Joanna Newsom ICA - 4.11.2004
A friend managed to get me in on a guest list after this had totally sold out. I was beside myself. Against the obstacles of childcare, rubbish weather, late trains and having to go out on my own, I made it. I sat in the ICA earwigging the conversations of young hip things while I made my one drink last about an hour. Can't drink too much or I can't draw! This is another venue where there isn't much of a view from the floor. It's standing, and of course all the tall people make a big wall. I'm actually quite tall myself but I'm no match for those 6 footers in cuban heels and cowboy boots. I stood on the ramp at the back of the hall, which I quickly realised was a fire hazard, as the security guards kept moving everyone away. I did my best to be invisible, and for some amazing reason it worked, and they left me - just me - to draw from the only high spot in the place. God bless the ICA security guards! I made lots of drawings, and felt I had enough information to turn one into a print. I spent some time in Artichoke print workshop in Brixton over the winter printing some illustrations for a picture book, and made this etching as an experiment in aquatint. I didn't make a test strip (who does?) and of course totally cooked the plate in the acid and the lovely drawing disappeared in a gloomy black mess. My friend Megan showed me how to scrape it back, and out of the gloom I rescued this weird ethereal image. It's a bit like some old story book illustration from some volume of Fairy Tales, but I like it. The pen and ink drawings are much more considered than anything before them. It helped not being jostled, and not having to wait for a gap between someone's elbow and beercan for a glimpse of the subject!