Background to Home

Leigh writes:

Back in early 2010 I was reviewing my artwork and had a clear sense that I needed to try something new. I started to experiment with collage and explore producing work that was more explicitly personal. The result was Self Portrait, May 2010, shown right, which was based on some vivid dreams that I had. The themes and material explored here emerged again, albeit unplanned, in the process of working on Home.

I began the project in November 2010, with nothing more than an idea that I wanted to create something new that would involve my voice.

By this time we had created story-arcs for each of the characters that intersected, although we were not convinced that this was going to be a narrative work. Astrid prompted me to discover the defining image, theme, or event that would inform the structure of the piece. What emerged was 'home' and then things started to slot into place. It became clear that the four characters were aspects of me and that this was going to be a piece based on my experiences of growing up in my family home.

We worked on the theme with more automatic writing, photographs and drawings. I had already been experimenting with soundscapes and now I started to develop these more fully. We had explored the idea of using another artist for the video element - the talented Paul Fisk, but now it made sense for me to do it, based on my own drawings. What had started out as a purely vocal project now included other media: soundscapes, video and physical performance.

I started by playing around with colour, seeing what sounds and repertoire they inspired and through this process four characters emerged - The Dreamer, The Hero, The Magician and The Sensualist.

At this point I asked Astrid Howard, a theatre director based in Brussels and a friend, if she would join the project. Astrid and I worked on these characters in more depth, collecting music and images, doing automatic writing, drawing pictures and exploring through sound and movement. Helen Massy came on board to help with the movement aspects, augmenting the support I was receiving from Astrid and my vocal coach Mary Benefiel.

This phase of the creative process culminated in a work in progress performance at the White House in Norwich on 10 October 2013. We invited a small audience and asked for feedback. The response was very positive , with some constructive pointers as to what needed developing. Photos of rehearsals for this performance, shown left, are by Kate Hesketh-Moore.

During 2014 the piece underwent another transformation. The success of the art installation 'Rooms' showed me more of the direction that I wanted to head in. In addition, the ubiquitous Astrid was finding it hard to fit the project into her busy schedule and so it made sense for us to part at this point, with a great deal of gratitude on my part for all that she had contributed. 'Home' was now transforming into an animation piece.

Click here to return to the Home short animation film main page.