Do you ever find yourself describing many aspects of your life with the same one or two words/phrases? The same summary popping up at work as in the vegetable patch? A unifying theme that links your DIY projects with your ever-improving egg poaching skills?
Lately, the thing mostly likely to come out of my mouth/into my head when assessing any progressing aspect of my life is overwhelmingly likely to be ‘It’s a good challenge’.
I’m no stranger to the way that new experiences pave the way to new things and have actively been accepting challenges in many ways throughout my life but lately I seem to have stepped things up a gear, opening a floodgate of potential personal progress and applying many unexpected and useful challenges to my working practice as an artist.
I’m sure this is the result of many things: Growing confidence and determination for ‘making it work’ career-wise; previous challenges presenting new opportunities; finally having settled in to the studio in Ventnor; getting into a good rhythm with new work, my health and The Undecided/Undiscovered projects; loss of all shame when it comes to promoting my work and loosing my ego (they’re heavy and I’m on a long journey). I could write a whole blog dedicated each of these elements of my life right now. Thing have been moving forward in a positive, pleasing and only slightly scary way.
..So when I was offered the opportunity to introduce my work verbally at the Chorderize event at Quay Arts in Newport last Wednesday, my brain automatically replied immediately with it’s current pet phrase.
..and a challenge it certainly was! Before I even consider the unusual opportunity to address an audience about something that is in essence a very introspective activity, there were many reasons that this event had the potential to test me. In a very brief summary, the show would involve all the usual prep work of collating my pictures, borrowing paintings back from their foster walls, cutting mounts, finding frames, framing and wrapping the work followed by a tightly scheduled day of transporting the work to the venue (along with all my hanging equipment and team), dismantling one show, hanging another, making labels, making myself presentable (easiest step to exclude), introducing my work to an audience, answering their questions afterwards, meeting loads of lovely new people and then taking everything down again on the hottest night of the year, replacing the original show exactly as it was and then driving everything back home again for it to explode all over my diminutive studio, all between four in the afternoon and midnight the same day.
My fifth year English teacher has just turned in her grave at the length of that sentence (dear Mrs Attrill, God rest her soul). I could well have been on my way to join her from the length of that afternoon if it hadn’t been for my excellent team of extra limbs and expertise.
Keep saying yes. Use shorter sentences.