Pictures at an Exhibition: Three

Having pinned up my plans for October, it is time to go into a little more detail.

Symphony

The idea is simple: tell a story using haiku, pictures and with a musical background. It is a love story, because of the running joke that this is all I’m really good at. The #Soundtracking2018 Playlist will be the music that daily accompanies each haiku and picture selection. I’m still debating how to pull the #Narrating2018 selection into this, but there’s an idea… and so next week will be when all the disparate threads are stitched together. It helps that there’s almost 2000 pictures in my Flickr account to use as a basis, but that’s only half the plan.

October is when there will be new pictures too.

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I’ve missed setting a challenge for myself that involves more outdoor work. That’s what this is about, pushing comfort boundaries and putting my various skills to better use. Once I have the final details sorted, it will be time to pick suitable ‘locations’ for my pictures, and the format they’ll take. To mix things up a bit there’ll be composites like the graphic above, separate photos and haiku, and… well, I learnt a lot of good lessons from last year. Plenty of audio and visual media can be utilised for storytelling.

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I’m genuinely excited for October. There’s also other stuff to do, plus a couple of deadlines which need consideration, but there’s enough everything can all be fitted in.

Time to crack on with organisation

Pictures At An Exhibition: Two

There’s going to be back-to-back posts here today (mostly allowing schedule to get back up to date) and also a commitment to a project that was started last year, and which proved to be of significant personal enjoyment to try again this year.

Yup, THINK-TOBER is back.

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I don’t get on with Instagram. It took a lot of heartache (and the Cambridge Analytica debacle) to make me grasp that I don’t want to be a part of a generation of users that only see a perfect image, whilst failing to grasp what spontaneity means. To add both depth and breadth to my experiences, it isn’t just about visual composition. There need to be words.

So, this time we will do this differently. Twitter will be the medium used as delivery, and content will have themes, rather than the insistence a certain word is used in each haiku… and because that format is now much loved by myself as poetry in a distilled, eloquence microcosm of feeling? Makes perfect sense.

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October is also quite nicely formed this year too: the 1st is a Monday, which gives us four weeks’ worth of beginnings and ends, with a three day conclusion at the end. In that respect, the overall theme of the month’s decided: Symphony. Under this, there will be four blocks of seven haiku, which will all tie together around the weekly sub-headings.

I’ll share titles, artwork and a look into my thought processes in the next post: there’ll be use of archive pictures, new work and stuff especially planned for the month. The overall plan is to create a self-produced and curated sequence of images and words, which (hopefully) will stimulate something positive in my readers. The only way I’ll know if it works is to try.

I’m already very excited at the possibilities.

#ThinkTober Week Three

Think-Tober

Finally, and with what is going to be a minimum amount of fanfare, here are the last 10 days of visual Haiku for October. I learnt an awful lot about myself and how my mind works best with these last images: however, we did go a fair bit off-piste with the ‘ink’ element. What this teaches me is that if I’m going to use a format going forward, then it needs to be defined a fair way in advance… which is now the plan with December’s Haiku ‘project’ which goes into pre-production this week.

I like writing on things, not just pieces of paper, making items props: whether its the crisp packet whose contents I then ate or the Butternut Squash that became dinner, I’m also keen on recycling whenever possible. I’d also want to find more interesting means by which the Internet can be utilised, especially where video is concerned.

There was a temptation just to use squares or rectangles for text. There’s gotta be more shapes, especially if it is Christmas.

Also, I gotta stop being embarrassed about doing stuff in public places. THIS IS ART AFTER ALL.

Of all the pieces I produced, this is probably my favourite, as it combines music and a real, tangible emotion of utter grief. I still miss David Bowie every day. This album has become my soundtrack for so many things and provided the perfect artistic backdrop for me to make Blackstar part of what I am. I hope he would approve.

By the end of the month, something significant had altered within me. This project was liberating, and enlightening. I truly showed what I was, and what was possible as a means of expression. I’ll absolutely be doing this again, in various forms going forward, quite possibly on a bi-monthly basis.

This is the most fun I’ve had making stuff for myself since my mid-teens.

#ThinkTober Week Two

Think-Tober

Week Two of my Haiku project pushed me outside: when I do this again (and that’s quite likely going to happen in December) there’ll be more planning to give a mix of interior and exterior locations. I found this space on a part of communal land in my hometown that forms part of a cycle path across various boroughs.

This week was mentally one of the toughest I’ve had for some time. Looking back now, I knew the problems were coming well before they arrived, and this image ended up being slightly more prophetic than had originally been the intent. Of everything produced thus far, this one remains the most personal.

Tuesdays are rubbish days in this parish: it made recycling the board for the Haiku a lot simpler than normal. On reflection, I could have shown more waste, as it is not really clear this is balanced on a ton of bags…

This one was a no-brainer: I’ve spoken at length on my personal site over the health benefits of exercise, not simply for the body but for my mind. Next time around I want to stop using squares of paper as my substrate for writing. Today came with the revelation that there need to be more interesting things written on, something I am going to fix going forward.

