On Saturday 21 February, it was the private view of the joint exhibition, ‘No Sides’, at the Jilted Dog Gallery in Brighton. The show displays the work of Outside In artist Anthony Stevens and Brighton painter Sam Weldon, and continues until 8 March 2015. In this post, both Anthony and Sam write about their work and their experience of preparing for the show.
“I’m in quite a reflective, if not slightly stunned mood as I reflect back on this leg of my art adventure.
I keep thinking back to just two years ago when I finally decided that I would overcome my many fears and all the seemingly valid reasons as to why I shouldn’t do something with the growing compulsion I felt to be more obviously creative in my life. It’s like Pandora’s Box; once opened it cannot be closed, and really, who the hell would want to? There is such beauty, choice and liberation in creativity, but for me there is also huge risk. This for me is the hard part, the sharing of one’s self with the wider world. Taking the mask off for others to see your true face and possibly judge it and find it lacking. As liberating as this can be it is as equally terrifying and a very strange place to be.
To bring things back to a less metaphysical space, preparing for this show has been by far the most challenging thing I have done so far. Alongside Sam and the gallery owners, Paul and Terri, I have been involved in every aspect of the building of this exhibition. We have all worked together as a team on everything from the creating of new work specifically for the flyer, planning workshops – even filling in the holes in the gallery wall from the previous show.
As an untrained artist working amongst a team of art graduates, it has been a very illuminating process to see how other artists work, get inspiration and execute their ideas. It seems that in this sense we all have a very individual way of doing things, but whatever that process is, it is a very important one and it works for each individual.
The whole idea for me behind the show and exhibiting with a ‘trained’ artist was to look at the similarities we have as human beings who create – to unbox and de-label stuff and just place it out there and look at it. It seems that it is a human quirk to want to categorise things, measure them against each other and take sides. In Buddhism, comparison is often talked of as a poison (very different from but often confused with inspiration). Everything and everyone has its own unique set of talents and ‘beingness’ to share; irreplaceable and limited by life span. I feel that when seen in this light, everything has an equal value, but in the day to day business of life, this is hard to grasp and retain. In a nutshell, when it comes down to art, for me it is about how much soul and self is poured into it and the impact that this has on me, the inner movements I feel from observing and being with it. In this respect, I can honestly say that Sam, Paul, Terri and myself have poured everything we have into this exhibition.
Inside, outside, no sides…For me, I don’t feel that this is relevant anymore or if it ever really was. This experience has raised as many questions as it has answered. And so, the journey continues.”
“I like to create with spontaneity and let the materials take on a life of their own. Accidents, surprises, I block over, I add, subtract. Building up layers creating texture. The work takes shape directly on the surface. I don’t start with a plan, though I have smaller drawings/paintings on paper that I have in mind. This might dictate where the painting goes. The finished painting might have had many incarnations previously. They disappear forever, like footprints in sand.
Some paintings will take weeks. Some are complete in two hours. Some it seems will take an eternity. I am satisfied when they are endowed with a life of their own.
I like my paintings to seem alive! Quick, expressive brush strokes can do this. Recording a moment in time through paint. Reverberating on canvas forever.
Skyscrapers, roads, traffic lights have metaphorical meaning or are representative of a journey undertaken by someone, myself? Footprints, hands, a presence. A document or proof of existence on our small ball of rock. My work conjures up for me, archaeology and pre-history.
From spontaneity arrives abstract though I like to splay images of real things into the mix. To have the feeling of an abstract, yet have elements that are readable and easily decipherable. Feet, hands, buildings, figures, clouds, sun, moon. Painting motifs within a four-cornered arena of colour and pattern I like them to fit.
In this respect I ally myself to the painter Alan Davie. How many motifs or symbols did he have? Lots! He created his world. A never-ending source of ideas. I have mine for now. Some motifs to work from, a catalyst for more to come.”
‘No Sides’ continues at the Jilted Dog Gallery until 8 March 2015.
46 New England Road, Brighton, BN1 4GG. Friday – Sunday 12 – 4pm