Waaaggghhhh it's been ONE HUNDRED YEARS since I last wrote a blog and quite frankly so much has happened I'm going to employ the bullet point system method (BPSM) to catch y'all up.
- I'm in Texas! So I'm allowed to say y'all just for the duration (I think) and because they actually say this, all. of. the. time.
- I'm on a 3 month residency at Habitable Spaces in Kingsbury, a small town in between San Antonio and Austin, it's a pretty special place. https://www.habitablespaces.org
- my Head's been blown on a daily basis by MANY things
- like, Creatures - I didn't research the creatures aspect before I came out and glad that I didn't as I would've been a gigantic scaredy cat - I'm learning slowly that they don't all want me to die and have to come to terms with the fact that I'm on their patch and they're not hanging out outside my tent to frighten the be-jaysus out of me and give me a heart attack, but to catch their smaller dinner
- Saw two snakes on my first night
- Tent - looks gorgeous, is gorgeous but down to the fact that it was an exceptionally hot first week and monsters found their way in one night we decided to change my accommodation
- Butch and Laura, locals from up the road very kindly offered their place to stay while home number 2 is being fixed up back on the farm. Butch and Laura are ace. I've had the opportunity to get to know another family alongside the one at the farm so actually feel quite lucky and will always be grateful to them
- Gifted the rattle from a rattle snake killed by Butch in his shed
- Animals - there's loads of them - I've grown especially fond of what I think may be a stray in Downtown Kingsbury, a tortoiseshell with one eye that I've named Tortilla, she was really weary at first but yesterday came right over and sat with me while I sketched, which broke my heart as I couldn't stroke her because I had something in my mind about myxomatosis but have since learned that's just a rabbit thing - going back to see Tortilla in a bit with a more animally minded person to advise!
- Took a spin in an 80's Alpha Romeo with a neighbour whilst listening to Tom Jones Greatest Hits
- Visited the local Aerodrome (doesn't every small town have one?) and have been invited to fly in a tiny plane called Miss Piggy with Charlotte the pilot who's part of the Ninety Nines Club https://twitter.com/TheNinetyNines
- Met the local Deputy Sherrif who thought it was odd that I was walking full stop but especially in the rain
- Watched the match against City around Butch and Laura's place in Spanish
- Met Jerry Hall's cousin, Kay totally randomly in Luling, seems that's where her family comes from, backed up by video evidence on, 'Who Do You Think You Are' - surreal
There are four artists here including me. Adam, Connor and Justin, I'm ancient compared to them but we're all getting on well and enjoying taking the piss out of each others accents! I'm sure we'll have our bumps but that's normal - more info on their projects here:
My project is essentially to bring Dead Pigeon Gallery to Texas, alongside North End Sketch Club. How madly wonderful is that? Stupidly excited to see how this rolls out here...
More detail on mine: https://www.habitablespaces.org/jayne-lawless
Working on DPG and North End Sketch Club alongside Walton CLP (Constituency Labour Party in the UK) I've become really interested in working out ways to bring people together, particularly from outside of both the political and art communities. I spoke in the last blog about why I joined the Labour Party because of Jeremy Corbyn and how that developed organically into working with Lena Simic, Political Education Officer for Walton CLP and Ian Byrne, now councillor for Everton and office manager at Dan Carden MP's office, resulting in a wonderful night of art and performances called, Getting to Know You - Walton CLP.
Bouncing off that Dan Carden, MP for Walton then agreed to host Dead Pigeon Gallery at his office in Anfield, Liverpool 4. It was genuinely a highlight in my art practice because of the sheer variation of people coming to see the work. I've always found that both art and politics have suffered from alienating people with the language used and top down elitism, so have always tried to break down barriers with my art practice. Since joining the Labour Party I was and still am confused about our political system, but slowly it's making more sense, and more importantly I'm not worried about not knowing the ins and outs, trusting instinct and gut feeling is just as valid and we can't all be politicians or want to be.
But, we do want to be part of it.
I felt like having an art exhibition at the local MP's office killed two birds with one stone, even the thought of it still excites me, and I intend on building on it when I get back to Liverpool after Texas. In terms of the Labour Party and accessibility I think the recent party conference held in Liverpool proved without a shadow of a doubt how much it has opened up, especially to creatives and that politics doesn't have to be one way, embodying community spirit by inviting all talents/interests/passions and finding a way to include them into campaigns is now an accepted norm in the Labour Party. And that in itself it truly remarkable.
Since I arrived here in the States I've found I've probably talked about Corbyn more than anything else, sharing that hope and confidence he instilled in all of us that joined the party in the last three years is a really positive thing. Obviously the political climate here is equally dire as in the UK. In local elections there seems to be some hope though in the Texas candidate for the US Senate, 'Beto', from what I've said about Corbyn, the locals here tell me that resonates mostly with him. Haven't enough knowledge on him yet to say either way but the people who I've spoken to who's moral compass seems to point roughly in the same direction as mine all seem to be looking to Beto.
The Liverpool arm of Dead Pigeon Gallery will remain at Dan's office until I get back late December, so if you want to visit email me and I'll arrange for one of the other artists to show you around: firstname.lastname@example.org
The Texas arm is in development along with sketch club...love it.
I'm in flippen TEXAS - ha! And, Friday we meet the horses! Can't wait and hoping to learn to ride, or at least have a go!
We went to a 'Swing Dance' too the first weekend, now that was gorgeous to watch and be part of. All set out in the street, lit up by lights in the trees, stalls selling handmade cowboy/girl boots to the back drop of Lockhart, a really nice looking neighbouring town. Cowboys and gals everywhere.
I'll be updating more regularly while I'm here so going to leave you with some interesting snaps of spiders, snakes, cats, goats, tents, aeroplanes, cars and other Texas-ness's
Ultimately, all is well. Texas is both fascinating and terrifying my eyeballs!