Day 10 — I went to art class

Today I did something that I’ve never ever done before and went to an art class. It was completely new for me to do something like this as an adult. Since passing my Art GCSE I haven’t put a pencil to paper to do anything but write shit out. The only time I’ve seen paint, charcoal (!) and the like has been for DYI or things going seriously wrong in the kitchen (charcoal).

The artist that held the session is called Evar Hussayni. She’s young, got so much talent and can’t thank her enough for taking time out to put on this free class for young people. I had a great conversation Dandy Lord (who I met through twitter) about doing things socially that didn’t necessarily involve ‘going out’. Whether it’s for food or a rave it feels that us young people don’t necessarily know about or get to see ourselves doing other stuff socially. Classes that Evar put on really help. I was surrounded by people similar to me there and that was so refreshing. It was fun because of the people there.

At the start of the session Evar said that she wanted us to attempt a portrait of some sort of ourselves over the next couple of hours and was there to help us when needed. She gave us some inspirational art styles and words to get us started on an idea to run with. It was so nice to focus on one thing for a couple of hours. When was the last time you did something like that? Just having one thing to think about for more than two minutes? That focus gave me a refreshing clarity in my head that I loved.

As I mentioned, I haven’t tried anything like this for nearly 10 years so I decided to start where I left off and approached my portrait as an abstract style, just like I did in my GCSEs!

When I take a breathe while I swim, I get a split view of the world. It’s kind of like this. I imagined my portrait as if it was what I would see in a dream. My whole life I’ve had weird dreams where I’ve been able to swim without being in the water, think of it like flight but slower and weirder. So I explored that with my portrait. I drew the wave in the water to represent how the water splits across my face as I breathe. My nose splits the water enough for my whole mouth to be out of the water, hence the dip at the end.

In my dream world, the air was made up of what I put into the world, which is why it is there at the end of the water, as I breathe out. I used the same colours to create the air that were used to create the colours of the scales of my Koi Fish tattoo on my leg, Red, Orange and Pink. Even though the portrait wasn’t going to necessarily have my face, I still wanted it to have elements of myself.

I split my view into Nature, City, Nature, City and so on because while you swim, what you see changes so often, just like life. I made sure that the City was represented to be dark and almost lifeless because it’s the City, those big buildings I see mean nothing to me although their importance is huge for some (Parliament, Canary Wharf). I used the same clock face that is on another one of my tattoos as the face of Big Ben because I didn’t want to ignore the City. Even though I don’t like it, it doesn’t mean that it doesn’t effect me or that I haven’t enjoyed aspects of it in the past. As difficult as London is to live in, or survive in, it’s still home. I am London and London is me.

When portraying the nature that I saw I wanted it to have a similar structure to the City too to draw on the saying concrete jungle which I’ve always liked. The detail lines in the buildings are the same as the trees.

To finish it all off I added my eyes, nose and lips into the world that I was looking at in my ‘dream’ to reflect that this was very much my world that I was portraying.

It was such a great exercise to just try something new. At the end of the night some people talked through their pieces with everyone, a lot of deep stuff came out and it was great to see young people (particularly men) expressing themselves freely in a room full of people they didn’t know.

Well done Evar, you created a beautiful night and I’m sure everyone had a fantastic time. It’s so important for young people to have new and different things put in front of them sometimes. From the bottom of my heart, thank you, please do another one!