“Making art is a path not a destination”

Making art is a path not a destination

-Michael Craig-Martin

Words can have magnitude and motivation for an artist. Words can bring comfort when you are feeling fragile.

I have desire and momentum and ideas and spirit. I have feet. I have a path. It is the economics of art that are failing me. The economics of care that are failing me. I cannot find a way to make it work. I can never find a balance. Juggling all these roles, art, caring for my family, finding paid work, keeping up with house work there is never a clear way though. Its all a big mess. Where is the order?

naoisefronttooth mushroomclock

Making art is messy. Mothering is messy. My house is definitely messy.

Why is it that I find the making of money repugnant?

I am failing myself.

I have to find a way to make creativity equate to money. There is no other way. I need to survive. If I can survive perhaps I will flourish my family with flourish. Perhaps I will be happier.

I am me but my family are dependent on me. We are not four individuals we are a collective. Two adults. Two children. Woman. Man. Boy/man and boy.


I don’t want to sell nursery rhymes back to parents or art back to families that can do it for themselves, or pixels of money space. I have a problem with the currency and the market, but I have to engage with it to survive. I only survive because I am dependent on P and this relationship of financial dependence is very problematic. I cannot rest. I cannot except it. It is not enough.

See, I would happily sell my work if I could find a buyer?  I have made work that is unsellable. Too personal, too edgy and spiky and challenging. Perhaps too scary, but I cannot be anything other than me. Me that makes art about the human condition, identity, what it is to be a woman, a mother, an artist. Is it mother or is it parenting. What is the right way forward. Gendered or non gendered? Biology does not define the parent.

So how do I package me and my art? How do I make art a product? With no money its impossible to do even this. Chicken. Egg.

Crowd funding/ Is this the way? Any funding?

I can’t afford to print out my work and my studio lies unused and empty of activity because all of my energy is being driven into finding a job. Any job will do, any job that fits around the family, care work, house work, art work. Maybe this job does not exist. I need to face reality. There is so much opposition, so many barriers. I probably am my own worst enemy. I thought about dropping the art then I could stop feeling stressed because I am not managing to make any…….the pram in the hall is haunting me.


Do I really have to forget the past ,all of my achievements, all of my knowledge? Can I repackage myself as something else? Another role? I do have value.  Why does every essential criteria ask for a GCSE grade C in maths? Do I really have to resist maths to get the most basic of jobs? Can I convince myself? Where do you find self belief?

I believe that I am an artist and I can’t help but follow this path. I have tired to put it to bed, but I cannot. Its in my bones and blood.

I need to grow up though don’t I. I need to be adult. Learn to function in the adult world. Desire is all very well, but I still need to function and live and feed my family, buy food, cloth the children and pay my bills.

Art, I think you have defeated me.

I need to get some advice about funding. How can I develop a practice when so much is stacked against me? How silly this must all sound. Is there empathy? I need to be creative. I need to act instead of moaning.

The windmills on the moor turn slowly but the year speeds past, it is drawing in. All life is fading, wilting, shedding, drying. The sleepy child is slowly being put to bed.

I walk. I decide to walk rather than return home straight away. I see grass growing through a metal grid. The grass is unpredictable.  The metal is firm and solid and straight. Which is wilder? Nature knows no friend. It is cruel. I take delight in the shiny shit of sheep droppings glistening in the sun, the fox glove skeletons shrivelling to brown.

Yesterday afternoon…..

I took my friend to A&E. Taking my friend to A&E meant that I couldn’t complete the job application. Taking a friend to A&E was more important. Care.

Care comes first. I cannot ignore the blood. The red spells danger. The blood reminds us of our fragility. Blood that spills crimson, then dries and turns to rust.  We are bone and blood and flesh.

We are all scared. We all run away and we all run to each other for comfort. I am always running. Always running away. You cannot run away forever. I have to confront this life head on or it will run away from me.

Naoise was so good he drew a picture, listened to stories, read blood pressure results, helped navigate the confusing hospital corridors, collected prescriptions and pushed lift buttons and wheelchairs. I listened, offered sympathy and was a taxi service. I was glad that I had good reading material with me. My friend in Somerset kindly sent me a copy of the Project Afterbirth catalogue that she picked up for me at the exhibition opening.  I read it cover to cover, intrigued by all the art and artists in the show. Such brilliant emotive and relevant subject matter. SO NOW and of the Moment.

Last night (12/10/15)

Naoise front tooth fell out. It had been wobbling and wiggling precariously for a while. It fell out as he blew raspberries on my lower back. He blew raspberries until my skin was soaked. He giggled and giggled. He blew raspberries until his front tooth fell out into his hand, and he was aghast.

Such a momentous moment. Two front teeth. Two baby teeth. Two adult teeth. Two pillars to last a lifetime. Now he has a fleshy gap. His whole face is changed by its absence.

I pretend to be the fairy. Phewie, I remember to be the fairy. Stealing back the tooth that temporarily stayed fixed to gum for six and a half years. Its a mile stone.

The buzzer sounds on the oven clock.


A New Dream of Politics – a poem by Ben Okri, Monday 12th October, The Guardian

Michael Craig-Martin RA: advice for an aspiring artist, Michael Craig-Martin RA,  27 April 2015, Royal Academy website

The Orkney Venus, Historic Scotland 

"The Orkney Venus"

“The Orkney Venus”

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