I’ve entered into different phase in my practice, which is rather more conventionally studio based. I’ve always felt rather ambivalent about the studio - it represents extreme polarities. I often think of it as both a place of creativity and decay. In this space I’m making a new product, which ties in with previous ideas but is driven more and more by process.
For those who already have an idea of who I am and my work, this shift back into the studio may seem uncharacteristic. I am preoccupied with identity and in earlier work I focused on this subject by trying to push the identity of the art object itself, playing with ideas of its usefulness or uselessness. Giving the art object utilitarian characteristics and placing them in locations outside conventional art spaces this work was heavily exposed to the public. Sometimes the art object was handed over to the public like project Blob, on other occasions it was just a catalyst for interaction
Now this work grew out of my own personal predicament, a working class black girl from South London wanting to be an artist and some how having to find her place in art history as well as a home for her art… Displacement is the usual word connected to anyone talking about identity artistically - but really I felt empowered to occupy that kind of public space as a Londoner. Somehow (and it felt like right thing to do at the time) I fell into the realm of the participatory arts.
One of my past projects ‘Dandelion’ was concerned with community – how a disparate group of individuals might cohere as a whole. The project took about 2 years to undertake and involved making objects and videos as well as staging events. It became unwieldy, and in a sense out of my reach. It’s a hard balance - criticality, professionalism vs. personal needs. Many of us make art because we need to, that doesn’t bode well for professionalism or criticality does it? My Dandelion community was a fiction, but I became so preoccupied with the audience while making it that I forgot the story… It’s an example of the personal being political or rather the personal being swallowed up by the Political.
This is how I have arrived at Black studio…