Quote Extracts

16/06/17

I find myself developing a magpie tendency whenever I see a good quote. Whether it’s for personal or academic use, I have a compulsion to document and accumulate them. I always remember my old art teacher having a book of quotes that inspired him. He was a fantastic man, full of energy; who still wore a waistcoat with a pocket watch. I should probably be more religious with my quote gathering and compile them all in one place, as they are currently haphazardly scattered across various notebooks, sticky notes, old receipts and train tickets. Anything I can write on in that moment, I will use to scribble notes. At least I always have a surplus of pens on me as being pen-less is my worst nightmare given I am such an avid note taker.

Although most of the time they are gathered for personal reflection, these are some I thought I would share…

‘To be modern is to find ourselves in an environment that promises adventure, power, joy, growth, transformation of ourselves and the world and at the same time to destroy everything we have, everything we know, everything we are.’

– M. Berman, All That Is Solid Melts into Air, (1982), p.15

This I felt was a very poignant quote; as it is both at once filled with promise and hope, whilst simultaneously filled with tragedy and sadness. It signifies the disrupted and chaotic equilibrium of life. It exposes both the beauty and virtue of humans, whilst also displaying our destructive and careless nature. I think it is also very beautifully written; the more I read the more I am refining and realising my reading taste. I really do love visual language which drips with life. Along with my new found love for Franco ‘Bifo’ Berardi’s writings, I have come across another writer  whose texts are truly brilliant. Although he’s an urban geographer in practice, which might appear a boring working title to some, or a tedious field to others, David Harvey is in fact one of the best writers I have come across in a while. His grasp of literature and his ability to convey and discuss his ideas in an engaging manner is enticing. Ignoring for a moment his staggeringly accurate and perceptive analysis of capitalist culture – he coined the term ‘time-space compression’, which discusses the shrinking of temporal and geographical distances as a result of technological and communication advances, see image below – his writing in itself is beautiful and full-bodied, like a good red wine.

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A quote of his I discovered recently that struck me:

‘Capital is a process and not a thing. It is a process of reproduction of social life through commodity production, in which all of us in the advanced capitalist world are heavily implicated…The process masks and fetishises, achieves growth through creative destruction, creates new wants and needs, exploits the capacity for human labour and desire, transforms spaces, and speeds up the space of life.’ 

– D. Harvey, The Condition of Postmodernity, (1989), p.343

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Those Days

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I’m going to be using art as a metaphor here. And yes, it’s a metaphor for life. For the real world. For being scared and growing up. To me, the ultimate is doing what you love everyday. There is no point doing what you are doing if you are burdened by it. Of course, we all have those days where we wonder ‘what the hell is going on here?!’ What am I doing with all this crap in my studio?!’ Well, us art folk wonder that. Sometimes though you need those days. Yes, they are pretty shit and I drink even more tea then I normally do, but at the same time they act as a turning point. They really make you sit back and think about what it is you are trying to articulate in your work. Stale periods force you to step outside of yourself for once and I think that’s a really healthy thing. Sometimes you can get so carried away in the making of an artwork that the momentum sweeps you off your feet and leaves you to fall hard on your bum! 

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Falling flat on your ass is all part of the learning experience though. You fail at something, but you learn and something else comes from that. This kind of thing doesn’t apply just to making artwork, but to life and everyday. We have bad days, we have Mondays and we have good days. And it all balances out. Sometimes I have inspiration dry spells that last two weeks! Trying to get an idea out is life trying to squeeze water from a rock! It’s tough, but once you get over that milestone, you have the world at your feet! And once you are at that stage, the fun begins! A fun day for me getting messy in the studio. If I leave for the day with ink stains on my hands and charcoal smeared across my face I am happy. It will have been a good one. 

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A lot of the time I don’t know what I’m doing. I don’t have a plan. Things just happen. I experiment. Accidents occur. Paint tubes explode in my face and all over my clothes. I say this mostly in reference to art, but as with all my art, a lot of it translates into real life. Who knows where you are going to be in five years, ten years? Who cares? Do we really need to pinpoint every single thing? Personally, no. If I can apply an art metaphor again here, I would far rather mix two colours together and see what happens when I apply them to canvas!

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