Day 1 21/7/2015

This was the first day of my first artist residency. My new studio space at Smiths Row replicates my own studio space at The Rehearsal Rooms but instead of drum kits, amps, guitars and PA systems I have wooden floorboards, high ceilings, a crystal chandelier and a Palladian window for company. The fact that 8 of my recent paintings are hung in the room gives me a sense of ownership over the space however and I don't feel too lost. I begin by working on a commission piece for Angie Roques. It's good to go straight into something which I've already worked out in advance. I paint a third coat of primer on her 120cmx40cm board. The piece is being made to go with 'Abstract Brutalsim III: Sheffield Park Hill' and is a panorama of the same iconic Brutalist estate. Sheffield's concrete plazas must have filtered through to my bones during the 8 years I lived in the city. Almost as soon as I start a gentleman comes into the gallery. He says my work reminds him of a German artist who used to live in Suffolk. After the war, as part of the Marshall Plan, she was given funding to paint murals onto the concrete remains of Hamburg. Sadly he can't remember her name.
Whilst working I listen to 'An Interview with Iain Sinclair' from October 2014 on youtube. It's an interview I've not heard before and is very interesting and relevant to my work, particularly about the changing nature of space and the importance of walking in mentally recording the state of the city/place at moments in time as it continually evolves. Also very interesting on fugue walking and John Clare which has made me want to do some further research in this area. I think I could explore the links between mental health, place, and walking in future works.  
Re-watched/listened to 'The London Perambulator' with Nick Papadimitriou. As with the Sinclair interview the idea of deep topography, of walking and re-walking comes through again and again. The act of re-walking the same route on an almost daily basis creates a bond between the walker and the landscape that goes beyond surface observation. We spend our lives rushing from A to B without really seeing our surroundings. This is something I am trying to point out with my painting. The Abstract Brutalism series can almost be seen as a 'deep topography of buildings'. 
After lunch Angie pops in to see how I'm getting on. She's excited to see me hard at work on her new commission. We chat about the Summer Exhibition and she insists that I must go and see what Michael Craig Martin has done with the Royal Academy. Apparently my favourite artist Jock McFadyen has a whole room this year so I will go next Monday. A steady stream of visitors come into the gallery all afternoon. Some chat to me, others don't. I wonder if people are intimidated by the fact the artist is present in the gallery space. I'm surprised that I don't feel intimidated by them. I thought I might be. By the end of day 1 I am where I want to be with the commission. I've drawn up the piece onto board and am ready to start painting tomorrow. 

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