The Test

Tomorrow begins a project that has evolved significantly since being first planned. It will be ‘marketed’ on the Internet of Words Instagram feed, to see how using hashtags will affect reach, and whether it is possible to build an audience literally from scratch. It is a combination of art and poetry, which uses the fact that Wikipedia allows pictures to be shared from its database under a Creative Commons license.

It allows me to use Art History to inspire Haiku, and it is fabulous.

Stone Age Art

I’ve mapped out twenty-eight stops that cover most of the key tenets of Art History. With each one, there is a Haiku that will become, at the end of March, a journey from the Dawn of Mankind to the present day. I’m VERY pleased with the output thus far, and even more happy that I can now use Instagram and its various add-ons to create what is compelling and original content.

Haiku Page Day 2

However, what is most satisfying of all is the cohesive whole that these parts have made, quite a long way from the starting idea. This is not something I have the time to do every month, but it has undoubtedly inspired a lot of potential new directions for both poetry and imagery online. That’s what I’m here to do, after all. It is not solely about inspiring myself either, but (hopefully) making others think and enjoy what is being produced.

We’ll take a look at the end of March and see how successful (or otherwise) the project was.

#ThinkTober Week Three

Think-Tober

Finally, and with what is going to be a minimum amount of fanfare, here are the last 10 days of visual Haiku for October. I learnt an awful lot about myself and how my mind works best with these last images: however, we did go a fair bit off-piste with the ‘ink’ element. What this teaches me is that if I’m going to use a format going forward, then it needs to be defined a fair way in advance… which is now the plan with December’s Haiku ‘project’ which goes into pre-production this week.

I like writing on things, not just pieces of paper, making items props: whether its the crisp packet whose contents I then ate or the Butternut Squash that became dinner, I’m also keen on recycling whenever possible. I’d also want to find more interesting means by which the Internet can be utilised, especially where video is concerned.

There was a temptation just to use squares or rectangles for text. There’s gotta be more shapes, especially if it is Christmas.

Also, I gotta stop being embarrassed about doing stuff in public places. THIS IS ART AFTER ALL.

Of all the pieces I produced, this is probably my favourite, as it combines music and a real, tangible emotion of utter grief. I still miss David Bowie every day. This album has become my soundtrack for so many things and provided the perfect artistic backdrop for me to make Blackstar part of what I am. I hope he would approve.

By the end of the month, something significant had altered within me. This project was liberating, and enlightening. I truly showed what I was, and what was possible as a means of expression. I’ll absolutely be doing this again, in various forms going forward, quite possibly on a bi-monthly basis.

This is the most fun I’ve had making stuff for myself since my mid-teens.

#ThinkTober Week One

Think-Tober

Most of the time, when I have an idea, there’s nearly always been a moment in the development process when I regret it. However, that has not yet happened with Think-Tober. In fact, between you and me, this is the most fun I’ve had with a project since I came up with the Patreon at the start of this year.

I could, on reflection, have simply stuck all of these images on my better seen (and more widely read) personal Instagram account, but that would negate the point. It isn’t about the views. This is me, making art for myself. It is finding original ways to tell stories with words and pictures and is the best fun I’ve had for a very long time.

The plan is simple: look at the prompt word, then think of how the Haiku could be presented. Is it something I can do easily or will the process require a setup? How complex or otherwise do backgrounds need to be: would something too complicated detract from the point of the poetry?

There’s been some thinking too about the place in which I live, and how backgrounds and environments can be altered, constructed as frameworks onto which poetry can be inserted or placed. Every day is a new ‘scene’ to be created, built and then photographed. This is only my camera’s phone too: no manipulation save for the filters Instagram presents.

Then came the revelation that there is video too, so with thought these words can move and become something more than simply static tableau. That’s a concept that still needs some thought, but the door opened, as a result, is significant.

There is acting, in every day’s work: pieces of myself revealed (sometimes with intent, others by accident) that is turning what began as something academic into a deeply personal experience. Looking back on the last week comes the realisation that there is so much more that could be done, and it inspires me to attempt next week’s selection with more flair and skill.

Then comes the understanding that simple is best, sometimes: of all the week’s ‘work’ I think this is my favourite Haiku of all. When simply reduced to writing implement and paper, all the stresses and strains of the world fall away, and everything is perfect. Everything else, in effect, is superfluous.

I posed naked for this picture: of course, you can’t see that, only scars from surgery to the upper abdomen and belly button. I make myself part of the art but am never really comfortable with that process, so next week there’ll be more of the same, to push out of comfort zones and try to make statements. Each of the 31 days will be as different as possible: no repetition, and absolutely no compromise.

I hope you’ve enjoyed both poetry and art.