I thought I'd take a handful of iPhone shots while I was in my studio today (the photos of me were taken last week by Alice Bennett). I didn't make much today, much procrastinating was performed instead, but I think it's important to give yourself a bit of room to move. Tomorrow I will research, write and create!
I've recently started my Honours degree in Contemporary Arts. I'm in the midst of writing my project proposal, so ideas are swirling, but at this point I've identified my main subject matter as being a study of the supermarket and I'd like to create a suite of work that illustrates the goings-on of the supermarket - the 'theatre of life' if you will. I've been a 'checkout girl' for 5 years at the same supermarket and I supervise the service area two nights per week. Since I started I've written down observations and now I can't stop doing it. So, why not do an art project about that?
I'm looking forward to working with some of the material I've gathered over the past few years - conversations had with customers, scrawled on the back of receipts, observations of products, staff and the store itself and my collection hundreds of shopping lists. The main themes of my work will revolve around art of the everyday/the quotidian/the theatre of life/the poetics of noticing/the accidentally miraculous with some subtle allusions to consumerism. I hope that makes more sense to you than it does in my head! Ha. I'd like to look at the supermarket in an anthropological, sociological and ethnographic way and create illustrations based on these observations.
My desk! For making things upon. Here is my open notebook - I am gluing in inspiration.
Here is my collection of shopping lists, gathered over the past 5 years (with some help from the door greeter who used to work with me and shared my enthusiasm for collecting them). Found abandoned in baskets, in trolleys, left on or kicked under shelves, discarded onto the floor. I have been known to unashamedly pick one out of the bin if I see it on the top. I think a lot about how the lists are relics of momentary importance, immediately discarded once the lists' items have been collected. The author cares not for the fate of the shopping list once it has been put to use. They are tiny windows into the every day lives of strangers and their individual supermarket rituals.
I'm not sure that I'll do anything in particular with the shopping lists, rather just have them displayed en masse. I did a project a few years ago illustrating the lists via woodcuts, but I don't think I need to mediate people's interactions with them - I think they speak for themselves. They contain beautiful nuances - handwriting (large and messy, tiny and neat, scrawled in haste, written carefully in script, etc.), paper choice (post-it note, back of an envelope, scrap paper, lined notebook pages torn from book, etc.), crossings out (violent scratches through words, ticks next to items), scrunching or ripping up (I've pieced a few back together), creative misspellings (and sometimes correcting of misspellings), question marks (perhaps asking "Can I afford this item?" or "Do I need this item?" or "Will the store have this item?"), collections of items (for a specific recipe, for a particular family member, from particular shops, written in chronological order of the aisles one goes up and down through the store, etc), groupings of needs vs wants (Eggs, milk and bread vs chocolate, biscuits and ice cream). The authors of the lists unwittingly convey details about themselves. They invoke you ask questions about the authors.
Back in the 3rd year of my degree, my studio also contained this arm chair and friends would pass by and come and sit in it. My friend Brenda used it to breastfeed her daughter, other friends would bring in their takeaway coffees and chat and sometimes C would bring in baby Theo and we'd sit him there. I like that it invited people in - it was a happy distraction. The blanket and crocheted cushion were thrifted and the ice cream truck pillow was a gift from Megan when Theo was born.
I also have a cute little locker with a kettle, cups and a container (somewhat) full of biscuits. I've been drinking lots of Rooibos tea and eating Pfeffernusse.
Some of my favourite art books. My eyes are always peeled for more beautiful art books. Do you have any recommendations?
It's all in the details.
Some of my materials. I like most to use gouache paint and a tiny brush, a HB pencil and an eraser and lovely Pentel 'Touch' pens I get from Officeworks which are good for lettering.
Some miscellany. A bills and letters sorter just for fun. Beautiful old playing card designs. One of Theo's drawings. Some photos. A painting I began and didn't finish.
I'm sure this space will be ever evolving once I get my head into gear and begin making work! Onto that!