My work is born of journeys into terra incognita, through landscapes both internal and external (the boundary between the two – perhaps a culturally-specific designation – is for me porous). In either realm, I can’t resist the unfamiliar and rather than lingering in the ‘known’, am compelled to explore what lies over the horizon. This tendency may, apparently, be the upshot of my DNA.
Meditative ‘making’ and walking are of pivotal importance as they constitute the preliminary mechanisms by which I process these experiences. Through these ‘technologies’ I aspire to understand the places I visit, why I am drawn to them, how they are defined and what makes them resonant – both for me and in wider society.
Making is not a matter of simple production – of working in linear or logical fashion towards the presentation of a pre-rationalised/resolved idea or concept. To a large degree I ‘think’ through my hands and feet in the course of repetitive actions in which I become totally immersed. Thus, I reach resolution (in so far as anything is ever fully resolved) by not directly attending to the immediate conundrum. We seem overly hung up on the ‘head’ bit at the moment, a state of affairs that doesn’t suit everyone and ignores the greater part of our latent capacity.
That said, within what are process-intensive time-based media, it’s important to resolve a cogent structure – with a degree of flexibility that allows for in-the-moment developments and discoveries. The works are then, to a large degree, constructed through connecting the ‘foundation’ images that project themselves in my mind’s eye. These ‘key-frames’ often present themselves in the course of making paper cut-outs of relevant creatures or when I’m waiting for the right moment of light whilst shooting landscape footage. This innate tendency towards narrative became apparent to me in my ‘still image’ printmaking years ago and is, I gather, down to our neural hardwiring. We are all story makers.
Animation and poetry are both vessels through which, by depicting or saying something, it becomes – whether rationally viable or not. The main thing is that it feels truthful. As media they are then logic-busters, pushing through boundaries and breaking the laws of what we believe to be possible and in this way forming new linkages, meanings and truths.
Whilst I enjoy research hugely and respect specialism deeply, I’ve learned to trust this intuitive approach of absorption > internal processing > reconfiguration. Quite often it’s not clear precisely why I’ve done something until I sit down to reflect on it afterwards, when a powerful truth emerges. For me, the best artworks have ambiguous or shifting meanings – it’s what makes them universal and timeless. Who am I to prescribe what they mean to someone else?
Making a flip book-box:
Making a Lantern – Light, Shadow and Sound: