How has lockdown affected your routine and practice?
The lockdown has significantly changed my routine, I now have two young children at home ALL THE TIME. My wife and I have split the week in half so one can deal with home schooling whilst the other can work in peace. This means I now have less time to get any work done.
My practice recently has been almost totally digital, so I still have the facility to prepare digital models of sculptures on my computer. However, I was just about to begin a new body of ceramic work for a small show in Glasgow coming up in the Autumn. I was going to make the work at Glasgow Sculpture Studios, but I can’t do that now. What I really need to do is clear out my garage and turn that into a ceramic studio!
What have you been working on today?
I have been developing a series of drawings for the ‘Artist Support Pledge’ initiative. The idea being that once you reach a certain target of sales - £1000 you then pledge to spend £200 on another artists pledge work.
So far, I have created 4 drawings, but I am continuing to make more now, I will probably make it an ongoing thing for a while. You can see (and buy) the first 4 on my website now. In addition to the artists pledge I am also donating 20% of all my sale to my local food back in Renfrewshire. It means I can keep food on the table and hopefully put food on others too.
What are you missing the most during isolation?
I would love to take my wife out for dinner (without our children). Somewhere nice. I am missing varied foods. Not that we eat out a lot, but I have found myself staring into the fridge thinking… nothing… absolutely nothing…
What are you finding most challenging about lockdown?
Home schooling. I remember my father teaching me how to drive at 17, and that being very trying time in our relationship. It’s a bit like that, but with a 7-year-old. For me it is a lesson in patience.
What are you doing to stay positive?
I am trying to run a lot and drink a lot. It’s all about balance.
What advice would you give to fellow artists?
In isolation, when your social interactions are at a minimum, experiment with different hair and facial hair styles. This is serious advice.
Do you think art and the art world will look different when we re-emerge from isolation?
I would assume so. I try not to concern myself to much with the art world as it is a distraction from the art making bit. My guess is that there will be fewer art fairs and fewer smaller galleries. I cannot say I am very optimistic at the moment, but as an artist I will continue to make art, that is not going to change.
What have you been watching/reading/listening to during lockdown?
I have been finding it hard to read, my mind keeps wandering and I am not focusing on the text, so I am not doing a lot of that.
I have binge watched Ozark on Netflix though, all 3 seasons. It’s brilliant.
I watched a very good documentary on Miles Davis last night on the BBC iPlayer. What an interesting guy, he’s both likeable and highly dislikeable. Very individual and creative.
I also watched a doc on Ursula K. Le Guin on the BBC too. I had been meaning to watch it for ages. I wish I had her intellect. I wanted to go and see the show about her at Dundee Contemporary Arts but I didn’t get the opportunity.
But the real gem is the BBC adaption of Sally Rooney’s ‘Normal People. I am halfway through the 12 episodes and so far, it has been a superb watch. It is so well made.
Have you been creative in the kitchen during lockdown? Any recommendations?
Which artist (dead or alive) would you most like to be in isolation with and why?
Ha ha, whilst I know the question wants a famous artist as an answer, that is not what it is going to get. During lockdown it would have to be some of my artist friends, so I’ll say James Irwin, Matt Raw, Amy Hughes, Martha Todd, Jasleen Kaur and Ian McIntyre, although he’s a designer but sod it, I am bending the rules.
If someone had told you in January that you’d need to stay at home for six weeks and there would be no exhibitions what do you think you would have said?
If it were like Christmas, where everyone essentially agrees to take a couple of weeks off at the same time, I would probably have said great! A chance for a collective deep breath.
But it’s not like that is it…
Do you think lockdown will have an impact on your work?
It is very hard to say at the moment, I don’t think it will change what I want to make but the funding of projects might have an impact. I have a few projects in the back of my mind that will possibly take longer to realise. In the long term it might change my work as I make art about how we rationalise and justify things to ourselves. It will be interesting to see how the Covid narrative plays out.