About Me

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If you like short, fiery, red haired East Londoners who now reside in Norwich that have a penchant for video games, board games and filmmaking then you've come to the right place, my friend. I write a fortnightly column about video games for Forces of Geek and I write, direct, edit and film with Cheesemint Productions, my production company. You can search for us on YouTube, you know how the Internet works, right? This blog, Excuse Me While I Geek Out is a place to collect my column pieces for Forces Of Geek and anything I've written for other websites and publications as well as being a place to write about all things geek. My other blog, For All Or None is a cathartic activity dedicated to my mental health and I write openly and honestly about deeply personal psychological issues that effect me. It's an mental outlet so doesn't necessarily require readers especially as it will no doubt be full of grammatical errors, nonsense and spelling mistakes.

She appears composed, so she is, I suppose

Hi there,

Welcome to this unorganised collection of my writings, thoughts, creative notes and ramblings. It may not be coherent and at times may be a little hard to follow. Such is the nature of language and I'm not writing for anyone else, just myself, in an attempt to organise my thoughts and to aid me with my creative work but please feel free to peruse and comment if you wish to do so.

XO,

Emma-Jane

Tuesday, 29 September 2009

Farewell Art for Assessment. Helloooo Art for Pleasure!

So, an update...well, my "creative journey" (as I originally dubbed the content of this blog) has come to an abrupt end...I failed my last unit which led to me being thrown off the course. So from now on this blog will be the focus of my art for pleasure. Which, is more of a relief in a way. It was always a risky decision starting an art based Masters after 4 years of studying philosophy. Still, the past year has been undoubtedly worth it and not all is lost. I still plan to go on to do education and will soon be applying to do a PGCE. I also have experience of organising exhibitions, collaboration, experiential learning and teaching methods, networking and I've made a lot of friends. So, all in all...a worthwhile year. I also intend to continue being an artist. I'm hoping to still be involved in exhibitions and to continue producing work. I've managed to rekindle my passion for art this past year and it's made me incredibly happy. I'm no longer depressed and art is my outlet once more. I'm pretty sure my new found positivity shows through in this post! Considering that I got made redundant and was also thrown off of my course in a short space of time!

Watch this space for new art!

Friday, 7 August 2009

Rough Draft - Domestic Gallery Spaces

Below is a rough, unedited version of something I'm writing for my current unit looking at domestic gallery spaces, it's just the first 500 words or so and is written conversationally - much like all my drafts! A few quotes and a less colloquial style and it's well on its way to forming the introduction of my essay. So um yeah, if you see any major errors and/or nonsense...screw you, it's a draft damn it!

Taken from part one of my essay: How Gallery Spaces have changed...

There are countless websites that host online gallery spaces and the majority of artists today can not get by without their own website; I myself am part of three online art communities, sell my work through one of them and host my own blog. Thus, the internet has become another form of gallery space. There are numerous spaces to exhibit work and if you can’t find one suitable for your work you can simply create your own. It’s possible to sell work through certain websites for a commission much like a gallery would. It’s convenient, gets your art noticed by a wider audience and I’d also like to suggest that it doesn’t mark the end for traditional gallery spaces. I view it as a positive simply because the closer we get to globalisation the more emphasis is put on localisation and alternative methods of exhibiting. While making the art world interactive and available to the world via the internet, thus widening its audience is taking place, a return to smaller, local galleries is also happening, it is because of this global-art-for-all mentality that many galleries and curators have had the opportunity to try out new methodologies and expand what an exhibition is and ought to be. The parameters of an art institution such as a gallery are now widening. This is not a negative action and for every art critic who might argue that art should remain elitist there are two more who argue the opposite. The crux is, art is not for everyone but that the chance to view it or be part of it should not be denied to people. The public should be free to make up their own minds as to whether art is for them or not rather than shying away from a gallery space because the media and its deep rooted institutional values encourage them to think “it is not for them” nor should any person be made to avoid art because they feel uncomfortable in a gallery space. Even if art is made readily available to all and becomes part of our everyday lives, there will still be those who embrace it and those who don’t. This is why in recent times there has been an emergence in alternative gallery spaces, if you couple this need to include everyone with current affairs such as global recession it can be seen that exhibitions being held in people’s homes and empty shop units are on the rise.

