Finding Comfort in an Arts Practice

On the opening night of our exhibition, ‘Comfort in the Uncomfortable’ I was acutely aware of how I felt. Discomfort, in presenting ‘my practice’ and being vulnerable in front of an audience. Fear, over not knowing if anyone would turn up, yet half hoping no one would! I tried to find some semblance of comfort to hold onto in this moment. I started my talk with what I knew, explaining the part of my creative practice which acts as a grounding, a constant, a source of comfort.

I have an observational practice. I record what I see using drawing and mark making. These are the tools I instinctively reach for to explore with and find quite meditative to sit and play and create with no fixed agenda for the outcomes.

A big fascination of mine is exploring the overlooked spaces that surround us in everyday life. The drawings in this exhibition come from a project in which I observed my daily commute and the mundane parts of it that were worth capturing to me - the parts you wouldn’t think to notice, such as pavements, brick walls and peeling paint.

This project began almost 3 years ago, and despite many changes over that time to what I do, this philosophy of exploring the overlooked has never left me, and formed the foundations of my practice, unconsciously a place of comfort I always come back to.

To make myself feel a bit uncomfortable, I shared a poem of mine. On this night, the space I was in and the people occupying it were visible to me. I knew my audience. There is comfort in that knowing. Whereas, the internet is an open space full of the unknown. That poem existed in the moment that I spoke it and it feels like it belongs there. So, instead of sharing it in written form I will share the work of a poet who inspires me by embracing feelings of discomfort in their own words.

Wonder of Worry

by Charly Cox

We become the wonder of worry

Greasy in apologies

Slithering around each other's truths

In a perfect eight-shaped double-headed noose

Beer-foamed lips catch glints

And glisten sticky awaiting calm

That wills to be administered mouth to mouth

As hands cover eyes and fingers rest in their brows

We become the wonder of worry

Wandering straight-edged

Slack-lined, tongues untied, holding

On to strawberry-coloured embarrassed

Pink in the cheeks that we rouged from the tint of our hearts, hapless

In spirit and gesture

Cursing our history for being a chemical-stained mess

But as you hold me in the crook of your arm and kiss my bruised head

Our madness weighs a little less

The wonder of worry is

Teeth teetering trips of silence

Locked lockets swinging open unasked

Wittering over an expectation of now and love passed

Past a parameter to shut down

Slow down, bend down and under through branches we've extended

Piling them high and climbing to a peak of united front splendid

We become the wonder of worry

A little lost in the unexpected

But as we wonder together the worry becomes fragmented

Halved and shared and further afloat

There is a crescent smile on our lips

And there's nothing left to clear in our throats


© 2020 Blueprint100 in affiliation with The Stove Network

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