I am now in my seventh month of study at Academie Minerva (where did the time go?), and at this point I can confidently say that I have drastically improved my skillset in terms of photography, which is my usual practice. I have learned to hand-develop my own film, as well as experiment with different photographic methods such as pinhole and other camera-less photographies, print-methods and alternative materials, as well as currently working on creating a camera obscura, all of which will contribute greatly towards my final year of BA Photography at Coventry University.
Despite this, however, I want to utilise these final few months at the academy, where I have access to a range of different workshops and mediums, to experiment and - honestly - simply enjoy working with other methods of fine arts before I'm confined by the restrictions of photography in my final year. I want to enjoy and make art for myself, because I want to, and not just for an institution.
I often work conceptually, where I spark a creative idea or narrative, and allow myself to develop my practice in order to work towards summarising my ideas with a body of work. This semester, however, I've found my creative mind to appear blank, and I've been beating myself up over the fact that my creative juices just aren't flowing or leading me to any concrete plan or making an artistic body of work. This empty, or even indecisive, mindset was - and still is - leaving me feeling like I'm going around in circles, that I'm being unproductive, and that I'm a bad art student.
I found the inspiration, however, to 'just do'. Exhaustion et Exuberance, is a reading that was set for our class, and in one section, focuses on the concept of 'I can't'. It was a text I resonated with on many levels, but particularly the 'I can't' chapter, where I realised that I prevent myself from creating any work, let alone the potential for my best work because I feel that 'I can't' achieve something, or that my work won't be 'good enough' (whatever that means). So, after realising that I am my biggest critic, and also my biggest prevention, I decided to 'just do'.
Instead of continuing to read or search the internet for some sort of wild and innovative switch to flick in my head, I returned to my studio and picked up the first materials I saw; a pen and paper, and 'did'.
I started by making these small sketches (above) which has eventually led to me experimenting with painting, as well as much larger scale drawings (below).
Whilst I didn't think I'd created this work for any recognised purpose, I am now questioning whether or not there always is or always has to be a purpose; always a 'why?' in order for my work to be a success. Throughout the duration of creating these works, I listened to ambient sounds, as well as music through my headphones, and, in all cases, let my hand flow naturally. Whilst I've always imagined that 'I can't' draw or paint, there is a definite link between these and my photographic works (example below) both in terms of style, colour, rhythm, and cleanliness. So, there isn't a huge, in-depth concept behind these works and there isn't even necessarily a 'why?', but that doesn't mean 'I can't'.
I'm really pleased with where this work is headed, and whilst I might not be the most technically skilled in terms of drawing or painting, this is a small reminder to myself that 'I can'.