1. Friends, Family and Flowers - the Movie!
Friends, family and flowers were unfashionable subjects at the Slade College of Art. For my MA show I organised a celebratory performative event which took place on the private view evening of the Slade show. It was a party for my friends and family! It was designed to display my art/documentary skills and my joyful attitude to art. I feel that this film really captures where I would like to be placed with my art. It documents an event that is ethnographic, performative, playfully antagonistic and exhibits all my interests and fascinations.
2. Ethnographic Partying
Artistically, I believe that I am strongest when I assist people in thinking more about the purpose, energy and meaning of everyday life, so I attended the University College Summer Ball as a participant observer and screened the video inside the Slade show as part of my MA exhibition. The high-spirited behaviour of the students captured on film revealed the sociable interactions of university life and was in unusual contrast to what would usually be expected from the prestigious and formal Slade openings.
The UCL Summer Ball
Preparing the Friends, Family and Flowers Event
3. A Motivational Prop
Everyone was invited to be a trendy art student for the night by poking their head through a prop that I designed and painted with the stereotypical art student style. As always, I was searching for the celebratory side of rituals. Extracting and playing with this concept in an oppositional way was what motivated me.
4. The Love Boat
I created a Love Boat scene inspired by the Bubble Room diner in Florida in which holiday-makers were photographed. Visitors to the Slade MA Show were welcome to embark upon the boat with friends and family and encapsulate the moment with a photograph.
5. Where It All Began
The event that inspired all my work for the Friends, Family and Flowers exhibition was a visit to my father while he lay in hospital recovering from a stroke. Even in this condition, he celebrated St Patrick’s Day with such humour and high spirits that the experience changed my attitude to people and my art because I realised the crucial importance of being in the moment and celebrating the joys of everyday life.
6. Theoretical Fun
My theoretical studies at the Slade confirmed my belief that an artist can be a mentor in times of social change. I delivered a seminar on the theorists I had studied who had a range of attitudes towards art where human interaction and relationships are the subject. I had already superimposed the groups’ photograph on an iced cake which was ceremoniously cut and eaten to complete the seminar.
7. Mastering the Arts - UCL Graduation Ceremony 2007
I was disappointed that my full family couldn’t attend my graduation ceremony so I brought along life-sized cardboard cut-outs of my brother and grandmother so that they could give me the thumbs-up. It was attention- seeking and irreverent, I know, but it harmonized with all my interest in flamboyant celebration and the theatricality of rites of passage. And yes, I took my cut-outs to the champagne reception!