On Tuesday there was a talk by David Shrigley at Exeter Phoenix. I went with my Dad. Before going I didn't really know very much about Shrigley, I just knew he made funny little drawings.
It was an amusing talk. Shrigley is an interesting and engaging speaker and I laughed out loud several times. He showed a range of his work, and I learned that not only does he make the funny drawings - but he also writes, makes animations and sculpture/installation. He has worked with a range of artists and musicians and had exhibitions in many art galleries. He has written books, made a range of crockery and is confidant in his ability to always 'come up with something'.
So...it was a good talk and I left knowing I had enjoyed myself...but I wasn't particularly inspired. Shrigley didn't make me want to run home and create. I was left with a muted version of what I felt about Martin Creed. Shrigley obviosuly has all these fantastic ideas. His work for the self help book, making mental illness normal because all brains are weird is wonderful! However it all felt a little...lazy, to me. I wanted him to just do a bit more. Make something more. I wanted him to care, or at least appear to.
On the other hand, I am always impressed, or at least intrigued, by these artists who seem able to just make. They make anything and because they made it they can call it art. i sometimes feel almost paralysed by this need to make something that will make a difference, change the world. Art with meaning. Sometimes i think it would be nice to just do it...just play.
So the main thing I learned?
FILL THE PAGE. Do something. Anything. Make the work. Believe in it. And don't give a fuck what anyone else says - particularly 20 year old art students who don't really know what they are talking about anyway.
On Friday evening Matt and I traveled down to Shepperton, just outside of London so that I could be there bright and early on Saturday for a day of nerves as I waited to do my TEDx talk at SWPS in Chertsey. It was a wonderful day, I was very scared and nervous-excited but it was great to have a chance to listen to all the other speakers and have a few great conversations before my talk.
My actual talk went SO WELL. As soon as I got up onto that stage all my nerves went away and I felt very able to speak. Coming off the stage was fantastic. The best feeling ever. I spent all of the next talk trying not to cry with happiness/pride/relief. I am very excited to see the video...
The other speakers were amazing. I feel honoured to have spoken at an event filled with so many inspiring people. When the videos come out I'll be writing a bit about my favourites and sharing their films. But for now, go and sign the no more page three campaigns petition. Lucy Holmes was far and away the best speaker of the day.
Laura Bates and the Everyday Sexism Project. So important and so relevant to everyone.
Recently I have spoken to several people (including my 11 year old sister) about how sex education is taught (or not taught) in schools; the biology is there - sure - children are being taught the mechanics of sex and what happens to their bodies as they grow up. In fact, last week my sisters class watched a baby be born! That would be great, if they were also learning about respecting one another, healthy relationships, and that love and sex can happen between one man and one woman or two men or two women, but only when they both want it, and verbally consent. I believe that this issue of ongoing, normalised sexism would become less if children were routinely taught in schools that this kind if behaviour is NOT OK, and were given a positive model instead.