It’s somewhere in 2008..
I’m sitting central in a group trying to explain to near strangers why my splattered canvas is art. Feedback they said. Humiliation I say. Nobody liked my work, they had nothing to add to it or any ideas on how to move forward with it, they just stared at me until my face was red wine. Sophie was the one I admired, her paintings were phenomenal, huge canvases full of confident brush strokes, mine was so minuscule they could barely see it, and she was one of those lucky people who embodied art, I was just covered in it, I looked at her and knew she would be great, that wasn’t going to be me.
I liked to paint faces, in different expressions but in one style, ‘messy’ is how I described it. My mind was messy at the time (still is) and that was how I communicated that I needed help. But not like this. Like a lamb in a slaughter house sitting in a circle judgement trying to explain to relatively sane people that I was not sane, without it resulting in me being carted off to the nut house or more likely, strange looks whispering and giggling for the next two years. No I kept my mouth shut, I always did. Every ‘how are you?’ every ‘are you okay?’ yep, I’m fine. Of course I wasn’t.
At this point I was so lost Christopher Columbus couldn’t find me and the only things I ever felt were embarrassment or sadness. Whether it was people staring at me, or the fact that I was ashamed that they knew what they were doing and I didn’t. Some of them had their whole careers planned out and I was trying to get through group critique alive. Whatever happened after that didn’t cross my mind.
Even the tutors passed me around every semester, it’s not something to fill you with confidence ‘oh I can’t do anything with her, Dave you try’. I was never trusting enough to admit to any of them that these dead/ill looking people that I painted that nobody liked were me, and perhaps if I had told them they would have understood. Or perhaps not. My overall impression of authority in my university was that they didn’t care about you, not like in college, they stood around and looked important but they didn’t really do anything.