Tuesday, 26 November 2013

Some thoughts on post-uni life.

It's a Tuesday night and I'm sitting for what feels like the first time in ages, at an almost clear desk in my room, with fairy lights on and incense burning, listening to Bon Iver...it feels wonderful.
On an average day at the moment I will be about to climb into a taxi home from a bus journey from work. My current job is a care worker at a home for individuals with learning disabilities, personality disorders, autism and various other mental illnesses. I fell into this job unexpectedly quickly. After the summer break I began to feel that spending so much time at home made me lose my motivation. My enthusiasm for my art was waning; partly due to lack of appreciation, recognition and demand from others, but also due to a negative attitude I was finding it incredibly difficult to break out of. I also needed money badly.
So, I took the job. The shock of full-time, 12 hour shifts has been easier to cope with than I anticipated. Admittedly, it can get mentally and physically tiring...but I have this new sense of well-being that drives me on. I've surprised myself in being able to cope, and I've proved to myself that I'm a stronger person than I've felt over the past few months post-uni. The work is a mixture of stress, adrenaline, careful communication, empathy and determination. My colleagues are amazing people, incredibly capable and tough in the face of a career that is extremely demanding, yet poorly paid when the nature of the work is taken into consideration...and although my shy nature is in contrast to most of their personalities, I feel well supported and (after a couple of months) confident in their company. There are wonderful moments to be experienced with the residents too; I find I've always got sweet little anecdotes to tell. There are times when it's incredibly difficult, but those times don't overshadow the whole experience (as yet!)
I am now all the more appreciative of my days off; the little things like being able to sit alone and think; enjoy a film without the guilt of knowing I need sleep for another early start the next day; spend some time with my family; and of course, put my energy into being creative!

Making art is something I crave now. It doesn't ever feel like a chore because I so rarely get the time to do it. Beside me on my desk I've written a list reminding myself of all the little things that popped into mind that I must do tomorrow. I want to draw, and paint watercolours, SO BADLY. Tonight, I'm going to read. It's been far too long since I've felt awake enough to do that.

It's hard to imagine what the future's going to bring at the moment. Taking it all one day at a time seems to be the best way at the moment. Feeling good.

Wednesday, 6 November 2013

Illuminating York

At the weekend mum, Anna and I went for a wander around the sites of Illuminating York; an annual festival of light shows celebrating the city's unique heritage. Limited time meant we didn't get to explore all of the artworks, but the main two we did visit (Clifford's Tower and The Museum Gardens) were captivating projections, bringing to life the familiar buildings. It reminded me not to take for granted the beauty of the architecture we can easily take for granted amongst the bustle of town's shoppers.

Our first stop was at the Clifford's Tower show. This story was of the three Viking Kings of Denmark, who had a strong influence over England, particularly York, at the time. The work was a combination of the efforts of Ross Ashton, an internationally successful projection artist, and Karen Monid, a creative designer of sound art installations. I was very impressed with the way the projections have been created to complement the shape of the tower and its hill. The knowledge of the projections' backdrop added to the atmosphere of the stories- the images present on the tower itself were often suited to the idea of being in a castle interior. I tried to take some pictures and videos, but they don't do the live spectacle justice. However, it's quite impressive to look back on this landmark looking so surreal...
After visiting a couple of the smaller, free shows (including one in Coppergate with interpretive dancing!) we finished the evening in the Museum Gardens, where the projected story was a combination of film and animation about the Viking King Eric Bloodaxe. For me, this was the most entertaining part of the night-the humorous narration engaged the audience fully, and persuaded us to stay for the entire show, even though at this point my hands were too cold to operate a camera!

It was a shame our visit had to be so brief, as we missed out on other parts of the festival which I'm sure would have been equally, if not more impressive. The festival brought the cultural side of York alive in a way that appealed to adults and children. It's certainly made me feel as though I ought to take more of an active interest in York's history, and quite proud to be from a place to have such a rich one.