The White Pube: Nanny Cam, 11th June 2017
For all that I love looking at art, I’m terrible at making it.
I’ll actually be more specific: I’m terrible at drawing. Always have been – in school it was the only subject apart from PE that I got consistently poor grades in. Seeing no spark of talent in me, my teacher pretty much left me without guidance to my own devices.
This doesn’t mean that I don’t see sights in everyday life which inspire me. Fleeting moments for which I never seem to have a camera, or which I capture in my mind’s eye and wish I could translate with pencil & paper. But the truth is, self-awareness about my lack of talent has always scared me away from even trying.
Not being an artist seems to be fairly uncommon in the world I explore as Messy Lines. Most – not all, but most – of the people I meet are some kind of artist, or at least art-school trained. And maybe this is another aspect of what makes the art world off-putting for some people. Another aspect of the perceived culture that you’re either part of, or outside of.
But here come The White Pube with their Nanny Cam project. Around an hour of videos made by people who may not have art degrees, but still have the confidence to act on their vision and ambition. Of course, as you may expect with a project like this, some I liked and others I was nonplussed by. It’s a mixed bag of different styles, covering everything from professional-looking short films to Instagram stories. It certainly covers what can be achieved without formal training.
There are two aspects to why I like this project. One is what you could call the “academic” point of view. That these two women are absolutely right about art needing to be democratised. In an age where Instagram & Snapchat are the most popular social media platforms among the young, it’s bound to happen – you could say that it’s happening already. Just because you didn’t go through formal training doesn’t mean you can’t create – and like we all do, learn on the job.
From my personal point of view, it’s set off a train of thought. A thought that perhaps I should stop being scared to try, and just give expressing my ideas a go. So I can’t draw. But with so many forms of expression available, why should that stop me? I’m not talking about becoming a professional artist anyway.
So thank you, White Pube team. Thanks for giving a stage to a wider range of artists, to show that artistic inspiration does not just come from an education only money can buy. Thank you for scattering the seeds of possibility.