I have a painting I completed during my time there that hangs in my hallway - it's rather large and ambitious - and I can remember the energy I put into it. It probably only took me an afternoon to complete, working on the floor pouring watered down System 3 paint onto the canvas, without any of the self consciousness that hinders me now. It is one of my favourite pieces and I was only 17. I can't imagine producing anything like that now. I feel like I have lost that energy and I partly blame the University I Shall Not Name for being such a disappointment. It's my fault though really. I should have had the courage and foresight to apply for a course at a proper art college but I didn't have enough confidence in myself neither did I take the idea of an art career seriously enough back then and any potential I had was untapped. I didn't paint for 5 years after I graduated. The contrast with ECAT was huge. I didn't have a proper space to work in, I never saw my tutors and I ended my 3 year degree suffering from debilitating depression. I didn't feel like I had progressed as an artist at all and so pursuing art was out of the question. I received no encouragement and was all but ignored because painting was unfashionable back then and conceptual art was cool. The Sensation show at the Royal Academy had opened the first week of my Fine Art degree and seemed to be a big influence on everyone. I enjoyed it but only because it was sensationalist. I couldn't produce work like that. Finding pretentiousness, high concept and the intellectualisation of art uninspiring I struggled and my output was low. It didn't help that I was too young to take any of it seriously and spent most of my time being a student cliche - sleeping all morning and spending my afternoons in the pub.
Sometimes you are in the right place at the right time and other times the wrong place. As the years pass I realise that you need to appreciate and savour the good times. Make hay while the sun shines!