Thursday 29th December 2016
Further reflection on Influences.
Where am I from
Although I was brought up in North Wales, I was born in Scotland and as a child yearned to back in Scotland, I moved back to Scotland in the late 1980’s and remained there until 2009. It is very true when they say that Scotland runs in your blood, I pine to be back in Scotland every day and eventually hope to move back there.
I was brought up on a council estate in Rhyl with my mum and my brother. Being from a single parent family in those days carried a lot of stigma and I was bullied a lot in school because of this. Much as I love my mum, she was very controlling and domineering and this combined with the bullying at school contributed to my extreme levels of shyness.
Because I was so shy, people used to think I was stuck up or posh, which couldn’t have been further from the truth. My shyness was also emphasised by the fact that I found the world completely overwhelming in many ways which only contributed to my introverted nature.
In my twenties the control continued in my relationships with men, eventually ending in a particularly violent relationship with a person who exerted extreme levels of control over my life. At this point, living in Scotland away from my family, I felt I had no support structure around me and began to withdraw further from the world.
Although these experiences have led me to be extremely non-confrontational, I am still very opinionated and sarcastic as is all of my family. If I am placed in a confrontational situation, I clam up and am unable to function or speak at all, closing down and withdrawing completely.
People who are close to me say I view the world through Rose Tinted Glasses, that I am too open, trusting and naive. I also never seem to learn from my mistakes mostly because I forgive easily and always see the good in people and the silver lining in every cloud.
I get really overwhelmed by Vastness, Large Groups, Busy Places and because of this I tend to be more interested in the small things that go unnoticed and I am most at Peace in Countryside by the river or trees.
What influences me in general
Influence is a difficult term for me to comprehend because of the way I interact with the world. At the root of this interaction is my inherent empathic nature and the fact that I find the world overwhelming a LOT of the time. So I began to reflect on what influences me and why?
I considered the fact that I find it particularly difficult to retain knowledge of any kind, especially if it has been through the written word or film.
I realised that this has a lot to do with my learning style and it appears to me I decided to do a Learning Styles test to see what the results would be.
- I used this Learning Styles Quiz: http://www.educationplanner.org/students/self-assessments/learning-styles-quiz.shtml
- These are the results: whats-your-learning-style_-the-results
So the results essentially are Auditory – 55%, Visual – 25% and Tactile 20%.
This perhaps explains why I always have the radio on and in particular when I have to concentrate on something, it does help my levels of concentration definitely.
This perhaps explains why when researching artists on the internet, I find it difficult to retain much information past the artist, piece and why I like it and perhaps offers me another way to research.
Incidentally, since I have lost the ability to retain written knowledge, I have tended to use Audio Books, particularly when I am driving.
I spent some time reflecting on my early interest in Cubism and have come to the conclusion that this inspires me because of the way that I see the world.
Essentially, my eye sight is not great and I have come to realise that I find it difficult to see intonations in colour and shading. So for example, if I look at a scene in front of me, I only see large blocks of colour and find it hard to differentiate the shades and tones in the scene.
This lead me to reflect on recent conversations with Mark, the Video Tutor who had observed on several occasions my love of colour and my surprise at this because I also have an innate love of black and white imagery too.
It then began to dawn on me that this love of colour and black and white is more specifically a love of contrast. It has been noted before that I create strong images in my work and I believe that my lifelong deterioration in my eye-sight is responsible for this influence.
Films, Music, Books and Theatre
I spent some time reflecting on the reasons why certain films and music have influence over me and why others simply don’t and why I can instantly forget a film or book and have no knowledge of what I have just seen or read.
When I visited Liverpool recently there were some pieces in the John Moore’s prize that I was particularly moved by and then others in the Bloomberg New Contemporaries that just had no effect on me whatsoever. I realised that unless I experience a gut or heart-felt reaction, art, films music, knowledge has no meaning to me and I sub-consciously discard the information from my memory.
This is explained in more detail in the Blog Post Liverpool Biennale – Oct 2016
Life Experiences and Health
Still to consider Fire Walking, Sweat Lodges, Healing Journey, Personal Development through Spiritual Training and how they have affected the way that I look at the world.
It has occurred to me recently that in my lifetime I have experienced 18 operations and have struggled with health issues all along.
My best friend passed away when I was 28 and this resulted in my experiencing severe depression, during this time I lost the ability to comprehend written information, and although this has improved overall I still struggle with this every day and indeed it does appear to have worsened since my recent health issues.
In particular, breaking my leg in six places was an outstanding attempt which resulted in my having a Llizarov frame fitted to my leg for six months, and it being 14 months before being able to walk properly again and roughly five years before being able to walk down stairs properly and not sideways. The influence this had on me was that I had plenty of time to consider what I really wanted out of life, and prompted me to make significant changes in my life. It also was a hard lesson in gratitude and lead me to the point where I felt able to follow my dreams and no longer conform.
How all this has influenced my artwork
My non-confrontational approach whilst holding strong opinions that I am reluctant to force upon anyone and my empathy, especially for those experiencing difficulty, combined with the overwhelming feelings I have about the harshness of the world and the fact I am strongly affected by the news has brought me to the point I am at now with my artwork, preferring to use questionning to raise awareness through artwork as a way of expressing my opinions or feelings about this issues that we experience in the world today.
- Principles and Processes (ARF 403): The work I completed for the Principles and Processes module felt like peeling a few layers of an onion away. It was a big step to work on a quality so close to my heart. Not only did I bring this very personal interest out into the open, I also sang on the video. For my introverted self, this was a huge step towards a more confident me.
- Dada Punk: The Dada Punk project was a huge step for me. I might have previously had strong opinions about such things, however I would have never voiced them before. So this would have been the first time I have outwardly criticised the establishment, or anyone for that matter. Fear of backlash, reprisal or confrontation has always left me keeping my opinions to myself. I also felt this project brought out my sarcastic and humour which I generally repress through fear of confrontation.
- Extended Practice (ARF 503): This module has fed from something that I feel passionately though helpless to do anything about. Because of this passion and the support I received from the Dada Punk project, I felt more confident expressing my opinion about such a difficult political situation. Not that I am political at all, I do however believe strongly in every persons right to live their lives in a safe and secure environment.
- Specialist Study (ARF 505): This module has been a continuation of the topic covered in the Extended Practice module and my confidence is growing and increasing as I progress through this year. I have very clear defined goals for this year. I realise that as I am developing, I am able to use my art to express my opinions or thoughts in a way that does not necessarily provoke confrontation.
Need to consider how the creative influences have influenced my own artwork.