Autumn is harvest season and Keats’s ‘mellow fruitfulness’ has been playing in my mind for weeks; not applied to the natural world but used instead as a metaphor for human relationships. Since The Other Art Fair at the start of the month, I have been thinking a lot about abundance: how best to write about the richness of human relationships; their importance as part of the creative process; and my sense of gratitude during and after the fair.
I have spent recent months in comparative solitude, head down in the studio doing the work. The art lies for me not in the paintings themselves but in that addictive moment when someone else sees a painting and, through the lens of their own life story, provides the catalyst which conjures meaning. In those moments one finds mutual understanding and creative connection.
Art Fairs are unique and intense experiences. They are a strange ecosystem in which one has hundreds of interactions on a scale from ordinary to highly personal, intimate and raw.
As an artist on the stand when you first meet someone, that person is a comparative stranger. What happens over time is that those individuals, who were once strangers, become followers, clients, repeat collectors, friends. They enter and become part of a community.
At this fair I made many new connections (hello) and welcomed new collectors (thank you).
I was also visited by individuals who I think of as already comprising this creative and growing community. People who like and are following my work, collectors, friends and colleagues in the industry. This includes other artists, service providers, writers, curators and gallerists. These individuals made special trips and spent a long time on the stand engaging with the work, discussing changes in colour, technique and mood.
With one artist friend, I talked about what it means to survive as an artist, how one adapts and makes specific choices in order to continue to thrive. Reflecting on that conversation now, it strikes me that above everything, human relationships are what drive my practice. It is through this community that I personally gain a sense of belonging, nourishment and inspiration.
At a time of national and industry change, this fair felt like autumn – an abundant harvest where the bounty was community and connection. Long may we listen to each other and grow together.
Thank you all. X