Somewhat belatedly, I thought I would share my RA adventure on my blog! ;o)
Back in January I decided to plunge in and submit some pieces for the Royal Academy of Arts Summer Exhibition. I duly downloaded the necessary documents and then pondered for a good long while before deciding to definitely submit!
The maximum number of pieces artists can submit is two and I decided I would do this to maximise my chances! For my first piece I wanted to use the flattened tin cans I'd had in my studio for a while. I envisaged a pyramidal construction but as I went along it all changed, of course! LOL This is the finished piece:
Ths base of the piece is a home made sieve found in our outbuildings. The frame is painted wood and the sieve part is zinc nailed onto it. The metal object wired to the base is a vintage cast iron cobbler's shoe last. I wanted to layer the tincans and decided that pop rivetting them together was the way to go. All the cans were collected already flattened from car parks and gutters, the only work I did on them was some sanding as I didn't want any brand names to be prominent. The piece is about the way we treat the world and I wanted to add pertinent words to the cans. I considered stamping them directly onto the cans but they didn't show well enough so I used the brass and copper metal tags instead. I stamped the words and used dark brown acrylic to bring the text out. I pop rivetted the tags on as well which added to the overall strength of the piece. Once I had the can section finished I made a hole in the right place, held my breath and rammed them onto the last! LOL The title of the piece, Every Possible Mistake, comes from the lyrics of a song that was a big favourite of mine at the time I was constructing the piece. So, that's the first piece and here's the second:
I initially wanted to make a piece using lots of stacked up vintage cameras but whilst rummaging about in a cupboard I came across this metal box and knew I wanted to use it for the second piece. I became incredibly stuck on this piece and at one stage was thinking I would have to submit only one piece because it just wasn't happening. After a while it dawned on me that the reason I was stuck was because I was trying to make a piece that I thought other people would like! Once I abandoned that idea I was off and running and the piece came together really quickly! Being stuck was a blessing really as it turned into the basis of the piece's theme. It's entitled No White Flag and is about not surrendering to negative opinions towards my work, the mirrors and camera are about reflecting what people think of the piece back at them. So, the mirror tiles are attached directly to the box with a super strong adhesive and the camera is screwed into position from the sides, simple as that.
So, that's the pieces, now back to the submission process. The rules for submitting sculpture changed this year and the first round of judging was by photos. Any artist who gets work through the photo round is then asked to deliver their work to the Royal Academy. My photographer friend, Rob, took lots of fantastic photos for me to choose from and I duly submitted my entry and waited. The making of the pieces and going through the submission process were amazing, they were a great learning experience and a real boost to my artistic belief. At that stage, it really didn't matter what the outcome would be as it was just such a blast to have submitted. So, jump forward to late March. It's my birthday and I arrive home from lunch at a nearby Chinese restaurant, warm and fuzzy from a couple of glasses of wine and the company of good friends, to discover a letter from the RA! The contents revealed that Every Possible Mistake had been shortlisted for the exhibition! ;oD If I thought submitting was a fantastic experience then this was like the icing on the (birthday!) cake! So, the next step was to deliever my piece to the RA one dreary rainy day in April. I got soaked getting it there but it was totally sunny inside me! LOL It took me longer to unwrap it than it did to hand it over but I was an extremely happy bunny! Ok, so now the story takes a slight downturn as I heard by letter at the end of May that my piece hadn't made it into the exhibition after all. I was a bit disappointed for a while but it was a fabulous experience and I'd definitely do it all again! I'm proud of what I accomplished and as the rejection letter said it was a "fine achievement to be shortlisted". The moral of the tale, in my humble opinion, is to never stop believing in your artistic abilities, never let anyone tell you you're not an artist, just get out there and DO IT! There's nothing wrong with failing, it's not taking a risk, not trying, not persisting, they're the things we must all avoid!