Tag Archives: process

Installation ends Saturday 11 April with destruction of unopened letters

#Letter365 installation showing July and August letters all open
July and August all open

My #Letter365 installation has gone better than I could have imagined for a small town in rural Dorset. I am delighted to relate that more than 50% of the letters have been sold and will be open and on show in the Allsop Gallery at Bridport Arts Centre until the show ends tomorrow 11 April 2015 at 4pm.

At 2pm tomorrow I will begin publicly destroying all the unopened works – unless, that is, kind people make me offers I cannot refuse. Individual pieces are still available and can be bought from the Arts Centre in person or online and I am happy to consider low but sensible offers to save remaining pieces in lots of whole months. Contact me if you have a proposal.

Sadly bureaucracy prevents me from publicly burning them and I haven’t had time to source a big shredder so I will resort to tearing and slashing it all.

Thank you for all the support

For a birthday on a birthday

#Letter365 No364 goes on the pile with the rest at the installation
No364 goes on the pile with the rest at the installation

It’s my daughter’s birthday today so No363 is for her. It is also my birthday today. We nearly always spend our birthdays together but sadly for me she cannot this year as she is working on the new Knights of the Round Table film. I hope she likes it!

Installing #Letter365 in the Allsop Gallery
Installing #Letter365 in the Allsop Gallery

The installation has been going well and all the envelopes are now up on the wall apart from the next two days and two which seem to be missing in action . Investigation to follow!

I have lots to write about coming out of the process of installing the work and feelings and emotions it is engendering: I certainly didn’t realise just how much the installation – the physical placement of the envelopes on the wall – relates to my other work. Even though I designed it pretty much from the start to be the way it is, it has really knocked me out how much it is like one of my field drawings, including the act of measuring out and pinning the envelopes to the wall. It really is a field drawing in itself, only instead of the usual imperial size, this is a monster 30m by 2.5m!

I will come back to some of the issues raised today, but I have other chores to do and my energy levels need to be monitored if I’m to get everything done. I may tweet more later this evening, but I have 5 weeks when the show is on to ponder on these things.

I am going to cheat for the last four days

#Letter365 No361 gets posted
No361 goes in the post box

Tomorrow I have to start installing this giant piece of work and I have loads of other things I need to get done, so I have decided that it is sensible if I CHEAT for the last few days. It’s for my sanity you see. I can’t afford to get stressed about it all as I have a deadline to meet. So what I have decided is that I will cheat! Not out-and-out cheating just a bit of advanced preparation. I will of course still create the pieces each day but I have already got two ideas which I will gather the materials for so that I have something I can execute swiftly on the day. Of course this is not much different from having sketchbooks that I could rummage about in on a day when I was short of inspiration. It’s an insurance policy to ensure that everything gets done and to be honest there have often been times when I have thought in advance the broad direction I might explore the next day, it’s just this is much more worked on. Like I say, the artwork will be made on the day but not quite as “from scratch” as is the norm.

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?

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.

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

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 might just do the same thing for the rest of the days!

#Letter365 No347 gets posted
No347 goes in the box

I was doing #Collage365 – a collage a day for a year – before this project, but the projects overlapped by 18 days. That means today marks 700 days on the trot on which I have created an artwork due to my self-imposed commitments. I have not had a day off for 700 days!

Anyway, earlier this evening I was saying to Sally, my partner, that I had absolutely no idea what I was going to do for today’s piece. Then jokingly I said, “perhaps I’ll do the same as yesterday.” It’s not such a bad idea, especially since in the last 4 days I will be very busy installing the show! It would be good to settle on an idea and just do a new version of it every day – or not!


It’s interesting how the small adjustments make all the difference

#Letter365 No331 gets posted
No331 goes in the box

Sometime the smallest of adjustments can make all the difference to a piece of work: adding a line, blurring a colour, trimming. cropping, or whatever is necessary can make it come alive. Sometimes it is easy to see that something is missing and what needs to be done, but it is when you know it is not quite finished but can’t put your finger on the reason that keeps it, frustratingly, stuck in “work in progress”! Luckily I knew immediately what was needed for today’s #Letter365 piece: still not sure for some other pieces I am working on!

Sometimes you wish you looked at things a different way

#Letter365 No322 goes in the post box
No322 gets posted – gosh it’s nippy out!

After I had signed today’s piece and went to photograph it I started to wonder if I had got it the right way round – OK you guessed, it is an abstract work (of a naked person lying on their side or possibly standing on their head). I decided to leave it but now I have looked at the images again I think I like it best rotated 90° anticlockwise! Bugger, I can’t really cheat now! I wonder how I  will feel if and when it is opened?