Old life, new life… all part of the same life

I originally trained as a scientist, and worked as an ecologist-entomologist until a few years ago when a long-standing (lifelong?) urge to be creative finally took over. It was probably hurried along by the funding chasm caused by some very stupid political decision-making, and catalysed by a change in personal circumstances, but above all, it was simply time for me to shift. There was nowhere for me to go that I’d want (and be permitted) to go to. I do still work as a University tutor in Environmental Sciences, but now very much part-time as my see-saw has tilted much more towards the Arts. Where the balance will stabilise, who knows? One thing I am sure of however is that I am unlikely to work in a lab again, and so my old labcoat, stored in the attic for several years untouched was recently unearthed for re-use as a canvas. Cathartic? Up to a point (there’s burning, slashing, splattering), but I haven’t abandoned science-life and don’t see the arts-science ‘divide’ as anything other than an artificial construct. Transitional? Again, yes, but for the same reason, only up to a point. I can say that I feel very much at home working in an artistic environment, more so than I ever did in a scientific setting. That’s not the science itself – I still love understanding how the world works and revelling in the wondrous diversity of invertebrates – but the professional setting. Too small-c conservative, too judgemental about mental health issues, too corporate, too hung up on ‘gravitas’, ‘being the right sort’ and so on. I never felt comfortable, not really. And so, though catharsis and transition are themes here, it’s really about busting that artificial divide and rolling with one of my key artistic themes – re-use of materials, and allowing myself to be driven by them. To play. This is Homecoming, I hope you like it.

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