I've loved Elisabeth's Frink's sculptures, especially her animals, for a long time. But, I know remarkably little about her. And as I dug around, there seemed to be little drama in her biography. She was, it would seem, a hardworking, unsentimental artist, and successful one, who had her first exhibit at the age of 21.
And I like this sometimes, because I can get stuck on some romantic ideal of creativity and failure and deep angst and something think that one is an essential part of the other. I loved watching these videos (Part 1 and Part 2) to see Frink actually at work and talking about her work.
Most of all, I liked seeing her go into her studio and bolt the door so firmly. It seemed like a luxury to me to have that space and separation, and also reminded me of what can come of solitariness and deep concentration. My job-job trades on the currency of "fast-moving, multi-tasking" and when I'm at my computer I always keep an eye on e-mail and twitter, on news feeds and report deadlines.
I tend to bring those habits home with me and rarely do just one thing at a time. And in the same way I wrote about cultivating a deeper relationship with your possessions over time on Sunday, I think the same can be said for concentrating more deeply on a single thing at a time. And, although I can't change the nature of my job, I would like to try to do this more with my own time, to concentrate harder, dig deeper and be a better listener, to myself and others.
Dame Elisabeth Frink collection at the Tate