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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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For the past few years I have sought comfort in the life that I have ended up living, a nomadic existence which has seen me chase winters around the globe for the past 19 years.  I have interspersed these winter locations with periods of study and time on artist residencies.  Balancing two for want of a better word careers in the snowboard industry and art world. Both of these lives are far from careers but passions, lifestyles or compulsions.  Neither life in either world is one that I do for the sake of it but because something in me drives me too.

However over the last couple of years this identity of being nomadic has been something I have had to question.  In the past I always returned to Queenstown, New Zealand for the months of June-October and I’d somehow find a home in the Northern Hemisphere for December- April (Colorado mainly) returning to see family in the UK in the episodes between.  Since graduating in 2013 from Edinburgh College of Arts I have been on the move NZ, Greece, Chile, Armenia, West Virginia, NZ, Scotland, NZ and now Switzerland.  This rollercoaster few years and even now no real plan or certainty ahead I realise that I am less a nomad but rather I am adrift.

When i raise the concerns in my life and art practice with people in resort or on residencies its hard for them to understand the position I am in.  Reactions tend to favour one of two replies either, wow your life is so interesting it must really help your creative practice or how about you have a summer in the UK?  I believe we all have interesting lives and mine is no different its just what you decide to do with your days that can make them different.  What we don’t experience is always more interesting than our day to days.  As for having a summer (last summer being in 2001) I would be happy to have a summer or even normal seasons its just that I have no clue where.  Having lived a transient existence my idea of home has long disappeared and without an attachment to somewhere makes this idea of spending a summer hard to swallow.

My lack of posts on here have been mainly due to this fact as instead of producing I have stalled, not stuck but limited in how I proceed.  I continue to create ideas and harness an urgency to work in both worlds.  The balance of teaching and snowboarding alongside my art practice I feel is necessary.  However not knowing where I will be, or where I will be based limits production and raises many concerns with work that I create, from the logistics of sculpture whilst on residencies to the temporary existence within an art scene or community.

So at present I do not know where I am heading, I know here in Saas Fee, Switzerland I hope will be a home for at least a few seasons.  Whilst outside of these months I need to figure out how I produce and engage with other artists in a healthy way.  Realising I am not enjoying the convenience and my practice is not necessarily benefitting from this nomadic life and that the reality is that I am adrift and I need to figure out where I will reach land in the future.

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I am well over half way through my residency here in Athens.  The experience has given me time to reflect and focus not just on the proposed new works I hope to start working on but give me new perspectives on continuing themes within my practice.  The city has given me plenty more new ideas for future works and added to existing ideas, bolstering concerns ongoing.

As I posted recently I attended Urban Lightscapes Symposium which definitely gave me a wake up on certain areas of my practice and again reminded me to consider a wider practice.  This past weekend I started some workshops for the upcoming Sound Tectonics that is happening this coming week.  These workshops introduced both Processing and Arduino which I have used before but allowed me to understand further the benefits of such tools.  The workshops were long but really good and I feel a little more capable with these tools now, even considering future projects using Processing that prior to these I would of tried other methods first.  So I am getting excited for the whole week coming up which should give me new thoughts and ideas as to where I am going with sound within my practice.

The Glitch works I have been working on have started to come together.  I have had to really think before starting these new works of how to order my process.  Considering a language that will allow me to find each sample and know where I found it and where I could use it.  This has meant I have had to label each sample either using a systematic approach of 1-28/A-S or more descriptive BW Slow Fade Whisper Crackles, Silent Double Beeps.  I have attached a test run of a track that I am in the process of putting together based of the image above.  The abandoned airport here in Athens, Ellinikon.  The track uses 12 samples currently of this image mainly Black and White though some colour samples as well.  I have not yet used any effects on these samples so the track is pure Glitch image with only the volume adjusted.  Have a listen and let me know what you think, I will post the track in its next form once I use a bit of artistic license and use effects to manipulate the sounds a little and add some midi samples.

I am excited to say that I will be spending the months of October and November this year at the SNEHTA Artist Residency program in Kipseli, Athens.  I hope this time will allow me to develop works that I have researching to do with glitched image data files.  Creating audio and visual samples to create soundscapes and musical works.  The residency has potential for me to meet and get to know the artists working in similar and different art mediums within the Greek art community and engage in new conversations about different art practices.  Click Here for websitepreview.5OcKq61KHdxEwsvS_1280

SNEHTA

Snehta promotes and facilitates local and international artists through its residency and exhibitions programmes in Kypseli, Athens. Residents are selected through an open call for artists, designers, architects, curators and art historians who then spend two months researching in Athens. Two annual exhibitions showcase residents’ work. Snehta also organizes a series of exhibitions, talks and workshops in response to topics that critically engage with Athens’ unique identity as a historical and social center.

Snehta stands for the name of the City of Athens written in reverse. This name metaphorically suggests that the artists involved are to rediscover Athens by reading and translating it alternatively,observing and using the City’s local, social and cultural dynamics. We emphasize for the programme and the resident artists to bring a renewed awareness of Athens to the audience through the works produced exhibitions and events. These should relate to and critically stimulate Hellenic, inter-European and global audiences, redefining Athens in a global context.

The programme’s mission is to educate by spreading contemporary art practice whilst expanding artistic practices that present elements of innovation and experimentation. Snehta fosters practices that clearly delineate the implication between artist, work and audience, supporting creative practices that strongly regard the experience or involvement of the community in the artwork or within the organization.