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.
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.
Here is what David Hutchinson, former guide at Tate Modern, has written about my work:
I’m really looking forward to David Smith’s #LETTER365 installation. I was blown away by his earlier #Collage365 show. The discipline of making an artwork a day was a huge commitment, but what shone through on the walls was rich artistry unfolding before your eyes. Fragments of found objects, images, colours, and lines were put together with invention, emotion and wit. You could pick out your own themes and variations, surprises, puzzles and delights.
The #LETTER365 installation in the Allsop Gallery at Bridport Arts Centre will continue this I’m sure – plus the challenging conceptual twists of buying sight unseen, with the installation only revealing what’s been bought.
I can’t wait to see the randomly selected piece I’ve bought, how the installation changes, and – most challenging of all? – the final bonfire of the vanities.
I have just spent the last hour or two trying to track down the sudden slow running of my PC. It’s a pretty powerful machine and it is not often that I have cause to complain at its speed and capability even when editing multiple large images. I quickly found that none of the processes were using much CPU power so I looked at the services and found something using 25%! It turned out to be the monitoring system for my UPS. I updated the software and immediately the problem went away. But of course while looking under the hood I happened to notice a couple of other things using more than they should. Of course I have no clue what most of these things are and what they do so I end up reading forum posts and trying to track down why these things are misbehaving. They are not affecting the system enough to slow it up or cause me any problem at all and yet I am spending an hour or two trying to get a solution when I should be writing this and a hundred other things. But of course it is because I have a brain that does that kind of obsessive hunting that I have taken on #Letter365 and am carrying it out in this way!
Which brings me to the fact that I have not had a day off for almost 2 years! I think it is now 672 consecutive days that I have created a piece for either #Collage365 or #Letter365 and for a few weeks both. Most of the time it’s fine, usually more than fine, but occasionally I wish I could cheat. Like tomorrow we are going to be away and I don’t want to do my #Letter365 there so I will have to do it in the morning and I may end up restricted by time and may not have the full range of materials open to me because of drying time, say, or getting-it-wrong-a-few-times time, or run-out-of-ideas time. How great would it be if I had already created tomorrow’s artwork? But of course that goes against the whole idea of the project. However, that reminds me, there is nothing to stop me at least doing my envelope in advance.
It’s all a bit of a long tale but to cut it short I planned to do my artwork for the day and take it to Bridport Arts Centre personally as I was taking down my #Collage365 show this afternoon. I had created the envelope, including a message that it was to be delivered by hand, but left it at home. By the time I had finished the piece there wasn’t the time to go back home before I had to be at the Arts Centre. Because I had already created the envelope I sort of felt bound to deliver by hand. I considered making a new envelope or crossing out the message but decided to do it properly. I’m pleased I did because, as you can see in the photograph, I discovered the “art doors” of the Arts Centre. The shadow of the Christmas lights appears to say “art” across the doors, which I think is pretty cool! The art work inside the envelope (which I didn’t just leave outside) is pretty cool too, a bit odd and unusual, but cool! The envelope has another quote from Joni Mitchell’s “River”: the nearest I get to liking a Christmas song!
Oh and I have just realised that I will reach No300 on 31st December!
I’m not sure if there is any evidence that vegetables dream though there is some evidence that plants do respond to human actions and even human thought. I guess that Frank Zappa was probably not advocating any real interaction with vegetables but more likely making pointed comments about acceptance and discrimination:
Standing there shiny and proud by your side Holding your hand while the neighbors decide Why is a vegetable something to hide
Well this evening I watched the Imagine documentary about Anselm Kiefer. I’m not sure what to make of him and his work. There is such a vast array that I need more exposure to find my way through it. One thing is certain, I like the way he talks about the interplay of chaos and control. I was also caught by what he said about waiting. How waiting is an important thing that we are not used to doing these days. He talked of how when he has worked on a piece he needs to wait to see how it is and it can turn out to be rubbish when removed from the agitated process of working it and sometimes it’s the reverse and he comes back to a piece he thought was no good to find new connections and that it is good. That’s where this project and #Collage365 are different and difficult. I do not have that extended waiting period. I have to have faith that I get it pretty much right first time.
Laura Cockett, the new Director of Bridport Arts Centre takes delivery of #Letter365 No252 at my #Collage365 Private View. It was a great evening with lots of people and some sales. #Letter365 is set to be even better.
Well of course the answer is “a fine piece of art for today’s #Letter365” and that is what I did. I am absolutely cream-crackered now after working on getting my #Collage365 show up at Bridport Arts Centre and I still had a task to work on this evening so I can get it just right before it opens at 10am tomorrow. Yet I still managed to create a decent piece for the project. I had in mind what I wanted to do and the result was great – though I could have done with something that took less time! But what you can’t expect is anymore writing here.
When I say I am on a roll I am surprising myself: I am really quite excited about what I am doing at the moment and already have plans for tomorrow, but I am frustrated that I can’t at present develop the ideas into my general work. In fact I am not really able to do any other work at present as I have been prepping for my #Collage365 show at Bridport Arts Centre (hanging tomorrow) and am trying to get sorted at the studio so I can have some spin-off viewings there too. I am feeling a bit stressed and my black dog of depression has been poking its nose in for a few weeks. So, thankfully, I am on a roll with #Letter365 and, thankfully, I am just about holding it all together for the show and stuff but that is hardly “on a roll” and as for the rest, well I’m wading in mud in wellies again!
It’s been a busy day today. I sorted out the final pieces for my forthcoming #Collage365 show at Bridport Arts Centre and took them off to the framers. Then went and bought our second car, mainly for Sally’s commute and round town. And that took up so much of the day that by the time I had done #Letter365 we had ran out of time to get to Paul Newman’s preview evening in Gillingham, about which I am really gutted. And now we are off to meet some friends and say farewell before they move and another friend is coming to stay over. The reason I mention all this is that, when under pressure, all sorts of things pop into my head. I get scared to do the things I think are needed in case I bugger it up and have to start again. When will I learn to just do what my heart tells me?
An unfolding artwork created a piece each day for a year