on a quiet day


Just a couple of weeks ago I found myself cutting out shapes from magazine pages and scrap paper.

Nothing particular in mind, just another odd compulsion. But I’ve been me all these years now, I’m used to this, I don’t give it another thought.

Some good will come of it. Meanwhile, I’ve got a heap of hands and fish and butterflies and cats and things. As you do.

Then this began to evolve.

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Now I’m as curious as the next person: What does this mean?

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Last year I was doing this (again, no idea why). 

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So I carry on, still not knowing, but enjoying the bejeepers out of the process.

Perhaps that’s reason enough, right?

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The words that I remember as I play join the page, they get buried in the mix.

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Somewhere under and amongst these layers sit the words:

“Our strategy should be not only to confront empire, but to lay siege to it.

To deprive it of oxygen.

To shame it. To mock it.

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With our art, our music, our literature, our stubbornness, our joy, our brilliance, our sheer relentlessness – and our ability to tell our own stories.

Stories that are different from the ones we’re being brainwashed to believe

….

 

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The corporate revolution will collapse if we refuse to buy what they are selling – their ideas, their version of history, their wars, their weapons, their notion of inevitability.

Remember this:

We be many and they be few.

They need us more than we need them.

 

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Another world is not only possible, she is on her way. On a quiet day, I can hear her breathing.”

 

– from Arundhati Roy, War Talk

Holy Aphorisms, Batman!


I love a snappy aphorism, some pertinent thought inspiring little snippet of wisdom.

Spend any time at all on facebook, pinterest, or the like, and you’ll be up to your armpits in them before you’ve realised. And, like anything, they can get a bit indigestable en masse like this.

That’s why this made me smile so much:

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scrap-driven pages



Working in the way I do generates a lot of scraps and offcuts. There are days (most of them) when I have no idea where to begin or how the page will look. The scraps often decide this for me, and Day 33 is pure 100% scrap driven!


Along with the scraps I make there are scraps I save from the ‘outside world’ – labels, tickets, lists and quotes written on the backs of envelopes… these were the founding ingredients for day 34.

The quote that I made annoyingly illegible was from an unknown Sufi master: “May I overcome any bitterness that may have arisen because I was not up the magnitude of the pain I was entrused with”. Hearty food for thought.


Scraps make for textural interest too, in page 35 I used little torn rectangles to build up a layer of white on the blank white page, that’s where the linear forms began and the rest just happened!

spaces


“Take care of the spaces, and the lines will take care of themselves”

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from Practical knowledge for all by Sir John Hammerton c1950

On seeing with a pencil. Drawing is a means of education, of training hand and eye. It quickens the powers of perception and gives scope to the inventive faculties. It trains the eye to accuracy in observation, and the mind to attention, comparison, reflection and judgement

It’s simple: You take so…


“It’s simple: You take something and do something to it, and then you do something else to it. Keep doing this, and pretty soon you’ve got something”

In adopting this premise put forward by Jasper Johns that to create is to: ‘take something and do something to it’ (I like to suspend expectation) then just  ‘keep doing things’.

Popular wisdom cautions us that creation can go too far – ruined by not knowing when to stop, fidgeting and niggling the spontaneity and spirit away, from whence it cannot be reclaimed.

Unless you choose otherwise.

I’m playing with a new attitude.

One in which there cannot be a point where I step back and tell myself, after critical consideration: this is shit; this has failed; I can’t do this; this isn’t what I planned; followed up by I give up. If, at the time I observe and consider progress, there is no judgement; either it’s done, or it isn’t.

And even if it is, maybe some more will be done to it another time.

It’s all ephemeral.