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praxis

Nope this isn’t a post about some amazing achievement or that I have somehow have a bank account in the black.  Its more of a reflection on what success is for me, and specifically in my art practice.  Whilst teaching here in Saas Fee (means to fund my art practice) I get asked a lot by my guests whether my artwork/practice is successful.  The two means for validation lie mainly on me telling them whether I sell my work regularly or am I famous.  I guess in this day and age you know one unless you are on some list of success even if you are Z list Celeb…

I am honest with my guests, I am not known however like most emerging artists we are labeled so for that very reason.  As for selling, it has not been a focus within my practice to make specifically objects.  Commodifying an art practice is something we all contemplate throughout our years.  However at present I rely on my snowboard coaching as a source of income whilst I develop my voice and direction in my practice.

Success for me is nothing to do with money or notoriety and its something I feel is harder to gain.  It is purely one thing for me and the works I make which is conversation or discussion (discourse if you want art-speak 2.0).  This very basic element within the art world and beyond is not that easy to gain.  Yes in the era of social media it is easy to put work out there for more to see but to hear back is not so simple.  There is very little echo from the majority of not just my work but my peers.  The little that does come back is more of support from fellow creatives who spur you on.  However for me I seek success in the form of something more in the conversation that good art creates.  Don’t get me wrong this is not purely about adulation or people describing works as life changing its the chat surrounding how it engages and interacts on different levels and people.  This discussion is not always sought from those that like or get the work but rather negative and constructive response is just as valid.  I come from a belief that good work is so when you have a response to it this can be in the form or negative: repulsion, hate or anger.  Whilst also the positive: resonates, refreshes perspective or challenges existence.  Work that sits in the middle is what just fades.

Following on from my previous post about being adrift, the reason to currently make work whilst not be located within a place or group.  I see this isolation as a hard time to know where to exhibit or present work when I barely exist.  For me the motivation of making work when I deep down know that the rational for the work being successful is this conversation adds to stalling of making.  The works are still there in my head and whilst I navigate the next few years I will create. However finding a means to connect with networks or environments where I can gage the validity of the work is part of the process and for me right now is the biggest challenge.

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These last few weeks have been spent exploring all parts of Yerevan some intentionally and others purely by accident.  One day this week even was comparably to my days on my snowboard.  Using the bus like a chairlift to take me to a point in the city with a line back to house which I walked capturing many elements that I had over the weeks hope to experience.

These random wanderings and planned excursions have allowed me to interact with architecture and accidental sculptural objects.  They have created conversations within my practice that I am now exploring and will continue post residency here.  I spend time photography and field recording the sounds I encounter not always for later work but to use the process of recording as a way to explore the moments that I have experienced.  Some of these elements naturally appear in the work but sometimes it is me focusing on something that i see a metaphor amongst or pausing just so the brain absorbs and allows the senses to filter completely.  Though the sounds and visual elements are important it is all senses that inform my thoughts.  If only to have a machine to record the smells both pleasant and not so.  The aromas here are strong and really striking.

Certain themes are constant within my travels such as looking through but seeing behind in reflective moments or the attraction to controlled and protected spaces.  Here especially where traffic cones are not so common the ways in which people mark space is intriguing.  One thought that is common with my travels here though is to do with vacancy as a positive.  The building of vacancy, i.e. in the sense of building glass and marble buildings that seems to be for something that only they know about.  With these buildings not necessarily fitting into the landscape rather standing alone amongst the tower blocks of Soviet era.  I see these new buildings a positive in one sense and nod to a new era or at least optimism.  This in comparison in other cities that I have lived recently where new construction has stopped.

As for work I am currently working on a new digital work, a step on from the Athens Arrival work I made in Greece last year and also some new photo and sculptural works.  These are all due to be exhibited in the Museum of Modern Art here in a couple of weeks.  So for now the walks and excursions are more precise and studio time has increased.  I will update from the studio in a few days prior to the show.

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