Thursday 16 October 2008


or The dread of a task unfulfillable and the euphoria of a deadline met.

I've had two difficult projects in the past fortnight.

The first was a college project. The brief: to fill a sketchbook and create / explore a series of logos about oneself. This kind of thing is more reflexive than I'm comfortable with and I spent several days unsure of where to take it.

Lacking inspiration and suffering from unwise sleep patterns I found myself rebelling against the disciplines of study and reading. I bicycled around Portsmouth; fell asleep in the studio; ate my packed lunches before mid-morning and went to the library computer room and listened to the sound of busy typing.

On the final day I awoke to find all the missing ideas and motivation jostling at the front of my mind. I got right up to speed; finished the project and went home satisfied after handing it in.

The second project was a mini-commission (at least, I chose to see it that way) to produce a handful of A3 posters to be displayed at a little conference. With only four days' notice I prepared by taking a few photos of the subject and brainstorming content - but the specification was vague in the extreme.

On the due date I found myself greatly motivated by washing-up, shopping and tidying. Things in cupboards needed using up and I spent hours choosing and executing recipes for figs, marzipan, celery, mackerel, sole and sausage rolls.

This time I got down to the job with under three hours to spare. When the time ran out I had to tidy my drafts; laminate them and shove them up on the wall. I still don't know if they fitted the request but, as before, after the frustration, uncertainty and self-criticism of a difficult project, I was walking on air.

Now, this is bad practice and a hard habit to break. The redemptive relief of finishing a task is a rare joy but bodes against sanity for the majority of my work time. MUST LEARN.

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