Artists Ben Bell & Dan Bown created an exhibition in Studio 20, the private view was well attended as was the exhibition and happening the next day. They organised a group painting session, like musical chairs but less energetic. Of the painters in attendance 3 have exhibited with Imprudent Collective.
Long long ago I had a space in an open plan studio, I don’t think i made anything in there, it never felt comfortable. Turned out I have huge anxiety around making in front of other people, it’s almost as bad as being asked to read something aloud I’ve never read before. CRINGE. I see our city dotted with the talented open-air painters and I’m always blown away by how they do it, not the practicality of it, but taking up space and being seen?/Vulnerable? nope, not for me, I reckon I’d get s*at on by a massive gull or I’d pack up if random blokes (# not all men) tried to talk at me while I painted. 5 different types of nope.
I got well out of my comfort zone then found it again with teeth. It was great to be a guest, it wasn’t my exhibition soi didn’t have the organiser head-on- except definitely got restless and wanted to move on perhaps more quickly than anyone else. I’t was strange, to paint around and possibly over someone else’s marks, while we all sat around a table in the middle of an exhibition, listening to chilled out tunes and chatting about the power of getting out and seeing people for the maintenance of wellbeing.
Thank you to everyone so far who has shared and filled in this form, Im going to extend the deadline past the 24th August and keep it open for longer because this information, your experiences and voice is important and it will be incredibly valuable to the delivery of this service if the bid is successful and what happens after that.
3 years ago I was scared of drawing halos because they aren’t mine, so I leaned into that because the 6-year-old me who had to say a prayer at school every afternoon part of me decided I should. I love finding icons with their faces scratched out in corners of medieval churches on the various mini expeditions my most spiritual friend and I take to the holiest pilgrimage village in Norfolk. the defaced paintings showing the anger towards someone else’s ideas, we drive each other to do peculiar things, particularly in the name of our chosen gods. I love icon paintings because they are traditional and unchanged, stories about spectacular humans painted by humans. It was around this time I read FEMEN, I didn’t agree with some of what they did, the polarised thoughts around women covering their heads being oppressed(choice is key) but I learned about Oksana Shackko a Ukrainian artist; trained from a very early age in iconography, made a living from it by 12, left it alone for a while during her activist days but went back to it with new meaning before her death at the age of 31 last year. In fact a year ago on the 23 July, this week. That smarted a bit. artnet news
Recently there has been more ambiguity in the halo, it could indeed be a sun, with rays shining out of it, I’ve moved away from whole figures again and back to the pattern and shape making of body parts and the blurring of boundaries between physically internal and external.
When showing people these most recent images the response is often a coy mention of how they are so religious in appearance. I could get existential, talk about spirituality, energy, the big nothing and the end of the world. Humans are resilient and totally fragile, our lives are little blips in time. We want so much freedom as well as needing the comfort of containment. Mostly what I’m expressing is the human struggle, the utter fear of existing and the joy of just being. A whole bunch of feels is in here about the phrase ” babies having babies” usually a sad derogatory term for teenage pregnancy, honestly, though, no one is ever ready, it’s hard even if your life is quite easy, parenting is HARD, 100% not doing that whole baby thing again!
No one really knows what they are doing, and that’s ok.
This time next week (6th June) I’ll be speaking at a mentalhealth conference in Norwich.
One of my favourite parts of the day is listening to others stories and how they’re similar to my own. Survival and love stories 💛 there’s something about humans, a little electric ZING, we shine when we get to see one another 🌟
100% Im one of those people that has to make, it’s not a hobbie or career path, it’s a need, like someone might jog, or swim, sing, to stay happy and healthy, I need to make. If Im not making it’s because Im not well and I need to make to feel well again. Prodominantly the subject matter is trauma and recovery based, the motifes are figures, eyes, teeth, vulvas, waves and halos. Im lucky, I have a studio, A MASSIVE PRIVILLAGE I have it because it became clear that my creative practice and my little family couldn’t live in the same place. It’s also important for me to be able to walk away from my work, far away, but know it will be there when Im ready to go back. It took a big leap to continue to feel like I was worth, that my creative work was worth taking up a studio space.
FAV17 & FAV18 https://klgilmartin.com/finding-a-voice-2017-nunnsyard-gallery/ was me making space for the new voice I’d found and to help other find or use their own. I have notice more and more since then how much positive impact it makes that I am visable. People who have had simmilar struggles can heal from seeing one another thrive. It makes sence to me that recovery collage and peer support work.
Being a creative practiotioner. I’m wholeheartedly unappologetically me. I make what I want, if it fits some one elses needs, great, but it is a selfish procsess in and of it’s self. The bit I love is using it to teach and communicate. A non verbal voice, that gets to be listened to and because in these class room or training situations Im there, we get to be super curious about it. I think it’s a super power that grew from the right intervention during crisis, I had so many different proffesionals around, that it made sense to be curagously vulnerable (thank you Berne Brown). It’s important to note in those early sessions when a voice is non verbal, how someone in a support role can spot that voice, have the courage to go back and ask tricky questions, safely. So yeah my process could be viewed as self indulgent but my whole practice balances that out. Even if it didn’t haveing a creative practice just for yourself, is tottaly valid and ok!
