Artist Manifesto

My Artist Statement for an Artist Residency in Motherhood

In common with many parents, the birth of my child changed many things in my life. Having fled domestic abuse and returned to the UK with my daughter, I had to rebuild my life from scratch; I saw this as an opportunity to reinvent myself. I had physically walked out of my old life and into a new one, and I wanted to walk away from the teacher and wage slave stuck in the 9 to 5 grind, and become the artist I had always wanted to be.

I find that many aspects of the professional art world are difficult to access for self-taught artists with families. These are the barriers I have to face and overcome every day in pursuing my goals. I don’t choose to endorse the view that being an engaged parent and a serious artist are mutually exclusive endeavours. I believe that the roles are not in competition, but  can and should inform one another. The fact that my artistic practice has developed outside the validation of formal art education shows my daughter every day what she can achieve as an engaged, self-directed and self-motivated learner.

I am committing myself to this self-directed and self-imposed residency in order to fully experience and explore the fragmented focus, limited studio space and time, limited movement and resources, and general upheaval that parenthood brings, and allow it to shape and inform the direction of my work rather than trying to work despite it.

“Life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass. It’s about learning to dance in the rain.” Vivian Greene

Tilly McDermott


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