How @Twitter can be your muser and abuser in #art

IMG_1934There’s a lot of haters out there. Just ask artist Jason Wing who used tweets as the foundation of beautiful letterpress artwork House Wigger that was on show at the Casula Powerhouse.

The tirade of abuse for being Aboriginal is raw and uncomfortable and leaves a lasting impression. Like this one from JohnBoy “I guess he used his fat nose to help hold his breath when his mum dipped him in bleach”

For me, a little Twitter experiment turned out to be a stunning feed of inspiration for the artworks I currently am working on.

Following my sell-out show at Stur Gallery with Dry Your Tears, I’ve been looking at childhood fears. While Dry your Tears took a look at our robustness as kids, my next show ‘It’s for your own good’ explores our experiences as kids grabbling with fears that can seem completely out of proportion to adults.

At a street fair, I was once completely inconsolable by the whooshing sound of a ride called The Octopus. I vividly remember my terror, knowing it was completely irrational and my parents trying to get me to walk past the ride to see the rest of the fair. I knew it was stupid, but I couldn’t do anything about it. I still feel anxious thinking about it.

So I asked people what their fears were as kids. Some of the answers were funny but they were very real fears they held as kids – sharks under their beds, clowns, crocodiles, automated pool cleaners, Cybermen from Doctor Who, things in drainholes – probably the hardest to read and most heart-wrenching was simply “I was frightened of my mother’s anger”.

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What was unexpected from all of this was the tweets acted as triggers for fears I had as a child that I had dropped into my subconscious and were brought to the surface by the tweets. I couldn’t be in the bathroom when the bath drained as I imagined the plughole was screaming. I couldn’t watch the opening sequence of Doctor Who because the vertiginous tunnel in the opening credits freaked me out.

What I love about this is that even though many of our fears are irrational, they are also very real. They can come from anywhere, unexpectedly hit us and often leave us powerless to fight against them. How we lean to deal with them, forms our fortitude as adults but often the whisper of our childhood fears lingers and can crop up when we least expect it – and suddenly we’re frightened children again.

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