Heads together

heads-and-sculptor
‘The rough collection’ (2016) Sam Shendi

My husband seems to be able to tap into some subliminal subconscious web of communication. There have been several times where he has been working on something which parallels what is happening else where.

These heads were created at the end of last year. Usually working to a smooth, perfected finish these pieces are the opposite. Rough and ready to represent the experiences in life that leave a mark and shape us. Entitled; ‘Mr Green’, ‘Mr Blue’, ‘Mr White’, ‘Mr Red’ and ‘Mr Grey’, colours often symbolising mood, emotion, feelings, expressions. I have put this image with the sculptor in the scene to show the scale of them. As a group, ‘Head’s together’ which yesterday I stumbled across is a campaign, http://www.headstogether.org.uk ,which is spearheaded by Prince Harry and the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge. It is raising the awareness of “unresolved mental problems” and “wants to help people feel much more comfortable with their everyday mental wellbeing and have the practical tools to support their friends and family.”

sketch
Sketch by Sam Shendi
mr-blue
Mr Blue (2016) Sam Shendi

I thought it would be interesting to show a sketch and sculpture together for a change. I love seeing the lines on paper and then the shift into three dimensions. The bird symbolises the idea of voices or the noise pecking away at the mind.

Mental health has huge stigma, often misunderstood and a reoccurring theme in my husband’s work partly I think because of his increasing awareness of how much it was hidden and not spoken of growing up in rural Egypt. It’s the same here in the UK but with media and celebrities speaking out it is something being uncovered and discussed more and more. It would appear it is a global issue on the rise of being discussed. Again, these pieces show a visual story. A visual interpretation of a subject, theme, idea which we all have connection with an experience of, a shared similarity beyond the differences of culture, class, education, gender.

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Pieces of Us

In my last blog entry a sneaky image got in which I hadn’t intended to post for several reasons. However, fate intervened! it got in and then in response to this image which I will now have to put in for it all to make sense. 

three ladies
‘Body parts’

I got asked this series of questions for a project for a nice little blog called; The Show and Tell project. Probably because this looks like a collection of parts. Anyway here are the Q & A’s

1.) Do you have any thoughts/ feelings about seeing your husband’s work go from a collection of parts to a cohesive whole? What is the experience like ?

I think I am in the privileged position of being, living and seeing, (what I believe)  will someday be (and is to me already, before universal recognition) a great artist at work. Gosh did that sentence make sense, probably not!

This is a good question as it makes me reflect a little bit more. My husband makes the process look easy as though it is a magic of sorts. It is so natural and easy for him I sometimes think he doesn’t realise that the way he sees and thinks isn’t like everyone else and that his natural talent is a real natural gift. The process is having the idea, drawing the idea in the most part and then sometimes making the idea come to life in three dimensions. Off the page. Now we have recently taken on the studio the process is changing a little. He now has a physical space to play rather than his mind and the page. I think in the long-term this will have an important impact on his work. The introduction of mannequins is a good example. To begin with he was sketching ideas on the paper. He then ordered a large quantity of the mannequins and started playing around with them which was also a process and then the actual physicality of where they could split and the positions of hands and legs seems to be effecting the design. So it is starting to be a little more organic. I like this as sometimes he is very prescriptive about what the end result will be. He has an idea in his head and it has to be like that. It isn’t aleatoric at all. So up until now I haven’t felt like there was a collection of parts as such. We will perhaps see more collection of parts.

2.) Do you make artistic contributions to his work? how so?

He sometimes asks me for my opinion. I give it and it is either taken onboard completely or totally dismissed completely. He is very black and white like that. I don’t often voluntarily give contributions, I don’t think. He may also have a number of sketches and ask me which ones he thinks he should develop. He recently asked me about colour choices but sometimes I think he asks me in an interesting exercise to do the complete opposite or the unexpected of what someone may ordinarily imagine.

3.) In your experience, do you feel like many of his ideas remain incomplete? And if so, how to you respond?

My instinct is to say that none of his ideas remain incomplete. He is very ‘start to finish’. I also think that because he works in such a size and material now, that if he starts making, it is with the intention of finishing it. I think if he was spending money on making things that weren’t getting finished I would probably get frustrated but I don’t see that happening.

4.) Why do you think that artists find it difficult to maintain inspiration ?

Because they are trying to find inspiration or ideas. It may sound arrogant but I don’t think truly great artists do find it difficult to maintain inspiration. In my husband’s case it is not about maintaining inspiration it is about maintaining the belief that one day he will get recognition for his work. He has said to me before, if he had an endless fund he could fill sculpture parks over and over, and it is no exaggeration we have sketchbooks full of ideas that could be created if we had the money!