Thursday, 7 February 2013

The Body Remains

The familiar walk to the Job Center, dark this morning. I wasn't thrilled about having to go in and sign today, I had an interview (Skype) this afternoon and I wanted to make sure I had everything I might need, try and locate some lost sketches, and just breathe. Everyone stresses about interviews, phone, in person or face to face over the ether. But I left the house so that's something. I've done that 3 out of 4 this week so far!

Here are some little scraps I managed to dredge up. I should mention, the interview was for a company in Denbigh that makes bespoke ceramics, tiles, mosaics, for large murals and luxury swimming pools mainly. I had progressed to interview after emailing some examples of my "work", old bits, some fairly recent portraits of pets and people, family. I was nervous about this because the woman on the phone (arranging to Skype prior to today) asked specifically that I have examples of unfinished life-drawing type sketches to show. I panicked slightly, after agreeing tenaciously of course, I don't really "sketch" you see. The whole thing scares me.
If I'm making a painting for someone I'll make a drawing of it, guidelines, and paint over them, the honest act of mark-making and crucially decision making, hidden by good old paint. Like make-up, it hides imperfections, but, in itself, painting over an illustration, or colouring in like I do, is as a heavily made-up face, mere fakery. And not that pleasant on the whole.

Sometimes I'm a little more honest with painting, but it's difficult, like leaving the house unwashed and 'au naturelle' - it seems easy to just waltz out the door not having to expend any effort, but in reality, roaming around without a mask of civility is really tiring.Apart from those occasions when it seems a liberation, those "I couldn't give a fuck" days, where losing your job or getting seriously injured doesn't seem as serious as ordinarily it would. So, I just don't make things anymore, much. In the past when I did they've never been 'real', I've always been down the 'make-up' route, no subtlety, distracting, pointless. True this was usually to pass an exam at school, to please a relative or friend. It's taxing though, this dishonesty, this withholding of oneself. So I stopped 'colouring in'.

I made the above at the end of my first year of A-Levels, I can't remember the criteria, I just remember thinking I didn't much care, I was going to make something big and crass and not give any mind to what people would think, a friend died, I didn't have anyone close to talk to, same old "I don't care" stuff. It was pretty big, they're all box-frame canvases coming together as Velazquez's "The Toilet of Venus". Blatantly and purposely stealing from various famous artists and movements from the last century. I begrudged the fact that, in order to do well in art classes, both then in school and since in Foundation and University, students had merely to (poorly) reference art-related stuff past and present, print out a shitload of rubbish inkjet 'examples' of art works, crudely glue them into a 'sketchbook' with cringe-worthy annotations ("Pollock used to paint with a technique a lot like a dripping faucet" - faucet? You're from Tycoch !) that were usually pasted from some website or other. I'm not that bitter, it's just note-worthy, the seeming ease with which people are able to just, play the game

Always been rubbish myself. There I am look! Being generally rubbish. Nah, not really, not always then. I did come across some drawings today, paintings too, that I can say are earnest. Resultantly, I don't hate them. Things I made without asking myself why or wondering how they might be received by others. Without worry but not without feeling. Made with curiosity, to no end but they themselves, and often without even that end in the mind's imagined sight.

The above is not one of those mentioned honest workings. Make-up to the max, a diptych of my drag-queened eyes, with a rudimentary map of my route to school (the pinky wire) overlaying and connecting both panels. School, a temple of facade. It's also pretty big, maybe 1.5m in length, I could measure it but it's downstairs and I've already been down to placate a barking dog, to brush my teeth and make a tea (not in that order), a fourth venture now would be fairly ridiculous, despite the relatively modest time of evening. I'm not so comfortable with big. Physically I can manage it, but mentally, personally, it's a bit much. This kind of big at least. Garish, loud, needless. It's hard to appreciate this description when the piece is sitting small on a backlit blog.

Anyway, some of the things I didn't regret. This little one above (about the size of an A4 sheet of paper) is a close up of my supraclavicular fossa (circa 2007), painted using just the fingers of my left hand. Below is a close up painting of my arm and carpus, painted using my elbows. I did a series of small paintings (none bigger than A3, though they were mostly irregular shapes, on papers and boards) of different body parts seen from up close, using other body parts, feet, hair, face etc., Curiosity. Refreshingly I don't hate them, I don't regret the endeavour, no harm there. I aught approach future flights of curious fancy with vigour, perchance...

My stomach was in knots as the clock approached 13.30 and Craig Bragdy Design™ signed into Skype (I'm h.a.jones89 in case anyone ever wants to write something over there instead of here, No? Thought as much, but don't say I didn't offer!). During and after the brief interview I felt "this isn't going well, she's a little brisk, they said 30 mins, this is over in 12!" and such like. I wasn't feeling good, indeed I felt better about my chances yesterday coming away from Virgin Media... Plus I'd arranged my work to be at hand to give her an idea of scale and versatility as stipulated prior, and she didn't even ask to see. I of course remembered immediately after it ended. I sent an email with the found sketches attached, apologising for the technical hitch during our chat (connection loss!). I received an email, despite being told I'd hear my fate next Monday, saying that I'd definitely be asked up for a trial day, but I'd find out when next week! Exhale!

 So, that was today. The week has been similar, stress, imagined let-downs and worries, doused with hope and lightness. Monday I was scheduled to attend an interview with Virgin, I woke at 5.45, got the bus to town, walked 20 mins to the site, waited around until they could "accommodate my inquiries" i. e. wake up (I was early because of the silly bus times) and when they felt they could ask my name and purpose, I was told that I wasn't expected that day, there's been a mistake (great, wasted journey, no sleep the previous night because of 'group interview' worry, aaah!). Buuut, both my folks were off work, and they fancied a spin to Abergavenny! The day was bright, we had Soy Lattes and a wander, it was pleasant, then I drew some faces (for today) and made some lovely food. Ups and downs. Anyway, the moral of the story, worry less do more, ho ho ho!