After attending Mind Yourself’s Create Your Own Myth workshop in 2013…
It’s been wonderful listening to stories and creating them. Being a part of something, simultaneously at the centre and on the edge. A whole evening listening to stories and memories. I spent the end of the night captivated by the story of the construction workers, the violence, the fear. I listened intently to a man I did not know, nor had I ever met, tell smidgens of stories from the beginning of his time in London. He talked while he was drawing and at the other side of the table I couldn't see what was on the page. At the end of the evening he turned to Clare and said here you go, it’s you-handing her the picture. While she thanked him I picked up my things. She then placed the picture by her laptop, near enough for me to see. I stared at it, being pulled back to my earliest days in London. Lying on the boys’ couch staring up at a painting on the wall. Pastel blue, yellow, pink, a dog and people, people moving, walking, like the city I was in. One boy staring out, at the world. At the time I had nothing. I’d taken a pay cut from the dole in Ireland to the dole in England with the vague hope I could get a job. I definitely wasn't going to get one at home. I had no money; lived on my friends’ couch and as the months went by my hope and happiness seeped away. All of this in the shadow of this painting on the wall. I would lie down at night and in the morning and stare at it. I once asked Henry about it.
Where did you get it? A market, he told me which one at the time but I don’t remember.
How much was it? £100
Don’t you think it’s worth it?
I just liked it. He shrugged.
My silence. It wasn't about the money, well not about the worth of the painting. I’m not sure there is such a thing.
It was jealousy.
Jealousy that I had nothing and he could spend more than I had in the whole world with a shrug.
Since then I've filled my room with art. I've always collected it. One piece from every place that I visit. Things that I create myself. Strangely only one piece from my Dad’s gallery, but only because I know he’ll never let me pay for it, and I have a good ole catholic guilt about taking advantage of that. But I love to go in and look, I know the pieces I would buy in a heartbeat, if I could. But I’m heading back into the unknown, back to a land where art accumulation is at the bottom of the list. I’m drawn to art that has distance, that makes you look deep into the work, artwork with movement, things jumping out at you, swish and swoosh and strokes that make the whole piece active. They travel. They make you want to move.
Like the picture on the wall.
Like the picture on the table.
My life is moving again. I've been so miserable, so isolated. I've cried every night at the idea of walking back into misery. Back to work, ‘where happiness goes to die’. I've handed in my notice. I’m about to embark on another journey, of possibly having nothing. Of calling a halt to buying art. But I believe that fortune favours the brave and I've decided to be happy. Even if it takes work, I will work at being happy.
I’m creating my own myth.