Kev Clarke's reflective Portfolio
When I started the M.A in Inclusive Arts, I said to myself that if any one asks I will tell them I am an illustrator, or like into drawing cartoons, I had my story straight. But what was I telling myself? I had spent the last ten years trying to make money from stuff I had made from building brands, printed T-shirts, greetings card, making handbags, making women's clothes, men's clothes...the list goes on. My creativity had gone from connecting with myself to making money and exploiting every idea for money. I started this course wanting to get back to my creativity what ever that means, and to maybe connect with other people and use creativity as a force for good rather than a money making tool.
I had done performance along the way, but I had always ignored it, not realized I was doing it, it was for entertainment purposes I thought. I am glad I hadn't noticed it along the way as I am an extremely shy person, and if I had realized what I had been doing I would have been horrified.
Here are my cartoons. I felt completely devoted to them until very recently, when I rediscovered performance.
I am still drawing. illustrating and I do think my characters lives link in with my inner dialogue and also performance, as they have there own scripts. The Cat and I, for example is based around an agoraphobic character who lives her life only at home with her cat but yearns to experience life but she can't leave the flat. And Therapy with Su is based around a well meaning therapist who is dealing with a shallow client base. Keith and Maggie, is about queer misfits who life positive lives in spite of personal issues, its about friendship and being empowerd and unapolagetic about your differences.
Below is a selection of my illustration work.
I am still interested in illustration and making cartoons, but I want to work on my performance work and feel at present I don't have the time to do everything so for now I am concentrating on building performance and workshops. However I can't leave it completly behind I do want to put my work into a commercial setting, maybe by reframing the entire concept which I am still working on. I find the balance between what I want to make and whats commercial difficult and there has been times were I have had to become really commercial in order to make money, but id rather take time to find my audience. These pieces are on A4.
My secret Life
L.A.L stands for Life At Large: This project is a collaboration with Artist Amy Pennington. Both Amy and I are interested in ideas around, satire, comedy and performance. I started off completely horrified by this project, but at the same time had another feeling of desperate yearning. I went with the desperate yearning feeling. And tried to manage my anxiety step by step as I went as working in performance is my idea of a total nightmare, what happened to me being an illustrator? (desperate yearning).
The premise is around ideas of self help, and the anxiety of everyday living, with this project I want to create immersive, performative workshops that work with many different audiences as possible. We are also making video work that supports our research and ideas. We have recently applied for Arts council funding, the project we have applied for is /The Game of L.A.L/ an immersive interactive game/workshop/process. A life size invitation to come and play. Below is our L.A.L scramble.
An excert of L.A.L
When I joined the M.A in Inclusive arts I left L.A.L alone for a while, I wasn't sure how I was going to go on with my work, I had worked previously with a Queer cinema company called The Amy Grimehouse and I devised immersive workshops for there events. So Performance has been part of my work and past. Previous to starting the course and during the first months, I have suffered with diagnosed high anxiety and O.C.D. As I said earlier I was just happy to make illustration work for a while, especially at this point, performance was unimaginable as I found it hard to say my name out loud, never mind perform in any way. What had happened? what was happening? until relatively recent I have still felt confusion in my work and which path to take, I would say this was completely based on my anxiety rather than any free will of direction. During working Together part two, we were asked to make a Peachie Coochie presentation style. I still find it very difficult to stand it up in front of people to talk, so I thought about making a video. The other reason I wanted to make a video is because I realized my influences at the moment weren't illustrators, but comedians and performance artists, and when I thought about the work I wanted to include of my own, it was the performance video work. Something was happening, a change a shift. Making this video showed me what my real interests were and what I wanted to do next if I was brave enough.
Here is my peachie coochie..influences followed by my work, which is a snapshot of some of the videos I have put on here.
