Well it's been a pretty odd week this week. I came back from England feeling rather ungrounded and displaced. It took me roughly five days to get back to planet Earth. It's a funny life this one split between countries. My mother described it well - it is like time travel. I felt like I travelled back in time last week. I just picked up where I left off. It was comforting, but at the same time a bit disturbing. I was notified of this pretty early on in the week when, over my first curry in months, one of my old house mates from Brick Lane said that he had his probation interview tomorrow and shouldn't stay out too late. I almost choked on my Balti upon hearing this and exclaimed that it was ridiculous to still be on probation after all this time, emphasising the fact that six months is the norm. Dimitris then flashed one of his gorgeous smiles and said very softly that his was a six month probation. I was gob smacked. It's only been six months?! Blimey.
So yes - a rather silly little week of getting my feet back on terra España and working out what to work on next. I was hoping to start my next project and was all ready to go when I received a few emails which threw me off balance. Just a couple of rejections really - that's all, but when one is feeling as delicate as I was at that time it is enough to completely through you of centre.
So how does one deal with criticism and rejection? Well it's hard isn't it? No one wants to hear that they've not made the mark and likewise, no one really enjoys dishing out an overly critical review. In the last few weeks I have hit a few walls. Rejections from galleries, pessimistic emails and pieces not making the grade. It's hard work not loosing heart, but you simply must not. A few nights ago I wallowed. I sat by the fire, got teary, got stupid. I felt hollow, like the wind had completely gone out of my sails. I began to question what on earth I was trying to achieve and felt trapped. I took a big leap quitting Kew and I felt like I was now getting stuck. Since the jump I have discovered that there are many roads on the other side of the crevice, but now I don't know which one to take. Desperate to get going I am trying each one out for size, but they all feel a little blocked. It's like they have a toll charge and I don't have the right change to get past. In the end I remedied my brooding with several beers at the 'skinny-bar'. I almost went to the 'old man's bar', but ended up the the skinny one instead. Better tapas, hotter fire.
The next day I felt just as retched. I felt like that French cat Henri. I had wild spirals of snow spinning out of control outside my studio window. Feeling rather perturbed I angrily put on a boiler suit, went to by bedroom, shut the door and started using my new medium. I did a small test piece - it felt good to start something new, but I secretly knew I wasn't in the mood. As it steadily grew white outside my window, it became black in my room. Needless to say what I wanted to achieve did not work. I abandoned the board on my bedroom shelf. Rejected it's stayed there all week collecting flecks of dust.
Yesterday I relocated again... this time to the kitchen. I opened the fridge, grabbed a cabbage and sat with it. What a grounding experience this was. I am not sure what it is about cabbages. I guess there is a humble nature about them - they remind me of where the beauty is - in the most simplest of things.
After making friends with the cabbage, I put him back in the fridge and grabbed another item and made friends with that. He's called Obi-Wan and he's my next project.
So how does one deal with loosing one's gusto? Through perseverance, watching fires and raiding one's fridge...