It is very intimidating to me because I do not make it a habit to write very often. I have started the journal, and it seems to help a little. I was wondering if you would please take a look at what I have written so far, and answer a few of the questions I have. I will put my questions at the bottom.
This came as a complete surprise to me when I was a young upstart, striving for social justice in a squat in Hackney. While looking for a radical approach to my art, I found a revolutionary artist working in the most traditional of art forms.
I first came across the work of Vermeer in the library at the London College of Printing, where I was doing my photography degree back in This is a 3D photographic model of a squatted street in Hackney, that had been home to me and around others, for as long as 10 years.
At the time we were trying to save our street from demolition, and ourselves from becoming homeless. In the making of this work I began taking photographs on a large format camera, which produced 5-inch by 4-inch transparencies.
These transparencies changed my whole notion of photography. When I placed them on the light box they became small windows of colour and I was completely transfixed.
It was as if I were a peasant from the dark and distant past, transported from the fields of rural England into a cathedral, to be mesmerised by the sunlight pouring through the stained glass windows. Colour and light became key to the way I looked at my neighbourhood, seducing me and drawing me into contemplation of my life, my way of living and the culture that surrounded me.
Once these transparencies were installed in the model, which was lit from within, my street became a kind of cathedral, and our neighbourhood its diocese. I went to work on farms and building sites, for the Forestry Commission and eventually as a tree surgeon in Regents Park.
But at this point, aged 29, I was at college — and an incredibly keen student. I went straight to the library to investigate the golden age of Dutch painting. After looking at many books I came across Vermeer and it all clicked into place.
I was transfixed again, by his use of light and colour, and taken again into that magical state of meditation. The more I read about this artist, the more intrigued and inspired I became by his life and his art.
I wrote my appraisal of my degree show, quoting the golden age of Dutch painting as an influence on my own approach. The paper was consigned to a cupboard in a squatted house in east London. My life took another turn and I set out on a double-decker bus to Europe, putting on free parties and festivals and revelling in the chaos of techno music and open roads.
I had an intense couple of years living on my wits, as part of a travelling convoy, pedalling alternative culture and preaching the doctrines of free parties, no rules or regulations. But the impulse to create kept calling, beckoning me back to London and the Royal College of Art.
I set off back to London in an overladen estate car and limped into Hackney, returning to my long term squatting neighbourhood and resuming my residency in Ellingfort Road.
But soon after my education at the Royal College began, my neighbours and I once again became the recipients of legal notices issued by the High Court of Justice, addressing Persons Unknown from The Mayor and the London Borough of Hackney in order to recover land and premises. I took this as a challenge to our culture and lifestyle and set out to produce work that might help in our fight with the local authorities.
This time the research came before the artistic endeavour, taking me in many directions, looking at different artists and their approaches to social injustice.
One of my influences was my tutor at the time, Peter Kennard, who has produced a huge body of work rallying against social injustice and warmongering.
His imagery had a huge impact on me. Art with a social impact, which talked about England, had been a big part of my life from the age of 13 when I first heard this: But it took a long time for the popular culture of my youth, to find its voice in the creation of art, that made any sense to me.
Could the classical old master have any relevance to my life or that of my subjects, my neighbours in the hole-in-the-wall community where we lived?
It is very hard to find more than the barest facts about Vermeer as very little was written in his lifetime, so much of what I read is open to interpretation. But I was struck by the belief of some historians that Vermeer used a camera obscura.
This may or may not be true but there is a relationship with photography, realism in his paintings, which drew me to them. One of the attractions of photography for me is this notion of realism, the belief that the camera never lies.
Vermeer gave us a window into a real world but also a world imagined through his art. It is exactly this that attracts me to photography. The images are real, yet created by the person manipulating the camera. Another element of his work I found fascinating was his relationship to his local world.
Vermeer worked in Delft, a modest town in the Netherlands, and within this small community he looks even closer, scrutinizing a few characters, creating a series of intimate scenes of small groups and individuals.
His paintings focus upon minute details and illuminate his subjects with such devotion that their status is elevated. When Vermeer was painting, such attention to sitters was only afforded to those who could pay for it:Welcome to CoolEssay. Buy Essays Online - Professional Essay Writing Get your custom-written essay from a professional writer at CoolEssay.
On having a look back at my life, I realize that it is really difficult to speak about my most important achievements since I believe that even the slightest detail, or some event that seems to be insignificant at first glance may be extremely important.
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