Wednesday, 1 June 2011

Twinkle Twinkle

The apocalypse is upon us.  The atmosphere has transformed from menacing to ethereal as the last trio of artists have turned to the heavens above and the trees below for inspiration.
Just as my energy was starting to flag, I have been spurred on by their enthusiasm for and quick response to the project and cause.  Saatchi, Rose Issa, and Ceri Hand are all benefitting from showing the work of these artists too so the Georgie Project is honoured to have them aboard.
There has been interest shown by one major london gallery in hosting the show which has prompted me to expand my team and get whips cracking.  Watch this space.

Tuesday, 19 April 2011

The Menace Men

The Menace Men
Artist number 12 is about to pass the relay onto artist number 13.  I said previously that I hope to have 27 artists on board by August.  Maths has never been my strong point which is probably why nature pointed me towards the door of the arts.  Now that I have faced up to a few basic calculations, I realize that if each of the future artists were to complete their piece within two weeks, I am looking at November which makes the possibility of a show in December even more ambitious.  I shall not be deterred though.  Challenges are what life is all about.  Doing things safely may feel nice for a bit but after a while, one can smell stagnation in the air and then it's time to move forward again. 

Georgie appeared to bounce from one end of the spectrum to the other, as if she had no internal barometer for shutting down her system when things got too much or revving her up when she had been sitting in the same place for too long.  It was one of her endearing traits that she would say "yes" to almost everything.  Nothing was too big a task for her even when it clearly was.  One example that comes to mind is her job offer to head up the creative department of a prestigious bespoke stationary business in Los Angeles.  When she discovered the ad, stating the minimum requirements of a portfolio showing work from college and previous jobs, she did not allow a small issue of having never been to art college or worked in the industry before to deter her.  Instead, she stayed up all night before the interview, creating a portfolio from scratch.  She got the job.  Then the consequence would sneak up behind her a week, a month, or a year later and she would be stuck to her bed where the sheets hadn't been changed for two years and not move for days, barely finding the will to call into work with a fresh excuse for each day of doing a no show.  Georgie was fired from work a month before she died.  Tragic and probably inevitable.  Her medications were supposed to balance out these fluctuations but like many in her position, she had a disease that liked to tell her she didn't have a disease.  So days would go by where she would "forget" to take the pills.  And I won't be popular for saying this but I find it hard to judge her for this.  I saw what they did to her.  She was a creative person and this was taken away from her when she was on them.  Is there a way for a creative bipolar mind to keep the juices flowing AND be on medication I wonder? 

The image is of the most recent work made for the project.  The artist knows nothing about Georgie which makes it all the more poignant to me because I know she lived in a world of books and one could say she was certainly plagued by The Menace Men. 

Thursday, 31 March 2011

A Deluge of Extremes

from Georgia's notebooks
I have been sifting through some of Georgia's boxes. 
It's all there.  Creativity, obsession, torment, and hope.  Drawings, poems, rare books, handmade jewelry, beautiful shoes, prayers of pleading, lists of medication - what she took, when she took it, and more often, when she forgot, and diaries filled with tiny writing in coloured inks.  The evidence of her illness is scattered everywhere.  Some of the darker poems have been written over and over again.  The jewelry is exquisite and nothing short of genius considering she was entirely self taught.  I know that she would sometimes stay up all night, often sitting with a tray in the bath, making this stuff.  She taught herself everything there was to know about semi precious stones.  Then there are all the designer shoes.  Stunning, quirky, and far beyond her means.  Some were stolen, some were saved up for and afforded by living off protein shakes and cigarettes instead of food.  The multiple piles of rare books hints at Georgia's partiality to hoarding.  Her apartment groaned under the weight of unread material, looked at once then abandoned in a stack behind the sofa.  The writing in her diaries often changes dramatically in appearance, as if more than one person is the author.  Most poignant have been the prayers.  Georgia was looking desperately for a God she could believe in and feel supported by.    Every deed and thought she regretted and documented, was followed by a prayer to stop her doing and thinking these things again, but to no avail.  The insanity of repetition is rife.

I did not start off with the idea of including or adding anything personal of Georgia's but I now feel it might be an interesting idea.  So I am creating a scrapbook alongside the project.   It is the visual story of a bipolar mind.  A deluge of extremes.  Tragic but also funny.  She was the first person to make jokes about her behaviour at the same time as despairing.  She once befriended a man with no legs or arms, living on the streets.  She wheeled him home and tried to convince her flatmate to let him live with them.  Needless to say, it didn't happen.  Without being conscious of it, I realize this project is emulating something of the absurd in Georgia's circumstances. 

If her life were an artwork then I would say the theme to it was CONVENTION or lack thereof.  Time and again she could (or would?) not conform to what people and society expected of her.  But imagine if it was possible for a person to live entirely free of others' expectations.  Would she have found some other way to torment herself or could she have found peace?

Friday, 18 March 2011

Zambaza the Crystal Seer

It has been a few months since I last updated you on the project but things have been progressing while I was busy being "creative" at home with the arrival of another child. Now I am back in the studio, firing on all cylinders. We are on artist number 11. Half of these have been photographed by Christian who seems to have thoroughly enjoyed himself chit chatting with his subjects, judging by the sheer volume of material he has sent back to me. All the more impressive when I tell you that he is doing this for peanuts because he likes the ideas behind the project.

Zambaza the Crystal Seer is the contribution of artist number 7 - you will have to come to the show to work out who that one is.

What I am aiming for is 27 artists to have participated by August. That will make it one artwork for every year of Georgie's life. Then a show in December, venue yet to be confirmed. Ideally I would love to talk a central london gallery into hosting the event, one that represents an artist participating in the project. It is a long shot but worth a try. My vision is for a lively and social one night affair that will attract the great and the good, all hopefully in the spirit of giving and spending because it is close to Christmas and the charity whom the proceeds of the sale will benefit, concerns people who are likely to be particularly vulnerable at this time of year. As I see it, a gallery could also profit from such an event because it is likely to add new people to their mailing list, and show them in an attractive light for championing a good cause at this time of year. And who knows, the template for this project could well be continued by the gallery, using their stable of artists as the participants. It is something I have not seen done before (not to say that someone somewhere hasn't yet thought of it - if so and you are reading this, make yourselves known!) and yet could make for compelling, and at the very least, amusing, viewing; a unique format for linking seemingly unrelated creatives together.

As for the "flavour" of the project thus far, it is witty, bizarre, and somehow reflecting the current meteorological zeitgeist with its to-ing and fro-ing between sun, snow, and rain. I look forward to seeing the results of the current artist who is kindly taking time out from an impending deadline of work for the English National Opera to do this. The most recent participants include a trio from the same family: Neal, Leigh, and Jeremy Fox, a colleague of theirs from Le Gun Collective, Robert Rubbish, a regular in shows staged by Decima Projects, Jackie Clark , and up and coming emerging talent, Richard Starbuck. So watch this space for updates and please do get in touch with any ideas you may be able to contribute towards putting on the show and producing a book at the end of it all.