Balnacra Arts by Vicky Stonebridge

Kawaii !

Juggling zombies, cowboys, organising things and doing traditional gallery art is usually achievable, they need different bits of my brain so I comparmentalise & flit from one to the other. To take the being ‘spread too thin’ metaphor a bit further, there is a level of superficiality, not enough meat on the bones ( or sandwich in the spread analogy, except a veggie meat substitute, in fact theres often nothing to go on the sandwiches around here at all…but thats a different story ). Sometimes winging it is no longer enough. In an ideal world an artist could go into the garret and play for an unspecified time, obsessing, immersing and going a bit bonkers in a particular direction until finally Ta Da! out of all those sketches, scribbles, angst and absinthe sessions appears a glorious canvas of divine eternal beauty. Meanwhile back to reality, when I ran a pottery, it was always a case of needing to feed the children so getting those 20 mugs done by Friday. That work ethos has continued now I’m playing at visual arts, deadline? friday, sure, bish bash bosh. Run out of inspiration? sure I’ll just go hug a tree & have a rummage in my brain …and there it is again.

Sometimes more is required though. Bish bash bosh is simply not appropriate for Mr Vysotsky & Mr Beavitt.


The first impromptu outing of Art and Songs together as Tommy sings ‘Lyricale’ and ‘who’ll come hunting the wolf’ at The Greenhouse, Dingwall this Saturday. It was awesome!

 Interpreting these Russian songs needs me to dig rather deeper, down in the mental art mines, past the chip on the shoulder, the ancient defenses, that pile of rubbish left over from art college… there over there in the corner!

So what is Kitsch?  I would probably define it as badly made, mass produced, cheesy tat. Or corny sentimental over prettified amateur Art. Imagine my fury at the Art college principal when doing a walk past the lowly studios, saw my sculptural ceramic forms, which combined iconography, wombs, feminist themes, child birth, the highland landscape and figures, visceral pregnant birthing figures- he described this as ‘delightfully kitsch’!  I dismissed this as art snobbery chauvinist buffoonery. But in my subsequent search for an accessible art form could I have slipped into kitsch? In my refusal to play with the darker nasty side of life, and to try and create things of beauty, light, happy thoughts, have I become too twee? Wiki describes Kitsch as being over sentimental. People love my cute characters and pretty scenes,I try & have a darker undertone, the monsters are always off camera. Life is a mixture of the good and bad, but lets just focus on the nice stuff is what I try to say. Does that make it appear over sentimental?  Someone close to me suffering a lot of illness and trauma used to draw twisted schrieking demonic doodles, but to me she was following the dark side rather than fighting it. So how to create positive images without slipping into sparkly kittens and childlike angels? I’m working on it.

The lady from ‘Lyricale’ goes too disney princess… version 2 in progress.
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One comment on “Kawaii !

  1. sharon.gollan
    May 31, 2011

    Great blog, Vicky!

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This entry was posted on May 31, 2011 by in Blog and tagged , , , .

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It was great to meet Yogesh Mahida today, an artist from Gujarat. He's worked with a few mutual friends so it was lovely to meet him myself at last. He threw a cracking big bowl while at the studio, great skills! #masterpotter #artist #ceramics #pottery #wheelthrown #bowl #clay
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