I was going to sit outside this morning and write this post, but it would appear Autumn got there first. So I retreated from the unexpectedly cool weather indoors instead until it warmed up a bit.
It’s interesting how such a small shift in temperature can change summer into autumn, pleasant into chilly, comfortable into uncomfortable!
Weather and temperature can often be described as favourable, or unfavourable and a change in it often provokes a change in us too, much like peoples opinion. Opinions can be cool and discouraging or warm and life affirming, which brings me to the subject of this post.
Having admired artist Nick Archer’s work from afar for a while now, I boldly went a step further the other day and e-mailed him to ask if he could spare some time to chat over a cup of tea and, much to my surprise and delight, he replied that he could!
Well on Monday we met up and I got the chance to meet Nick face-to-face and discovered that he’s not only a brilliant artist, but he’s also a really nice chap.
After patiently answering some questions over that cup of tea (and biscuit) that I mentioned earlier, Nick gave me a tour of the building that houses his studio. Once an old primary school building full of small creative minds, it’s now a network of studio spaces for large creative minds. And one of those creative minds is that of Nick’s wife, Jenny Pockley. Incidentally if you’ve never seen the work or heard of Nick Archer or Jenny Pockley, then you need to. They aren’t nationally and internationally famous for being rubbish, they’re brilliant!
Anyway as I chatted to Nick I thought how curious it was that as you vocalise things and thoughts to someone, how much more ‘real’ they become. Thoughts, once abstract and nebulous, become flashes of clarity and revelation! Somehow, speaking a thought makes it real, grounds it and makes it strangely clearer and more visible.
A friend of mine (Lauren Morse. Check her blog out here: http://lonnyopolis.wordpress.com/) recently had such a personal ‘flash’ of reality after reading Scott Belsky’s book Making Ideas Happen. She said: “I’d never felt that I’d been told to really grasp my ideas and take them seriously until I read this. This creativity I play with, live my life with, live in, is not simply a toy or a hobby, something to be trifled with, to be put on the back seat as soon as something ‘serious’ or ‘real life’ comes along. It IS real life, it IS serious. It is important. It is my life, not merely something I spend time with.”
I had a ‘Lauren’ moment like that when, as Nick introduced me as a fellow artist, I got asked twice, “What type of work do you do?” On one level these introductions were great. Here I was being accepted and welcomed by other artists, as if I were a long lost missing member of the artist tribe. On the other hand, not being able to answer the question came as a bit of a shock to me.
I suddenly realised in sharp focus that questions like “what sort of work do you do?” need an answer and I needed to be serious about asking myself these questions and finding an answer. They needed to be resolved!
Happily, while I stood there like a frightened rabbit in the lights of an oncoming awkward question, Nick replied “Ian’s work is very figurative”. Thankfully that seemed momentarily to provide a satisfactory escape from the spotlight, but I knew it was a question I also needed to answer for myself.
Odd isn’t it, how we are often the one least perceptive of ourselves and how others can sometimes see us more clearly than we see ourselves.
I tried to encourage Nick and Jenny to have a picture taken with their work, but sadly they were both far too modest, but I’ll try to include an image or too gleaned from the magical world of the internet.
I’ll let the images largely speak for themselves:
Nick Archer – I don’t think he could avoid this shot as it was for a publicised worthy cause.
This one was hanging on the wall of the studio and is painted on a black canvas…ish. I say ‘ish’ because I’m not sure if the actual material it’s painted on is a strict Nick Archer trade secret. I don’t want him hunting me down with a sharpened pallet knife in one hand and a stern rebuke in the other.
Flight. This was also in the studio and is huge. Awesome in size and effect.
I couldn’t find a photo’ of Jenny (Pockley), as she’s obviously famously camera shy, but I could find some of her work…
Anyway in good Oscar winning style, I’d like to thank Nick, Jenny and my fellow artists for their warm welcome and encouragement. I’d particularly like to thank Nick for his insight and encouragement and his willingness to nurture talent in others. Finally I’d like to thank China for inventing tea and Marks and Spencer for making great oat and raisin cookies.
Nick Archer and Jenny Pockley can be found at: