city but little old Bridport in lovely old Dorset isn’t a bad place to do it.

So glad I resisted fiddling about with this one

#Letter365 No357 goes in the box
No357 gets posted

Sometimes things just need a time to build and evolve and then you just have to sit with it until you know it’s right. This one turned out almost exactly as I had planned it but along the way I kept wanting to change it, doubting that original vision. Yes there was some fine tuning but when I finished I saw that the tinkering would not have worked. It also  has given me some ideas I want to work on and I can see ways where I may take it into media I am less practiced with.

Into the final straight

The postie pops #Letter365 No356 in the bag
Quick as a flash and it’s gone: No356 goes in the bag

Just as I was taking the photo of No356 being posted along comes the postie and whips the envelope from me and into the bag in a flash, but as you can see a flash is what I didn’t have turned on.

#Letter365 No356 gets posted
No356 about to be posted with a postie’s hand behind

So we are down to the last 10. Of course my brain said “And we are down to the dozens and this is why…”

A crab and a stone

#Letter365 No355 gets posted
No355 goes in the box

It is likely that we will see out the rest of the project with some annotations on the envelopes related to the #Collage365 piece 045 – a crab or a stone. As the plans for the installation itself get clarified it is becoming increasingly obvious to me that this whole project and most of my other work during this last year or two have been firmly rooted in my favourite theme: the interplay between chaos and control, emotion and the intellect. I took the collage to the framer’s today and have decided to include it in the #Letter365 show as it is pivotal to the whole affair.

Collage by David Smith
#Collage365 – 045 a crab or a stone
Paper, printed elements and watercolour 229mm x 152mm

Tired, excited, frayed, busy – and that’s just the art!

#Letter365 No354 goes in the post box
No354 gets posted

So much I want to do and so little time, but that is all part of it. What gets done gets done and the rest can be for another time. I have been quite busy and reasonably effective today (at least until tonight) and I reckon that I am still a couple of days behind schedule. Having said that I had some successes in the studio with other things that will allow me to move forward following this project.

I left a good idea at home but found another at the studio

#Letter365 No323 goes in the box
No353 gets posted on a rainy day

I was kicking myself when I got to the studio as the idea I had for today involved something that I had to prepare at home. Fortunately I am not short of creative ideas and one just jumped on me when I got to the studio. In hindsight it may not have been the best idea as it took much longer than I thought, and I had other things I needed to get on with there so I was out far longer than planned. All worth it in the end I hope.

I was going to do something but did something else

#Letter365 No352 gets posted
No352 goes in the box

I, yesterday, may or may not have done something based on the day before and today I intended to do something based on the day before that (or not). Now, as I was starting I realised that it was not what interested me or excited me just then. I discarded that idea and played around with some other ideas and gradually got into the territory and started to get interested and it all came together. I thought it was quite different to yesterday’s (or not) but now I come to process the images I see that it has some similar traits and themes to yesterday (or is completely different to yesterday’s and sharing no similarities in colour, shape, form, structure, etc.) Now isn’t that interesting (or not at all interesting)?