That's all for now folks, I'm off to make me a table...

Wednesday, 5 August 2009

Back in Black! Well...Red, Actually!

So I've not updated this for quite some time...this doesn't mean I've sitting around doing sweet nothing...well, I have a bit (Latitude was frickin' awesome!) Other than that, I've been working on research for my self negotiated unit and indulging in a bit of art for pleasuuuure, (ahhh yeah!) - this is something which was encouraged from my last unit evaluation, I decided I needed to have two strands to my creative practice - one for assessment and another for pleasure.

So um, yeah, I did some painting about a week and a half ago and have been working on a comic strip, haven't got any good pictures of the strip yet as I want to ideally upload them onto photoshop and play around with them first but here are some images of my new piece, I called it Redstract as I couldn't think of anything better:








Also, I joined deviant art a few months ago and have uploaded quite a bit of past work which I haven't posted on here, you can find said works, HERE

Tuesday, 7 July 2009

The Painting Game

I never posted this when I should have last Thursday! It is the result of playing The Painting Game, also referred to as The Game...

Basically, it is a collective art activity, a kind of communal creativity...where each person involved takes turns to make a mark on the canvas until the collective come to a mutual agreement that it is finished.

The Game has helped me to realise some important things about my own creative practice but I think it can also potentially aid others by offering a way into art.

Some questions it raised for me were:

How might collaboration aid my own creative practice?
Is there such thing as a collective consciousness?
What would happen if I tried to repeat this exercise?
What might occur by demonstrating this method to others?

These are all things I wish to look at in more detail, however, I'm currently still working on the write-up so will add more at a later date. For now, here are some of the images from the first game...We did two watercolour pieces and an acrylic:





Anthony Gormley's One & Other (Fourth Plinth)



Yesterday,(6th July 2009) the fourth plinth in Trafalgar Square was taken over by living sculptures. Every hour, there would be a new person able to occupy the blank space on top of the plinth in any way they liked - within the law of course! Anthony Gormley the artist behind the Angel of the North is the man responsible for this living sculpture/monument.

"Through elevation onto the plinth, and removal from the common ground, the body becomes a metaphor, a symbol… In the context of Trafalgar Square with its military, valedictory and male historical statues to specific individuals, this elevation of everyday life to the position formerly occupied by monumental art allows us to reflect on the diversity, vulnerability and particularity of the individual in contemporary society. It could be tragic but it could also be funny"
Anthony Gormley

Every hour for 24 hours for 100 days, there will be a new person "installed". This is show the diversity of the everyday person in Britain. I love this idea for the sole reason that it is about occupying space. A space which usually contains nothing. It fits in loosely with my research into blankness. Occupying the plinth would be like making your mark on a canvas. It is a variation of a blank canvas in a different form - a sculptoral form, using the personality of the individual to convey an idea in much the same way as a painting often contains an aspect of the painters personality.


Gormley with a model of the plinth.

Having seen some of the coverage in the media and being so intrigued by the idea of occupying yet another blank canvas, I have just applied to be part of it as a participant! In total, there are 2400 spaces, each allocated one hour. There are over 20,000 applicants so obviously I might not be chosen as it is drawn at random and there are more applicants than spaces avaliable. Despite the fact that my particular project on blank spaces and the blank canvas is coming to an end I think that my application to be part of Gormley's art is a way of extendng my pratice and also continuing to explore my relationship to my art and to blank spaces. Also, the chance to be a living monument would be amazing!


Gormley with some of the participants.

There is a live stream of participants here: One & Other
It will be running up until October and the live stream will be uninterrupted!

Sunday, 5 July 2009

"Long Live the Immaterial!"

I taketh a break and something amazing doth happen! Went to see a friend after work, as opposed to coming straight home to get my art on, as it were, and she had recently stumbled across the French artist, Yves Klein. This man was a genius! I'm so pleased to discover a new artist! Best feeling ever, akin to discovering a new band! Sadly he died at the age of 34.

