Well, we finally have come to the end of one of the most turbulent years in modern history. I will not lie, it was certainly a challenge for me personally, and one of the hardest years of my life. But it’s ending as one of the greatest years for me too!
It began fairly good. I was working away, going through my animation library making gif loops. My plan had been to make 100 & then contact Giphy and ask them if they would feature me as an artist. But once I reached 87, they contacted me and told me how impressed they were with my work that they made me a featured artist! Result! Shortly after, they commissioned me to make a birthday card for Rihanna!
In early Feb I dj’ed at a local music festival and got really good feedback. I hadn’t played out in years and soon I started getting asked to play around town. 2016 was shaping up to be a good year for me, and then the bottom dropped out.
Feb 15th I was served an eviction at my lovely palace flat. I would be lying if I said it was a surprise as the new slumlord owners had been evicting tenants right and left since they took over. I knew the day would come where I too would have to leave, and assured myself that I would eventually find another gorgeous home. Then less than 24 hours later, I got word from ink-d (the gallery that repped me) that they would be closing for good in May. That was a real kick in the gut. For the past 2 years, since my last exhibition, I had been planning the biggest show of my career. It had been my 2 year plan. After I showed on the main floor, I would be able to go anywhere. I had tunnel vision. It was my life path, and then poof – in 24 hours I was homeless and without a career. I was absolutely heartbroken. And to top it off I had to dj the next night.
I stayed in bed for 2 weeks and sobbed. Once my tears dried, I decided to start looking around for flats, and that became an even greater trauma when I learned 99% of all estate agents do not rent to animal owners. And if there were any flats that would allow pets, they were the most depressing, disgusting places you have ever seen. Carpeted kitchens, foul odors, holes in the walls; I could almost see the faint chalk outlines from where the dead bodies had lain. Not really the last part, but you get the picture. There was no way I would live in a gross place, so I began to sniff around for somewhere stateside.
Portland seemed like the perfect place. I had a few friends, it’s west coast and very liberal, easy to get around with a bike, and the most animal friendly city in America! Not only do most places allow 2 pets, but some have doggy concierge, wash stations and give you a welcome basket with organic milk bones! Sounded like heaven to me! But a big upheaval as well. After 2 months of no luck, it was looking like the plan.
Then out of the blue, my dear friend Paula got me a viewing at a place she heard of. A beautiful flat on top of a hill, looking out to sea, lots of space and breathtaking views. I didn’t have a lot of confidence. I’m a artist weirdo, without a real job and animals. Normally when looking at a flat, I would assume I would rank low on the list for landlords – they want a normal person with a normal job. But luckily the owner of the lovely flat is an artist herself and chose me because she liked my art! How amazing!
I was all set to move in May 3rd, and then the day of the move, my darling cat Tom died in a freak accident. On top of that, the movers canceled and I had my phone and net cut off. So I was stuck in my old place for 3 days, with no net or tv, and no cat. I have never been so sad in my life as I was then. It’s funny cos Tom wasn’t really my cat. He was totally independant. He was actually a famous cat. He used to belong to the news agent across the street from me in London. In 2009 the owner’s old cat had died and he was really down. He went to Celia Hammond cat charity and brought this little 12 week old kitten to his shop. While making my daily trip to get provisions with Booboo, he brought Tom out to show us. Tom ran right up to Booboo and put his arms around Boos neck! It was love at first sight.
Then it became our ritual of going in to say hello to Tom, everytime we went for a walk. Whether I needed to buy something or not. Tom became the mayor of Haggerston. He slept in the post office, he hung out in the off licence, you could always see him at the waste market playing in boxes or begging for dog treats from Norman the antique dealer. It wasn’t just me and Boo, who made trips in especially to see him, lots of people did! He was a very special cat. Friendly, and independant. Not afraid of anything!
In 2012 Ash, the owner, sold the news agent and left Tom there. I assumed he thought Tom would be happiest there and that the new owners would want him to ward off rats. But they didn’t want Tom. They drove him across London and dropped off and he ended up making his way back. One day I was walking past and saw a crowd gathered round him and a few people were crying. They said the new owners were taking Tom be put down. Well, I knew at the time my husband would not approve, but I was not going to let Booboo’s best friend die. So I brought him home with me and a few months later the 3 of us made our way to Hastings.
I wasn’t sure it would work out with him and thought about finding him a nice home with a garden if it did not. But he loved the palace flat. He watched the gulls in the front, the pigeons in the back, laid in the sun on the balcony and went on long adventures all over, as I would pick brambles out of his fur! He sat on a chair right by the door waiting for us to return. He wanted cuddles and treats and naps and playtime, everyday at the exact same time, with military precision! And in the end, that is what killed him, trying to keep to the schedule, something I could not do as we were moving. His death really paralysed me. Those tender moments throughout the day with him were gone and left gaping holes in my life.
Once I settled in the new place, I had a few nasty art world door slams that really stung. After everything I had been through, it zapped the life from me. I lost my confidence. I had no direction. I felt the gravity of the world and resigned myself to bed. It was the first time in 15 years I didn’t get up at the crack of dawn and start creating. I obsessed on politics and climate change and just thought “What’s the point? there’s not going to be fish in 30 years!!!” I felt washed up and out of ideas and motivation. Once Brexit happened that was it. I wanted my mommy. I decided I would move back home to Georgia and make bowls.
And then the very next day, like angels – The Alabama 3 – came into my life and commissioned me to make a video for them! It was truly a miracle! Not only had I been a huge fan, but now I had a reason to get up out of bed and create. And I feel like it was visually the best thing I have ever done. I am forever grateful to them for that – giving me a reason to get up out of bed… 🙂
And ever since, my career has been on the up! I had a great show at a local bar and am happy to report that I am doing some animation work for one of the biggest companies on earth! And talking with another. I’m booked to DJ at Spiritland – the best sound system in the world! So many opportunities have been coming my way in the last few months that I have literally been pinching myself. The rest of the planet is going to shit, but it’s just getting better and better for me. Ha!
And I welcomed a gorgeous 6 month old persian cat named Genghis into my life back in Sept. It was slow going. He bit me on the first day when he saw Boo, he’d never seen a dog before and was terrified. I got an infection and had to be on antibiotics! I was sure he was one of those animals, that had to be the only one and that it would not work. But I spent an entire month socialising them slowly and now, I think they are even better friends than Boo was with Tom! And he is so cuddly and loveable, I have never known an animal to give so much love! We are a very happy family again.
The world is a scary place right now. I don’t have the answers. To be honest, I have to keep all the politics at bay just to remain sane. I hope somehow with my art I can make a difference and positive change. We all must be tolerant, kind and understanding to one another. That I do know. One consolation for me during my struggles, was that I knew there were many more people suffering out there. Not that I enjoy for others to suffer, but to know I was not alone was a slight comfort…
One thing I learned from all the trauma and stress I went through, was how amazing my community is. So many people came to my rescue to help. Even people I had not known before, were there offering me rides or meals, or doing nice things. I am lucky to live in such a magical place! Thank you Hastings and St Leonards!
I used to have a saying “when bad things are happening, it’s because something amazing is coming right around the corner, and the universe wants you to appreciate it.” But after all of the bad things that kept happening – FOR MONTHS – actually 4 months of shit – I forgot my mantra. But now I know it’s true. I had to be low to appreciate the highs and things are truly amazing now! Hopefully it stays amazing for years to come. If you got to the end of this – thank you for reading! All the best in 2017! oxo GD