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IN SITU (PRE-ORDER)

David O'Mara

£22.00

As a recent graduate from art school, I came to London with ambitions of being a professional artist. With neither the financial means nor the cultural capital to smooth the way, I had yet to realise that this would seriously challenge my optimism. I had spent the previous ten years... ​​Read More

As a recent graduate from art school, I came to London with ambitions of being a professional artist. With neither the financial means nor the cultural capital to smooth the way, I had yet to realise that this would seriously challenge my optimism. I had spent the previous ten years dedicated to art, single-mindedly pursuing this goal and hadn’t considered an alternative.

Shortly after arriving in London, I was introduced to a house painting company by a family friend. Despite having no experience and never having considered that I would work on building sites, they gave me a job. The money was good – better than I could have expected in the arts sector – but it was a compromise, and one I convinced myself would be short lived. That I am still working as a house painter twenty years later is more of a mystery and feels almost accidental. Whether it is the result of decisions I consciously made, or decisions I neglected to give appropriate attention, I moved from job to job always with one eye on my art practice. In my mind, it was a temporary situation and I would be leaving the building sites behind me, little understanding that I was sleepwalking into a twenty-year career in the building industry.

Numerous failed attempts to make any headway in the London art scene made me realise that I just didn’t understand the dynamics and politics of that world. Statistically, it was always a long shot but I was ill-equipped to navigate its hierarchies and, having embarked on a career as a manual labourer, I had further removed myself from the orbit of my artistic peers and those I sought to impress. With the passing of time and with each rejected proposal, my frustration increased. That my working arrangement might have to be pursued for a longer period than I expected weighed heavily on me. By working in construction I had chosen a course that was irreconcilable with the accepted routes to a successful career in art. I was both indignant and ashamed at the perceived prejudice I saw, but it was a prejudice I shared. After all, I considered myself an artist not a labourer and set myself apart from those I worked with. At times I was deeply unhappy with how things had worked out and needed to assert my creative identity. I started taking photographs on building sites as a way of expressing my rejection of the situation and reasserting some of my ambition

Excerpt taken from an essay by David O’Mara

Published by Salt n Pepper
Design by Cover and type by Tom Hodkin
Layout by Jim Brook
14.2 x 17.8 cm
Softcover, drilled and bound with nickel binding screws.
96 pages
1st Edition, 150 copies
October 2022
English
In Stock