My initial idea was to map and walk areas in the city. It's a big place and so I have picked half a dozen areas, most of which are adjoining each other in the oldest and busiest parts of the city. The problems I have faced are these:
How do I choose what to draw? I don't want to impose my ideas before I have learnt anything, but I have to start somewhere. An unexpected side effect of drawing is that by concentrating on whatever is in front of me, makes me miss the quick actions right and left. Each image is by nature composed of incidents that happen over a period of time. People are rarely in the same place together and so it demands a leap of faith in the viewer that what I am drawing, happened. I have got round this by drawing the buildings first, which frames the action/interaction of the people. In some places, I began to see connections; the same people would appear in different places and this has linked some of the drawings together.
I haven't had as much meaningful conversations as I'd hoped. I hadn't anticipated the language barriers would be so great. I've been met with suspicion occasionally, but I've been very open about what I am drawing and always show what I am doing. I'm met with bemusement sometimes, but almost always a positive reaction. People call all their friends over and take photos of the drawings. I have wondered if this public display could affect what I choose to draw, and how I draw it. Would I offend someone if I depicted their washing strung out on the balcony, or the rubbish at the door? This is a much more personal censorship than the government constraints I had anticipated. This is a problem encountered by Mitch Miller, in his Red Road Flats project, making decisions about content that may not have been intended for inclusion, and torn between the honesty of his work and his loyalty to the community he portrayed.
I am now at the stage where the structure and relationship between the drawings is important. It seemed easy at first -it was a geographic decision, but the more images I am making, the more tenuous the links seem to be. It's time to re evaluate.