Jul 28, 2011

Gerald O'Connell, Flux Aeterna

1. Please tell us about the work you will be showing in the 2011 E17 Art Trail. Did you respond to this year’s theme “On Your Marks”? What impact do you think the Olympics will have on E17?
Flux Aeterna is an ongoing artwork that currently comprises 98 abstract acrylic ink drawings each 20 inches by 16 inches. That's 217 square feet and growing. I started work on it in 1990, and I'm still adding to it. The very first drawing in the series suggested several avenues for further development, and every time I've explored one of these avenues the resulting drawings have each suggested several more. It's like walking through a garden of forking paths, exploring the tracks, retracing my steps and then taking a different route. The further I travel the larger the garden becomes. The journey is endless.

Sadly, I don't think the impact of the Olympics will be as strong as it should have been. Given our proximity to the Olympic site, our elected representatives have not lobbied effectively enough to derive the benefits that could have been obtained. I hope that local people will be inspired to see what can be done in East London and will want to ask a lot of questions about why E17 hasn't got more out of it.

2. What challenges (if any) did you face in realising this work?
The major challenge is always in deciding which aspect of the work to develop next. Every completed drawing suggests many new paths and I have to make a choice about which one to follow. 

3. What do you like about E17 and why? Is there anything you would change about the area?
I was born here and I've always lived here, so I tend not to think in terms of liking or disliking it. E17 is just background normality for me.

If I could change one thing I would restore the rail link to Stratford from the Chingford-Liverpool St line. The basic engineering work was done long ago - you can see the bank taking the spur in a curve across Walthamstow Marshes. It would give E17 a fast link to Docklands and the whole area that is being regenerated as part of the Olympic development. Given the transport problems posed by the Olympics, it's hard to see why this simple step wasn't one of the major priorities from day one.  

4. Who and/or what inspires you?
Drawing and painting.

5. What advice would you give to aspiring artists? 
Draw, draw, draw. And when you think you are finished, draw some more.

Flux Aeterna will be exhibited at 15 St Mary Road, on both weekends of the Trail. To see more Flux Aeterna drawings, click here.

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