06 Feb First Post
A BLOG: WHY Now Fran?
I have decided to write this blog because i think it will help me clear some of the thoughts and ideas that have bubbling around and brewing inside my tiny weeny brain! AND following on from an exciting happening last Tuesday when i was invited to talk on BBC Radio Wales about why my local environment (The Vale of Glamorgan, South Wales) makes me happy in my working and personal life i have finally seen the light! Talking about what makes us get up and shout out loud is really important as it gives us purpose and confirms that there is some point to what we are doing every day. Well i think so anyway.
So bear with me and whilst i am not assuming that anyone is going to read this I am going to write it as if there is someone out there happily reading and feeling better for it (otherwise I may not keep it up and i know it is going to help me so much but i also know that when we do things just for our own benefit we often don’t see the point. On the other hand, the thought that someone else may be let down by not doing something is a very powerful incentive to do it!)
So that is why now I am writing an art blog. It’s because i need to and if i don’t then i will be letting down my imaginary friends !!!!XXXX
I am inspired on a daily basis by the people i meet and the places i visit and the experiences that come my way. Last week was an further example of how hard i think folk are trying to find good and meaning in their world and that really inspires me. We all need to feel valued and loved but more than that i think we all need to feel we can communicate and be heard. I watched my own children and their fellow students sing their hearts out at their cabaret concert this week and if ever there was a formula for health i would say it should have freedom of expression at it’s heart. When individuals are placed in a safe, loving environment they are able to reach for the stars and shine as bright as the next star.
I am one of the lucky guys who has grown up being surrounded by enough people who made me feel that i mattered. We can never expect to be loved by everyone and we all have to learn to cope with rejection and loss of others but i do believe we all need to know that our point of view and perspective matters.
I had the privilege of going to study as an undergraduate after leaving school. I didn’t assume i would be good enough to get accepted anywhere as I had only chosen the two subjects i loved to study at A’ Level. This was in part choice and in part health related. As young as 15 i had already noticed that my head struggled to hold too much information. I tried endless techniques for revising and learning but when you don’t have filters in your head to sieve, you are left with a mind that “cannot see the wood for the trees”. I don’t feel that this is a bad thing but it has needed managing because a mind that does not sieve information places the same value on every bit of information that gets in.
However, when i did go to college to study for a Bsc (hons) Degree in Geography and Geology because my Art A’ Level and Geography A’ Level on their own were good enough to get me there, my world finally opened up and i acquired a frame of reference that would stay with me and guide me forever!!
I am referring to one subject that made all the other subjects make sense. Whilst I had chosen a degree that would expose me to the world as we know it now, knew it then and may come to know in the future the knowledge that would help it all make sense came from Historical and Cultural Geography. I can remember the day as clear as if it were yesterday when we had discussed the concept “Perspective”. Oh my goodness my heart beats a little bit faster and i get a lovely excited feeling inside just mentioning/thinking about it. At the end of this particular lecture i remember shyly walking up to the front of the lecture theatre and saying to the tutor :
“I’ve never seen the world through those eyes before!
Those words may not translate as being particularly amazing in essence but last week one of my own students from the community art group i have been teaching for the last 3 years or so got in touch via messenger to say how much the students were missing me as i had had to get cover for a term due to poor health. This student said something that brought to the forefront of my mind and at a time when i was feeling extraordinarily flat due to M.S. Fatigue and i cannot begin to tell you how energised their words made me feel. It went something like this:
“I feel i am looking at Turner with different eyes thanks to you ……… That’s why I love your teaching! I feel intellectually stimulated ……… it’s not just all about the shapes ….. or is it?”
I think i know now why my lecturer smiled the smiliest smile that day back in 1989/90 because i can’t begin to tell you how enormous i felt as a person for having helped someone else access the world anew!
It is because of this that i am writing a blog now because i want to spread the word as far as possible and liberate as many folk as possible and help them access a frame of reference that will help them face the challenges that a contemporary world poses for us all.
I was told that “Perspective” is made up from two words Prospect and Prospectiva??!! (Don’t quote me it was a long time a go and i just need to make the point not own it). Actually it may have been the other way round but all these words are really important anyway so keep up!
Thus, if we break it down in to all these words then we can appreciate that a prospect is a “point of view”, a projection of where and who we are or how we want to be viewed as an individual and or in relation to others that surround us. Everyone has a perspective but not all of us perhaps feel comfortable with our prospect. However, i think it is fundamental that someone tells someone else that their perspective matters because it really does. There is no “one” perspective that matters more than another. It breaks my heart when i see a homeless man or woman on the streets locally either blocking out their perspective because they can’t voice it or the child in the class who is “playing up’ because they have yet to find the most effective way of expressing themselves, or the tragic loss of men, women, boys and girls who cannot put in to words why they feel they cannot go on.
There are many reasons why i am able to talk freely here in this blog is because people have listened to me and have created space sometimes public (an exhibition of my work, a classroom full of students or Radio Wales asking me to talk live on radio about Happiness!!!!) or a private space ( a doctor letting me cry freely because i don’t understand why i’m feeling as i do in a given moment, or my parents walking me for miles to clear the head, or my husband and daughters asking me “What’s the matter?” or a friend noticing i have gone quiet and encouraging me out). It is all these outlets that feed me with confidence and self belief that my point of view is valued and I wholeheartedly believe it is because of these opportunities to be heard that my artistic life has been able to develop so freely and “fulfillingly”.
The key point I am trying to make in this post is that i have found that by acknowledging that i have a perspective and acknowledging the perspectives of others my life is rich with creativity and ideas and through the medium of art and storytelling i feel i am able to communicate my point of view to others. This in turn evokes a response in others and it is my acknowledgment of these other perspectives that keeps me finding new purpose in my work. You will rarely find me taking full credit for something that i have done and this is in part due to a discomfort i feel when being praised (even though i think i love praise and thrive off it) and also the fact that without all the people that i meet and experience i wouldn’t grow and i undoubtedly benefit from us sharing thoughts and so much of what i have achieved is a result of us all listening and valuing each other.
I have tried to express this is some of my Og stories. “The Mermaid of Ogmore by Sea” is trying to get us all to value each other and “Everyone wants to be remembered” helps us see the world as a large canvas that has been continually painted over: layer upon layer as new “artists” have tried to command it and express their vision.
Phew I’m exhausted but i feel better for finally putting that in to words. So thank you imaginary readers you have helped me enormously xxx Fran