LIVING IN A HIGH-RISE COUNCIL ESTATE

In response to the horrific tragedy, and all that has happened, all that’s unfolding, around #grenfelltower, I’m resharing an essay about my years in the Calder High-rise council estate in west Edinburgh, Scotland. It was written around 2008, soon after I moved out of the Calders.

view from the 12th floor, Cobbinshaw House

Part of the cause of such a violent destruction of life such as is the fire in the Grenfell tower, is the fact that your average citizen has no idea what it really means and feels like to live in a high-rise or council estate – and so they feel no need to speak out about/ take action around any of the multifarious, interwoven issues which affect such places and people. And so, issues compound and fester; problems become ensconsed and invisible to the outside world.

If we all felt more compassion for the comfort and safety of ALL OF OUR FELLOW CITIZENS; if – in particularly – the people who make decisions about such situations, who make spending decisions and check how life really is for folk there, if they felt real compassion and made significant efforts to improve the life quality, safety and security, the spiritual wellbeing of everyone in our society… then a hell-like situation as the Grenvell fire might have been guarded against, even avoided altogether.

But greed and profit above human dignity, above human safety; that is what we choose when we live capitalism, and when we support governments who are empty or heart or soul.

mural created with local kids, 2005

Before I lived in a high-rise, I had a whole section of people cordoned off in my mind:  A WHOLE SECTOR OF PEOPLE locked away in the dark, with a sort of disclaimer to the effect of ‘they choose to live there’, ‘it’s their fault it’s so messed up’, ‘it’s a bad place/ they’re bad people’, ‘I am not that kind of person’.  They were thoughts unformed, quiet prejudices which sat unchallenged… which were blasted into the open forever as soon as I stepped onto the pavements of the Calders’ estate.

Suffice to say that when I left 4 yrs later, though I was very glad to move to a more peaceful location, my consciousness was utterly transformed… My life and work were profoundly enriched for having been a part of this dynamic, intense community. The most important quality I gained, was a humility – an ability to relate to all people, rather than just the ones which I thought were ‘like me’.

I hope this essay might illustrate something of how it is to actually live in a council high-rise; the atmosphere, the psychological and emotional issues which arise, the individual and collective challenges, and the things one has to do to get by. (Be aware that it’s fairly raw, and was written in a period where I was dealing with multiple griefs and unstable health.)

ESSAY ON LIFE IN A HIGH-RISE COUNCIL ESTATE

 

NAPOLI CULTURAL CLASSIC PREMIAZIONE 2017

Video of the award presentation! // Video del premiazione!

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The ‘motivazione’ – the ‘motivation’ for my receiving this prestigious award // La motivazione per la mia ricezione di questo prestigioso premio

Link to Napoli Cultural Classic site, with photos of the awards event // Link al sito di Napoli Cultural Classic con più foto dell’evento

Link to La Repubblica newspaper article // Link all’articolo nel giornale La Repubblica

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It was a super-fun – though nerve-racking – adventure; from the month I spent prepping the outfit, sourcing fancy shoes and a designer handbag, and scraping petrol money together for the journey, to the unfolding of the car trip, the event itself, the after party, and long ride home… // Era un’avventura super-divertente – anche se nervosa – dal mese che ho passato a preparare l’abito, la ricerca delle giuste scarpe e borsa designer, e lottando per trovare i soldi per la benzina per il viaggio, allo svolgimento del viaggio, l’evento stesso, il dopo party, ed il lungo viaggio verso la casa…

The night was spectacular, as you’ll see from the links above: I don’t think I’ve ever been to an event so well constructed, lit, choreographed and attended! And with the invaluable help of patrons and friends, I felt the part. // La notte era spettacolare, come vedrai dai link sopra: non credo di essere mai stato in un evento così ben costruito, illuminato, coreografato e frequentato! E con l’inestimabile aiuto di patroni e amici, mi sono sentito parte.

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I received donations of: money to help me get myself and my paintings to the venues; my designer handbag; flowers which ended up in my hair; photography, bag-carrying and moral support from my beautiful friends… // Ho ricevuto donazioni di: soldi per aiutarmi ad ottenere me stesso ei miei dipinti alle sedi; la borsa designer; fiori che finivano nei miei capelli; fotografia, aiuto di portare la borsa e supporto morale dai miei bei amici…

Without all this I’d have been a whole lot less glamourous and confident – thank you, precious friends – especially Randy, Speranza, Carolyn, Anna, Marcia, Chris and Vittorio! // Senza tutto questo sarei stato un po ‘meno glamour e sicuro – grazie, amici preziosi – soprattutto Randy, Speranza, Carolyn, Anna, Marcia, Chris e Vittorio!

