I WANT TO TELL YOU A STORY......
A story about a painting, really a painting which changed the path of my work, made me realise that I needed to make work which was authentic to me. I think I've forgotten that in recent times.
It was 2012 and the painting was in my first solo exhibition since returning to painting (the story of stopping is a long one I will tell you another time). The piece "Crystal" was about femininity, grace and real women, it was about me working through my own body con issues, while trying to empower other real women, it felt like a piece which struck a chord with me, and seemed to resonate with both men and women alike.
(The exhibition was in a gym, around the walls where scantily clad people were running on treadmills and improving their bodies.)
The painting apparently also greatly offended some people, maybe it hit the wrong chord, struck a raw nerve, but it was called "overly suggestive" and "inappropriate for the space it was displayed in" - the complaint was raised by a woman, the gym immediately removed the piece and asked me to take it away. I talked about this on social media, and it was picked up by a local newspaper -(read the article here http://www.gazettelive.co.uk/news/local-news/artwork-caused-stir-clairville-stadium-3668174 ).
As soon as the article was published I was asked to remove the rest of the exhibition. - naughty me! Bad bad suggestive artist!!
I was upset, I didn't understand it, but I picked myself up and carried on, I found another space to display all the work, and it really seemed to resonate with a lot of people. I gained a lot of support from people on social media and in my home town, so in all I won from a bad situation.
But what this did for my art practice is even more meaningful, it made me firstly think "I need to censor my work.......??!!!! Really!?....
NO.... It made me realise, that painting came from a place of authenticity, and I needed to pursue that and probably that piece was quite "soft" in terms of what I really wanted to say in my work, I wasn't going to be (I'm not) everyone's cup of tea and that's OK!!!
Four years after all that and my work has more meaning, more significance, yes some is even explicit, but it's authentic, I am telling my story through paint or ink.