Exercise Three Round Two // Plum Cloutman

June 25 2020

Exercise One

Practice - What is giving your life meaning this week?

Though my life is regularly given meaning by sandwiches, this is a difficult question to answer at this moment in time, when my life is safe and protected and privileged, and so many are not. I’m aware that this may come across as performatively worthy, but I’m trying (very hard) not to focus on what my own life means right now.


What do you see as the most important and the most overlooked aspect of your work?

It’s superficiality- sometimes something is just beautiful or funny or weird, and that all that it is.


Do you think your work would be different if you knew no one was ever going to see it except you?

That’s complicated- a lot of the enjoyment I get out of making work is through humour, and though I can (and do) enjoy my own jokes in my work, I suppose it does seem sort of meaningless without any kind of audience. I’d like to think that if I was stranded on a desert island with nothing but art supplies, I would continue just as I am, but in reality I would probably be drawing the same crude pornography I did when I was 12.


Describe your dream studio situation and what is the biggest thing you think you took for granted about working in your studio ?

I’m fortunate enough to have a spacious and very well equipped studio at home which I share with my mum, so I don’t feel like I’m in a position to want for anything. Ideally though, one day I’d have my own studio, separate to my living space, with a fridge, that I could walk to.


What is your best time of the day or night to work and why? 

I’ve always kept very square hours, pretty much 9-5. I’m a supremely disorganised person, so I need at least a skeleton of order in my life so I can at least split the chaos into chunks.


What is your studio staple snack?

When I was a student I would keep a jumbo jar of peanut butter on my desk to keep me going when I couldn’t be bothered to have lunch. I don’t think I ever had a spoon, so I would simply gouge it out with whatever was lying around.


Tell us about something you saw on your one walk of the day

I haven’t been on a walk in about a month, because I am very lazy.

But last time I went down to the post box, I saw an oak sapling with a huge cluster of oak galls on it. You can boil down oak galls to make a beautiful range of inks, a method that’s been used for over a thousand years. I am lazy though, and I have ink at home.


 If you had to live with one vice for the rest of your life what would it be?

This is my own question, but I’m not sure I have the answer- I consider myself to be an individual bloated with vices, but then my definition of vice may be different to someone else’s. If gossiping is a vice, I think I might actually wither away without it- but I happen to think that gossiping is an essential part of human socialisation. So alcohol.


Exercise Two

What is your favourite podcast?

I’m a big fan of 99% invisible, especially their Articles of Interest series- it’s about the history of clothes, and it’s fascinating.


What is the best film you've ever seen vs the worst?

I happen to be a superb gift giver, and firmly believe in homemade presents. If you bring a fabulous homemade gift to a birthday party, the host will like it better than their other gifts, and it will also shift the attention of the party over to you (where it  belongs). In this sense, my presence is probably the worst gift I have ever given.


What is the best film you’ve ever seen versus the worst?

I usually refuse to answer the first question, it’s far too hard, the worst film I’ve ever seen however is The Dreamers by Bertolucci.


What's the most inspirational place you've been?

I dislike that word- but I really do need to jam new sights in my eyeballs to have any ideas. The best way to do this is a road trip, where you can cram the maximum amount of sights in in a day. I had my most fertile period of work after a road trip across northern Europe with my sister. Sandwiches and wild camping interspersed with Bruegel and Van Eyck. Mmmmmm.


Which era would you like to have experienced / experience again?

I think the 18th century had the best clothes, so probably then- I would also ideally be very rich, pampered, and completely ignorant.


What are three trivial things you are missing since lockdown and three things you are enjoying?

I miss my local pub, the charity shops on my road, going to the cinema.


I am enjoying an uninterrupted routine, wearing crocs, birdwatching.


What is your favourite hour of the day now? Are you aware of each hour/time more or less now?

Time means EVERYTHING now. I usually work at the kitchen table, and must clear everything away to make room for meals, which are hotly anticipated. Six o’clock on a Friday is my favourite hour, for reasons that should be obvious.


What have you learnt, what are you consuming, what are you now expert in - since lockdown?

Consuming: endless meaningless scrolling.


Learning: If I do not exercise for three months, I will have to sit down to catch my breath after changing into my pyjamas.


Expert in: Not keeping in touch.


Exercise Three

Please pick one of the three following prompts as a starting point to make some work using an A5 piece of paper/cloth/whatever you like. There is no restriction on media and feel free to try something different and new. 


  • Draw the last dream that you remember

  • Draw a self portrait as a favourite animal doing your favourite daily thing

  • Draw the last text you received  


Check out Plum's Exercise Three pieces here!