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  • Writer's pictureAshton Blyth

Mother Study

Today we had a visiting artist session from Matt Edwards, one of the technicians at CSM.

It is because of this session that I've decided to make my blog password protected, this session showed me that the blog and this course can and should be a safe-space to be vulnerable and explore those vulnerabilities - and I needed to do this for myself too.

These are my notes from the session:

  • "If something is hard to do, it's not worth doing." - Homer Simpson

  • Council estate background

  • Drugs, alcohol and abusive household - assumed this was the norm

  • Small town, Rugeley, in shadow of two power stations

  • "They hand out art degrees don't they?" - a friend, minimalizing his achievements

  • Saw Layla Curtis at the Tate Modern - inspired him to do foundation degree at Stafford College

  • Older sister died young, battle with mental health, drugs and alcohol due to the abuse suffered in the household - this ended up shaping his MA

  • "Inspiration is everywhere, if you can't see it look again" - Paul Smith

  • 32/33 when doing the MA (2012-14), didn't realise his background was worth talking about

  • Did his BA at Manchester Metropolitan 2003-06 in Interactive Arts

  • "Don't negotiate with yourself" - Jenna Fischer

  • Don't limit yourself, let your creativity flourish, go with your biggest idea - what I wish I'd been told!

  • His time-lapse photography got him onto the MA, had ideas to build a machine to take the time-lapse pictures without interference and flashes of light

  • Took 6 months to realise what he could do with the time-lapse pictures, exposing them in photoshop and blending them together to create these short videos

  • Used Barbican because it had a set surround structure he could follow to shoot the pictures, a straight line and he could count three bricks before taking the next picture

  • Use Adobe After Effects to expose the videos and have multiple videos playing on top of each other

  • "Be regular and orderly in your life, so that you may be violent and original in your work" - Gustave Flaubert

  • Had a process that he was interested in, but the content felt empty - had been done before, not personal to him

  • Carried camera and audio recorder everywhere waiting for something to happen, spoke to his cousin about a conversation his sister had with his nan - had a go at her for all the abuse they suffered, nan dismissed it saying she was just drunk and rambling

  • Everybody in the family knows what happened, but not spoke about so as not to upset the nan

  • Grandfather sexually abused mum and aunts and uncles, creating a cycle of abuse where mum would physically abuse him and his sister, leading to his sister's death due to drugs and alcohol to cope

  • Ray's a Laugh - photo essay by Richard Billingham

  • 20-minute final piece video, played on 3 generations of TVs with 3 generations of lounge seating to watch it on with the audio playing loudly with no headphones

  • Post-MA (2014-2022) technician for CSM, happy not to deal with exposing himself to people who don't care at exhibitions.

  • Art and Fear book

  • If you make work that is so deeply personal, is it difficult to make work again?


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