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  • Ray Monde

What’s the question contemporary artists are most scared of?

What’s next?  What are you working on now?

These are the questions that make my skin prickle and my underarms stream. After a successful exhibition at Stur Gallery in October, where I sold a lot of work, got good coverage in local and regional press and felt people really engaging with the works themselves, the big question people want to know is what’s on the horizon.

Collage of man with a teddy bear's head

And that’s not always an easy question to answer. You’ve always got ideas in your head, you’re always thinking about ideas, testing things out, throwing ideas away, putting them in the bottom drawer for later on.

This work, “There’s a bear in there” is kind of where I think I’m going. I really like the idea of transforming real images of people into hybrids of their childhood toys. I think there’s a strange connection with our childhood that we maintain long after we’re supposed ‘to put childish things away’.

And I love the idea of big tough guys, mothers, iconoclasts of our culture who were once vulnerable children.

But the big question, is it right? Will it work? Does it realistically develop my work? It’s hard to know but in the mean time it’s also too easy to go back to what you know. In a panic for the Belle Arti Prize, I ferreted away on an artwork based on the turf of my last exhibition. This piece, titled “A burden shared” follows in the footsteps of Dry Your Tears. I really like it, I think it’s up there with some of the best from the exhibition but what I’m thinking is “Is it safe?” Am I pursuing territory

I know and not pushing myself? But then again, how quickly do we need to evolve as artists?

The truth is, we don’t know. We can only keep doing the work we love, push ourselves into uncomfortable territory and at the end of the day, if we don’t like it, we can gesso over the top and start again.

Isn’t that what the life of an artist is about, constant flux and rebirth?

Are you going through as similar stage in your work? I’d love to hear how you’re going in the comments below.

x Monde

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