LONDON.- A hobby life is the life to which people dedicate a private life toward personal reward and fulfillment. A hobby life can be a secret life, an other life, the real life.
"Hobby! " more often said these days with a condescending sneer.
In this age of specialization, of the freelancer, flexi-hours and self employment, no one wants to be thought of as an amateur and everyone wants to get paid. An amateur until very recently could be militantly proud, heroic even. A professional on the other hand takes the devil's shilling and is a whore.
Perhaps stargazing, astronomy, is the earliest of all hobbies and continues to hold a fascination for millions of enthusiasts. There are hundreds of books, clubs and websites devoted to the amateur astronomer, one website even called "Hobby Space". When William Herschel discovered the planet Uranus in 1781, he was a middle-class musician who pursued astronomy as a hobby. Other astronomers had observed Uranus before but thought it was a star. When Herschel observed it with a telescope he designed and built himself, he realized that in fact it was the seventh planet from the sun, David H. Levy discovered or co-discovered 22 comets including Comet Shoemaker-Levy 9, the most for any individual ever. Amateur Thomas Bopp shared the discovery of Comet Hale-Bopp in 1995 with unemployed Ph! D physicist Alan Hale. Robert Owen Evans is a minister of the Uniting Church in Australia and an amateur astronomer who holds the all-time record for visual discoveries of supernovae (42) to date.
It isn't that "Hobby Life" is an antidote for "Pop Life". Hobbies take your mind away from the day to day crap, whilst with a pop life you immerse yourself in to the designated and the popular. Pop is the sugary pill of the 20th-century and Pop has: "All the advantages of Christianity and alcohol; none of their defects." Such was also said about Soma in Aldous Huxley's Brave New World.
The artists are as much part of the problem as they are the cure, they are in the work, immersed in their own production and their own worlds.
Sarah Baker, Galen Riley and Covadonga Valdes chomp on that bit in between life, veering precariously on the precipice of obsession, application and observation to look deep within their personal anthropologies to produce work of a personal meaning and a wider understanding.
Galen Riley uses a personal narrative of ephemera and personal and familial relics, Covadonga Valdes detailed and intense paintings inhabit both calmness and disquiet and Sarah Baker formerly a Synchronized Swimmer often uses the reflection of celebrity to deconstruct narratives and weave stories around obsession, greed and lust.