If you’d asked me the question last week – “where’s your head at!?” – well I’d have said – a bit worried, but excited for lots of things to come and happenings. Now you’re asking me a week on – well… not as much in a pit of doom as I was a day or so ago but I’m circling it. The world as we once knew – individually and collectively – will never be the same again. It’s all A LOT to take in!
In the wake of what’s happening, social media has exploded into a well-meaning (sometimes!) explosion of noise, information, guidance – it’s suffocating. It’s bringing out the best and worst in people – a lot of projection IMO. Some of the elements of social media that we all know is bad for us and creates anxiety, disillusionment, chaos and everything in between, is unfolding in this period of uncertainty in which 24 hour news is being consumed like Crack. I feel like I’m trapped in a Black Mirror episode.
Artist credit – Pointer – image from Insta
MIND FULL MESS by Newcastle artist Pointer, explores both those things – it provokes you to reflect on the question of “where’s your head at?” in the wider context of the social media world. Of course, this exhibition and it’s work was created before Covid-19 was a thing but viewing it and reflecting on it, in this new light has been interesting and for me, added a whole new layer to the work and actually, provided comfort.
Little did I know when the invitation to the opening of it at B&D Studios (the exhibition was set to run until end of March but is currently closed); that it would actually have such a profound effect, long after viewing. As someone who struggles with the concept of mindfulness (my brain just isn’t wired that way) and also navigating the relentlessness nature of 24/7 social media life (even more relentless in the context of now) – I thought the concept behind the exhibition sounded amazing.
The MIND FULL MESS exhibition was filled with bold and thought provoking, mixed media skull pieces revolving around the theme of social media, the digital age and its effect on our potentially brilliant minds and mental health. Each skull summed up exactly how my brain feels at some point every single week or how it has felt times a million this week. Each skull was a provocation to reflect and check in with myself whilst considering that folks could be feeling any number of those thoughts or emotions…..
Before I get into the interview with Pointer – which was planned before Covid-19 ramped up to this level – I have a few take aways for my readers….
- Ask yourself the question “where’s your head at” at least once a day – check in with yourself. Be kind to yourself. Give yourself space. Give your mind chance to process and breathe.
- Take some time away from social media and put your phone down for a few hours a day – I’ve had freelance friends and art friends turning off their phones and muting notifications for their sanity – being overloaded by information and advice through various “groups” as other desperately try and figure things out, might not be helpful to you right now.
- Pointer is a fantastic artist and this was a selling exhibition – like many the current state of play will have hit his wallet hard. If you like the skull pieces and would like to purchase or interested in a commission – (hey we are all going to be spending time in doors for a while, so may as well colour up those walls) – contact him via his website: http://www.bypointer.com or via his insta: @bypointer
*Get ready for the question that triggers existential crisis….Who are you?*
I am a Newcastle based Artist by the name of Pointer.
*Tell me about your journey into the creative industries?*
After studying Graphics I drifted into a career as a commercial artist; making artwork for other people, companies and even other artists. For a long time I was quite comfortable being the guy that worked behind the scenes – without an outlet for my own personal work.
*Where did the name Pointer come from?*
That just happens to be my surname. After a childhood of kids pointing fingers at me, I grew tired of it but I kind of like it again now.
*Tell me about your exhibition MIND FULL MESS?*
The exhibition is a collection of 16 artworks I have been working on since September. The tagline for the show is ‘In a 24/7 always ON culture, where’s your head at?” It’s a snapshot of peoples’ state of mind, a look at modern anxieties caused by living in the social media age.
*How did the relationship with B&D studio come about?*
Someone kindly put my name forward for a show and I thought why not.
They have a free hosting space and take a generously small cut of sales. I met James the manager on a tour of the gallery and later when a studio became available I felt it would be a good opportunity to progress my work.
*The show is called MIND FULL MESS – as someone whose mind is always a bit of a mess and has tried mindfulness and just doesn’t get it – I relate! Have you tried mindfulness?*
I think playing my music loud, stepping outside to take a walk once in a while and not taking my phone to bed are measures that are enough for me most of the time – I have never felt the need to do yoga on a beach at sunset listening to Enya.
Pointer – MIND FULL MESS
*What do you want people to take away from the exhibition?*
Just to make people think or connect somehow with the work or look at things from a different perspective. That’s the most you can expect from art I guess.
*Tell me about inspiration for the pieces and exhibition?*
The initial impetus of the idea was wanting to show visually what’s going on in your brain whilst you are doing something mindless. I was thinking of some kind of internal conflict where one part of your brain is busy staring at the flashy lights whilst the other side of your brain is screaming for you to think.
*I feel like I live that conflicted reality …. So as a commercial artist – where is your head at with social media?*
I feel one format of social media is enough for me (Pointer is on Instagram – @bypointer). I chose the more visual platform of Instagram but there are long periods where I ignore it. I would happily pay a subscription for Instagram to ditch the ads and the restrictive algorithms. I realise I spend too much time reporting each ad I see as spam.
That’s a big negative for me, advertising really disengages me with what potentially is a great tool for artists. It’s a love / hate relationship!
Pointer – MIND FULL MESS – taken from Insta
*I think most people feel like that with social media….can you tell me a bit about the process of making each piece?*
Each piece features numerous laser cut wooden elements, these are all hand painted with sealer, primer and acrylic. I have also used cut Perspex and steel which is then screen printed on. The pieces are then assembled and put together to make the final artworks.
*What’s next for you?*
I had planned on showing work at the recently postponed Nowt Special event and also the Late Shows in May (both postponed due to Covid-19). So, I guess I will get back to the sketchbook, it would be nice to book in another big exhibition project but will see what happens.
Pointer – MIND FULL MESS – taken from Insta
Thank you Pointer! Total talented gem!
Just to reiterate on my close of this blog interview – the current state of play will have hit his wallet hard. If you like the skull pieces and would like to purchase or interested in a commission –– contact him via his website: http://www.bypointer.com or via his insta: @bypointer – artists need our support right now.