His work is varied but he focused on the immaterial/material and also the "void". Exciting stuff considering both these things link in with my own current practice!

The particular piece that intrigues me is The Specialization of Sensibility in the Raw Material State into Stabilized Pictorial Sensibility, The Void or Le Vide (April, 1958). Klein cleared a gallery space of everything leaving only an empty cabinet. Painted the whole room white, EVERYTHING; walls, floors, the cabinet and ceilings! He then conceived an elaborate plan before the opening. He sent out blue invites (relating to his previous work), painted the gallery window blue and hung a curtain in the lobby, you've guessed it; a blue curtain. The entrance even had guards watching over it! All of the details were fine tuned, he even served blue cocktails.

He made 3000 people queue outside the gallery only to be welcomed into a blank, empty space! I love this!



Klein was a very interesting character, I mean, look at him!





He even wrote up a manifesto stating his intentions; one such line in the manifesto about the "immaterial" made me laugh:

"Having rejected nothingness, I discovered the void. The meaning of the immaterial pictorial zones, extracted from the depth of the void which by that time was of a very material order. Finding it unacceptable to sell these immaterial zones for money, I insisted in exchange for the highest quality of the immaterial, the highest quality of material payment — a bar of pure gold. Incredible as it may seem, I have actually sold a number of these pictorial immaterial states".


Absence was of great interest to Klein, for him, the void is a neutral state of consciousness where one is supposedly able to become aware of one's own sensibilities (I suppose, much like Kant's Pure Thought in the Critique of Pure Judgement?). The void is a "place" where one can see reality as opposed to mere representation. He often created work that although were recognised forms of art also lacked "something" integral. Books sans words. Paintings sans images. Compositions sans composition! Klein named his created absences as "zones of immaterial pictorial sensibility". Thus, the audience of Klein's work could be described as not only simultaneously understanding an idea but simultaneously feeling an idea!


I thought it might be nice to end this blog entry with a flash of Klein Blue!

Wednesday, 1 July 2009

Panic!

Panic! I missed the word "Panic" from my last post...oh, and "Anxiety". For some reason I woke up and HAD to jot these down. So, I thought I'd also update my blog too...getting obsessed? Me? Never! ;)

Tuesday, 30 June 2009

Existential Canvas Crisis!

One of the things I've been doing lately is trying to articulate the feelings I have when encountered with a blank canvas. I used post-it notes to write down as many words I could think of that express this notion. I got the idea from one the sessions we had about 3 weeks back when we used a similar technique to describe a painting in one of the galleries at the Castle Museum. I remember feeling incredibly frustrated that although I described the painting as I saw it, that language will always hinder communication. It is a self destructive tool.

I'm often faced with ideas or concepts that I can't communicate to others, I can bearly articulate their meaning. Often, I have thoughts that could only be described to others by first describing the thought processes that preceded the thought, this would be incredibly laborious and is near impossible. I only describe it as near impossibility rather than full blown impossibility as I haven't tried it out!

Either way, language is an absurd concept. It is utilised for communication. Learnt from childhood so that we can express ourselves, yet, as with most things it is extremely complex and can often emcumber us with too much detail or none at all! There are some things that I can not possibly say because there exist in English no word or symbol for. Add visual language to the equation and you're set for misinterpretation AND inability to articulate...Argh!

Here are the words I came up with:

Rectangle
White
Blank
Canvas
Rough Surface
Untouched
Nothing
Daunting
Looming
Challenging
Ominous
Intimidating
Empty
Absence
Nothingness
Unknown
Void
Uncertainty
?! - this represents feeling I can not express/articulate/communicate etc.
Scared
Unsure
Self-conscious
Mental Block
Potential (To Ruin)
Inarticulacy
Inability
Inadequate
Self-doubt
Fear
Frustration
Anguish
Paranoia
Defeat

Quite dramatic, yes...but I do seem to get myself incredibly worked up about a blank canvas. I also uploaded another entry today called "Untitled". It's a fictionalised account of my battle with the canvas.

Anyhow, here is the image from the aforementioned session just to show you how t inspired me. Below it are images of the task I set myself to challenge the blank canvas. Apologies for the awful quality of some of the pictures, some were from my camera phone!



















