Not feeling the creativity …. But

Everyone is being told that during this lock down 3.0, we need to really look after our mental health, in fact for the past 12 months we have heard a lot about making sure we cater to our mental health needs. Exercise, fresh air, doing things you love to do but what happens when its travel that is your love? Nobody can go anywhere! Literally, we are stuck at home, so what can we do about it?

For me and i admit to suffering from depression, i read, i walk the dogs for my hours exercise every day, i try to be creative but there is a block there, spend time with my family, watch television, the usual stuff. I’ve been working on some portraits that i took last year, i cant publish them on social media yet as they were for a film that hasn’t been released yet and i have been contemplating.

With limited resources i have to be careful what i use my Polaroid film for, so i have been waiting for the right photograph to come around so i can transfer it to Polaroid film via my Polaroid Lab. Over Christmas i caught two images of light traces and decided to create an image with my Polaroid Lab. As soon as it was developed i opened the film and on the very back you could still faintly see the image left from the developing paste so i decided to frame both sides of the print in a deep black frame and im really pleased with the results! As soon as lock down is over im going to get them into Chemist and Co. this is the shop that stocks my Polaroid photography and hopefully they will get lots of attention.

Struggling with ways to boost my creativity i look through social media every day, read about what is going on in the world, watch documentaries, look at what my fellow artist friends are doing but for me the one big boost will be to travel again, nothing epic, just around England, even the mere thought of being able to travel whenever i want could be enough, i think it is the thought of freedom that excites. What do you do, how do you manage your mental health, do you have a creative block? Leave me a comment letting me know how your doing, we could start a dialogue and help each other, i think at this time kindness to each other is an essential dont you?

Running out of Gold Foil is not fun!

This is Me.

Well, i ran out of Gold Foil and on my shopping trip i bought, 100 sheets of Gold Foil, photographic spray mount, a pack of A3 foam board and half a dozen frames. Nice shopping list but what is it to do with you? Nothing, just making conversation. The project i have been not really giving my attention to keeps calling to me and every so often i will go and attempt to draw something from my stagnant creative heart. An exposure here an exposure there, maybe a deconstruction of some Polaroid film but im not really feeling it.

Anyway, i have a Polaroid Lab (on SALE now) and I’ve been taking photos on my phone whenever I’ve walked the dog, so throughout the Autumn (Fall) i have collected some really nice photos. This day i exposed a film on my Lab of a beautifully coloured leaf, the Lab is so easy to use, you have an app on your phone which allows you to do single images or up to nine images creating a beautiful collage, you open the app, select how many film you want to make up your collage, pop your phone image down on the Lab and press the big red button.

Deconstructing the film

Once i had my film exposed i had to wait around 10 minutes for it to develop full then i took it into the kitchen and deconstructed it. You slice the edges off with a sharp blade, cut the black strips that hold the film together and peel the backing off carefully. The developer is toxic so dont put your hands near your face and dont let it come into contact with anything edible.

Emulsion off the plastic front

You then pop the image into a dish of hot water and watch as the emulsion floats off the plastic front, this jelly like thing is the image you will then transfer into cold water and place onto a piece of watercolour paper. However, i didn’t do that this time, i left the image on the plastic front and played around putting Gold Leaf on to the back. (This is the bit where i ran out of Gold Leaf). So now i have this piece of film covered in gold and for the life of me i just dont know what to do with it next. Inspiration has left the building.

I feel such envy for those artists/photographers who are creating at the moment, the only thing i am doing is arguing over the rights to the photographs i took for someone as a favor. If you think you can help drop me a message in the comments. I feel conflicted, torn in different directions, do i have a go at hand making a photo book of my Polaroids, do i have a go at filming, just with my phone, do i spend the night over in Liverpool doing night photography, or forget my camera and just wallow in social media, go and learn something new on the internet? Its just push me pull me.

I’m sure im not the only person in a funk, 2020 has been the worst year ever which is an understatement. My mum passed away at the end of 2019 and we are coming up to the anniversary of her passing so that doesn’t help but i am grateful that i have not got troubles as bad as some. Lockdown eases on the 2nd December and the shops will open again, hopefully that will help with sales of my work, there are actual physical markets happening again, yippee, i miss talking to people about my work, oh yeah, Christmas is just around the corner. Turkey, mince pies, family, gifts, love and time together, maybe its time to forget about work and time to concentrate on family and myself, have a drink or three and just have a bit of fun!

The Challenges of being an Artist Today

There are a lot of ‘Challenges’ going around on social media at the moment, #30daysofart #atistsupportpledge drawing challenges etc. Some designed to help with online sales others to explore your talent. These are all great BUT does it take away the time you need for creating your work? I’m finding it incredibly difficult making art, as a photographer you would think it easy, just go outside with your camera and take photos right, WRONG! I’ve tried the drawing to get inspiration, got bored, tried setting up my lightbox and getting wildflowers to photograph, bored! Thought about photographing the sunsets as they seem to be wonderful at the moment, no inspiration. I think im broken.

I’m not sure if it is depression, after all i am in morning for my mum, we are living in strange times closed off from everyone, i can’t make money selling my work the normal way and online is certainly not working for me at the moment. Online social media course being taken. I need gallery space, i love gallery space, i’d love to sell during the Chester Art Fair but as I’ve made no money recently the £700.00 fee is just too much, so just what am i going to do?

Any suggestions? They are all welcome but PLEASE, be nice! There is one thing that is calling to me. I was bought a Polaroid Lab for my birthday in May, I’ve used it once and IT IS SO GOOD! The down side is the film, its so damn expensive, you only get 8, yes 8, images out of a box and its around £15.00 for a box, three boxes for £55.00 with shipping, so i really don’t want to use it but i do but i dont, HELP! I could experiment till the cows come home but i only have one and a half packs left and i could use that in a day, then no more, then i would have to find a way to sell them to buy more film, see the vicious circle i’m in? Oh how i wish i was a painter or felt artist, anything that is easier than being a photographer!

But a photographer i am and that is not going to change, so i need to get my act together, make a plan, keep to it. Go for it with the #artistsupportpledge and get my work out on Instagram (@spikeymousephotography) It works i’ve seen the SOLD by peoples art, i want it to work for me too. SO this is what im going to do, sit at my computer and make multiple posts to use over the week of the art i want to sell, post it, do the social media thing and comment on my favorite artists and friends posts, try to get myself seen by more people. Im going to create! Im going to use that Polaroid Lab and all of the film and enjoy myself while it lasts, then im going to look for galleries that are open and talk to them about showing or just stocking my art. Oh and shops, those too and i am going to DO IT and enjoy myself too. Isn’t that why we make art?

So that’s my plan. If you have been patient enough to read down to the bottom here this is where i have the big ask. PLEASE go onto my instagram account @spikeymousephotography and have a look at the work i have posted, the work for sale through #artistsupportpledge and think about buying a little something, my work starts at £25.00, all of the Polaroids are original one of a kind and will never be reprinted so your getting a great deal on them! And they really are beautiful, eye catching and very collectible. You will be kindly helping an artist who in turn will help another artist and the support goes on.