Canus Lupus Familiaris…or Impossibilius?

November 1, 2016 § 3 Comments

canus-lupus I just read about a mother being told she couldn’t breastfeed her small baby in ‘Mothercare’, a shop which, I think, would like itself to be a well known store for mothers and, erm…babies, those noisy little things that occasionally need food! Well, good luck to her, when we seem to live in a world where companies claim this and that for retail purposes, and yet act in an entirely contradictory fashion in terms of genuine empathy, help and support. What has happened? Store assistants, if we are going to be ‘american’ about it, are there to provide something called ‘assistance’ which is meant to be helpful, I think. Any new mother who has been out with a small child knows the stress, the feeling of disapproval, when one’s child becomes noisy. Yet getting a breast out, in the real world, however discreetly, is somehow controversial. Better to conjure up some formula ‘milk’, made from the eye sockets of tuna fish and other waste products, YUM!

Whatever it is that Mothercare sell, I hope they provide it free to the mother concerned, and a door to door service for the next 12 months, that is the least they can do. But the reason I am writing this is because I felt very similar sentiments when I travelled a considerable way to see a remarkable exhibition. I am not going to advertise it as it might contravene their privacy policy, but suffice to say I am studying some animal anatomy for a project I am working on and the exhibition in question is in Newcastle, currently, and is a global phenomenon, (quite rightly because the science involved is really astonishing, as are the results). I looked up their policies online before going, and it mentions that still photography is permitted, but not of the one human body on display, which I thought quite reasonable. The trouble started when I got a sketchbook out. To draw. This is an activity which involves observing a subject, a drawing tool of some sort and a surface on which to record the observations. Archaic, I know, but it is what I do. And it is how every artist worth their salt has learnt to draw, from life models and from cadavers. Being a complete amateur myself, having skipped art school, I am always catching up. But in twenty five years of drawing in exhibitions, to learn about what I am looking at, I have never been hassled, or, as in this case, asked to leave the exhibition to fill out a form, and provide all my personal details ‘for the records’. I wouldn’t mind if this was specified on the website of the venue where the exhibition is currently on display, (‘no artists please’, something like that would get the message across), or if it wasn’t for the fact that every other visitor, without exception, wandered in with various forms of mobile technology, photographing and filming the exhibits, even the one that had a notice clearly displayed saying ‘photography not permitted’. I wouldn’t mind filling out a form and wearing a sticker if it wasn’t for this, but as it was I had limited time to get some (dare I say) ‘work’ done, having young children with me, a broken down car outside, and a long journey home.

I feel sorry I didn’t attend The Slade all those years ago, like my excellent and unbeatable counterpart Justin Mortimer and various other proper artists I know, because it seems that the way the world is going, in terms of corporate blockbuster exhibitions where artists are unwelcome; the education of young children who used to be allowed to ‘make a mess with poster paint’ but aren’t anymore, and that of art students attending colleges whose tutors don’t know how to draw; there is no hope for people like ‘us’ anymore…

As you can tell from the above image, I didn’t get any decent drawing done, I could blame it on the fact I spent most of my creative energies filling in forms, but maybe it is just down to the fact I don’t get to do any proper drawing anymore…it’s bollocks, and not the dogs’ either!


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