So there we have it and there it is, my year with Bloomberg New Contemporaries is coming to an end.
Last week the show opened for a final time, this time in my hometown of Penzance at Newlyn Art Gallery and The Exchange. The show has been split between the two venues; the historic, beautiful seafront Newlyn Art Gallery and the newer, contemporary space, The Exchange in Penzance town centre.
The show in Cornwall has allowed me to reflect on my year with BNC and the artistic journey I've been on. My videos are being shown at the Newlyn Art Gallery and it was at the opening that I realised the gallery is a hundred yards from the site of the maternity home where I was born (twenty years later they turned it into a mental health unit and I sometimes ponder on whether the universe is having a little chuckle). Between chatting to people I had a very brief moment to look around the room at those who were there, and it was like my entire life up to that point was represented in the room. There I was, across the road from where I'd been born with people I'd been to school with, people I'd known for thirty years, people I'd attended art courses with when I was a young, struggling single parent trying to 'keep my hand in', management and tutors from Falmouth University and Kirsty Ogg and Sacha Craddock, closing the circle by symbolising the reason my work was in the gallery at all. It was a very strange feeling. I remembered the final days of art school and how timid I was about my future as an artist, if I even had one. In the early days after graduating I didn't know if I was 'allowed' to call myself an artist and it used to embarrass me every time I said it. Now I have absolutely no problem with it and quite comfortably say I'm a video artist.
Mentoring from Ben at LUX helped me gain confidence in my work, I have a beautiful new studio courtesy of the Borlase Smart John Wells Trust, who are selective in who they rent studios to, and I'm typing this while surrounded by the glorious chaos of a new work in progress. I have exhibitions coming up and have instigated a project with twenty artists working on one canvas in the style of a game of consequences to be exhibited at The Exchange in September 2015. Fellow BNC 2014 artist Deborah Westmancoat is one of the participating artists and I feel like I have made connections with other BNC 2014 artists that will last. I really don't think I would be doing all of this if not for being selected for BNC 2014. Of course I may have, it may have all just taken longer but people seem to recognise BNC as a validation that you're worth looking at. They take you just a bit more seriously when you're BNC alumni it seems. It's been a brilliant year and I'm sad it's over but I'm also excited by what my artistic future holds. Thanks BNC, it's been fab!