Monday, 14 April 2014

Past is Present

"Past is Present"- I saw this written on a gravestone many years ago in the cemetery where my Grandparents are now buried.
It has always stuck in my head.
As an artist and I suppose a human being, I am stuck in the past (in a good way I like to think although anybody unfortunate enough to live with me will i'm sure debate this !!)
I collect second hand garb, vintage cameras, clothing, records, comic books, board games, video games, shoes, tea cups, annuals, dress patterns, sunglasses, postcards, books, photographs, you name it the chances are I collect it. 
The trick is to see potential in pretty much everything as long as it isn't bloody or stinky. My collecting doesn't bother me, it keeps me afloat mentally, but I am certain it does other peoples heads in at times. My floor boards are buckling, nobody wants to live with me!
However, I like the idea that other peoples pasts are my present, I love pre-loved.
One of my big passions, the big cachiiiiing when charity shopping is stumbling upon old photographs. 
As an illustrator/artist in general, I think it is so desperately hard to be original, especially when there are so many of us, everybody wants to be us, and a lot of us don't need to be technically very good anymore or really use our noodles at all. 
My resource bank has always been my own photographed imagery (except for when I went through a large period of time stalking z-list celebs in gossip collums)but I have found on the whole that I seem to fall out of love with people visually quite often.
Finding old photography is hard. For some reason shops put a high price on anything black and white. How can you put a price on someones memories? 
It is sad that photographs end up doing the charity shop rounds. It makes me sad thinking that someone could discard them in this way, but this is coming from the perspective of someone who holds so much pent up importance in everything: I guess you can't take them with you.......
Here are some really cool photos that I picked up most recently. Some are dated 1945, some were taken in Mexico, lots are from Ohio in the 50s, and some are from 1960s Peterborough.
Stumbling across these was by far my best secondhand discovery in ages and I must say, I am yet to top it.
I like to imagine what the people in the pictures dreamt, what they liked to eat for lunch, were they happy?
They are very much present to me.

 I have real issues with putting a price on anything that I create which is too personal to me, I guess it is similar in experience to the way I clutch on tightly to battered old cameras and shirts that are too small but might just day. 
I have been working on some drawings from old family photographs that we discovered when clearing out my Grandparents house and although drawing from these brings me great pleasure, I don't think I could ever part with them. Perhaps the idea that they are far too much a part of my present past has something to do with it. Maybe it is the hoarder in me claming up at the thought of a drawing of my Grandad hanging on a strangers wall, he isn't yours, he is mine, you can't have him. Who knows, maybe i'm just a weirdo. Probably.
Anyway, here are a couple of not so amazing scans of some work that I have been doing with my found family imagery.