I was fortunate enough to attend a couple of days at the European Outsider Art Conference 2018 held at Pallant House Gallery, Chichester recently. As the promo said, the conference was aimed at artists, curators and collectors as well as representatives from museums, galleries, collections, art projects and studio groups. This year’s conference focused on ‘the Artist’s Voice,’ – I was there in my capacity as an Artist which includes the development of Deviation Street as a blog and now a 60 pg Magazine, which you can order online via firstname.lastname@example.org cost with Uk £7.50 .
I was unable to attend the key note speech on the Friday by multi media / multi-disciplinary artist and activist Bobby Baker as I was working that day and in the evening was out watching the Buzzcocks, which was a very fine gig, cracking stuff , full of energy and drive .
The Buzzcock c/o Deviation Street
Its important to remember Post anthology and the genre-fication of music in general , that it was the Buzzcocks who were the first band to self release a record (Spiral Scratch) . This act of of self determination ,highlighted for me the importance of the theme of the conference The Artists Voice . Spiral Scratch opened the notion that anyone with determination could make their own record . Previously the process of creating your own music and adding your own lyrics and making it onto vinyl were dependant to the whims of record companies. Spiral Scratch took the DIY ethos of Punk several steps further . Within the music realm of today releasing your own music appears common place . Not so much in the case of Art yet but its happening with self start organisations such as Uncooked Culture (in issue 1 of Deviation Street Magazine ) and Mechanicsburg Metropolis Collective ( see below and featuring in issue 2 ) who are bringing together artists from a diverse spectrum and are putting on some great events .
Once upon a time in my life, the space between the music I enjoyed listening to and the gigs I went to seemed miles apart from the art world as I experienced it. For a start, being in a band was a space where I found my voice, literally as a vocalist, amongst friends making a noise. Being an artist always felt like a destination, a place to reach rather than a place to be. Anyway, the point is that art seemed a much more hierarchical system, for sure there was Pop Art and bands like The Who but that really wasn’t my generation – mine was blank. With music I knew where I was, venues were like a second home, galleries felt more more intimidating and so for a long time (despite my ventures into creativity) I never considered myself to be an actual Artist … That was then but the reason why I mention this here is because, maybe that’s how a lot of people still view the art world, as being something out there, beyond reach , when really its something that resides within us.
The conferenceit self was amazing and I will write about this in part 2 .Suffice to say I guess there is a divide between people who have attended conferences and those who don’t. I was in the don’t camp , even so, armed with a program and knowing one or two people who would be there I had some idea of what to expect. The danger here is getting bogged down in the the details with a desire to itemise each speaker, event and artist ,because they all deserve a mention . So , basically proceedings kicked off in a gallery amid paintings by the likes of David Bomberg Seabn Scuully and RJ Kitaj , for the most part these were on the peripheral of my vision and probably like wise for the other folk attending but were adsorbed none the less.
Part 2 to follow