Day 5 25/7/2015

Today the article about my exhibition and residency was published in the East Anglian Daily Times. Apart from the photos of me, I was really happy with the piece and how it read. Doing press is such a strange thing. As an artist, musical or otherwise, we all have an idea of how we'd like to be portrayed, but ultimately it's left in a stranger's hands unless you're writing an email interview which then becomes more like a press release. I enjoyed the interview I did with the East Anglian because it was face to face and the journalist made it feel more like a conversation than a series of questions, which for me is the art. Posing for photos as an artist is also not the same as posing for a band photo. The photographer didn't want me to wear shades in the photos as I suggested, a la Jonathan Meades. I should have ignored him. I sit and read the article at my desk. As I read, a woman comes over to me and begins talking about my work. I'm embarrassed that she has caught me out reading an article about myself but she laughs and we carry on chatting. I don't think that much of it. Lots of people have been chatting to me all week. But then she says she'd like to buy my painting 'Sugar Beet Factory II: Spring' if it's still for sale, which is is! I'm blown away. This wonderful lady also happens to work at Silverstone Race Park and unbeknownst to her I am a massive Formula 1 fan. She's promised me a guided tour of the track. Needless to say, I love her. After the sale everyone at the gallery is so excited. It's a bit of a landmark moment in the residency so far. 
For the rest of the morning I'm busy chatting to people. I don't get any painting done at all but I've accepted that talking to people about the work is a big part of what I'm doing in the gallery space. The more accessible I am, the more likely people are to engage with the painting on and ongoing basis and come back to some of the events we're holding over the next few weeks. A photograpaher called Tom Owens chats to me about 'Edgelands', his current exhibition at the Museum of East Anglian Life near Stowmarket. Both he and I are preoccupied with the same subject matter and have also it turns out read a lot of the same books, including, 'Edgelands: Journeys into England's True Wilderness' by Paul Farley and Michael Symmons Roberts, about the spaces in between town and country, urban and rural. The forgotten brown field sites, industrial parks, garages on housing estates, scrubby playing fields, hotels for business travellers, motorway slip streams, golf driving ranges, concrete flyovers. Suffolk is littered with these landscapes, as is the whole of Great Britain. They are our common British landscape, becoming dreamlike, romantic, almost Lynchian places if walked rather than driven through. Tom is as passionate about these landscapes as I am so we'll keep in touch and can perhaps collaborate in the future. 
I decide not to work on Angie's piece today, but to go back to a painting I started a few weeks ago, the beginning of the album artwork. It's an orange based painting of a motorway flyover, and although it still ties in with the Abstract Brutalism paintings, also feels like a departure. I started it a few weeks ago so that I wouldn't feel so daunted about beginning the album artwork. The truth is that I've begun the album artwork many times over the last few years, but set backs with the release have always meant that I've abandoned it in annoyance. As a result though I do have a lot of reference material to work from now. Thisafternoon I am visited by some of the Hoo Ha regulars. Iggi, Mark White and his wife Isobel, Terry and Jane. Jane likes my little drawings of housing estates. They remind her of her happy childhood. Terry sent me a link the other day to a series of photos of Basildon, where he grew up, which are spot on as reference points. I love it when people really understand where the work is coming from. 
Today there has been quite a different atmosphere in the gallery. Sam, the gallery manager, says Saturdays are always different but it's been particularly good today. Doing this is quite intense but it's so enjoyable and doesn't feel like work. My last visitors today are Shannon, my amazing drummer in The Wrong Moves and Ruth, Arthur and local music legend Seymour Quigley who runs the Washing Machine events in Bury. Shannon has bought me a record to say well done on the residency. It's by Swedish shoegazey psych band Death and Vanilla who I've never heard of but I trust Shannon's ears. It's Saturday, it's been a long week, it's time to go to the pub. 

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