Pulped paper documents, the figures 1 to 9, and a number of squared off naughts form the substance of this work.
This time, the documents reconstituted into the nine tablets of handmade paper originally did contain numbers – literally tens of thousands of them. These paper records were the product of nearly fifteen years of laborious book-keeping, most of undertaken by myself.
Imagining my retirement at the age of 65 from a long and fulfilling career in art education, I thought running a music shop would be an enjoyable pastime, such is my fondness of musical instruments. Little did I think that, at the age of thirty one, I would be doing just this, playing what I thought to be my 'last card' in an attempt to earn a living. The idea was to earn enough money and independence to eventually retire from 'commerce' and return to world of art. In the spring of 1993, this did come to pass – my 'final' throw of the dice had lasted not quite fifteen years.
A lot of hope, a lot of enthusiasm and a lot of care had gone into creating this music retail business and when the end came, there was not really that much to show for my efforts. Those fifteen years had been fun but there wasn't much left from the business at 30 College Green, Bristol. Just as with the correspondence created by my divorce, the years in the retail trade had produced a plethora of paper documents, none of them of any value now that the business was formally closed.
Implicit in all this unwanted paper were years of emotion, recording the successes and failures of a modest business. The whole exercise had been envisaged as the 'big one', its records had to have some future. With the sale of this music business, I left Bristol after living there for twenty five years; I found myself, once again, in an art environment back in the East Midlands. At Loughborough College of Art, I had the chance to use a paper pulping machine, and I had boxes and boxes of raw material. There were a lot of numbers to reduce!
The original work was created in 1995, using certain physical remnants of 30 College Green and duly exhibited. The piece may have meant a lot to the artist but, no doubt, left many spectators cold. Ten years later, I thought a little coloured light would jolly up the introspection of these compacted memories. In 2005, with the addition of neon tubes, the austerity of the original object was now something rather jollier, but still not quite there.
In 2009, I added painted spectral colours to the nine hand made paper panels, producing the final version - Eh voilà.
Mixed Media : Handmade paper, oak wood, velvet on board and polycarbonate sheet with neon tube and acrylic paint.