The Cause of Lens Flare (just a playful bit of digital manipulation based on a new pattern I recently developed from the old textbook)
(Firstly, things have been decidedly quiet on here – partly because I’ve been at the stage of gathering feedback but mostly because I’ve been down with a virus over the last few weeks.)
Part two of Assignment One was to seek feedback on my work from within the industry. In early January, I prepared an interactive pdf that included an introductory statement, a link to the video of my re-formed ‘Textbook’, and links to a selection of images in a larger, high-res format. It can be viewed here. I sent that out to six contacts – mainly contemporary artists, five of whom had already agreed to give feedback and one that was ‘cold’, and I’ve had replies from four, with a fifth promised when time allows. Each had a covering e-mail that included these questions:
1) What thoughts/advice might you have about ways of further developing/strengthening the project?
2) What thoughts/advice can you offer on how to distribute/get exposure for it? (Which might beg the follow-up – Is there anyone I should be talking to?)
I’ve also had a couple of gallery meetings in January – one at Bank Street, Sheffield, primarily to discuss doing some work with them on an evening event, but also to very briefly show the ‘Textbook’ project; and the other at a new gallery in Holmfirth – Foxtail Gallery – where I spent a very useful 1-1.5 hours discussing the project.
Obviously, quite a lot of words have emerged from all of that, which I’m not going to repeat here in any detail. At a high-level summary, the response is wholly supportive of the work but with fewer strong directives as to precisely how to take it forward (understandably). The following summarises the feedback:
Responses to the work itself
- Visually strong, especially the more complex images;
- Thoughtful and well-considered; good depth & layers of potential interpretation;
- Plenty of potential for further development work;
- Good basis in theory.
How to further develop the project
- Some editing of the full-length version in the video;
- Bring out the metaphoric; possibly make more of the metamorphosis of the signifier;
- Play up the chemistry connection – science of change;
- Do more of, and make more of, the complex transformations – potential for them to stand on their own as an outcome of the project;
How to gain exposure to an audience
- Generally rather less said about this question – acknowledged as the ‘perennial issue’;
- The suggestions on who specifically I might target with the work – people like Charlotte Cotton & Bruno Ceschel, both of whom are going to be mighty difficult to get to, but you never know;
- Most frequently, this issue is turned back to me – How do I want to develop the work? – which is perfectly sound advice, of course.
- And one really, really good piece of advice for all of us – make friends; give back; art is a social game.
Pleasingly, and importantly, the work seems to have caught some attention and come across as having sufficient sophistication to be of interest. That gives me the confidence to go on investing time in taking it forward. I seem to be being encouraged to make more work and to build on the more complex digital manipulations – so some more creative activity looks on the cards – but meanwhile I need to go on finding ways of building the links and try to refine some ideas of the eventual outcome, from which plans can be made.