Being on the Jerwood Drawing Prize shortlist http://jerwoodvisualarts.org is an organic experience. As the exhibition tours the country its both perceived and received in different measure. The new Hastings Jerwood Gallery http://www.jerwoodgallery.org is currently hosting this diverse and fascinating show until January 6th.
For me, at a relatively early stage in my career its been an essential endorsement of my ability giving me that extra measure of self belief that opens new doors and not only seizes opportunities but anticipates them too. To see my work exhibited in professional spaces such as the Jerwood Space, London ,http://jerwoodvisualarts.org be written about, check out CQ magazine Winter edition http://www.culturalquarterly.co.uk and be taken seriously face to face is both amazing and invaluable.
Its a bit like making a really good hit single which needs to be backed up with an album. So in order to achieve rock star status I have stepped up my attitude and am taking myself seriously, getting myself a specific place to work, setting a 12 month plan in motion.
Ok I've bought a shed. The process of raising the money to buy a studio shed was incredible. I had to get all my work together from the last 25 years (oh am I that old?) completely empty and clean out our flat living space, (do not underestimate this task I live with 3 boys under 9 years) display it, price it, advertise the whole kaboodle and then bake mountains of Brownies. It was like having my own un-curated retrospective Scary (because you don't always want to show a diverse range of work all together) but also enlightening because I could see a progression and maturity in my work, common themes, some fantastic observational drawing and experimental work. I saved a few pieces back to work on in my next phase.
The next phase is more drawing. Big lumps of charcoal and square formats. Using the landscape as my framework I am developing a Creeping Buttercup illustration for a lovely friend who has been patiently waiting for this work for 2+ years! But its right that its being done now. Blog on Creeping Buttercup to follow.
I have been overwhelmed by people's support and their compliments. My three boys also spotted an opportunity to become the next young apprentice and made over a tenner selling their own drawings and painted shells for 10p each. This was fabulous and really broke the ice for everyone.