This week I started a residency at Hogchester Arts in Dorset. I haven’t done a residency since 1994 so it feels slightly strange that my first one since is during a pandemic. 

Below are some pictures from my first few days:

Iron on the beach from the old Spittles dump
Unplanned beach sculpture
Things I brought back from the beach
Dead jellyfish that I am preserving (or trying to)
Polaroids from the first day


My first post of 2020 and I continue to let things go. A new-year clear up that takes no prisoners. Throwing out stuff from my house and saying no to projects that don’t serve me anymore. All that’s left is the wide, open space. A void filled with air that is cleansing and terrifying in equal parts. The need to be busy is always there, but taking time out to think and assess is important for both my life and my practice. What worked last year? What failed? What can I improve on/let go of? It’s a carthartic process, and although fucking scary, it’s also damn exciting.


i always used to make myself create something new after the stroke of midnight on new years. it felt like a good way to start the year. a good way to assure the continuance of practice. i did this through the latter part of the nineties and throughout the early oughts and the earlier part of the twenty-teens. i suppose i have turned this practice more into thinking rather than making. thinking, reading, writing, being, connecting — all seem more important these days than simply making. but how does that really form into any sort of tangible practice? or does it even have to be tangible? i am still in the early phases of thinking about my practice anew. i have many questions and not so many answers.

after finishing my last project for 2019 i am feeling good about the progress, but also maybe a bit tense about next phases. i often look back to projects and create them anew. this has worked in the past, but again, there is urgency here. there has been talk on the signal-machine between the two of us to re-imagine citizen. i am interested in what this may mean. what it may become.

in the meantime, i will continue to seek answers in the studio. more likely, only more questions will abound — presenting themselves with glee and fear. anxiety and pleasure. ahh… the conundrums of 2020 present themselves. i have always said continuance is a measure of success. so i continue.

john ros, walk home from studio 001, 01 january 2020
john ros, walk home from studio 002, 01 january 2020

… and i awoke again, as tends to be the trend lately. round pain pushing through spaces that most likely shouldn’t be pushed. but we do — because we can. or is it, “we should”? or is it hubris? privilege?
landlocked in this space with tributaries and their journeys — telling stories — finding ways to tell secrets and desires — one’s decree. as i look out that window of only a year… and ten… and eight and ten more. in time there is only air. this air. this space. this work fills walls and rooms and boxes — and me.
final as it may be — what is, what was, and how we are what we are. especially now — this moment — silenced by a stable song or riff or possibility of year on year — and this odd year. more war, more destruction, more hate… as we sit… resting… watching… listless and motionless.

john ros, some kind of announcement, 01 January 2007

some things never seem to change. we must change these things.


The events in the UK over the past week have made me evaluate things and perhaps see art in a different way. Right now I feel that ‘real’ art lies in the community. In the conversations we have with people on a daily basis. In the time we take out to listen to other people’s stories. In the small gestures of kindness and compassion. In the respecting of other cultures. In the grass-roots community projects that spring up everyday – and the very act of being involved with them.


as i consider notions of exhibition and venue i find myself puttering around in and out of the studio. distractions have been welcome because my practice has not allowed them for quite some time, but i also feel a need to formalize a couple of things, especially with 2019 wrapping up. i have been cutting and stacking old pieces again and thinking about where they might live. i started this in 2011 as a way to purge my studio storage. results shifted the work to a space of reusing and gathering old materials. it was a way of looking back while predominately staying present. it feels like this time in the studio is seeking similar clarity.

john ros, the suppression of awareness part 2:3, 2012
ongoing mixed media installation, detail: 44 x 40 x 6 in. | 112 x 101.5 x 15 cm
collection: gabarron foundation

adjacent to this main project of culling, there has been some interest in reworking a digital project i started in 2017. this digital drawings were made and sat dormant. the dust has been blown off … but how might they exist within this space of the current practice.

a final element i have been toying with, but have not yet formalized in any way is considering a way to work with images of war. i think of jacob lawrence’s war series and goya’s disasters of war. there is also nancy spero and leon golub. ha! i know that last link is a shameless, self-promotional plug!

i had played with goya’s series back in the early ‘oughts… with no success.

there are many things mulling. we’ll see what comes out the other side.


My practice has been on my mind for a while now. I struggle with it, and the art world in general. Its pompous pretentiousness; the money; the biennales that pitch up in sinking cities inviting tourists to places that don’t want them. I think about the burning forests and the flooding, the retreating glaciers and the parched lands, and what I do doesn’t rest easy. My creative practice seems very self-indulgent in the face of all this. Recently I learnt the etymology of the word amusement. Amusement is a way to divert the attention, a way of wasting time. Whereas a museum houses the muses and muses talk about love, sex and death. All the important stuff. Museums are places for contemplation not places for pleasurable, diverting games. If the image is power and art has the power to influence people then I need to take this into account.