Storying Sheffield


Work by Louis James. Louis is in his second year of A-Levels at Kind Edward Vii sixth form, studying art and further maths. He grew up in Sheffield.
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Otherness. Sheffield, 2014
Here are some ink drawings and a couple of more complex painted pieces. In this personal investigation I have explored themes of otherness, outsider art and fear of difference. Otherness or that which is different, unaccepted, or on the fringes, interests me especially where this mystification is applied to people’s identity. The work was done almost as a direct response to the novel A Briefing for a Descent into Hell by Doris Lessing. The book, defined by Lessing as ‘inner space fiction’, tells the story of a man who is found wandering in London, delirious, in the middle of the night, and who appears to have entirely forgotten who he is. The book devotes great passages to the dreams and ‘visions’ he experiences while in hospital as a result of his ‘madness’, as the doctors attempt to normalise him – but in the process denying his profound inner experiences and its arguably mystical nature.
The card framed, orange face was my final response to these themes and includes text I have written. The writing is written in the style of an interior monologue. An extract from this is below….
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Oh God the doctor found her the doctor found her alive alive alive alive / my head is spinning my vision blurred SHE IS ALIVE the goddess is alive Relief such relief! What with a broken crooked neck in the form of a child but alive at that, be thankful, She had wandered aimlessly through the woods deep in the trees searching for the bridge over the stream. Bluebells splash amethyst light on to the soil floor rocky and rough the path twists in and out finding a path through the less dense woodland. It is all true. I saw god that day sitting in my garden I saw it there everywhere. All my friends are having babies everyday more children spawned littering the woods: Great Forests of the Earth / Steady drums sound as the line advances shiny brass sound neck swan swan neck white feathered and infinite it winds up from the birds body, snapped your bones? Use some glue / earth is the natural glue // She fell into the stream: the river: she just managed to stay afloat by kicking but the current is strong the water cold and fierce / she is dragged downstream down down the current strengthened by her evolution It carries the boychild bobbing the frothing foaming water white peaks on the waves: this moment this space this time this all feeling liquid so much liquid motored against her naked cotton form/ She drifts in nothing her eyes red and unseeing in the foam she drifts down and down and down and down and down, sinking and moving / sinking and moving a parabolic spiral down / Drawn in the depths things become black the riverbed racing like a motorway below her starts to fade / the rocks the grey plants everything in that white grey blue world faded to black / every element of existence and her perception faded / faded to black: her sight her sound the waves the rushes the liquid the cold / the cold faded first into warmth and then into black Lastly her thoughts fell short of the mind: that last kernel of visibility gone until… Nothing
No thing
Time passed she became me I became her in the dark
Time ticked from nowhere and from nowhere in that expanse of black dark / an infinitesimal miniscule white dot appeared barely there / Unnoticeable at first sight Invisible / slowly very slowly it grew / it grew fast. But it took an age / It grew /or rather we: me and it travelled / travelled closer and closer together: / an inbound collision an approach / As the white dot grew it became more visible / as we hurtled towards each other I began to see / the white dot was a sphere an orb of white light unintoxicating on the surrounding ocean of black / but undeniably white light which could not encroach on the nothing around it / I bore witness and at the same time was part of this ceremony the inevitable unavoidable collision
We fell into each other slowly merging and the sphere the ball of brilliant white pure light engulfed me; this polar apocalypse occurred in that space. A soundless collision it was a formless reaction. Everything Everything Everything belonged to this pure light not white but light. An interplanetary inter-universal omnipotent white void where I now belonged Now.
Pixels in their trillions froth forth through the entrapment penetrating the zone where the creature lays scratching and ripping at its lips / the soft tissue peeling away and blood seeping from the wounds / It reaches down stopping this act causing a warped expression on its face



Louis James