Day 3 23/7/2015

I'm late and when I arrive at the gallery my old friend Steve and his daughter Daisy are waiting for me. They laugh at me for being late for my own party. The laughable thing is that I live about 10 minutes away. It's been a consistency throughout my life that the closer I live to a workplace, the more likely I am to be late for work, no matter how hard I try. If I need to travel an hour I'll be early, but a 10 minute walk and I'll be late. I begin working again on Angie's commission, mixing a rich yellowy-grey concrete colour to block out the bulk of her panoramic Park Hill. It's actually quite hard to get the colour mix right under the artificial lighting of the gallery. Usually I work as much as possible using daylight, but unless I go and stand over by the window the LED lighting in the room is affecting how I see the colour. This wouldn't be too much of a problem but I am trying to match the colours in this new piece up with 'Abstract Brutalism III' as they will eventually hang at a 90 degree angle to each other in Angie's living room.
As I am working I notice a familiar figure in the gallery. Until recently I had a part time job at a well known high street retailer to bring in a bit of extra cash. I recognise this man as the early morning contract cleaner Bill. I know he won't recognise me out of context so I say hi and ask to check his pockets, as I would have at my previous job at the end of his shift. He laughs. I explain that I am also an artist and this is what I'd been working towards whilst I was also working in the shop. I ask him to have a look at the work and see what he thinks. While I continue working, he spends a long time examining the paintings, listening to Homeward Bound on the Mp3 player, reading the song lyrics on the board, the reference points on my studio wall and looking at the projected photographs. Eventually he comes back and says he really liked the piece of writing on Ring Roads. I am blown away by this. No one else has even noticed this little piece of writing I did at art school in Sheffield 11 years ago. I only included it in the exhibition after coming across it recently in a drawer and realising that the things I was preoccupied with then are still totally relevant to my work now. Bill says that there is something very Buddhist about the piece, and then says he's not even sure what that means. I've never thought about it as having Buddhist sentiments but Bill is absolutely right. 
I do spend time waiting for paint to dry. It's part of the process. I use fast drying Liquitex acrylics but they still need to be left to dry between coats. While I'm idling between coats, a man comes in with his son and asks how I manage to paint such straight lines. This is a question I get asked a lot and actually hate giving away my secret. Of course I use straight edge tape but it's the brand of tape which has become my secret. I tell the son, who is studying for his A level art, my secret tape brand name and that he can buy it in B&Q. I better go there at lunch time and buy the remaining stock!
Just before lunch my friend and fellow artist Laura Cook pops in to see me. I am painting her a small Sugar Beet Factory in return for one of her beautiful hand printed jackets. High level art bartering.
My afternoon is quite short as I take a late lunch. Angie's painting is coming now. I like this stage when I can see the colour blocks but they are still extremely abstract. I am always tempted to leave the paintings as they are when I reach this point but never quite brave enough. An old school friend Rhys comes into the gallery to see Emily thisafternoon. He didn't know I would be here but it's lovely to see him. He tells me he's in the process of setting up a charity to help people in recovery from drug and alcohol addictions. I'm really interested as there is a lot of cross over in what he's trying to do and what Ken and I are trying to do with the Hoo Ha Record Club, raising money for people with mental health problems. Hopefully we can work together in the future. Weird fates. 
Time is running out and I have so much mixed paint to use up. My A level art teacher Mr. Hoggar comes in with his daughter! I'm so excited to show him the exhibition. He was the first person who really made me think about what I was trying to say with my work. Everyone has a special teacher in their life, I was lucky enough to have him.
My last visitor of the day is regular Hoo Ha Record Club DJ Terry. Terry was once a Sun journalist, once a night club bouncer, once a factory worker at the Sugar Beet, now a lorry driver. He's one of the smartest people I know. We chat about Brutalism and how we both associate it with high culture because of going to the Barbican and the Festival Hall at young, impressionable ages. Terry also points out how many university complexes there are in the country which have Brutalist architecture. Essex, the UEA, Brunel. Brunel university where my old friend Steve once went. The day has come full circle.

2 comments

  • Chris Waugh

    Chris Waugh Upper Bucklebury

    Ace! Blog Day 3 is my favourite so far. For many reasons; both bug and small. Looking forward to, and reading, your blog is an intergral part of my day at the moment, only lessened by the fact that work & family committments mean I won't be able to visit.

    Ace! Blog Day 3 is my favourite so far. For many reasons; both bug and small. Looking forward to, and reading, your blog is an intergral part of my day at the moment, only lessened by the fact that work & family committments mean I won't be able to visit.

  • Chris Waugh

    Chris Waugh

    ...smartphone keyboard typos notwithstanding!

    ...smartphone keyboard typos notwithstanding!

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