I am currently researching how artists can effectively work in their local communities considering the twin issues of "Peak Oil" and Climate Change; or, How can artists contribute to developing more self reliant, and sustainable, communities that can withstand the changes which are expected in the near to medium future?
Is the answer to be found in traditional artistic media (Painting, sculpture, installation, concept, etc, etc) or is it in tree planting, gardening societies, allotments, developing community networks etc? There is obviously no absolute answer to this question as it is based on the needs and resources of the local community in which the artist find herself, but I believe it does require us to accept the idea of the artist as "Creative Thinker" rather than object producer.
I believe that I, as an artist, can effectively help to mitigate the effects of Climate Change and also help individuals and communities to adapt to it's effects in two ways:
Ecoventions - (= Ecology + Invention) in which artists transform ecologies in inventive ways. Examples of these projects can be seen in the "Ecoventions" section of this site.
Culturally Remedial Art - in which objects (usually, but not exclusively) are placed in art galleries and act as "Re-Skilling" educational tools for the audience through participation. Some examples can be seen in the "Interactive Installations" gallery.
Further writing on the purpose behind my practice can be viewed in the "Essays" section
My current practice involves the synthesis, and integration of many various styles of painting and sculpture; particularly "primitive" and "outsider" art. Originally rooted in the modernist tradition of communicating feeling through abstract images my practice has led me towards the blending of "first" and "third" world styles, techniques and processes. Focussing on Conceptual Art, Romanticism, Surrealism, Graffiti, Upper Paleolithic Art, Shipibo Indian textile designs, Contemporary Japanese "Otaku" characters and Aboriginal Western Desert "dot" painting. Rather than looking back to an idealised past the work is done with a view on the present, where I believe that cultural integration and an increased awareness of environment (both local and global) has to be the driving force behind artistic and political decisions if there is to be any lasting understanding between people.
Underlying this painting practice is an interest in bushcraft and experimental archaeology. The acquisition of bushcraft skills enable individuals to gain an intimate and practical relationship with their environment and provides a direct link with our ancestors through problem solving and manipulation of materials. I am particularly interested in how this relationship affects thought and decision making processes. As you encounter problems when practising bushcraft skills, these are the same problems people have encountered since the stone age. (e.g. How do I splice nettle fibres together to create string? How do I prevent pine resin glue in a birch bark container from being too brittle? How do I tap birch sap without damaging the tree?). The mental processes used to answer these questions connect us, in a very real sense, to the people who have encountered the problems before. The solutions are often improvised depending on the resources available in the immediate environment and the time of year; therefore the problem is solved through a collaboration between the practitioner and Nature itself.