Contemporary Showrooms and Flat-Pack Furniture (Apparently)

I have never been to Ikea. I suppose this sentence is akin to someone in the West saying I have never been to McDonalds. All I really know about Ikea is that it's a Swedish company and has a reputation (apparently) for it's flat pack furniture being near impossible to put together. I have a friend who visits it regularly, not to buy anything in particular, sometimes she doesn't buy anything at all, she goes to visit it, as if it's day out destination. It's a shop right?! Or has consumerism totally engulfed us?! I go to the shops to buy things I need and on those rare occasions when I have money, things I want.

Maybe I'm just disillusioned, since I have never been to an Ikea. Why is she harping on about Ikea anyway? you may be wondering. Well, for my self negotiated unit, I am researching the book as an object through domesticity and the commercial. When I read, books are enjoyed predominantly in my home or perhaps in the comfort of a coffee shop (which I would argue is really just an extension of the home). I feel they represent the comfort of domesticity. Books are also sellable, they are commercial objects as well as domestic ones. So I've been looking at bookshops and the home. My table could be described as furniture, well I suppose it is. It performs the function of a coffee table at least. Yet it is also an art object. Through my art I have combined the concept of books and the concept of furniture. Ikea sells furniture, it displays furniture, in fact I hear Ikea displays are a joy to behold. I've decided that I'd quite like to display my coffee table in a similar fashion. So...I'm going to visit an Ikea! No doubt my friend will be more than willing to escort me!

Apparently it is full of complete displays of every type of room you can think of: living rooms, bedrooms, kitchens, offices, etc. Each display is full of products that have tags with information that tells you where you can find the same product in its warehouse. According to someone on an online forum: "These displays are amazing. They think of everything. There are real books on the bookshelves and complete dinner sets on the table tops. There are even glasses and plates tucked inside of kitchen cabinets."

Here are some examples:





Pretty detailed and I must admit I can see how people seem so impressed. There are even people who go to Ikea just to have their picture taken in the displays.
According to the same Ikea fan as above, "All you have to do is take photos of yourself acting natural (or completely ridiculous, however you like to present yourself) in these displays. Make sure you hide the price tags though! Then, when you return home, just upload your favorite photos from your IKEA outing to your profile and there you go. Just wait until people start responding to that photo of you sitting in your huge black leather office chair behind your massive oak desk surrounded by your posh bookshelves and lighted liquor cabinet." Yes, indeed.

Sounds a bit extreme to me but all the same I'm going to go take a gander and see what all the fuss is about. There's an exhibition on Ikea and its history currently on too. Sadly, I shan't be going...as it's at Liljevalchs Konsthall, which is in Stockholm,
Sweden. 50 Years of Ikea

On another note, my coffee table will be on display at Borders Bookshop in Norwich from Sunday! Fun times.