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 It’s an extraordinary honour to be recognised by this great cultural association, and in a wider area of Italy, for my art – and to have my courage and spirituality noted and celebrated. Dedicating oneself to a non-compromised artistic path can be lonely and isolating at times; it can feel like trying to reinvent the wheel (or a better way of life for the whole planet) – at the same time as feeling awfully intangible and mysterious. Getting this award for keeping true to my inimitable path is hugely affirming. // È un onore straordinario per essere riconosciuto da questa grande associazione culturale e in una zona più ampia dell’Italia per la mia arte – e per avere il mio coraggio e spiritualità notati e celebrati. Dedicarsi a un percorso artistico non compromesso può essere solitario e isolare a volte; può sentire come tentando di reinventare la ruota (o un modo migliore di vivere per tutto la pianeta) – allo stesso tempo che sembra terribilmente intangibile e misterioso. Ottenendo questo riconoscimento per mantenere fedele al mio percorso inimitabile è fortemente affermando.

For more about the award ceremony, and a more intimate view of the life of the happy artist – go sign up on Patreon and subscribe to my newsletter // Per ulteriori informazioni sulla cerimonia di premiazione e una visione più intima della vita dell’artista felice – iscriviti o su Patreon o al mio newsletter

And if you’d like to see my paintings – go browse around my Etsy shop (keeping in mind that many works sell before appearing in the shop – subscribe to Patreon to see what’s in progress and ‘hot off the easel’!) // E se volete vedere i miei dipinti – andate a cercare il mio negozio Etsy (tenendo presente che molte opere vendono prima di apparire nel mio negozio – iscrivetevi a Patreon per vedere lavori in corso e che c’è ‘caldo dal cavalletto’!)

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Many thanks for watching, Clare xx

Grazie mille per aver visto, Clare xx

EYES ON THE PRIZE… and other news!

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MY NEWSLETTER JUST GOT MAILED OUT:

you can view it

here

#art #artist #arthouse #art school #airbnb #guardiasanframondi #artistretreat #writerretreat #creativetransformation #etsy #paintings #artforsale #newart #happyartist #livelikeahappyartist #clareartista

                frontpagecircle Clare xx

THE THRILLING PERFECTION OF HAVING NO MONEY

SEE MUCH MORE ABOUT THE REAL SCHOOL OF ART HERE, AND SIGN UP FOR THE SCHOOL HERE!

IT’S BEEN A WHILE…

Hiyeeeee!

I haven’t been hibernating – honest – and I haven’t been out of town: I’ve been working happily hard on the Real School of Art, which is demanding a particularly intense kind of focus and dedication.

The school is about 89 videos and worksheets in!!! And it is extremely fulfilling and fun and exciting to be working on – it feels all the more dynamic since I passed the half-way mark… like it’s taking on a life of its own!

Here’s a wee vlog about what I’m up to:

 

You can also see new paintings on ETSY right now, or join up on PATREON for all that’s hot-off-the-easel before it’s released.

The ART SCHOOL is about to unveil term 5, and you can get access to all the lessons whilst it’s unfolding, by signing up to PATREON for $30 or more per month. DO IT if you’re looking for a comprehensive guide to creative expansion and artistic fulfilment!

NEWSLETTER spring equinox 2017

Heyee! Here’s a link to my newsletter which was released on the equinox on Monday. Lots of colour and creative expansion – news on the Real School of Art and new paintings… This is a glorious spring – follow the links to PATREON if you want to keep in touch even more often xx Clare

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BEING SEEN

As an artist, being seen is as important as all the stuff going on behind the scenes; all the creation, expression, organisation, effort, etc have little meaning at the end of the day if a) we aren’t able to get our work out to an audience, or b) our work is totally misinterpreted. As a human being,  being seen is equally vital for our well-being. As a woman, really being seen is a rare and controversial subject.

Unlike many folks in the conventional ‘art world’, I do believe that every human being has a unique interpretation of any art work. I definitely don’t believe in art criticism and I feel strongly, particularly in the light of recent experiences being banned from Facebook, that censorship can be a sword used indiscriminately and inappropriately. A specific incident occured this week (A nude photo of myself was taken down from a private group on Facebook), which pressed a button deep, deep inside me. It was a positive button-pressing, because it helped me to look deeply into the energetic dynamic of the thing.