Making this film really made me think about the work I have made previously in my life and what I want to do. I feel like my immersive workshops could be developed further, and I enjoy film making. Something else happened on working together two that was important. Faced with the performance and film making involved in my work, I started to think that somehow I had missed something. I feel that L.A.L my collaboration with Amy Pennington will go forward and will be great for immersive theatre projects and because of all the elements I have learned on the course these workshops will have different intentions and purposefully a further reach and will be based on research around mental health and well being as we;; as working with a queer audience around issues of anxiety and confidence building.
I also made another film on working together two, this piece was more of an honest inner dialogue, that dealt with my personal issues. I want to make work that deals with my issues and others suffering in this way head on, this is linked with L.A.L but i see it as a different strand, for now I will start a blog: working title: theshyperformer. I see myself as a coin one side of the coin is desperately shy, an anxiety ridden, the other side of the coin is a performer, who wants to be seen and heard, Both sides of the coin reside inside me.
My secret Life
This blog will work along side my other performance work. I want the blog to be a research tool for my anxiety and O.C.D, in relation to performing but also the every day struggles I face. Through film and spoken word and also including illustration work, what ever medium is required. This has been a full circle moment for me. there are two strands to my work that both relate, one is my collaboration with Amy Pennington and the other is film work, spoken word, writing and illustration as my own personal practice.
I think once I started talking about my anxiety and OCD I started to see that it has an honest strong voice that perhaps gets lost in the L.A.L side of my work witch is fine I want L.A.L to be rooted in research but have an entertaining platform. As for my own spoken word video work, I am equally excited about it, talking about my issues and making my issues the work, well what can I say something magic happens and I feel empowered, in life I have made excuses or avoided situations, now I can just be open and talk about my issues and make work based around them. There are certain things I find difficult to do in life that don't change like, say my name, or stand up in public, but I also have a lot of other triggers that are constantly changing. With my O.C.D I often have to take longer journeys because something about the journey has triggered anxiety, certain changes, certain places, things, words, for a short time a yellow jumper was a trigger. Earlier on in the course, someone asked me if I could ever do Karaoke sober in front of a huge auditorium full of people. I said yes I would, part of me really wants to do it, and the other part of me can't think of anything worse. I said Ill do it but there is proviso , all the people in the room have to be blindfolded for the first part of the karaoke performance, (no one must wear a yellow jumper), I will be wearing a motorcycle helmet and a wig on top I will be allowed to pre record my voice, and I will be performing just outside the room and be shown in the room via video link, outside the room I will be performing, I will be doing a very vigorous dance routine. After I had written it said it I believed it was the only conditions I could karaoke, but I also saw that it was a performance creation, with its own rules born out of anxiety and a need to perform anyway.
Here is my film about channeling that I made for working together 2.
I also made this short audio piece about the Anxiety of "Going for a coffee" with someone.
I want to be doing film workshops, traditional technical workshops along side, more "film in a day" workshops. Through this course I have used film a lot to express my feelings and work, and I want to invest in some proper equipment and lights. I feel excited at the prospect of making spoken word films and using imagery as well as writing shorts for my my solo projects. I also feel as this tool has helped my maybe it can help others to express them selves. I am part of an anxiety and O.C.D meet up in London, and we meet up from time to time, (well we say we are going to and we try.) I would really like to maybe do film workshops with kids who have anxiety, I am really interested in working with young and old who suffer from anxiety and O.C.D, and especially in the queer community to which I belong.
Here is a video workshop i did with Oscar who is 9, in a way i sort of don't care that its low-fi, the finished piece is always going to be a bit hammy, and I actually like the finished piece. But it was all about the process, ideas, writing, filming, lighting, props, voice over,and editing. It was a one on one collaboration and the whole thing from start to finish took 4 hours. I want to develop this idea further in the exact same way I see my work going. So on the one hand a film in a day could be with lots of people, lots of fun a big entertaining workshop. And on the other hand it could work well, one on one creating something very slowly and carefully with someone who might need that.
Here is the film I made with 9 year old Oscar.