Tourists, Rose Hips and Kilns

by Katie Anderson

‘I really hate the tourist artist who touches on real things that have real meaning to the people of the community, then goes home… as I call it, “Rich southern artist gets paid to make a monument to the non-existent industry in depressed North in the material of that industry that is to represent the pride and resilience of the people made unemployed then goes home to his studio in London.”

This is a short section from Alistair MacKinven found on the Lismore Castle Arts website (www.lismorecastlearts.ie/index.php/st-carthage-hall.html), and led me to pondering about the right way to go about making work as a resident artist in an unfamiliar place. Although Kirkcudbright doesn’t stand at starkly unfamiliar or foreign (being only an hours drive from the familiar), it does stand as different – quiet, slightly quirky and tourist driven, and for some reason often more sunny?! But that is the point of view of tourist, and outsider, I suspect a more local perspective to be slightly different.

So far, the work I have produced has not really had much reflection on Kirkcudbright itself, but perhaps a broader perspective of Dumfries and Galloway, and working within a more rural environment; which I can relate to with more confidence… Natural objects are finding their way into my practice amid the lightbulbs and mobile phones, as I begin to cast fir cones, acorns, rose hips, and although a hike around Hoddom during the week proved fruitless, I do soon hope to find some conkers to add to my slightly odd collection…  

After nearly two months of crawling along at a snail’s pace, it is finally time to up the game – I feel a month or so of intense work, and some more exciting outcomes! On a side note, I picked up my new Kiln from Innerleithen that I won on ebay over the weekend… so this could be the start of a whole new element of work – can’t wait to get it wired up and tested!

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