Thursday, 14 July 2011

Media Frenzy

I spent some time recently at the centre of media whirlwind, being hounded by paparazzi, waiting, always waiting in soulless green hospitality rooms before my many TV appearances, with flunkys fending off interview requests around the world.

Oh, okay. I was a guest on BBC Radio 4’s Woman’s Hour.

Who’s the best artist in the land? Damien Hirst? Tracey Emin? Wrong. Of course, it’s down to taste, but in reality, they are the UK’s most famous (and maybe richest) artists. I mention this because fame and the media play an enormous part in creative life these days. My own appearance was related to my work in The Text Festival in Bury, where I was showing two samplers called Hard To Say Goodbye Parts 1 and 2. I appeared with Sarah Greaves, who embroiders hard surfaces, like sinks and toasters. We have both contacted the show about our work and exhibitions: if you don’t ask, you don’t get.

Whist still a student at The Institute I Decline To Name, I organised a seminar for emerging artists on press contacts called: ‘When Will I Be Famous.’ I think the fact that famous and popular artists work hard to attract media attention came as a shock to many students: they needed to learn how to write succinct press releases as opposed to flowery, obfuscating artist statements (NB – my battle to create such an item will follow soon.)

Back on Radio 4, the segment introduction mentions Tracy bleedin’ Emin. I am not a huge fan of her collages (that’s what they are, not embroidery, and I’m not sure if she makes them herself.) I admire Grayson Perry, and Dadaist stitchers like Sophie Tauber and Jean Arp, or even the narrative power of the Bayeux Tapestry (FYI – it’s an embroidery, not a tapestry) and the subversive sign-writing of Bob and Roberta Smith. I don’t have a chance to explain this which is just a blip.

Certain of my samplers lift accounts written by women on the walls of public toilets. Do I spend much time hanging around in the ladies, I am asked. I have done: I record graffiti in writing as toilets are too dark for my cheap camera. I am asked tactfully about how my sight problems affect my work, and about my piece called: ‘Tower of Babble’ which orders buzzwords on poverty and avarice in the shape of a tower block. I’ve done enough interviews in my life as a writer (at the time of writing, the designation ‘journalist’ is as popular as strangling old people for money) and am aware of how to get some of my point across. Jenni Murray is, as ever, erudite and tactful. I am lucky to be here.

I don’t have free-rein to say everything I want – for example, to clarify that I also make hand-tinted photomontages. But I am lucky to have had this precious opportunity, and tellingly, soon afterwards the website where I show my work attracts many more hits. Now, however the whole world wants a piece of me. I have become public property. When will it end? *the tortured artist flounces off*

No comments:

Post a Comment

Life drawing again.

Life drawing again.

Life Drawing

Life Drawing
Almost human