My other artist-in-residency programme: at Submit To Love Studios, Headway East London
Above: swift notes and sketches from making small talk with Mike, Ken and Saroj, 10 October 2017
Michelle Carlile is a great teacher. High-profile shows that the art studio manager has helped to lead at Submit To Love of Headway East London, a charity for people affected by brain injury, include a recent exhibition at the Southbank Centre. Watching Michelle work is something else. She is gentle and positive yet firm. She wasn't just drawing and painting. She was dancing, leading the artists to also jiggle (to Bob Marley), doing physiotherapy with the artists (guiding Lawrence to complete a circular shape on paper), having fun, making everyone have fun, making, creating. I began my first visit on Tuesday 10 October. I wanted to learn, observe, make small talk with the artists. I loved the mark-making, play and colour explosion. To conceptualise my visits as an 'artist-in-residency' challenges / clarifies my primary residency at King's College London working with psychiatrists and academics. I have qualifications in fine art and teaching but it was a revelation being there. The uninhibited play with perspective and scale, the pleasure of shapes, the visceral texture of paint applied on top of other paint was a kick in the rump that sat on years of framing my practice as and talking about it as research, in REF/impact/TEF/'contribution to knowledge'/etc etc. Kicks in the rump are critical to make the mind and body agile, to keep me on my toes, to shake the ground off my feet, to make me recalibrate, to mock anything that's fixed/stuck.