It ultimately is to do with a woman’s body and a woman’s power: her power to expose herself, and to be vulnerable AND TO NOT BE SEEN AS DANGEROUS, OFFENSIVE OR ANY OTHER NEGATIVE CONNOTATION.

When do we ever allow a woman’s body to just BE? To just be what it is; a natural, magical, glorious marvel: an esoteric wonderworld of sensation and wisdom-handed-down-through-the-ages-and-across-galaxies; a whole and happy and innocent beingness, a place of worship in its purest sense, and of the source of all real creation and all real healing for the world.

What do we do, when we prevent women from sharing that magic of wholeness? And when we lump her body by algorhythm into a box labelled ‘offensive’: I am not hurt or angered by this censorship, BUT I AM blocked from expressing the BEAUTY OF MY SOUL VIA THE MOST PURE MANIFESTATION. And my work and intentions ARE categorised as something potentially destructive to social wellbeing – not Facebook’s own wording; theirs was much cruder.

The point of this blog is to highlight this sweeping of woman under the carpet; this not-allowing-her-to-exist, because her voice neither participates in the cold logic of conventional art speak (dominated by rich white men) nor conforms to the polarised, tension-and-energetic-bondage-based expressions of separated sexuality which have been deemed culturally acceptable.

My body is not a weapon; it is a vessel of creative outpouring; on every level, from the physical making-of-things-with-my-hands, to my energy-building dialogues with my community, to my visionary mind which sees the world healed, to my mysterious psychic abilities: it is all integrated, whole, real, now, present. It is pure consciousness, and delicious, quirky, fun human being. It is so very, very far from offensive, and yet it is not allowed to exist in the world, because a part of it – which is not a part, but an integrated beingness (which has, however, been separated and labelled in ‘conventional modern’ thinking – I’m talking about sexuality here, by the way) – has been deemed to be ‘wrong’.

In light of all this, I am showing the same photo that was banned from Facebook, here below, to a wider public audience. It was not intended originally to be shared on a wide platform; it was shared with a group of women who are specifically focussed on healing our cores, our cervixes. We collectively share from the deepest of places and truths, from our nakedness and wholeness, and this image was a key step in an ongoing unfolding which I have been experiencing through this work. It is me in vulnerability and openness; in truth and without fear or any other negative connotation. What kind of a world do we live in, that I have to write letters to CEOs of Facebook, flag up the issue on this private group and get that post taken down too, get banned from Facebook, write an essay like this, JUST TO EXPLAIN THAT THIS PHOTOGRAPH IS NOT MEANT TO BE (i.e. IS NOT) OFFENSIVE?

What kind of a world IS THIS? And what do we all contribute to make it so? For my part, I try not to participate in the perpetuation of all the mythology around sex being a separate ‘thing’ – I feel that this is the root of our being lost; the holy grail if you will, sitting here right now right in our pelvises. There is no separation, and we need to wake up to that, and to understand that all the small diminishments and all the small ignoring of where we’re being made less than we are, or compartmentalised or whatever silliness they are throwing on women/ human bodies today; we need to non-passively face this and rise up to it.

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HAPPY VALENTINES’ DAY!

Revisiting my Happy Valentine’s Day blog from a couple of years ago… Look deeply, always – look for the depth, colour and meaning behind everything – there’s tons of it, everywhere! 

standing in power, drawing, 1999 ♥ WELCOME TO THE ARTHOUSE VALENTINE’S ADVENT! Fourteen days (oops, I was thinking there were 15!) of creative re-interpretation of St Valentine’s, and the magic of …

Source: HAPPY VALENTINES’ DAY!

SOUL-MATING…

So, many folk who know me have seen over the years, my adventures, trials and tribulations, in finding my soulmate. It wasn’t always pretty, but it did always provide much entertainment – if only in hindsight.

I’ve spent at least the past 10 years in especially-concerted-efforts towards bonding on a deep level with a partner who is synchronised with all my uniqueness, passion, colour, flare, determination, intuition, expressiveness and rest of it.

My friends and family have responded in multifarious negative ways to Mission Soulmate; from urging caution and suggesting that I take my time, to retrospective ‘I told you so’s and ‘well, you did rush in rather quickly, didn’t you’.

