Monthly Archives

February 2020

Invigorated by ‘The Art of Dying Well’

By Podcast, Talking art

My kitchen has finally returned to normal. No more lights, green screen or huge tripod for my phone. I finished filming The Rape of Europa, the last work in the ‘poesie’ series, last week and it’ll be posted on social media shortly. Ironically I did the whole of the last video straight through from start to finish on the third take which NEVER happens. I’d like to think that may be as a result of me honing my presenting skills over the last six weeks, but it was more likely just a bit of luck!

I was certainly digging deep for the gift of eloquence on Valentine’s Day. Thank goodness I’ve kissed the blarney stone, and it was a smacker I might add, I don’t do things by halves. But this had nothing to do with my love life, unless you count my passion for art. No, I am delighted to share the fact that my first ever participation in a podcast was recorded on 14 February and has now been launched into the world.

I was asked several weeks ago whether I’d be willing to participate in a piece about Memento Mori for the award winning ‘The Art of Dying Well’ podcast. Of course I was delighted to accept and added a note to do some research to my to-do list. Fast forward to the week of the 14th and I get a call to say that they’d like to record that Friday; cue a frantic revision of said to-do list and off I tottled to Ecclestone Square to chat to James Abbott armed with plenty of ideas and no real clue as to what the afternoon would bring.

I needn’t have worried. Despite electing to remove the belt from my dress in case I panicked and my breathing got erratic (I know, but you’d possibly do the same in a similar situation….or not?!), I knew everything was going to be fine when James remained good natured and utterly charming even after most of my notes ended up on the floor next to the belt, I had to pause proceedings to find a lip salve and a minute later was compelled to rootle in my handbag once again. On that second occasion the object of my desires was a pen and since I was unsuccessful, I briefly continued my search on what I can only assume was his desk in the neighbouring room before realising that my pen was, in fact, also on the floor with my belt and notes.

So, did I feel terribly grown up and important in this proper studio with an ‘on air’ light, big boom mics and earphones? Of course I did! What an experience, and what’s more once I settled down I absolutely loved it. We talked skulls and skeletons and vanitas paintings with allocated moments for paper shuffling and a couple of re-starts on various sections when my words came out in the wrong order. To be honest they may not have even been the right words at one point, but we’ll skim over that. I’m really rather proud of the end result, and can’t thank James enough for making me so welcome and for his wonderful final edit.

If you’d like to hear me talking about how the idea of Memento Mori, (which translates as ‘remember you must die’) permeates the world of art, there’s a link to the podcast on the home page.

Making movies (in my kitchen)

By Filming, Instagram, Talking art

My kitchen is now masquerading as a film studio for half the week. Seriously, I have lights, a green screen, microphones and a big sturdy tripod with a bracket for my phone. It’s hard to open cupboards, the fridge is out of bounds and if I turn on the gas hob it’s likely that something will either catch fire or melt. But a challenge is a challenge and this is a challenge!

I had the crazy idea to start filming at home at the end of last year when the gallery made it clear that they were less than delighted with me coming over all Sofia Coppola in their hallowed halls. I get it, and I certainly don’t ever want to fall out with the National Gallery, so you won’t see me there with a microphone any time soon. At around the same time, I was chatting to a friend about their upcoming exhibition, ‘Love, Desire, Death’. It will bring together six Titian paintings that I adore and, as such, I was waving my arms around excitedly and gabbling about going full on crazy cabaret in reverence to them… I wanted to write a show, and find a location, and make it award winning and completely fabulous.

After a deep breath (it may have been a sigh) my friend said:

‘You’ve got three months until the exhibition opens, have you started this project? Umm, it’s quite big!’

‘Well, not exactly. Actually, no’

‘Okay. Well, maybe scale it back a bit? How about making a start with little videos about the paintings for your website and social media?’

Eh voila!, the plan was hatched. Six paintings, three videos a painting, all launched into the world to a strict timetable at regular intervals with the last video planned to coincide with the opening of the exhibition in March. I had three weeks to get ahead of myself – until I got ill and spent two and a half weeks staring at daytime television with glazed eyes and my mouth open!

So, fully recovered, this has been my regime for the last two weeks: research, write scripts, film, edit in paintings, edit out the bits where I’m going ‘durrrr’ (thank you dear editor, these videos would be absolutely rubbish without you), fiddle around with Instagram and YouTube on the appointed day until they have been successfully posted. Do it all again. Thanks to my January cold I am only filming a week ahead of each launch date… eeeeek. It’s a bit stressful and ridiculous and huge fun and immensely satisfying.

I am, by the way, thinking of making a full length feature film of the f*** ups. Believe me, there are enough of them. The photos are stills of yet another take biting the dust!

Anyway, if you’d like to see the fruits of my labour, head to the media and gallery page. Goodbye gallery films, hello green screen. It’s a brave new world and I love it.