Hopes and Fears (2007) symbolises a key tipping point in my career. It was the most successful painting from my work of this period, when I painted with a representational figurative style. It has been exhibited in many places from London to Los Angeles and has won two prizes. Needhams Open in Cambridgeshire in 2008, and X-Power International Art Competition in Beverley Hills, California in 2009.
Background to the painting.
“The piece ‘Hopes and Fears’ by Stuart Bush is profoundly influenced by London’s city streets. In the foreground, a well-dressed man blends into the city, giving it a dreamlike quality somewhere between fact and fiction. The work obsessively documents a personal psychological journey relating to themes of guilt and obsession with everyday consumerism. Space, structure, angst, alienation and juxtaposition are all key elements with this work.”
Back to the story…
I got off to a bad start at Wolverhampton when l didn’t get into the halls of residence. This meant l had to find a shared house to live nearby.
I have an inherent need to communicate and express something. I am constantly looking for a new way to read the world to understand the physicality of forms. I see my practice as an exercise of being a painter/curator of moments of our lives; reclaiming a more agreeable melody, restoring, reordering and decluttering to focus on what is truly important.
By focusing on the space and the possibilities of structure and composition, I hope to emphasise the beauty and harmony from the chaos in the city, to invoke a new reading of its noise, movement and pattern. By revealing things through a slow open process, my work uncovers the importance of the positive and negative space. Where rhythm, colour and form play off each other, and each shape takes it configuration and meaning from the next, as a metaphor for the qualities of a seductive poem or an intriguing piece of music.
There is truth in the paintings as I try to deal with the present tense and how these ephemeral junctures were for me. A situation and context where discoveries and revelations happen. There is a layered time as I grapple with evidence of awkward moments, aspects of failure and changes of direction. Leaving the physical traces of responding to mistakes, that relate to intrinsic qualities of being human.
If you would like to read what other artists have to say on this subject please take a look at;
Please comment below about your thoughts and experiences related to this post, ‘An artist’s complicated journey of generating ideas and new work’
Thinking about this question has made me think a lot about why I have chosen to be an artist. There are many things why people give up on the dream of being a successful artist. For example, because there is no stability and no regular income. The chance of making it into a household name like Jeff Koons or Damien Hurst are highly unlikely.
Michael Craig-Martin once said, “when you’re 20, there are 50,000 other artists, by the time you’re 30, it’s down to 5,000, by 40, it’s 2,000. If you make it to 70, there are only 12 of you left, and you’re all famous.” As the decades go on many understandably give up and realise it very hard to bring up a family on the small amount of money.
The Guardian wrote an interesting article titled ‘Can you make a living as an artist?’ and is worth a read. https://www.theguardian.com/culture/2012/jul/29/artists-day-job-feature?CMP=Share_iOSApp_Other
For artists that continue their chances improve and after several decades, when most artists have given up, your chances get better and better.
Another way to look it is, rather than seeing success as money is that I am already complete. I can continue what I love to do, to got the studio and be creativity, and I am already able to bring up a family through my full-time job.
Success for an artist could be seen as, how Coach Wooden the highly successful American basketball player and coach sees it; “Peace of mind, attained only through self-satisfaction when knowing you made the effort to do the best your capable of. Your the only one that knows that. You can fool others but not yourself.”
By viewing it this way I can keep a playfulness in my practice. So for me, success does not lay in being rich or famous or in my artwork but my relationship to my artwork and following a hunch in my work.
I think about the present moment, as my relationship is forever changing with my practice and whether I am doing the best work I can with the resources available. I have the urge to direct my life in they way I want and through my art, I realise this is the area I have to most control in my life. Most other relationships in life like, friends, family and occupations are much more of a compromise.
I also believe I am capable of so much more and I have hardly started. By working on what comes naturally, playing off my strengths, using intention, instinct, thought, imagination, observation and curiosity I can make my work a manifestation of me.
I want to use my intuition to reveal meaning and draw attention to something using my skills as an artist. Possibly, making it a lifetime’s work and into what Alex Katz the american painter calls, ‘the big technique’. As I have a yearning to work towards something that is much bigger than myself and add extra meaning and understanding to what it means to be human on this rock.
Maybe one day a little recognition would be nice though!