In a series of collaborative workshops with people with lived experience of homelessness, I explored how making our own paint and paper impacted the art we made. I became interested in how this engendered an attention to materials, processes, and each other.
The attention we gave to helping each other to use unfamiliar equipment and techniques encouraged, not just empathetic collaboration, but gentle ways of experimenting. The rough texture of the paper and the earthy qualities of the handmade paint gave us an opportunity to look closely at the materials and to create images borne out of this process rather than art that fulfils a pre-planned idea.
One of my aims, as an inclusive artist, is to encourage self-expression in my collaborators. This tactile relationship with our creative practice offered fresh ways of exploring our aesthetic. I found it enabled new ways of looking, not just at my art, but at myself. As we must care for ourselves before we can care for others, so it follows that attention to one’s art practice encourages attention to the art of others.
I felt this focus on the materials of my art making encouraged critical engagement with other ways of attending to the world: to ecology; to myth; and to kinder ways to live one’s life. An anthropological attention to materials enables a diffusion of knowledge, takes us beyond the object and enables us to engage with the liminal or marginalised areas of life and community that are often kept hidden.
The process of investigating the beginnings of materials also encouraged me to look even further back in the process: to explore the creative urge, the Promethean spark.
To explore my work in the exhibition further, and to download some of my artist’s books, please go to https://www.davidjpitt.com/inclusive-art-exhibition-2020