 And if I’d gone along with that; gone slower, shown less passion, taken my time – yeh, great: I’d probably be plodding along now in a super-dull repetitive cycle with some average bloke who… well…at least I could just about tolerate.

However, my all-in approach has proved itself both successful and highly constructive: it has brought me to perpetually deeper spiritual truth, and taken me on multiple adventures which have made life rich and meaningful.

So here are 5 tips on how to find your soulmate – some ideas which might support you finding a soul connection and keeping it alive.

ONE: COME FROM YOUR CORE

You must come from your core; be connected and consciously acting from your centre and your deepest truth: that is what soul is. You must know yourself deeply – particularly, you must have a very clear idea, and be on a clear trajectory with, your life purpose – when you are, there’ll be mutual resonation even from afar, with another person who is on a similarly deep path.

TWO: BE VISIBILE

You must express your core being and beliefs out in the world in some way – make yourself visible. Whether that’s hanging out in places where other soulful folks congregate (i.e. probably not a pub), or if it’s setting up a profile on an appropriate dating website.

The deeper you live, the less pool there is to fish from, as it were. This is a  very positive factor, not a limitation! Discernment is vital: that you truly express all that you are and believe, and that you’re able to see if the person you come into contact with is also on that level.

It’s all about opening a channel where you can be seen by your future twin flame – and seen in all your truth, not a caricature or dumbed-down-for-a-bigger-audience-to-digest: remember that you’re looking for ‘The One’, not a whole variety of ‘ones’.

THREE: DO THE WORK

You must get the majority of your shit (i.e. your repeating patterns of familiar discomfort) out of the way – all the stuff which keeps you from moving forward into your ecstasy. These blocks are pretty easy to nail down: they’re the things which come up again and again, and become more pronounced as you age.

It’s not about what isn’t happening, in these dynamics: it’s about what you feel and how it blocks you from what you want to feel.

You can ride blocks like a wave, if you take sufficient conscious time to ruminate and see your life from a slightly-more-objective viewpoint. The more you look with compassion at the places where you’re blocked, the more you can see them as useful stepping stones to reach a place where you actually want to be.

FOUR: EXPERIMENT

Initially, practise, practise, practise: do test run relationships, learn wherever you can – always seeking connection. It’s as important to know what you don’t want and can’t tolerate, as it is to know what you do want and what brings you joy.

Non-soul-mate relationships also give you something to navigate from; when you’ve been in non-harmonious union with another, it’s even clearer what the difference is when you really do resonate on a soul level.

Don’t be afraid of making mistakes, nor of talking about them! There are significant social taboos around jumping in deep to relationship, around talking about what you feel, and about being completely open emotionally.

The taboo on them doesn’t make these things wrong – in fact, openness might be the saving of the human race! We can de-mysticise intense relationship dynamics, loosen up collective shame of them, by speaking about them. Thus help to educate each other about the Way to more and more truth, happiness and bliss.

FIVE: MAKE THE SPACE!

You must have space in your life, your home, your work schedule. Unless you want a conventional, absentee 9-5, weighed-down-by-their-work lover, you have to show up yourself in all the freedom and creative abundance that you want to celebrate in coupledom.

SIX: GIVE EVERYTHING!

You must give it everything – if you really want everything, you must act like you both deserve it and show that you can support and nourish it in another human being.

That means never-giving-up; never settling for ‘okay’, never giving in to negative ruts of ‘I’m never going to find him’, or ‘There’s something wrong with me’ – nor of settling into a negative dynamic in a relationship, just because the person is there.

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Really, if one is on a soul path, every relationship is the soul mate in that moment: the person with whom to do soul work.

The right person will come to you at the right time, and when it happens, you’ll see how you were resisting it or didn’t have space for it, before.

If you know deep down that you want to fly; to raise energy, to plug into the divine source, to be unbound by conventional or unconventional limitations – get going making the space, doing the inner work, preparing yourself to meet him/ her/ it – it may take years, but it’ll be more than worth the wait!

*MERRY MIDWINTERFEST*

Last vlog of the year: here’s an update from the Arthouse studio, with a load of new art goodies for you!

Join me on PATREON for all the insider info – and discounts and special offers

Check out the Real School of Art website: it’s about to launch!!

The RSOA is also about to go up on Gumroad!

And see my books on LULU and my paintings on ETSY