I had the pleasure of working at Rich Mix on Bethnal Green Road, again this week, generally helping out on the opening day of the current mid-career retrospective of Sanchita Islam's work Sanchita Islam: The Rebel Within.
Sanchita is a prolific artist, ideas just flow out of her, and work wells up from her 'hot brain', as she describes it. Her output includes painting, drawing, print, film, writing and poetry. She works alone and on collaborative works, usually with non-artists, and on community projects.
She has made a decision not to be associated with a gallery, and funds many of her projects through grant funding and sponsorship.
The work shown is mainly prints of her originals becuase of the nature of the space, and Sanchita admits she has been helped enormously by John Phillips from the London Print Studio.
The body of work at Rich Mix represents 25 years of her artistic life. This made me consider how do you put that into one show? Especially when you have so many styles and work in so many mediums.
For my own part I do engage in a process of weeding and discarding. This horrifies many of my artist friends who want to keep everything they ever made. I understand this point of view, but the way I like to work in my own practice is to play around with stuff. It might be a new medium or a new idea, but I don't want to get to precious about it in its initial stages, I am happy to keep building on it until it works or breaks. If I can't get the work to either stage I will then put it away to come back to later.
Every few months I reassess what I have, and ruthlessly weed out anything I think isn't working or going to work. I photograph it in case the germ of an idea was just before its time, but I can't hang onto all I make.
Hopefully this ongoing editing is going to make it easier when I have my own mid career retrospective, but in the mean time I had better get on and make some work so that I have some editing to do.