Over the last years, the single consistent window to my world was a series of untitled photographs on Tumblr, titled In The Studio. I started it on the 15th of June, 2011 – a few months after my father died.
The photo's are a mix of art, sex, mental illness and my struggle to complete the last of my enamel paintings alone (after multiple production issues with materials and assistants). As I wrote in 2012, the photographs at In The Studio are an ongoing exploration of one contemporary woman's life as an artist, without the usual fey, girlish jitters. They are unflinchingly candid (and not just in their occasional depiction of sex), reflecting a life-long refusal to draw a line between the personal and the professional. The most explicit images are meant to disturb, to make one pause and think. At the same time, they consciously reference the media-saturated, reality-based, gossip-obsessed age in which we all live and work. You can read the rest of my statement here.
The last photograph is from 2015. It was taken at the private psychiatric hospital where I've been treated since 2012. I was exhausted after trialling Chlorpromazine. I had hoped the medication would help me force past the restrictions of my body and mind so I could paint like an unemotional machine. My plan backfired. Instead, I had a severe dystonic reaction. Muscles seized up, limbs jerked uncontrollably. My speech was interrupted by long pauses and stutters. Even my face twitched relentlessly. For over a month I struggled to walk or hold cutlery. Taking photographs was a physical impossibility.
Nine months later my fine motor skills are still recovering. I can take photo's again but I still can't draw or paint precisely. I don't know how long it will last or if the damage is permanent. Either way, life goes on.
Instead of continuing In The Studio on Tumblr I will post short photo' essays here, integrated with the rest of my work. I am not a photographer – I simply want to create a record. I see photographs as a reflection of my external reality. Glimpses of my internal experience can be seen in the art I make.
The raw, ongoing narrative of my life remains elemental to my identity as an artist. As my work and personal life are entangled, they are often (not always intentionally) revelatory and intimate. I expose myself not to receive flattery but to create a connection with those who view my work that’s as intimate and as open as possible.
Do I still have secrets? Yes. And no, I won’t reveal them.
Above: The final photograph from In The Studio, 2011 to 2015.