How "Ice Painting" changed my life — 5 years ago
4th March 2007, sitting in a coffee shop waiting for my bus. Bored. Go up to the bookshop on the 5th floor, browse the photography section. Mistakenly stumble across this. Laugh derisively at the title. “Painting? On ice? Pah! What a gimmick! I like the conceptual aspect of my art to express itself through the content, not the medium. It’s called technique. I have a GCSE in art from my council estate comprehensive don’t you know…”
I picked it up, ready to scorn, and instead as I opened the pages I felt as though all the breath had been sucked out of my stomach and then pushed back in reverse. I’m not usually one to hyperbolise, but I simply cannot think of another way to put it. I was stunned.
I bought it, and took it back downstairs to look at as I sipped on my coffee. I hardly dared look at the paintings for too long as I was scared that the magic might fade. I felt a strange buzzing behind my eyes and realised that I was actually embarassingly close to tears, for no reason other than the images in front of me and the fascination with which they sucked me in.
I have seen a lot of art and I have never, in my entire art viewing existence, come close to being affected by colour this way.
It’s just swirls of paint, no more than Pollock. But they ooze, and they flow, and they seduce. It’s like looking into portraits of the universe before eyes came along to view it.
Of course, there’s 1, maybe 2 in there that I’m not so keen on, and I’m sure that anyone else looking at these paintings will look at them as nonchalently as I look at Pollock. But that’s not really the point.
The point is I honestly feel I have found my “visual home” – a collision of form and colour that resonates with me on both an emotional and intellectual level, in a way I thought beyond the power of images – and I did so completely by accident, picking up a book in order to better know what it was I was dismissing.
That’s a lesson I try to remember as I go about dismissing the things and people around me in my life.