Last week saw the culmination of a project I’ve been involved with for the past year.
One of my writing groups, Chudleigh Writers, has been taking part in a Joint Arts Project with local photographers and artists.
This is how it worked;
The photography group selected 20 photos and placed them in sealed envelopes.
These envelopes were passed to us, the writers, who then had to produce a piece of writing, (poetry, description, story or whatever the photograph inspired), that would fit on a page of A4.
The piece of writing was then passed to the artists, who without seeing the photo, would produce a painting inspired by the written piece.
The results will be on display in the gallery of the Teignmouth Arts Action Group from the 3rd to the 16th November.
But last thursday was the preview showing, where the contributors got to see all the pieces together for the first time.
It was really eye-opening just how many talented people there are tucked away around here. These weren’t have-a-go daubs and happy snaps, (and of course I already know the calibre of my writing group). They were all really good.
What I half-expected to be a low-key bumble around, where everyone looked at the art and a few might read the words, turned out to be an incredibly insightful presentation, with everyone saying a couple of words about their picture, and the writers reading theirs aloud (fortunately none of us are shy about that, these days!) It demonstrated brilliantly how the writing links the two visual art mediums together.
I may have disappointed my photographer. The photo I was given was, to my mind, a bit like a gentleman’s club with an enormous billiard table that dominated the picture. I started half a dozen different stories, but the billiard table kept intruding, squatting there like the elephant in the room. So I ended up with a humorous skit about a couple of removal men confronted with a mammoth pool table to shift. Fortunately everyone laughed in the right places when I read it out, although I’m not sure I inspired my artist – apparently humour can be tricky to paint!
But ultimately you can’t be precious about your art. There is a point where, be it with words, paint or pixels, you have to let go and let people form their own interpretations. For me, that’s what this is really all about, and that’s the beauty of it.