As a result, this was the first day with a) a budget and b) a theme planned in advance. My daughter got the benefit of eating the chocolate hearts used: those wooden ones are now decorating my desk area. The paper plates will get used over Christmas.

You won’t realise it but my back garden’s had a starring role in the composition process: this is the stump of a eucalyptus tree that despite having had most of its roots cut out is frankly refusing to die. It made a good basis for the haiku, and this proved my most popular Haiku of the week.

I’d planned an extravagant end to the week, using myself as canvas, but depression effectively ruined that party. So, I went simple and small, and on reflection, this is a far more powerful representation of the poetry. The more I think about it, the better this day’s work is at precisely describing exactly how I felt.

That’s week two done, and with the success of the last 14 days I have decided to do this as a bi-monthly ‘project,’ beginning again in December with a visual Haiku Advent Calendar. For now, however, it is off to plan week Three’s content.

See you in seven days 😀

#ThinkTober Week One

Think-Tober

Most of the time, when I have an idea, there’s nearly always been a moment in the development process when I regret it. However, that has not yet happened with Think-Tober. In fact, between you and me, this is the most fun I’ve had with a project since I came up with the Patreon at the start of this year.

I could, on reflection, have simply stuck all of these images on my better seen (and more widely read) personal Instagram account, but that would negate the point. It isn’t about the views. This is me, making art for myself. It is finding original ways to tell stories with words and pictures and is the best fun I’ve had for a very long time.

The plan is simple: look at the prompt word, then think of how the Haiku could be presented. Is it something I can do easily or will the process require a setup? How complex or otherwise do backgrounds need to be: would something too complicated detract from the point of the poetry?

There’s been some thinking too about the place in which I live, and how backgrounds and environments can be altered, constructed as frameworks onto which poetry can be inserted or placed. Every day is a new ‘scene’ to be created, built and then photographed. This is only my camera’s phone too: no manipulation save for the filters Instagram presents.

Then came the revelation that there is video too, so with thought these words can move and become something more than simply static tableau. That’s a concept that still needs some thought, but the door opened, as a result, is significant.

There is acting, in every day’s work: pieces of myself revealed (sometimes with intent, others by accident) that is turning what began as something academic into a deeply personal experience. Looking back on the last week comes the realisation that there is so much more that could be done, and it inspires me to attempt next week’s selection with more flair and skill.

Then comes the understanding that simple is best, sometimes: of all the week’s ‘work’ I think this is my favourite Haiku of all. When simply reduced to writing implement and paper, all the stresses and strains of the world fall away, and everything is perfect. Everything else, in effect, is superfluous.

I posed naked for this picture: of course, you can’t see that, only scars from surgery to the upper abdomen and belly button. I make myself part of the art but am never really comfortable with that process, so next week there’ll be more of the same, to push out of comfort zones and try to make statements. Each of the 31 days will be as different as possible: no repetition, and absolutely no compromise.

I hope you’ve enjoyed both poetry and art.

Train in the Distance

ThinkTober

It may have escaped your notice that October starts on Sunday. A number of my art friends alerted me to a content prompt that takes place around this time: Inktober. This encourages artists to pick up a pen and paper and produce ‘traditional’ drawings… which one then reproduces virtually for promotion in an social media outlet of your choice. Understandably, there was a bit of fuss about this from those I know who are working exclusively in the medium of digital art… and it started me thinking. The thirty one prompts for the month are perfectly acceptable as words to use in… oh, let’s say Haiku.

Therefore, I’ve decided to produce my own version of Inktober, which starts on Sunday at 5pm BST.

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None of the prompt words here are longer than five syllables, so that’s perfect for the short form I’m now beginning to embrace like a long-lost sibling. However, instead of using digital as my medium, I will write these in (some form of) ink, on thirty one different types of media, before post the resultant poems on the new Internet of Words Instagram account. It shouldn’t need saying, but as I know how the Internet works it will be anyway: I’m not trying to rip off, disrespect or ridicule the original idea in any way, shape or form (I see the TM and respect that for what it means.) Instead, I am thinking outside the box that is presented, as to me it appears a tad restrictive to begin with.

This tends to produce my best ideas anyway.

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What this does is combine my poetry and make it… well, art (depending on the medium chosen) and provide a lovely project for me to do in what is my birthday month. I hope you’ll choose to follow this journey via Social media too. If anything it could be fun to see what I end up using as the media for my words… It also gives me the opportunity to flex creative muscles in a visual ‘environment’ and this is never going to be a bad thing.

Right now my daughter is spending a lot of time doing digital animation, and I appreciate the time and effort that goes into artwork far more than was ever the case. I spend too much time online to begin with, so making myself produce 31 different backgrounds for the haiku (and pushing myself to different locations as well as medium) is a challenge I am happy to grasp with both hands.

I look forward to hearing your feedback, and hopefully entertaining in the process.