I have alot of stuff, like most of us do (gathering by blog studio pics I see!) I grew up with a very creative father who made model trucks, restored clocks and kerosene lamps and also collected Victoriana- which in his time was very unfashionable and therefore very easy to get, in vast amounts, especially in the countryside where we lived. My mother was also a collector of old things, and between them gave me a very stocked full house to grow up in. I should say though that it was kept mostly neat and clean- there may have been a dusty shelf here and there but everything had a place- on the wall, on the floor, hanging from the ceiling, in the garden, in the shed, around the shed...
It was a warm, cosy, friendly (and too a young child's imagination, immensely interesting) place to be, and since my grandmothers also had the collecting bug (paternal granny from a house load of kids who all loved old stuff and maternal granny from her travels over Europe as a nurse for the Red Cross) I consequently grew up in a world that was full of things, full of laughing people (Dad's side has Weasley blood) and full of love.
The collecting bug therefore wasn't the only thing that my family passed onto me- it set me a personality that only truly feels comfortable in stuffed rooms. My bedroom as a teenager was tiny, and I loved being in there surrounded by stuff. To this day I prefer a small bedroom.
Scan from Interior Alchemy- one of my favourite books ever.As life went on though, I began to develop emotional issues and anxiety. I can't be exactly sure where these stem from (though I'm about to start therapy (finally!) this month to start digging up answers) but the short of it is that in order to curb my feelings of anxiety and vulnerability, I began to collect things around me.
I didn't collect just anything I might say- tin cans and old newspapers still went in the recycle bin!- but I did develop a serious thrift shop habit, and collected alot of stuff. Of course being an art student I couldn't really afford such a habit, but I still did it. The more the world gave me a hard time, the more I would collect. The more I collect, the poorer I became, the more the world gave a hard time...etc. It was a destructive circle.
In terms of my surroundings, no. I like stuff. I like having alot of it. I did the Oprah Winfrey hoarders test and managed a 13! But that was mostly due to my being such a diverse artist and living in a house by myself, meaning I don't have to pack away my work when I'm done looking at it. I have jewellery and wrist cuff stuff all over the kitchen table, paper collage all over the studio table and de-stash all over the lounge room floor. These are 'in progress' places that I'm happy about.
Artist Mark Ryden in his studio
But am I making excuses? I've reached a point in my life where due to various emotional and physical problems, I can't cope with daily life 'out there'. I don't spend my days hiding under a blanket, and left to my own devices in my little invented world I'm fine- but let's suffice to say that the stress and anxiety I so easily get from 'out there' is enough to prevent me having a full time job. Thusly I am on welfare payments, which, as some of you may know, aren't nearly enough for getting by in life, let alone having a collecting compulsion.
What all this boils down to is that I am now finally admitting that I have a problem. If I had the space and the money I wouldn't care, but that's not the circumstance I'm in. As it is now (and I'll be totally honest about this) I have to move out of my house and in with my mother, in order to be able to pay off the debts I've accumulated by choosing thrift sale days over paying the phone bill. (Admittedly there are other reasons for moving out of here but this is a big one.) This is going to be a testing time, not because living with my mother is hard, it isn't- we get on well, but because I'll be in a space that's only half the size of my studio here, and my studio here is too small even for my art, let alone a bed. That's why I'm spread out all over the house (something my muggle mother will not allow).
I'll be in this house for another month. In that time I expect to leave here with half the possessions I have now. Half the books (I never read them), half the CDs (i never listen to them), half the clothes (too small, too big, badly fitting, just don't like it), half my kitchenware (who needs a summer scheme and a winter scheme for their kitchenware!? Just pick one, Penny!) and half my sundries (to quote Absolutely Fabulous: Bric'n'Brac'n'Nick'n'Knack'n'Things).
I'd like to end by saying that when I started this blog I wanted it to remain a pure thing, something that would showcase my work and the influences. To some extent it has stayed that way- but not the perfect mask I desired it to be. This blog has swiftly become a personal place as well as a visual library of influence.
Because all life is my influence.
I am an artist and therefore inspired (and sometimes repulsed) by the world around me. The chips and cracks that I love in physical objects are also there in metaphysical terms in my life, in my head- and I am comfortable with both of them being here for all to see. True strength of character lies in baring all our scars.