Untitled

The blank canvas stares back at me like a mirror, hard and cold. Its reflection is scrutinising, I can hardly bear it. Worse still, its silence nauseates me. Unsure, I continue to stare back searching the blankness for something, anything! My act, though full of artistic intention is futile, it only serves to amplify the silence and blind me with its gleaming whiteness. A void; avoid the void I plead with myself...yet, my mind travels towards it at an alarming speed. It begins with self-doubt, my no-goodness and good-for-nothing self has hijacked my founding optimism. The canvas looms, ominous. Intimating but never intimidated. I recoil in fear and uncertainty, unable to make a mark on its untouched roughed up surface. It notices my failing and challenges me to a mental duel – I hesitate. It hits first and jabs me with gut-wrenching inadequacy, speaking to me in a cruel, unforgiving whisper, “You’ll never be good enough”. Worthlessness consumes me, my potential to ruin stunts any creativity that might have been my salvation, my saving grace. I try to retort but cannot find the words or articulate their meaning. Language can not save me now. It has taken sides and acts as a barrier between me the words I seek. I am abandoned by language, left alone in a vast chasm of unfathomable symbols and indecipherable chaos. My mind tries to fight back, an attempt to mark the canvas, but it is too weak, too defeated now to go on. I become as blank as the canvas itself. It exudes nothingness, projecting itself onto my own life, reminding me that I too, am finite. I can not beat it. I will die. As my anguish and despair intensify, I can not control my inaction; an existential crisis of sorts. This does nothing but encourage my frustration and paranoia. “I’ll never be good enough” I cry. “It’s all pointless” I weep. Tears fall, eyes swell, my vision blurs. Uncontrollable sobbing replaces my indignant cries of inadequacy. This continues, as it will always. Absence of sound and thought create echoes in the caverns of my mind, what was once there is gone, forgotten. Distraught, I have no choice but to accept my fate. I am human, doomed to live and die alone. What am I if I can not express or articulate myself? I know the answer all too well, it is insufferable and it consumes me every second I am alive. It sits there uneasily, awkwardly, like an unwanted guest within my consciousness. The answer whispers to me loud and violent. I am nothing. An insignificant entity. If I possess no words, have no actions, own no instument to communicate- then I am defeated! The final blow knocks me to the ground, I seek comfort in the foetal position but it is too late. I have lost. The blank canvas reigns over me once again. It remains untouched and immeasurable, whilst I obediently fall into the abyss. Exhausted, I give in to the calm, the empty...the nothingness.

Monday, 29 June 2009

Poverty + Art = Povertart? (Hmm...)

Fearful, I feel like I should write something here as it's been over a week since I last posted anything! I've been busy networking and organising my next exhibition.

Money has become a restricting issue for my self negotiated unit, I'm struggling to acquire more coffee table-esque books for a reasonable price and no one seems to have any they wish to donate, so I'm thinking of "theming" my tables based on what books I do have. For example, I have a large number of horror genre hardbacks, also paperbacks (for the legs!) which would work.

I suppose I'll just have to try and be inventive; poverty can be inspiring...sometimes.

I'm hoping that my loan will be topped up soon. It's all been agreed, I just need to go through the tiresome process of getting things signed and such. Once I have all this sorted, I still need to work round the less than helpful summer workshop times too...else, I'll have to fork out more money I don't have for a drill, which wouldn't help alleviate my financial stress!

It will be interesting to look back on this time in the future and see what work I eventualy create. Also, I'd love to see what "new" art is emerging from these financially difficult times.

I don't have much else to say really, this whole post seems a bit pointless and my brain hasn't quite been on form these past few days. I'm starting to feel the pressure a bit and I'm worried I'm beginning to burn myself out from exhaustion. Fun times!

Friday, 19 June 2009

Fairhurst, Fear and F**k Me I Think I've Started a Business...(Kind Of)

Fairhurst's image, When I Woke up in the Morning, the Feeling Was Still There, is a screenprint in three-colours. The particular print I have added relates to a series of four large colour photographic panels. (1992), titled Man With Dream Colours.


Copyright: The Estate of Angus Fairhurst

The photographic part of the image is in black and white with the canvas a blank white except a square of yellow has been printed on it's surface, it has been deliberately misaligned. Fairhurst often used to play around with themes of mis-alignment and removal. Here's an example of one of his works, a collection of magazine pages with the body and text removed...Ten Pages Of a Magazine, Body and Text Removed



Fairhurst commented on the image of the man with canvas...: 'I wanted to play on the mis-alignment of the hard form and the notion of feeling, both physical and emotional, which is something you cannot be so sure about' (quoted in Contemporary British Art in Print 1995, p.46). As made obvious, this work relates to my own, I've been struggling to find much more information on these particular prints, especially explaining the reasons Fairhurst decided to produce them. My search however will continue.

In other blank canvas news...David and I set out to the library a few days ago to take some more pictures of myself avec canvas. I wanted to show the canvas in another environment, one which manufactures another of my fears...SILENCE! So the library it was. I often find the library intimidating yet magnetising, the quietness freaks me out yet the books call to me! I suppose this is how I feel about the canvas too. I'm afraid of it, yet I want to explore it...perhaps I'll overcome it?

