London notes – 28-11-10

This is me by a glass rail in the glass exhibit at the V&A. I’ve been trying to take advantage of every reflective, light infused situation to take a photo, because photo-taking for whatever reason doesn’t come naturally to me. I’m a visual person and I’m constantly gawking at everything, but for some reason the leap between “wow look at that” and “let me pull out the camera” is not something my brain does instinctively.

Great news – I got the room I wanted!  I’m moving in on Wednesday and the next step will be turning my 60 or so square feet of space into a place I can sleep and work happily. That will be a post or two in and of itself.

Until then, I’ve allowed myself to act like I’m on vacation – since working is an impossibility anyway. I’ve been sleeping in, walking leisurely through various markets, neighbourhoods and exhibits, and eating local delicacies.

And I’ve been blessed with some clear, beautiful, chilly days do do that in. Walked over the gorgeous Tower Bridge to visit the Fashion Drawing exhibit at the Design Museum with fashion school friend Eleanor of Kitchenist. It was definitely curated to a particular aesthetic rather than being a comprehensive representation of fashion illustration. Still, it was amazing to see originals and sketches by the greats of 20th Century fashion drawing. Makes me feel better, as in “Erte’s drawings have smudges all over them too”, and “even Antonio created Frankenstien amalgams of various drawings”. I came out feeling all inspired and frustrated that I have no working studio set up at the moment.

After a diversion to Monmouth Coffee in the Borough Market (thanks for the reco Sarah!), I stopped at the Tate Modern to take in the contemporary art. There is a huge hall full of ceramic sunflower seeds. I’m not sure about what it means, I think contemporary art falls into a few categories – either “it looks neat”, or “I had fun making this”, or of course, “psych your mind”. But then I’m pretty shallow when it comes to parsing the reasons for making things – I can’t help but feel that its better to show than tell. After seeing a lot of art, I’m finding that I feel an affinity for contemporary work at the moment.

On Saturday I checked out the “Work in Progress” exhibit at the Royal College of Art. It was all various media, demonstrating some sort of thought process. There was one section where students explored different ways to create London souvenirs – I liked these little postcards that recorded London from a pigeon’s perspective – probably because the sentiments of the pigeons reflect my own at the moment somewhat. I wanted to take a postcard with me but I didn’t. Also, I didn’t notice the signs restricting photography of the exhibit until too late.

Another section explored techniques inspired by Cyanotype. On a table, various responses in graffiti were made to respond to the question “how do you respond to change”, and I photoed the one that said “DO NOTHING”, but of course I thought of my own response to change, which is “make a change”.

Another one is a computer program which automatically modifies anything typed in to create strange, nonsensical responses to your own thoughts. I wrote in something about how I was hungry for a sausage, and how I hoped I would be successful in London and make friends, and be gutsy, and this is the garble of words I got back.

At the moment, I am lonely, and I am enjoying it in a weird way. I haven’t felt compelled to make new connections yet. Without the space to work in, I feel like I’m roadblocked in a sort of purgatory, and this makes me feel oddly comfortable with a sense of disconnection. So perhaps its not so strange that that the only significant connections I’ve made in London so far are with art, instead of people.

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10 thoughts on “London notes – 28-11-10”

  1. The seeds exhibit was supposed to be interactive – people were supposed to play with them and that was part of the art. Turns out Health and Safety shut that down because the seeds give off a fine porcelain dust that could cause asthma.

  2. “hustle gutsy soft” – I like that.

    Thanks for sharing these posts, awesome to read about your adventures in London. Excited to see what your place looks like.

    Take care and be safe!

  3. When I’m travelling or doing something fun, I always forget to take pictures. I find that it removes me too much from the moment, yet I do struggle with thoughts of “bad blogger” and “but you want to remember this forever”. The fact that my camera is pretty much a paperweight doesn’t help much either. But your pictures do always look fab, and I think you’re doing a great job with them. :3

    Also, I’ve come to appreciate contemporary art for much the same reasons as you have. “Ooh, fun!” is my favourite interpretation, although I can usually sit down and ponder out deeper meanings if I feel like it. I may not come to the same conclusions as the artist’s intentions, but that’s just fine with me.

    I’m glad you’re having such a wonderful time and such a smooth transition. And I’m so happy you got your apartment! I’m curious to see how you maximize that small space for you and your work.

  4. Glad you got your place! Keep yourself safe and keep on getting inspired…I’ve been so excited for your posts!

  5. i LOVE that you went to that exhibit at the tate modern. I so wish i could have been there myself. Can you believe they were all painted by hand? And i think being an illustrator is labour intensive sometimes. 🙂

    sounds like you are settling in great! Can’t wait to hear more of your adventures across the pond!

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