Cambridge Open Studios: Hockney inspired me to quit work
Walking around a David Hockney exhibition at the Royal Academy of Arts was the tipping point for one Cambridge artist that made her give up her job and dedicate herself to her painting.
Judy Logan was travelling into London every day to work at the academy on its 250th anniversary celebrations, but realised that unless she made some changes she would never be able to give enough time to her art.
“I walked around an amazing David Hockney exhibition and I realised he just concentrates on his work and if I wanted to get anywhere with my work that’s what I would have to do too.
“I was working at at the Royal Academy at the time and watching other artists getting on with their lives and work and careers.This new generation of artists was so committed and I realised that if I wanted to become a professional artist I just had to jump off that high board and become fully committed to what im doing.
“Tracey Emin, David Hockney and Grayson Perry are in a different stratosphere of success but for me the success is really to get up in the morning and go to my studio and look at what I have done at the end of the day and feel good about it.
“I had managed to put a solo show on of my etchings of crows in a London gallery and I knew then I had to make the decision to change my career.”
That was in 2012 and since then Judy has been exhibiting regularly in group and solo shows throughout the UK and has concentrated on her oil paintings and etchings, particularly a series of images of crows. But giving up her job did not make life easy.
“There's no gains without losses, so I readjusted my lifestyle considerably; clothes and holidays and eating out and going to pubs, that became of secondary importance.
“I had to be prepared to just give up a lot of what other people aspire to, people like to go away and like going out to do things. For me, now a Travelodge in Brighton booked a year ahead to get a good deal is the thing I really look forward to. You’ve got to be prepared to give up things but when you are an artist those things don't mean very much, anyway.
“When I know I have finished something I don’t know how I painted it. I look at it and think I don't know how that happened. A finished piece, in my belief system, is a miracle. I look at it and I just don't know how I did it. That, to me, is better than a pot of gold.
“I am fortunate, my husband has supported me in this. But if you look back on many poets and artists and writers they often need a patron if they are not from a wealthy family. Because you do need that space to be able to create.
“When I was working I would go down to the printmaking studios and i would etch in my lunchtime, so it is possible to fit it in around your work or to paint on your kitchen table, but having that time is an amazing privilege and im grateful for it every day.”
Judy now has a studio in her garden and will be opening it to the public during Cambridge Open Studios. Visit Judy’s studio at 101 Sedgwick Street, Cambridge on the weekends of July 13/14 and 20/21. For more information, go to camopenstudios.co.uk.
More by this authorAlex Spencer