There is now just under a month to go to the deadline for Alphabet Soup exhibition at Clive Hicks-Jenkins Artlog. A generous deadline, as probably any manager, editor whatever of any experience, or really anyone of any common sense, can tell you, is not necessarily a guarantee of a result. People commit enthusiastically, maybe make a start, then put it on the back burner with a sense that they have all the time in the world, then before they know it, the deadline is nearly upon them, other things have suddenly become urgent, and something has to give...
Not everyone works like this, some people get stuck in from the off and produce over and above (go Leonard Greco!), but many do. I should know, I am one such, even when it's a project I've taken at least some responsibility for. In fact I made quite a few false starts, and part of my dithering has been because I had a plan but didn't in fact like what I was doing, and went about it reluctantly. I set off with one theme, did one piece and decided I didn't like the style and the medium, stayed with the theme but changed the style and materials, decided though these were working it was really the theme I didn't like, changed to a theme I preferred but then the style and materials didn't work for it, reverted to the first kind of medium...
Anyone would think I was a serious artist, but serious or not, one has to be happy in one's work, as my mother used to say. So there I was, creating an 'edible alphabet', pen and ink drawings done with fine-liners of the kind I was knocking out with happy facility when I was about sixteen (with a Rotring drawing pen then, cheap, good quality fine-liners didn't exist, Ball-Pentels were the closest, remember those?). Only they weren't as good as the ones I was doing then. I also had an idea to give each one not only an 'A is for...' label, but a kind of alliterative legend, for example A would be 'Amazing anyone first ate an Artichoke'. I have completed the whole twenty-six of these ( tough depicting a foodstuff for 'i' - so I've resorted to 'Ingesting insects? I'd instantly be ill!')
I was, still am, quite happy with this formula, and I'm actually still quite happy doing that kind of tight, illustrative old-fashioned line work, the kind of thing I grew up with, it's nostalgic, small-scale, clean and portable so can be picked up and put down easily. But I still didn't really like the finished pieces. They hung together badly, looked dreadful in the scans, the borders were wobbly and soppy and oh, that awful, jejune schoolgirl script of mine!
So I picked up a big pair of scissors and chopped them up!
And after I'd taken the photo I screwed up the outside bits with the script on and lit the fire with them! It was great.
So now I'm on the fourth, or the third-and-a-halfth attempt. I'm not quite sure how it will finish up, but this way I can play around with different collaging possibilities; for the script I may well print something with a proper font and sticking it on. We'll see. What you see here are an artichoke, some beans and a cauliflower, some nuts and an orange - guess what I'll be doing for 'p'? I'll post some more as I go along.
Submissions are still open for the Alphabet Soup exhibition until the end of the month, details here.