How to start again?

Creative block? Energy, or lack of? Inspiration crash? Heavy? Motivation destroyed?

These are all of the things I’ve been facing these last few weeks or is it a month.

I was on track, I had a black board with check and ticks– I woke up, I worked, without fail, I felt good about myself, like I was achieving something, getting somewhere…

What happened?  I got a job teaching art at an international school, summer school program, which I loved!  It was incredibly challenging, but somewhat not fulfilling, trying to get Vietnamese students excited about creating, most who couldn’t use scissors at 10 years old because they have never had to use their hands, a nanny probably fed them, and wiped their ass, and dressed them.  I felt sorry for their under developed muscles in their hands, and understood their frustration– they do not know how to be creative, and it leads to misbehaving. Challenges are not risen to, but discarded, it’s sad.

But that wasn’t it. I loved teaching.  The second week in I got a horrible cold, the one you get may every 3 years the type that renders you close to useless. .. but I was ok with that, it’s life, it happens.

I was so excited, I had enrolled on a pattern making course at a Fashion academy in HCM.  It was in such a beautiful, old building, very clean, everything was a shade of turquoise, with an open center, curved concrete.  The studio space was nice, but a bit odd, with an opulent stand alone bath tube next to a mirror? For photo shoots? Us students a bit bewildered looked around, with no direction from the “lecturer” he was so-called, not even a greeting, we all scramble around a projector, with an image of a mannequin, and basic measurement.

The “lecturer” started asking redundant questions, when any of us tried to answer them, his response was, I don’t know? Was he being clever? Hardly.  With no introduction of himself, the course, the school, he showed us quickly how to use fabric to take a bodice measurement and transfer that to paper. He then sat on his computer. When we asked question he’d just come around a say “wrong, wrong, wrong…” without correcting, then told us to do it over and over again, until we could finish it in 5 minutes. Then he left, didn’t say goodbye, didn’t tell us what to do next, he just wasn’t there.

Is this what Vietnamese think is teaching? It was an arrogant display of someone who surely thought of himself better than everyone else. This really got to me.. why do people who are in the “Fashion Industry” think themselves better than the makers. He couldn’t sew, he just designs, and his designs were rubbish. He kept using the word Vintage, his designs were Vintage.. what? They were simple… What is wrong with people in this city I live in?  I’m dying for someone I can learn from, without a massive ego… it’s so frustrating, how shallow the scene is here.  It totally revolves around money, the art scene is the same.  Having money here puts people on a pedestal more than anywhere I have ever witnessed.

So yah, I guess that’s where it started, it really made me question, and made me want to start an anti-fashion label, celebrating tradition and the hand-made, the makers. (kind of already doing that).

There is so much beauty in everyday people, in the street life, in the children, in the simplistic. I’m happy living here, until I try to socialize, meet people, go to exhibition openings.. sometimes they are amazing, but a lot of the time I am left feeling a bit confused and empty.  Maybe if I hadn’t lived in Brighton for a decade, and witnessed Hackney Wick in its day, or visited the Photographers gallery religiously, or sought out installations in South London, or walked casually into a Ai Wei Wei  bit in the turbine hall, or could see anyone of my many talented friends sing in the local pub, then maybe I’d feel differently.  But I don’t.  The longer I live here, the more I feel like I am missing out on the rest of what’s going on in the world (London).

Sure, there are art galleries, but they are of the quality of perhaps a degree show, at best.  There have been a few really lovely exceptions, but on a whole, I feel uninspired.

I must get back on the horse, I need to find my spirit again, I need to fight past the demons that are holding me back, I need to carry on being rubbish at things, until one day, I find, all that trying, and practicing, has paid off, and I actually feel good about what I am creating.

Stupid brain… wake up please.


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