Tuesday, 9 August 2016

The brewing of a creative project idea- countdown to Deep Space Moolog

Kirsty E Smith: the early stages of making Treggi Lo a new Frillip Moolog being.
Sometimes people ask questions such as, “Where did you get that idea from?” or “That sounds interesting, what made you put those ideas together?’”

The problem is that often the creative brain makes connections very quickly and also not necessarily logically and you don’t stop to jot the stages down, so later, when you have to explain your train of thoughts it can be a challenge because you haven’t actually got any ‘dots’ to join together. But that doesn’t usually matter because you’ve already got going and started working on your project anyway.

I am currently making new work for my forthcoming solo show, Deep Space Moolog which will be at 20:21 Visual Arts Centre in Scunthorpe 17th Sept -12th Nov 2016. 

I am excited about this for various reasons: firstly this show takes the form of an installation and will be a theatrical experience of my work, secondly the show will be eight weeks long (my longest to date) and finally, I have been successful in securing Arts Council England finding for it. So all in all a lot to be excited about!

How do you come up with good exhibition idea?

  • Draw a mind Map.
  • Drink (lots of) wine and then scratch your head and see what you come up with
  • Doodle ideas on a napkin. It might impress someone … especially years later when the napkins can be auctioned? 
  • Lie in bed in that half-awake state and allow yourself to daydream.
  • Put yourself in the mindset of one of your artworks; what would they suggest? (This is the main technique that I use; after all it has been observed that my Frillip Moolog beings are extensions of my own personality.) 

My relationship with 20:21 Visual Arts started way back in Feb 2012 when I visited Scunthorpe for the first time. Three and a half years later after some major life changes, including relocating from the Midlands to Sheffield, it was now October 2015 and my meeting with Dominic Mason, Exhibitions officer at 20:21 Arts Centre, was looming and I was starting to feel slightly panicky.
I had a cup of tea and a chat with my good friend and artist, Sean Williams, and I poured out my garbled thoughts to him; amongst those were that I thought that Mi Wawa would like to go to Cresswell Crags. 
Cresswell Crags, occupied by wild animals and early homo sapiens since Neolithic times
At this point I was thinking of a photo-shoot similar to the ones that I had previously done with Hurgle Lenz and Hooty but then I revealed my interest in time travel and mentioned Ancient Astronaut theory (where some people believe that cave drawings were done by alien space travellers rather than neolithic man or early homo sapiens)  
and before you knew it I had also thrown in a comment about how I had been an avid fan of early Star Trek and that I loved the craziness of the screen-sets and the obviously fake boulders in the Star Trek sets.

My paper mache rocks look just as fake as these Star Trek TOS ones
And interestingly this zingy pink colour features in both the new beings and the film that I have been making for the show.
Sean didn’t laugh at my idea but instead was very encouraging about it and so when I had my meeting at 20:21 Visual Arts a couple of days later it was doubly fantastic that Dominic Mason was also really enthusiastic about it. 
I think that it was while in conversation with Dominic that I threw out the idea of making paper-mache space boulders and using them as plinths for my ‘real’ artworks to be shown on. 

I have also been interested in the question of what is the art and what is a prop for quite a while now so I felt that this would be an excellent way of further investigating this question. 

Over the next few weeks I developed my exhibition idea and sent Dominic some very basic photoshop mock-ups of how I visualised the installation looking. Back in 2009 I had been awarded an Arts Council Grant for an earlier solo show Close Encounters of a Frillip Moolog Kind but despite that I still found that putting together the application for Deep Space Moolog was hard and arduous work. The task seemed to take ages (I spread it out over 10 weeks) but I was having to fit it around my full time job, so e mail enquiries were sent at 6am and writing and budget spreadsheets were done in the evenings. I finally pressed the ‘Submit’ button early on Boxing Day morning and then heard back from Arts Council England by the end of January 2016.

What fantastic news … my application had been successful. Phewf what a relief!

So from then on I have been very focussed about getting into my studio 3 evenings a week and also for at least 4 hours at the weekend. 
It has been great to get right into making and over the months I have felt happier and happier in my studio.

I know that I am slow but steady worker (rushing usually results in bad creative decisions) however I realised that I couldn’t afford to take things too slowly- I have just had to keep the faith and keep an eye on my diary to check that I am getting the work done within my time target. 

My full time job is in a special school so luckily (and in my opinion also entirely necessarily) I have had the summer holidays to really forge ahead preparing for Deep Space Moolog.

Being an artist is a lifestyle choice and when you're doing what makes you happy it never feels like work, it's just what I do. 

My show at 20:21 Visual Arts will take the form of an installation which comprises: five small Frillip Moolog beings, space rocks to place them on, a curtained walkway with printed surreal rock face imagery on it and also a short film which draws together the strands of time travel, aliens from space, and neolithic cave dwellers. In previous films I have enjoyed using incongruous sound effects and in this one I am incorporating some swooshing ‘beam-me-down’ sounds amongst other alien music and otherworldly voices.

A video still of one of the animated sections of my short film.
This is the knobbly 'head' of Treggi Lo 
Over the last three weeks I have done a lot of sitting in front of my computer and despite enjoying learning and improving my Premier Pro film editing skills I really don’t enjoy sitting still that much and I am missing the physicality of making in my studio. 

I have also made a new website (finally one which is mobile friendly) www.kirstyesmith.co.uk and so I am now ready to get my publicity ‘machine’ rolling into action. 

Being an artist means that you can’t ever do nothing … well unless you have an idea brewing and then yes that is the time to drink some tea/coffee/beer/wine (delete as applicable) and have several daydreaming sessions opening your mind up to possible artistic project ideas. 

Treggi Lo, my most recent Frillip Moolog being.
Deep Space Moolog

17 Sep - 12 Nov 2016
20:21 Visual Arts Centre
Scunthorpe, DN15 6TB

Tue - Sat 10am-4pm