The animal world of pain

What follows is not scientific, backed up by experiment or entirely factual.

I have had a mild and so far short experience of another world, the place we call pain. That particular sensation that can stop us short, make us quiet and loose us sleep. I have always associated pain with animals, I have no idea why, but maybe the hours of TV I watched as a child hold the answer. I remember a particular public information film a bout rabies which featured stock film from a foreign country of a dog frothing and writhing in pain in a cage. Just maybe this was my time of awareness of the possibility of pain within me and felt universally by animals and humans alike.

I don't claim any kind of early analysis for it took me another 10 years at least to make the connection between my diet and the suffering of animals. But that information film sticks in my mind and that is where I will hang the idea of pain.

I have been managing the pain with Paracetamol, Ibuprofen and at the extremes codeine, all these substances have their effects on us. The codeine particularly speeded and reinforced my emotional responses to any triggers. When I first got home from hospital I cried at the sight of close friends, any moving Facebook post and any show of love towards me.

As someone who felt that in the past I had a lack of emotional response to life this was both a contrast and a welcome chance to let it all out. Here I think also I feel that this is a more animal way to behave, less guarded than our human restraint and decorum.


Maybe also I have learnt to listen better to others, to stay quiet and to really take in not just what a person is saying, but how they are expressing themselves. Why an experience of pain should do this I do not know, but as I said at the start this is an emotional gut reaction to how I am feeling.













Pneumonia and playing

Well I have had an adventure. I managed to get pneumonia via a chest infection, which at the time I was doing my best to ignore. After refusing antibiotics I had a chest X-Ray which rather shocked the radiologist as my entire left lung was white. Since then I have been in and out of hospital, both Treliske and Derriford (big boys and girls hospital in Plymouth) and had an operation from which I am still sore.

It has been horrible, but people go through much worse and I am on the mend now. However I will take this opportunity to thank all the NHS staff, whom I had dealings with, for their unfailing good humour and professionalism. From the cleaners to the consultants they did their jobs with a laugh and a smile. One particular nurse held me as I sobbed after a particularly painful procedure, to her I am eternally grateful.

What has this brush with illness done to me?

I have decided to let go. I am very clingy with the past, and the vast time you get to think in hospital helps you to realise that the present is so important. We are are made of memories, without a past we would be a strange empty vessel but, I need to let go of things in order to have room to play. 

I have re-named my studio 'The sand pit' after the play space I had as a child. It was an area surrounded by a wicker fence and filled with sand. Everyday it was a blank canvas and I would charge down there as soon as I was allowed to, and play all day. My studio I realised was full of stuff, memories, important stuff, but stuff that left no room for what I want to do now. So I am in the process of sweeping away paper, prints, stuff, cassettes, tapes that take up space in which I could be painting, drawing or making a collage. This all in the hope that I will feel as creative and excited everyday I come in here.

It seems obvious to say but if you have no room in which to make, you can't make. I had let this simple truth slip away under the onslaught of everyday life.





Where I am

I see that I have not posted anything since November last year. There is no excuse perhaps except that I am a visual artist with dyslexia and a great tendency to be distracted by Facebook, the sun, Ebay, Twitter a good walk in the sun, the sea, trying to re-learn how to skateboard, a swim, tennis, the sun, the tadpoles in Morrab gardens and most of all FOOD. But I love writing and poetry too, mainly due to sharing my life with a very dedicated and successful writer of poetry. This talented and generous being has opened many books and ideas to my once parochial, self obsessed, fresh out of failed public school, 20 something self, who she met back there in the 80s. One of the writers whose work she has put under my nose is A. L. Kennedy whose 'On writing' or maybe it should be 'On typing' as she disarmingly calls writing, mainly comprises of her blog entries. This series of witty and entertaining short pieces are genuinely funny and strange, honest and weird too. So it is A.L and my dearest who are to blame for this return to typing, which I hope to do more regularly, and with honesty, and from a hopefully interesting angle and place - Penzance.

I have vowed to adopt a week of 'art making' (which is actually what I do and love) and then a week of 'all the other stuff we have to do' approach to things after a week at Brisons Veor (Cape Cornwall) without the internet or a distractingly sociable, and seemingly full of nice food town at my doorstep. Next week, when the one I love is away, let's see how I do. If the sun comes out and I get hungry, I'm on dodgy ground.



Remember nature

Gustav Metzger made an appeal for a day in which to remember nature, this was November the 4th this year and there was a show at Central St Martins which championed this idea to great effect.

His idea of ethics first in art is so refreshing and an antidote to the money and egos which seem to have flooded the art world since the 80s. It is best to leave Gustav to say it in his own words.

“The art, architecture and design world needs to take a stand against the ongoing erasure of species – even where there is little chance of ultimate success. It is our privilege and our duty to be at the forefront of the struggle. There is no choice but to follow the path of ethics into aesthetics. We live in societies suffocating in waste.”


"Our task is to remind people of the richness and complexity in nature; to protect nature as far as we can and by doing so art will enter new territories that are inherently creative, that are primarily for the good of the universe. What we want to do – what is ahead for us is to bring together the world of the arts – to unite ... We call those who engage in the arts to participate ... to create a collective artwork to Remember Nature.



Interview on Jacksons art blog

I have been interviewed for Jacksons art blog.