I started college in the September of 2005. I hadn’t been in ‘full time’ education for a a few years, owing to my shocking mental illness at the time. I’d half-arsed secondary school and the few lessons that I deigned to attend. I’d sat my GCSE’s with an ambivalence that it didn’t matter and I didn’t care. My home tutor, provided by the county, had the patience of a saint with me. I don’t remember her name, but I am so grateful to her for getting me through that period of time when all I really cared about was destroying myself, be it through self harm or drinking or drugs.
Starting Hastings College of Arts and Technology (HCAT) in the September offered a reprieve of sorts. That’s not to say that my problems evaporated into the air, they didn’t, and they still haven’t, but I had something else to concentrate on rather than my own self-destruction. Within the first two weeks I was offered a place on the National Diploma in Art and Design, but declined, through ignorance of what ‘Fine Art’ really was. I thought Fine Art was renaissance paintings and old dudes in fine clothes. I cared more (and do still care more) about feelings and ideas. I cared about fish in tanks, photographs of feelings, words, the things that tied us all together.
For a year I cut my teeth studying paintings, sculpture, photography - finding solace in the darkroom and my face obscured by the camera. My final major project of that year featured photography and that was the strongest element. Photography regularly cropped up throughout my studying for the following six years, but I never dedicated all my focus to it. My Foundation year final project culminated in a display of over 100 photographs.
This is all rather negligible though, it’s just something I was thinking about the other morning, when my eyes were still heavy from sleep. I was thinking about the translation of ideas, I was thinking about how these days everything feels far more natural. This is all tied into the idea of self-growth, I know, and I know I enjoy learning and experimenting. I enjoy growing, and this phase, where I feel myself stretch and re-align isn’t the most unwelcome state I have ever existed in.
I took myself to The National Gallery on Wednesday, after photographing Alwyn. I looked at the 18th, 19, 20th Century paintings, and thought to myself I can take photographs like that. I started thinking about the male depiction of the female nude. I thought about colours and flowers and my Vladimir Tretchikoff project (which is coming along brilliantly, thank you for asking).