Many people look back on their first jobs with a sense of nostalgia, pride in a paper-round well done or working in a cafe to help pay for university. The story of my first job though is a much sadder tale.
I was fresh out of college, so fresh in fact that I’d left before the second year had even begun, I had my whole life in front of me and a belief that anything was within my grasp. In the summer of 2008 I managed to secure myself part time work as a courtroom artist, where I would have to sketch the courtroom scene in front of me. This image would then be broadcast on the news and printed in the local press. This was just the chance I needed, I’d been studying art at college and thanks to a spate of break-ins in the area I had my first commission (I was promptly warned not to refer to them as commissions). I was ecstatic and with each petty crime reported in the area my excitement only increased, to the point where I once fist-pumped the air after witnessing a neighbour’s car being broken into.
But like with most things I soon became weary of the work and began to feel stifled creatively. Portraits were never really my thing and so I began to experiment with the type of pictures I was producing. Low level stuff at first like, chalk drawings and glitter but before I knew it I was producing sculptures and concept pieces which whilst I enjoyed, bore no resemblance to the defendants or courtroom itself. The final straw came when my Kilne set off the fire alarm during a bitter divorce hearing and the whole building had to be evacuated. I argued that it was merely fate intervening in the narrative of the couple’s relationship, a sign that they should give things another go. However, my employers were convinced it was the use of naked flames in a predominantly wooden courthouse that has caused the alarm to be raised.
So that was it, 19 years old and jobless, the first miserable stitch on the tapestry of my artistic career. In retrospect a Tapestry would have been a great way to capture a courtroom scene, I was keen to improve my fine needle work and if the defendant was found innocent we could have cut it up and handed the pieces round as souvenir tea-towels. I learnt a valuable lesson that day, that there is a time and place for creativity. Specifically at 7:15 at The Pleasance Courtyard from the 2nd-28th of August (not 15th).