Locking Antlers with the Clouds opens in an hour and a half. So far today I have slept in (comparatively to other mornings), cleaned my room, done all my washing, gone to the gym, showered, taken a stroll, chatted with the new art resident, cut my nails, and achieved nothing of importance, substance or purpose.
Gratefully, my primary responsibility for this exhibition, was to make the work.Om, the wonderful curatorial assistant, has arranged all the cleaning, food, drinks, music, and wrangling of people who apparently want to attend.
In preparation for a solo exhibition in 2014, I didn’t sleep for three days leading up to the opening while I immersed myself in a panicked, last-minute fury to finish the prints for the show. I had had three months notice to create a body of work, which was a cruelly short amount of time for the intense, detailed pieces I was desperately determined to create.
The production process was fraught with difficulties as I struggled in my dirty, damp, winter, Dunedin studio. My life descended into squalor as my printing press (located on a separate floor), makeshift exposure machine (held together with masking tape) and work-flow (what work-flow?) all rebelled against me. Intermittently, a (very tolerant) rock band, with whom I shared my studio space, would turn up for rehearsals.
At the end of a three-day printmaking binge, the tail-end of three months of 100-hour weeks, I drove to the gallery in Christchurch in my warrant-less, registration-less car, stopping periodically to swap-out the newsprint swaddling each of the prints in an attempt to dry the damp paper. After a rushed installation and a hazy, alcohol-infused, sleep-deprived opening, I ended the evening in hospital looking after a bedraggled friend who fell victim to a chronic nose bleed, bleeding out on the footpath in front of the gallery until an ambulance was called. I had quit my job to produce that exhibition and the sheer exertion of energy and soul drained me of...everything.
Needless to say, in comparison, this Bangkok exhibition has been a blissful dream. Admittedly, I have worked many late nights, poured an overdraft of energy into crafting the images, but the calm and peace I am currently experiencing is very refreshing. Perhaps this is what it is supposed to feel like, to be a professional artist.
Photos of the show will be up tomorrow.