Monday, 4 June 2012

Standing on the edge / Art from the heart part 1

I originally trained at college in textile design, lots of screen printing, mixed media, throwing paint around, sewing through metal and really being free.

I had an amazing 2 years in my foundation course, I really thrived, I adored it and my work excelled. By the end I was mixing up thread with papers, glue, paint and plaster. I felt sure crafts and embroidery was my thing. 

So I started my BA in fashion and textile, specialising in embroidery. I quickly got the shock of my life. The tutors hated my work, and often it seemed hated me. They disliked my urge to walk on the other side of the creative path and how messy I was. I simply did not fit in.

I was punky/goth/hippy, wild haired and chubby. They wanted scrawny fashion victims who were always tidy and did tidy work that fitted in their box.

My spirit was dampened down, my work fell apart. I went from top of the class, to not caring.

In my second year I swore I would reign it in, I tried my best to walk the line they wanted. I changed my clothes, my hair, my attitude, I buckled down but my work had no spirit, no spark.

In the third year I pulled it together enough to meet in the middle but my work still had lost that pizzaz from my earlier years. I came through with a good grade - not amazing but acceptable. A bit like my work really.

After uni I walked away from textiles, I got into graphic design, did another course, did very well and worked my way up jobs. It turns out I could pull design off. I became a whizz with the programmes, good at all the technical stuff and slowly over the years my work became more creative.

I always likened it to a quote from my hero David Bowie:

“I was playing the saxophone and trying to make up my mind whether to play ... I wasn't very good at jazz and I could fake it pretty well at rock'n'roll so I played rock 'n'roll.”

Design was my rock'n'roll

Fast forward 12 years, I started to want to draw again, the one thing I was always good at. I started life drawing classes again, played around with oils, played around with styles. Ended up with watercolours, inks and watercolour pencils.

I started doing a bit of illustrating with a tablet in photoshop. 

The work developed into what you see today.

So for the last few years I have been working as you see. I really love my work, I love taking the time to paint. My love of being a creative was back. But every now and then I question, am I really drawing from the heart? Is there soul in my art? Does it speak truly from me?

I miss the old messy Asha. The one that melted oil pastels and painted with them, used tin foil, newspaper, water colour and ink in the same painting.

I had wanted to do a MA in book illustration, got as far as starting the application and meeting with the course director. But sadly when we sat down and did the sums we simply couldn't afford it on so many levels, the new uni fee's set by the government, the course was 2 hours away each direction, and who would look after our son on the days I would be in uni. 

I was sad as I had hoped it would be my chance to be creatively challenged and to blossom again.

So I have decided it is time to take charge myself. I will be my own tutor and course. It is time to start playing around with materials again, to get messy and have fun. I have no idea if this will change my work, if I will like it, or if I will go back to my simple paints and pencils.

I also have no idea where I will do this! I lost my work space when we had our son and we are selling our house so it has to stay tidy!!!

But I HAVE to do this. I have to give myself the chance to see what is there. To free my style again, to break the tight restrictions I have put around my use of media.

Writing this post is vital. I need to put it out there and be honest. 

I don't even know who will read this or If anyone is interested, but I know I am, and that is what counts.

So here it is my new journey; Art from my heart.

Can I just underline as a foot note that I value my illustration and design work as it stands, I am very proud of it, it is professional and well executed.


  1. I'm reading, and finding this really interesting.I think it's right to get it out there and commit to experimenting. Your work is lovely, but it's good to challenge things, mix things up a bit, you just don't know where it will take you.
    It takes courage to commit, and I know myself it's just so hard when you have a family too.
    I'll be watching with interest. x

  2. I'm reading too, don't have much to say but it sounds exciting. You are fab xxx

  3. Thanks for your supports Jeanette and Meg. I still have paint on my hands from last nights paint play, still to finish it, so keep watching!