Migrating from Cornwall, I moved to Exeter in the autumn. Originally from Penzance (far down in Cornwall), I moved to Launceston in 2010 (high up in Cornwall (practically Devon anyway)) and studied in Plymouth (2010-12). My sort of Bermuda triangle of stuff happening in my life, friends, colleagues and family scattered in those three corners (I daren’t venture into the middle). So when I decided to move to Exeter it was a bit of a nervous time for myself, not knowing anyone and anything happening in the area. Then I found AWE, also known as Art Week Exeter.
Not long after moving I made a conscious effort of finding all things ‘art’ and ‘Exeter’ related on social media, I highly recommend this method of stalking everything going on in a place you move to as soon as possible! I checked out Evenbrite’s, well you guessed it, events; and groups, page and accounts on Facebook and Twitter. Then within a week or two I was at my first Exeter Visual Arts Forum (EVAF) meeting and it was here I found out about Art Week Exeter (AWE) which is now running into its second year. Keen to get stuck in with what’s occurring in the city I soon got into lauding myself around like I was some kind of cool kid in town! (I exaggerate, far too introverted and a lack of confidence for such self reverence). Anyway, running for nine days (I’ve had weeks that have felt much longer) from 13th May, AWE, the coolest acronym gets its groove on and I knew I had to have some of that action!
Delighted to to receive an invite by the AWE team (Naomi and Stuart above) to come and pitch at Art Soup in November for projects running as part of the city wide event in May. It’s a great concept, people turn up, pay a fiver for a bowl of soup and to vote for their favourite project, the winner takes the pot of cash. Not really sure what to pitch at this point, I had a vague plan of my year ahead so pitched the project I plan to do soon with Professor Mike Wilson from UCL who I collaborated with on my Eden Project commission. Sophia Clist’s project Stretch won that night and I’m very much looking forward to seeing this in the Cathedral fin May. I find with much of these sort of events it’s not about winning, it’s the taking part that counts (I’m sounding like a meaningful parent or teacher here). Seriously though, it’s so important as an artist to start getting known by people, networking and letting people become more familiar with your work.
Since pitching my project, my calendar didn’t pan out as I hoped. So for AWE I bring breasts.
As part of Art Week Exeter I am finally getting the show ‘Storm in a B Cup’ out of my system, clearly obsessed with breasts I look forward to working through my various bosom related paths and ideas. I recently finished a crowdfunding campaign to part fund this show and am delighted to exceed my £1,000 target (and dear reader I promise to have my guide to arts crowdfunding series of blog posts over the coming weeks). I am currently working on putting all the rewards together and am slowly crocheting my way through a plethora of breasts (below). More posts will follow about the details of this exhibition and the thinking behind it.
In the lead up to AWE, the team have sent out a series of questions for all those involved to answer and will feature 60 of those over the next sixty days, we’re now onto day 5 and my responses featured on day one. I really enjoyed answering their questions and very soon I will create my own blog post expanding on those questions here soon.
Moving to Exeter has been a very positive experience for myself and being part of this event is creating lots of new connections and opportunities that I am sure will unfold over the coming months. It was daunting at first but I think I am slowly getting to know the city and the arty peeps around. Do comment if you live in the city, say hi and/or if you’ve moved to a new place, what sort of things did you do to settle in and establish yourself?