Paula Rego is an artist I have long admired. Why? I like the figures she paints and I like the way she composes her paintings and I like the way the paintings mean something to her and tie in with the over arching narrative that is her life.
Narrative is a big thing with me these days. How we conjure up one for ourselves, how its all pervasive in how we understand the world and our place in it. How essential it is and often how it is overlooked, and yes, also, how it is so so subjective. Think egoist telling himself how he is being constantly wronged and his talent being overlooked by the world.
So I tell myself, could you paint all that please. Sadly I can’t paint it all. I can only chose not to be overwhelmed and then decide on one small aspect which most interests me at the moment. This I do with a mixture of fear and trepidation knowing that my efforts are going to fall far short of what I set out to do. But that is not a good enough reason to discontinue the journey.
Enter the words of Paula. When she’s good she’s good, when’s she’s not she’s seriously weird, which makes her good again in a non-good manner of speaking. Take it away Paula.
“The toughest thing about being an artist is getting ideas and doing new things. It is also difficult to change, especially when people don’t want you to. The most rewarding thing is doing something you like as often as you want. My work has changed a great deal over the years. You come to the end of a block of work and know you have to change. Books are very important. Vic said: “Read a book and ‘illustrate’ it.” He used that word, which was a disgusting word in the art world then. But that’s what I did”