So. My first week as a resident in Oxford is over! Well I think the first people to notice the difference in me are my students. Being able to get up at 8 instead of 6 does make a big difference to my temperament.
Last Monday, it actually took a surprisingly short time to get my stuff organized in my new house. Well I suppose this was my fourth move in three years – so I should be getting good at it. Actually I have now so little stuff of my own as I keep pairing it all down to the essentials.
Student assessments this week which was a bit of a marathon and throng of uptight students. While I assessed, I set my fine art students a drawing project; make 40 drawings in a week, 20 from life and 20 developments from them. Some their faces were classic when they read this brief. I think I am a dying breed of people who think that artists and designers need to be practicing drawing all the time. I know that I am scared to start making work as I have not drawn for a month or two. And, you know, we get rusty and have to relearn it all again.
On Wednesday night I had to go to a meeting at the very cold Magdalen Road Studios. I was hoping to meet a range of the artists who are there with me, but only myself and four others braved the freezing cold. So, thank you Diana for bringing the bottle of wine.
Well after a week of getting to know my local grocery stores, pubs, take-aways and cafes, I finally made it down to the studio on Saturday. I decided to follow the brief I gave my own students and make 40 drawings. Well, almost. I made 16 tiny meaningless watercolours just to get into the swing of things. My concentration was low and did not last for more than a couple of hours.
So I went into town to visit Modern Art Oxford to finally see the JANNIS KOUNELLIS exhibition. This is a great show designed for a wonderful space by a significant artist. But, still only spent about ten minutes looking at it.
On Saturday night I was delighted to go and see one of my students, Jack, play drums in his band The Edmund Fitzgerald at the Zodiac on the Cowley Road. They are a three-piece combo of drums and two guitar players (no bassist) and they do extraordinarily complex, jerky and relentless rhythm instrumental anthem (with the occasional John Lydon style wailing vocal). They were terrific and wonderful musicians clearly dedicated to their cause. They were by far the most interesting of the line up of the four bands that night (YOUTH MOVIE SOUNDTRACK STRATEGIES + THE EDMUND FITZGERALD + THIS TOWN NEEDS GUNS + NARCISSISM). The others were interesting, but how much of that Kings of Leon, Franz Ferdinand, Dashboard Confessional think can we take? Anyway well done Jack, and thanks to new housemate Claire for coming along with me.
Oh and you can read a review of The Edmund Fitzgerald here.
Well today (Sunday 6th MArch) felt much more like my life. I had joined the Oxford University Rosenblatt Swimming Pooland went for a more desired swim, my first in 2005. It was bliss and I felt great after. Spent about 3 hours in the studio doing a dreadful drawing, but loved every minute of it…
Oh and before I forgot, my studio is also going to be open to the public during Oxford Art Weeks at the end of May. Watch this space.