So my respite after a mad period of working non-stop has now come to an end. A self-induced end anyway, that studio ain't going to tidy itself! I've barely looked in, apart from to fling stuff in since the beginning of June. During the interim after returning from Spain, I had at least tidied my living room which had become an extension of my studio space in my flat. I could finally walk barefoot and not get skewered by hundreds of cut cocktail stick ends from Spikey the Hedgehog puppet. This burst of domestic goddessness came about mostly because I was due a visit from the gasman who was coming to have a look at my sickly boiler. Gotta have a deadline.
So yesterday, I set about the studio. After about 5 hours of sorting things and putting them in little boxes (I knew my collection of chinese take away containers were worth keeping) and other things in bigger boxes, I finally found part of the floor and most of my desk. I had a additional materials to find a place for as my friend Hazel donated some because she is moving back to Ireland and needed to offload stuff. I'm never one to say no to free materials but it's only when you try to find space for it you think maybe it wasn't such a good idea. I'll find space though. Still lots to sort but at least I can now do some work in there.
So now the nostalgia, I've been talking with friends from art school back in the nineties. Facebook, for all its bad bits, is blooming marvellous for finding people and to be found (as long as you want to be). I have reconnected with people I had lost touch with and I'm meeting my friend Mandy tomorrow in Edinburgh, I think possibly for the fist time since we finished. I don't really know where to go for food in Edinburgh any more but on Mandy's recommendation, we are going to have a lovely lunch in a very trendy looking place called Check Point (they do Bloody Marys for breakfast, that's all I need to know) and then doing the art thing by seeing the Beyond Caravaggio exhibition in the National Galleries.
It's been 20 years since we graduated. People say you should enjoy life when you can as it's over in the blink of an eye. It's only as you grow older that you realise the extent of this adage. Though I've done lots of different things in the intervening years and have many marvellous memories to show for my advancing years, it does seem like we were those bright-eyed bushy-tailed art students only yesterday. Am I older? Certainly. Wiser? Definitely. Feeling old? Never!! Here's to the next 20 years of nonsense and beyond.
In our recent chats, we spoke of our degree films which prompted me to upload the digital conversions I had made to YouTube. My degree was in Animation. The old fashioned kind. Stop-motion, where you have to enjoy moving objects tiny increments or drawing practically the same thing over and over and over and all usually in a darkened room. I loved it. My degree film, "The Story of Nej" was a puppet animation about a little goblin who lived underground and who just wanted some light in his dark, dark home. Then! Terror strikes!
I've not done a lot of animation since I finished, I blamed not forging a career in it on my youth, naivety and lack of gumption. Going straight to college from high school, I was quite a green, young thing and had no idea about life and what a career even entailed. My existing career has ended up a winding path of returning to education, doing art, doing good jobs to pay the bills, doing bad jobs to pay the bills and taking a chance on applying for an arts events internship that indirectly led me (through the amazing people I've met in the last 7 years) to doing what I should have done 20 years ago: Model making (which I am now studying). I had a realisation that I made only recently; I actually found the making of the Nej set and puppet more enjoyable than the making of the film. And I am infinitely better at it too. The film is fairly terrible; the editing, sound and basic story is fairly ropey but I still really like my set and puppet. So on to the next generation of Nejs!
Anyway, here is Nej in his full glory...