Im looking forward to getting the Mental health conference, inpartnership with “feed back mental health” into Norwich! There’s going to be 3 days of speakers and workshops for the general public to come and investigate for free. Norwich is planned for the 6th June. Its the 3rd time I’ve taken the stage at SHEDDNG THE LIGHT, https://klgilmartin.com/2018/06/04/shedding-the-light-conference-june-2018/
I don’t take my work, I just talk about how I got into crisis and how I leaned into support and built my village. #MyVillage Its after talking at this that people come up to me and the buzz from resonating emotions is electric. I feel it too, when I see someone whos had a similar story to me talk about how they got to recovery.
I’m going to keep making and taking up spaces. Creating spaces for others voices as well as my own. FAV18 was brillint becaue I got to share the exhibition with some women I had known for a while. During this exhbition I held 2 days of workshops with in the exhibition, co fasilitated, one day with a clinical psycologist and the other day with a Social worker. The whole event went well, but it was too much work. I didn’t want to run workshops in a group shop again, it was a nightmare when it came to marketing. Seperating my practice from the group show seemed to be the best idea. One I made happen with an egar curator, curation is not my favourite. Together we made https://imprudentart.wordpress.com/ which just so happens to be running its first pop up show during the UKs Mental Health Week and the busy period of the Norfolk & Norwich festival, though we aren’t affilliated wit the festival. (currently).
The pop up show is a 2 day exhibition, the space will be filled with work by over 40 creatives and mental health practitioners from across Norfolk and Suffolk. I learnt from the workshops of FAV18 that what is really important to me is unpicking the othering nature of a profetional labels, that some one with “lived experience” is us and any support (a service, MH or childrens or social services) is them. It is dehuanising for both parties. There is a faulse devide created, but the bottom line is its all human experience. We’re all in it together. Stigma thrives in us and them situations.
I hope you have enjoyed my input to mhweek. I hope you have spaces of your own, if not I hope you have the courage to be open to finding them. The work art works I have mentioned as part of my practice are viewable under the tabs, drawing and painting. Hit the ABOUT to find me on social media.
Mermasaurs existing was part of my recovery. During an abusive relationship the only thing I had real control over was my body. I made it strong and healthy, so that I could skate hard and fast as a jammer/ blocker on an awasome roller derby team. My body got a lot of comments and compliments. which is weird. My mental health got worse, I ended the relationship, and spiraled some more. I liked my body like that, it conformed and took up very little space.
I got started on antidepressants and did some EMDR & hard core therapy, put onFINDING A VOICE, gained some weight. The few clothes I’d bought in the smaller size no longer fit, and I was ok with it. I didn’t want to have to buy more new clothes. Love jeans, but I hate buying new ones, I got to the point where I knew the brand, style and size that I could just grab off the rack or buy on line.
I paint a lot of naked body parts. I made a small painting I named Give & Take, oil on canvas, I don’t mind having it on line. see below, but I’m not sure how I feel about it being in the big wide 3D world. The exhibition at the weekend is one Im toying with debuting it in. It’s only for 2 days. Check our project out here imprudentart.wordpress.com
it’s very vulnerable but also quite powerful. am i feeling that brave or bolshy? * holds index finger and thumb to chin*
As a general rule I only follow food, fittness or yoga themed instagram accounts if I know the person behind it. I know Im not alone in finding “before & after” pictures problematic. I just don’t have space for the weiredy feels they give me so I try not to have them in my life, same as glossy magazines and adverts. eew. I don’t make space for that im my life, while I do my best to make space for myself, and lean into feeling i deserve to take up the space I do and will. Its also important that I help others take up their space too.
MHW Blog post 1:3 was an introduction to my introduction to meds. recently, I upped my dose, advised by therapist and negotiated with GP. I went up because Im dealing with a project I have to do that cuts really close to the bone, I have to do it, but I don’t know when it will end. I want to do it, so to cope with the extra stress and triggers, my does went up. Not very much longer my jeans, the ones I was so happy to have found. no longer fit. *guuuuh* I tried going to the gym more, get back into some weigh lifting and HIIT, I just feel light headed and nausious AF. So Im not really in a possition to “work it off”. So for the mean time Im just going to wear my awesome bigger £5 chazza (charity shop) bargin jeans and hope I will one day be back in my favourite range of average, usulal size me jeans. Not so much because of the size, but because I don’t want to have to replace them, finding clothes that actually fit well is a living nightmare. getting clammy just thinking about it.
I have been having a serious internal stuggle with it. Im taking up a bit more space, my double chin is on fleek, my squishy bits are quite sexy, but there is this ingrained anxiety about my body that is a daily struggle right now. I wish it wasn’t. I have way better things to work about! seriously. I could name every bit that bothers me and talk about it at legnth, but I refuse to stir that pot, to air that stuff. That kind of talk is literally worth less, imo.
I’m ok. Im good. No longer in an Endo Struggle, my body is good. I am enough. I just have to keep countering the body negative self talk creeping in and be grateful.
relatable? throw me a comment or come find me on insta @finding a voice.
There is one more blog for mental health week to come, published in a coule of days. There are simmilar themes further back on this blog too and posts about talking in person at events about mental health crisis and recovery.
This week Im truely buzzed because the project I co founded has its first pop up exhibition! Over 40 creatives and mental health practitioners who have accessed mental health services in Norfolk and Suffolk have contributed the show. for more info go to https://imprudentart.wordpress.com/