It was a new experience, I've never posed with a canvas prior to the last "photoshoot" which was at my home (a safety net perhaps?!). So bringing this experience into the external world was a little nerve-wracking...I was very aware of people watching us, me...I'm not sure it was embarassment either. We took a few images outside the library, as I wanted to highlight the environment. There were quite a few people miling around and I became very aware of their noticing us. So, I laughed and kept laughing so I could disguise my fear, also hid my face with the canvas a lot to begin with. David seemed far more at ease, camera in hand, shooting away. I kept thinking "let's get this over with quickly, this is weird...I need a coffee!". Still, I let the fear carry me and once I'd asked permission to take pictures in the library we wandered to find a place that had enough natural light - we weren't able to use flash photography and couldn't control the light like we had been able to at home. I took us over to the biography section, not for any artistic reason - it just seemed to have enough light, but also seemed to hide us away from people...after a few pictures I felt braver and decided we needed to be somewhere with even more light so we moved to the front. I was conscious of being in the way and this was made worse by the fact that someone upon seeing us, changed their route to the photocopier as we were blocking their direct route. I felt a bit out of place. Perhaps it was my fear of libraries? Well, silence. Although, I noticed this wasn't quite as bad when I had someone with me.

After I felt I had enough images, we retreated to the coffee shop, I remember feeling dizzy: part-adrenalin, part-lack of breakfast! So my coffee (well, mocha) was one of the best coffees I'd had in a long time! David took a few more pictures of me with the canvas and I reverted back to being silly, posing and pretending I was on a date with it...it does make me realise that I rely heavily on laughter and amusement. I've also come to the conclusion that without other people I start fearing absolutely everything, I lose the ability to do things on my own! I also need to enjoy myself and treat art as entertainment rather than something that needs doing. Perhaps this is the mistake I've made in the past. I want so much to feel like an artist again that I'm forgetting to enjoy it.

Enough rambling...here are some of the images:






















So um...also, I'm selling some work soon. Also have the opportunity to sell through The Perfect Pad. By chance, I enquired about exhibiting work in the shop as I thought my work would look quite good in there and it turns out they have a gallery upstairs. I'm now thinking of possibly exhibiting my work there. The only thing is, I can only exhibit if I'm looking to sell...and it's 40% commission.

I've got all the details of the guy who owns it, he seemed to like the images I had of the table. So, I'm going to draw up my design specification professionally, produce two tables at the same time instead of one (not exactly mass production, but sort of...) and see if any other similar shops/businesses might also be interested.

I'm also waiting to hear back from my other "client", god, it still feels weird referring to him as a client! Madness. So um, yeah...I'm in business, kind of.

Tuesday, 16 June 2009

So much to do, so little time!

Things I need...

A drill
Dowel
Some new coffee table books
Perspex

Things to do...

ARGHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!

Friday, 12 June 2009

Fighting the Blank Canvas with Fun!

So quick update on the blank canvas project...I've been planning some images for a while now, I finally realised them a few days ago. It meant I needed a helper, one who knows how to work a camera...cue David, my housemate!

As I've been investigating my relationship with the blank canvas, I've been thinking about how I could show this visually - that is, my struggle with it and the intimidation I feel when faced with one. I thought it might be interesting to photograph myself with a canvas, but so it was in front of me. This would be so I could highlight the canvas as an intrusive object that stands in my way.

So anyway...I explained to David what I wanted. I didn't necessarily wish to be seen in the image, rather, myself and the background would act as a frame for the canvas. Here are a few of the "framed canvas" images.














I ended up just playing around with the canvas while David took more photo's, they show me being playful with the canvas, it became something fun as opposed to something fearful. I realised that humour and playfulness are possible coping mechanisms. I also learnt that perhaps in order to feel comfortable with a blank canvas I need dependancy on others. So, I'm going to try and pursue this collaborative element, could be interesting to see if I might find out more about my practice this way...

Here are a selection of some of the photos...























On another note,"Billboard Image Appears in Norwich!"
- A friend of mine has been stealthing it up like a ninja, round the streets of Norwich at 4am! Pretty darn good! He takes found local photographs (forgotton memories!) and blows them up, placing them back into the local community they came from.