I have a sliding scale of consultancy rates for individuals who are unwell right through to keynote presentations at businesses, conferences and educational establishments.
My artist doctorate, The Fragmented Filmmaker: Emancipating The Exhausted Artist (2015) explored first-person conceptual art strategies that aimed to be coping mechanisms for exhaustion. I forged a body of research from historical art practices alongside documentary techniques to augment the predicament of being housebound or chronically ill. The project was borne from a lateral practice of photography, time-lapse film and field recording, alongside contemporary art interventions such as appropriation and psychogeography. These interests are also at the heart of my ongoing community art practice where I enjoy working with collaborators interested in social change.
An ECA film graduate, I first became known in the late nineties as an abstract filmmaker supported by Scottish Screen, British Screen and Creative Scotland. Winning the First Reels award in 1996, this non-narrative approach saw me commissioned by The South Bank Show alongside a cluster of Scottish TV arts documentary strands. This led to a large commission to document rare Native American Rock Art sites for PBS USA in 1998. I was then commissioned to produce work for The Millennium Experience in 1999 before becoming a BBC Film Archive Artist in Residence for Arts Council England’s Year of The Artist in 2000. Around this time I had my first solo moving image retrospective in The North-East of England via d6culture.org
A change in health around 2001 forced me to adapt and diversify, defining myself as a multimedia/multidisciplinary artist, producing a large body of sensual work constructed from the constituents of film; sound pieces, photographic installations and ‘scripts’ culminating in solo shows and residencies. Such residencies included Stills Gallery in 2004-5, Timespan Sutherland in 2009 and an ambitious Year of Natural Scotland residency for Woodend Barn in 2013 where I undertook five back to back rural residencies to produce a ‘modular artist’s feature’ Tiny Geographies. Themes of human energy conservation, Buddhism, loneliness and the opportunities of isolation featured strongly in my work. Looking at ‘Artists in Extremis’ proved fruitful. Jo Spence, Miranda July and Donald Rodney had proved influential as well as ‘hidden’ artists I ‘uncovered’ through illness networks.
Because I trained as a photographer and independent filmmaker to broadcast standards, my skills base was extremely wide – and as a result, whatever symptom or situation I found myself in, I was able to select which stratum of filmmaking would be a suitable ‘prescription’ to augment a particular difficulty. Sometimes I worked visually, lens-based whilst other times I needed to close my eyes, so field recording was an excellent practice. Other times I was unable to leave the house so home-based and incarcerated techniques like exploring small objects, documentary style proved useful. And when it got really bad, I had to look at what Martin Creed was doing pinning a piece of blue-tack to the wall and giving it a name in his catalogue. I had also taken a formal interest in the link between incarceration and creativity and worked briefly in Barlinnie Prison, spurring research into artist collective Temporary Services and their influential text Prisoners Inventions [ISBN-13: 978-0-945323-02-0]. Here I felt were unexplored opportunities for health care providers where artists, the chronically ill and prisoners explored a common goal in forging practical, doable wellbeing/coping strategies which could be cost-effective and one day even implemented even if the prisoners’ ones were about a more brutal form of survival.
First and foremost I am an artist. I have produced much sensory work as a sound artist, photographer and filmmaker, therefore it is apt to be called an interdisciplinary artist, but it could be said that the ‘soundscape’ or ‘soundtrack’ is the centrepiece of much of my output. I release music on labels such as Brittany’s Eilean and multiple electronic and sound art labels such as Broken20, Hibernate and Canada’s Komino Records. Historically I produced sonic publications on European electronica labels such as Edinburgh’s Benbecula Records, France’s Bip-Hop, Dublin’s Fallt label. My PhD website details the importance of vinyl records in my practice and I have a large Bandcamp archive where lectures and commissions are available alongside solo and collaborative works.