Sarah Roberts: a year post graduation
One year since graduating.
One year on, I am asked to write about ‘what I am up to…one year on’
I see people at shows and we ask each other ‘What are you up to ?’
I hear myself blathering ‘I’m good, blah blah’ and there it is, the listing of the job, shows etc
All through art school I avoided measures, comparable, talking about grades…but all of a sudden I’ve slipped into describing myself by rote, by measure, by emergent cohort comparables – work, MA applications, shows, residencies etc
I can sometimes hear myself saying it, reeling off a list, …and the thing that strikes me is that if I’m really honest, a few months ago I hit a spot where I was a sum of these parts, I was up to very little except working (for an artist), making work, and looking at art. I was in an art bubble. Borderline workaholic.
I had an epiphany when one of my closest friends called me up and basically told me she hadn’t seen me for 2 months, in 2 months I had missed a house move, 2 birthday gatherings, 3 gigs and god knows what else. I’m sure I’m not alone in the ability to develop a tunnel vision when it comes to making work, feeling guilty for any time spent outside the studio, after all I should be making the most of this amazing opportunity to ‘be an artist’ right? Wrong. And it’s a good friend who tells you when you hit crazy.
So I closed the studio doors and spent a seemingly decadent 3 weeks ‘off’ on a grand American research road trip, where better to regain perspective than a place where your average Wal-Mart is as big as the town you grew up in.
It was a total eye opener, for the last 5 years I have been trying to ‘become’ an artist, in this last year I think I have finally grasped that I just ‘am’ one… And more importantly, the volume of inspiration I accessed in just 3 weeks demonstrated in flashing vegas neon the ironic detriment of overworking and missing out on life. After all the root of my practice is out there – being in the world – and having (just like everyone else) a unique perspective on it. It seems like a no brainer – but when it comes down to it, and you find yourself having left art school and being rudely dispersed into the world again to the constant chimes of ‘What are you up to Now ?’
At our last session with mentor, Ceri Hand, she told us ‘As an artist, people are interested in what you think about, ideas specific to you in your work and yourself’
…it ‘s easy to throw yourself so far into making work that you lose sight of the world that is the catalyst for it…Not the artworld…YOUR world. So here’s my manifesto/or rather a list of suggested demands for the guilty makers out there and in support of the (essential) research that takes place via pavement promenading and flights to the Costa Del Sol.
LET THERE BE…(in no particular order)
Rainbows, paintings of unicorns in kitchens hanging in Sprueth Mägers
GLITTER, gilding, grinding against fingertips and
Godchildren with hot palms touching glossy worktops
Glassy glass tabletops
Bare legs sliding down aluminium forms bent into slopes and bashing fleshed out bones –[slides] bumped- on the sides
Edges; smoothed over into corners collided with smooth Walls in peach render like Ice creams licked over
+ & Ice creams
Sculptures we didn’t make seen –caressed, sat upon, sat next to, walked around.
Walking dogs, sun-dogs observed and mildly burnt into watching retinas – materially remembered
Cradling cats, cats cradle and conker matches
Sun-tans conker coloured lacquered over flesh tones
Layered Lingering scents of luxe limbs on morning trains and+ afternoon musks
Shop windows resplendent
Flowers in jars, behind bars, by roads, in wildflower meadows.
By- roads lined with factory vistas– smoking. Hot
Hot sand, quick sand, black sand beaches trodden in and on
raspberry red – ice-lollied and shoved in mouths,
Ice bonded to tongues, spit drip residually released.
Rubbing against rocks leaving mutual residual matter
cornucopias of sound[s] burrowing into ears like waves
White cubes, open spaces, public art, private collections, and contemporary context
Road trips; long walks; short strolls, dance moves and moonwalking
All the Books [cont.]
Feeding, breeding, making, thirsting, slurping, colliding
Gulp inducing landscapes
Swimming in furious seas
So, here’s what I’m up to one year on…
I AM – JUST LIKE EVERYBODY ELSE IS – TRYING TO BE MYSELF