Cradle has been a long time coming to my Automata series but here it is. I’ve been slow working due to other commitments and I have had a long and frustrating experience because of this.
This Cradle holds the multiple heads and multiple hands that I often use in order to try to make sense of the confusing world I live in. I find it very difficult to split my mind between tasks and I find it even more challenging when I’m under stress. Sometimes this stress comes from situations where I’ve planned something out and someone else brings in changes which force me to think on my feet. Here I have to fight to not let my brain cave in and for my thoughts to keep flowing. It’s like someone has pulled the rug from under my brain and a fog descends inside my frontal lobe.
Some people mistake what they see when my ‘brain attacks’ happen as me being a control freak and needing to take control away from others. This is so far from the truth that it’s laughable. I’m happy to go with the flow and for others to be in control. I really don’t mind at all. It’s just that when I’ve been assigned a task to do, and I’m set to do it, that my brain hates to be derailed. It refuses to adapt and I have an internal struggle with it to force it to be accommodating and allow a direction to change. The train wreck in my brain is a horrible thing when it happens. It often leaves observers bewildered as to why they can see such frustration on my face when something minor and totally rectifiable becomes inconsolable in my head. I start to become more clumsy, more forgetful than normal, and I start to become averse to conflicting sounds
The contents of my skull is totally floored but the way in which other people depend on me means I have to wait for a more appropriate time to let my brain recover and give myself the space I need to relax. I can sneak off to the loo for a moment’s respite but the best cure is half a day of staring out of the window in order to let my brain untangle itself and take stock of where I’m at. This meditative procedure is important so that I can alleviate the ridiculous stress that my brain has inflicted upon me and give it the space it needs to get righted again and ready for business.
I suppose all the pieces in the Automata series could be used to represent how my brain seems to work at odds with my body. Cradle is missing the body though and deals just with the head and the hands; the thinking and doing parts of what makes me.
A short video showing how this Automata was filmed this afternoon and I’m hoping to share it with you soon. Meanwhile you can see others from this series over on my YouTube channel here.
Next Saturday I’ll be in the Workers Gallery at Ynyshir running some collage masterclasses in the morning and afternoon. It’s exciting because I haven’t done one of these for a while. I’ve found myself looking back through my archive of photographs seeing what would be great for people to cut up.
The best results are always gained when people work with their own photographs rather than mine. It’s a way for people to reconnect with a memory and rework it into something different. This emotional connection is important to me and is the reason why I very rarely work with anonymous pictures from magazines or books. I need to feel that I am engaging with the picture at a deeper level.
I’m not sure yet how many people I’ll be working with next weekend and as far as I know there are still places available if you want to join in the fun. It’s only £12 per 2 hour workshop and booking is essential. Contact the gallery in Ynyshir directly if you want to participate. You can get hold of them via facebook, email email@example.com, phone 01443 682024 or pop into the gallery on Ynyshir Road.
This will be fun!
The only way to motivate myself is to set myself goals and rewards. It’s not hard in principle and it sometimes takes a lot of mental discipline to make things happen in the right order.
I promised myself that I would make more progress with my Automata series but only once I’ve completed a massive upload of stock to my Artfinder store and a whole heap of paperwork. So here I am, eleven days after I finished The Message finally looking at the next artwork in this series. Although I buy the wooden pieces ready-cut, there’s still the job of sanding shafts and spindles and engineering the gearing so that the next automaton will work according to my own design.
I have an idea brewing which has been floating round my brain since before The Message. It never materialised then due to a few logistical hurdles which I couldn’t quite overcome but I reckon I’ve got it sorted this time around. I’m keeping to my promise and giving myself the next day or so to tinker with the mechanics so that this next art can be more than just an empty promise to myself. I deserve this making time after all the workshops and administration tasks I’ve been doing lately.
I have to keep this promise and make this next piece a reality. More progress tomorrow… promise!
It’s always a challenge to start a new piece of work. Sometimes the shape takes form in my head long before I start cutting. Sometimes it’s more of an organic experience. With Robot in Disguise, it’s more of a hybrid of the two. I’ve known roughly where I’m going on the cuts but haven’t convinced myself of the overall shape and assembly.
