Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Personal Journals

If you know me or my work, you'll know just how immense the period of 2006-2007 was in terms of personal work and the impact that it had on me and my work, and in fact everything really that happened after that.

In 2005 we - Leigh and I - came up with the idea of creating a body of visual responses to the lyrics of a man whose albums we'd been listening to for several years - Sage Francis. It was as simple as that really, but nothing could have prepared me for the slog, the tears, pencil-wringing, hard work and challenges that the idea would bring.

On October 23rd 2006, in a draughty building leased by a charity in Brick Lane, E1 (now a Burlesque club and restaurant), Sage Francis performed to a pin-drop quiet room crammed with excited faces, the exhausted artist and boyfriend hiding in the wings, and thus 'If A Girl Writes Off the World' was born. The show lasted for just under two weeks and marked the end of a year of stone-cold solid work, and the beginning of a firm friendship.

Sage wrote about his experience of the show on this blog, and it made various press. There was even an interview. But the greatest impact it had was to give me a chance to prove I could remember how to make personal work, and not to be afraid of the most frightening thing you can imagine doing. Parachute jump? Well, you wouldn't get me doing one now, but there were moments leading up to the show, with costs mounting and blank pieces of paper staring back at me, and 300 people coming from around the world, that I would gladly have swapped what I was doing for that.

The New York showing of the work, logistically probably the most difficult thing we've ever pulled off, with the ground floor of a Chelsea market space all to myself and a massive cross-Atlantic crate of delicate work, led directly to becoming part of my NY agency Bernstein & Andriulli, and formed further friendships with Bernard Dolan, Anthony Saint James and many Sage fans and colleagues.

Sage and I have worked together on things ever since then. I would love to do more for him, but we are both busy making a living and the making a living and the projects we want to do don't always co-incide. When they do, the results tend to be...pretty good.

So this book is more than just a chance to reminisce and play with paper. It's 10 years since Sage's pivotal album, Personal Journals was released, the one that fueled the visual content of the entire show, and 6 years since the Manhattan show. The dates get blurry, but I know anniversaries have arrived, and this book was an opportunity to revisit some of the artwork which didn't make the final cut, or which formed a tiny detail probably unnoticed by most.

Designed by me and hand-built five minutes from where Richard III was found slumbering in his hidey hole, these are half lined paper and half plain, with 8 mailable postcards and gold and silver foiled covers, featuring a close-up of the pencil piece 'Runaways'.

If you want to buy one, they're in our shop

If you're thinking of buying one in the US, get one straight from Sage's shop instead - his are signed

Thank you Sagey Franks. I'll always be grateful.


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