For the last week I have been fully immersed in Swansea. New city, new landscape, new vocabulary and new collaboration. I've been mentoring artist Stephen Donnelly on his project Sore Thumbs.
At first I was excited to be swept along with the tide from shopping centre to seaside, from the market to a primary school in Lougha. And now, a week in I have got my sea legs and am able to navigate the waters, and steer the course (politely of course).
It has been a joy to hear Steve’s memories, to bear witness to his experiences; finding shared points of reference in 90’s pop culture like Beetlejuice and Spaced and being introduced to new things like the game Curbsy and the music of Makem and Clancy. As we walk through to the project space in Elyssium we pass artists studios; like little windows into their brains. Each with their own values and aesthetic. I’m not sure I can quite see into the window of this project yet. There is condensation from all the work going on in Steves head….all the cogs turning. I’m hesitant to tap on the window for fear of interrupting the work or seeing something he doesn’t want me to. And then suddenly yesterday the window opened, the curtain drew back and there was the most beautiful project. Delicate, funny, sad, playful and serious all at once. I was still letting all the ideas soak in when he said "I think I want to just leave that there and go somewhere else."
Back to being caught in the tide….not sure exactly where we are heading but with great faith in the process.