24 Aug 2012

Channel through the Ghost House

See No Evil report.

Last Saturday. Bristol.

❦ I was quite nervous. This was the second time I'd ever worked on a scale larger than myself. My first time creating art in the public eye. I was among some very experienced street-artists and illustrators, and I usually work pretty small and in solitude with music, so this was something completely out of my own depth.

Many of these artists came pre-prepped, pre-planned. The only real plan I came with was to be brave and to have fun. I wanted to create something in the moment, to see what would happen if I allowed myself to embrace the environment and vulnerability of the situation. So I started making marks..

For the first hour or so, I didn't know where I was going, where my willow-the-wisps were guiding me among this cardboard jungle. I felt it was difficult for my little arms to carry paint across the canvas quick enough, and therefore to retain balance in the piece. I could not always reach the high places when I wanted to. There was no sink to change the luminous pink paint water. "Just go along with it", I said to myself. Whatever happens, it's not like this is your last dying breath. "Whatever you learn, you can use to redeem yourself with".

Then the doors started to open. The room grew very hot. Cameras with strong lighting flew about the room, in my face- photography, film, and microphone. A couple of radio interviews. I came out of my zone to appease them. The footfall was larger than expected. The public were all over the place. My work was so different to anyone else's that I felt I so unsure. A gust of anxiety and small paranoia momentarily caught me in the heart and throat. I had to regain my breath and focus, so I took a deep breath and temporarily put a shroud over the public. They started appearing in the image- in the form of a million beautiful eyes. In a situation which I felt I had more control. They were watching me, and my million eyes were looking back. "You're just as interesting too" I felt. 

And then at some point, fatigued, satisfied and concerned I'd over do it- I put down my brush and declared it enough.

One lesson learnt: bring a good camera!

Although I write of my journey and rhythm like a frantic, improvised jazz, this is by no means my conclusive reflection of the day. I had such a fantastic time that words can not begin to describe! And I'd do it all over again, but with a raw fearlessness. It's just so interesting what you can learn in front of a live audience and sharing a floor with such passionate artists.

A thousand thanks to everybody who made me feel so welcome on the day! It was incredible to meet you all! Thanks particularly to Julian Hogan of Epoch Design for the involvement, Derwent Pencils for the coloured pencils and those simply superb Inktense Blocks! Artists; my pillar buddy- Paul Roberts, Alex Betram-Powell for calming me the hell down, a great hotspot for lunch, and such encouragement throughout the day, and Robert Von Grey- a street angel to converse with on a brilliant wave-length!

Photos of me at work below courtesy of the wonderful and very talented Keith Greenough!

Copyright © 2012 Keith Greenough

Copyright © 2012 Keith Greenough
Pieces from the day will be auctioned off to raise awareness and support Bristol-based creative outreach projects including Knowle West Media Centre and Trinity Community Arts.


  1. Well done Gill, not easy stepping out of your comfort zone but always worth it :-)

    1. Aww, thanks, Simon. You're actually an inspiration to me when it comes to that :)

  2. I loved reading ths and realising that somebody else was as worried as me! I looked up from my wall and paniced that my work was so different... at times like this you have to just believe in yourself, and Im glad I did. Your smiley face and engaging conversation certainly helped me through that brilliant day and the piece you produced was both inspiring and beautiful.

    1. Rob.. Wow, I know you'd mentioned it, but you really didn't at all come across as such! It was such a pleasant surprise to discover you're from the same town. We should so get together and do a sketchbook jam or collaboration or something! x

    2. Also- thank you, very flattered!! :)