Technically it's mostly about finding a way forward.
Time is tricky when significant things occur, I think now more than ever after we have collectively experienced an enforced break with Covid19 over the last 2 years perhaps we now all have timelines that feel messed up and confused, stories that somehow feel connected or even more disconnected. Community but also separation.
I recognise this feeling and the talk that surrounds it, the space, the fog.
2020 was supposed to be our come back to 'normal', Floppy Toast was hoping for sort of jubilant return after being sidelined the previous 2 years after designer Tracy Walker was diagnosed with a brain tumour, one growing silently since birth that crept up with absolutely no warning, forcing a complete stop in everything back in 2018. I cant believe that was 4 years ago, the initial diagnosis feels like 18months ago. The problem with initial discovery and time, is you don't factor in much about what happens after. When the bomb has been diffused and there is joy, what happens with the bits you are left holding?
In a world where expectations are of 100% health or being 'back to who you are' - where is the space for what happens when the numbers don't quite stack back up.
I don't know what to do with questions on how I am. My answer mostly is I'm fine, which I am. We are all used to saying this instinctively, it's a good thing to say for the most part, it's self protecting and cuts thru concern regardless of it being well intended, plus it's also what people need to hear from you.
Any recovery is tricky, physically and emotionally, theres lots of steps to negotiate. But what happens now? When you want to 'be back' but also you're not sure if you want to be back?
It's taken me a lot longer to feel like I want to return to art - to my work. I'm not sure if it was/is creative block or just a reluctance to being present publicly again with Floppy Toast, saying yes we are here, but also still feeling as if I don't yet have a body I can rely on, an underling expectation of disruption again. It's been a struggle to come back. What if i couldn't, what if i decide no? It is a feeling of both reluctance and uncertainty.
I have a studio full of new work and old. It's a varied mix of colourful, dark, expressively hopeful art. I see art created in bursts of being OK and then not OK again. I see tension and a lot of work done over a small period of time and then nothing for a while. I see me and I see my family and I think maybe other people may see themselves amongst that also, especially now.
Going forward then is about working inside the space my head allows, it means doing it regardless and sometimes not. It means being absolutely fine and absolutely not. It means getting used to an interrupted timeline and being frustrated. It's about sharing and then not. I've always been a person interested in hidden stories, the stuff we don't see or easily say. I much prefer a conversation with a few than with many, and the last few years have solidified that in me. I see people differently, some of them are still plebs; but I wonder a lot more about who they are and where they have been, and why.
Finding a way back for me is probably more about finding the way around.
It's a meandering path of which there are loads of us on, we all have stories of course but there's room enough for all and it's good just to be here, using my voice and my art in new ways and familiar.
It feels very different but I haven't quite figured out why, so we'll see.
We are showing work publicly as part of Brightons 2022 Artists Open Houses in May for the first time since any of this happened, so stop by and say hello if you are in the area, come see what we've been doing, have a chat and a look around.
Let's celebrate returns and all that it changes.
Tracy @ Floppy Toast - Brighton AOH - Hanover Trail, House Number 5.