Such is the nature of the Structured Chaos series of work. If there is too much structure in the preliminary ideas then that undermines the chaos, and vice versa.
Each artwork is informed by Ben‘s photograph but isn’t controlled by it since all the cuts I’m making are on the reverse of his pictures. Nevertheless I have ideas on architecture and machinery forming in my head whilst cutting Robot in Disguise. The very nature of the title I’ve been given means the shapes are far less natural and more technological in nature.
WE’re planning on this being more of a mixed media piece eventually although there are no concrete plans formed yet on the exact nature of this assemblage. Whilst these inaugural layers are being cut there is much discussion and debate.
‘Robot in Disguise’ work in progress Melanie Ezra and Ben Honebone
So here we go again, another Structured Chaos is evolving and we’ll be sharing the progress of this piece a little differently this time.
Usually I just share the view from the back of the artwork and reveal nothing of the front photograph until nearer completion. This is because I work only on the back of the photograph so until completion this is the only side which is of any relevance to me. As a result, most people believe this series consists of lots of white layers and are surprised to find out that I’m working with a photograph.
The photograph itself is the brain child of my partner Ben Honebone so as a shift in protocol we’ll be sharing excerpts of the progress on this work from his perspective. All pictures of emerging layers will slowly reveal the subject matter of his original source photograph.
This new artwork has the working title Robot in Disguise and I’m finding myself cutting shapes inspired by architecture and industry. There are also elements of agriculture towards the lower half of this picture. All these motifs are deliberate and refer directly to the subject matter of the photograph itself. Although I cut these shapes on the reverse of the picture I am always aware of Ben’s photograph in the back of my mind and the influence this is having on my responses.
After quite a long break from our Structured Chaos series, Ben Honebone and I have negotiated and planned the next artwork.
It’s been a while because we both felt that something new needed to come to this series in order for it to continue to be productive. Any new artwork should not just regurgitate the format of previous artworks. It should consider the same philosophy and concept of previous artworks but not copy it.
Every piece in this collection should be unique and with purpose otherwise what’s the point? Sure the subject of the photograph is different but that isn’t enough for either of us. If I am to sit and cut a photograph for weeks at a time then the malaise that I felt whilst creating Cadillac will creep back and it will be hard to continue the series. The motivation between us as collaborative artists must not be allowed to falter if we are to continue to be a creative partnership.
This next chaos will be unique and different to anything we have attempted before.
A tiny hint of something to come
Gone are the days when us artists have to carry around hefty portfolios to show you what’s what and it’s a great thing as far as I’m concerned but not without its drawbacks.
For photographs, using an online portfolio is perfect. It’s great to be able to place my portfolio out there where the maximum amount of people can visit. For this reason I actually have several online portfolios with various organisations. I have an extensive library of my collages over on Pinterest as well as shared albums of photographs from other projects. Then there are my Flickr albums. These cover the same collections as Pinterest but I figure that lots of people are on one or both of these platforms so there’s a chance for loads of people to access my work if they want.
The drawbacks about showing my collages in this way is that it’s often hard to see the depth of the physical artwork. To get around this there are several videos over on my YouTube account showing the process of how I make my collages. Video is perfect for this since I can show things from multiple angles and it is more suited for showing the size and the more textural aspects of my work.
Lastly, there’s a small portfolio of photographic works on my agent’s website. I have several of my photographs on book covers and publications across the globe. These art photographs and feel very different to my collage work and are available commercially to publishing houses and their representatives.
I thought about consolidating all these portfolios on this website but that, to me at least, would mean yet another portfolio here on the internet. Instead I reckon the easiest way to communicate all these things is via the buttons on the top right of this blog. There’s plenty more there too, including my ArtFinder store which I’m adding new stock to soon. Also, you can check me out on Twitter and Facebook if you’re that way inclined.
So yes, check out my new stuff, my back catalogues, my collaborations, my professional photography and my film work. It’s all out there in internet land if you want to find out more.