‘ So today, on Easter Sunday Day, a so called day of rebirth, I would like to introduce a new ongoing project, titled ‘Gnosis’. ‘ Models are Ephyra and Keir. Make up and sfx make up; Sherrie Sparkes https://www.instagram.com/sherriesparkle/ This is the first set of images.
They have taken me around a year to complete. A year of humming and harring, experiments, failures and what could be perceivable successes. I have been nervous to show these, the movement and poses are inspired directly by Rodin’s ‘Gates of Hell’, of which I was thinking about a great deal during the past year. You might also notice a reference to ‘Doubting Thomas’ recurrent in this set. Here, Doubting Thomas is a symbol of me coming to terms with my own spirituality through a constant need to see physical evidence, which is to say although spiritual, I am not a religious believer, perhaps I am. But what I do what is a rebirth.
This style and technique was inadvertently inspired by my younger self, I wanted to make something different to my canon work so I turned to my long abandoned flickr page to look at fledgling ideas I was playing with years ago. That’s when I found this... https://www.flickr.com/photos/beep_peep/3456210954/in/dateposted-public/(or if you don’t have flickr... https://cdn.shopify.com/s/files/1/0834/2501/files/3456210954_dd40a01a53_o.jpg) I had completely forgotten about this idea so I decided to improve on this strange technique to make this set. It’s odd to think that this is the exact same technique I’d abandoned 7 years ago, given how rough it is in its original form. Why I began this project... I was recovering from a traumatic break up which had lasted over a year and I subsequently destroyed a new relationship. During the course of the new relationship I began messing things up. I messed up a lot. But it was all I was capable of. As a result I was entirely alone, very few friends and family members, tatters of a career, no love, no home and no motivation to speak of. I genuinely had lost the will to live. ‘It was only then, when I’d lost everything, that I was forced to look at what I had become and turn inwards. I had become over the course of the last 6 years a frightened person, who trusted no one, because I didn’t trust or love myself. I looked for validation as a talent and not as an artist and in my personal life I had an expectancy from my partners and friends to single headedly carry me so I needed not rely on myself for love or understanding. I lost confidence in working creatively with other people and every email I got was a panic. I didn’t want people to want me; because I knew there was nothing I could give. I was used up emotionally. I had given myself away. A new lease of life was given to me through tutoring. I began lecturing at a few places and I found spending time with students gave me a genuine and heart warming interaction I loved. These people wanted their own power in their own creative journey with my guidance and I loved helping them. I could also see value in my help, the support and how a tutor or a mentor is so valuable on any journey. It began to restore my faith in creativity as something I could own and didn’t have to make for others but is shared. I spent/spend hours each week sitting with students talking about other artists. This opened my heart to something I’d forgotten and shut myself away from. The importance of transparency, guidance, influence and the development mentors can give. This can be in a creative or theraputic capacity. In my 6 years of depression (since losing my mother) I had become a closed off, secretive person. But teaching had begun to open me up to loving the people who wanted to learn from me. Instead of seeing them as rivals I see them as fellow artists on the same spiritual path so to speak. So this project was born in my mind, the idea that art and spirituality to me are intrinsically linked. Writing about art as therapy isn’t a hugely original idea, nor is it hugely revolutionary on the grand scheme of things but it is revolutionary to me on my journey. It is my journey of opening up creatively and showing how art can directly influence a practitioner’s life. Something I have only just accepted in myself, despite that fact that I’ve been a practising artist for many years and a professional photographer for 7 years. I feel now that it is not my solitary consciousness that creates my art but in the words of Jung a shared ‘Collective Unconscious’ that lays beyond my apparent self, and yours and everyone else’s. Since coming to this conclusion I feel the walls around my creativity have dissolved and I have an accessible harmony with my body’s feelings and my so-called talents, I’ll always be limited to what my body is capable of making objectively but I am freer than ever within that paradigm. However- and so not to bore you with my suppositions; I will formulate these ideas in what I might consider to be a compelling way, that I hope will be more defined than this fey ditty of an introduction. My idea is to write an ongoing series of essays on this subject of art (in my case photography), politics and 'spirituality' or perhaps 'alienation' and produce a set of images that corresponds to each essay. Eventually these will be collected into a book along with letters/correspondences with friends who have helped me and hopefully interviews and blog posts too. I really do feel art is something worth living for and it has genuinely saved my life. In honesty I still don’t know what I am doing with my life, I’m still alone, in as much as I can be, but now; I’m ok with that. All I know is this drive to make art has returned so I am following it. Thank you for joining me and thank you for bearing with me. Thank you so much to those who have stuck by me the last few years.