Tuesday, November 24, 2009

And Another Thing-Brow Beating

"Eventually I'm going to be run over and completely forgotten by the people who paint big-eyed children"Robert Williams

Whilst at some sterile mall somewhere the other day, I was drawn to the promise of starting 2010 early by enlivening it at a calender kiosk.

Amongst the tat of doe eyed pups, Twilight vampires and Irish valleys was the obligatory 'art' section, consisting of Thomas Kinkade, Louis Royo, Boris Vallejo and Julie Bell. Perhaps its something to do with the ever homogenization of modern vacuous culture, but It struck me that the public's perception of what constitutes 'art'- which is to say relevant art-is ever diminishing
. I had to ask myself, is that a bad thing?
I am reminded of a time, when the section would have been consumed by the usual Impressionist stalwarts and Mucha art nouveau flourishes. The elitism of high brow gallery's took the lions share of wall space, and if there was any concession to so called low brow, it was through artists like Norman Rockwell and Beryl Cook. Of course there was also Dali and Giger to keep us purists happy, veritable sore thumbs, able to traverse the gaping chasm between both camps with imagery that defied category and the technical virtuosity of an old master.

This isn't to say, that I don't find work like Kinkaids excreble-I do-I decry most modern tastes and long for the days when art isn't relegated to matching the curtains- but because I do, does that mean that it ceases to exist as a yardstick to current cultural ideals? As such it probably inhabits the same space as a Hogarth three hundred years ago, or that poster in the 70's of a girl in tennis gear flashing her arse cheek. People-unfortunately, are just not that deep, and time, seasons the bubble gum on the sole of history's shoe with the value of artifact.

An artist friend of mine was once leveled with the charge that their painting was to art, what Merlot was to wine, which was only amusing until you realized how many bottles of Merlot are sold everyday.

Art-it seems, no longer exists in an oppulent bubble for the sniffy borgeouis, and like that tremendous scene in Sideways with Paul Giamatti, loses nothing in its flavour when consumed in the context of a fast food joint.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Notes from an easel 48

I'm in a hermetic funk.
I know its a combination of the seasonal thing, homesickness (which is my fault) sickness (which isn't) and the inevitable post gig come down of imagining-or projecting-coincidences more significant than mere random happenstance, which is what they probably are. Still, I imagine a deity pissing himself with laughter around about now.

I need to make marks on canvas again, as well as just make my mark which is an old familiar mantra.
Here's another- at 42 I'm as rootless as ever, cradling a lifetime of pummeled ego and charred fingers, and back to noodling at the square that marks the realization that if I never spent another second in the soul destroying providence of graphic design, it would still come as a moment too soon. What a special breed of wanker that "fucking profession" procures.
Woe Bejaysus as my old Irish nan would say.
Art and commerce, oil and water.

Speaking of oil....

I wish I could spend my days, lost in the pursuit of paint, all in the name of a greater journey-THAT greater journey.

In between design duties, I set the channel to Ovation teevee, and watch people like Mathew Collins, drool over some painted artifact-as I grumble at the succession of trust fund babies like Gauguin and Manet that he is toe curling over.
I wonder how anyone makes it in these
franchised, disenfranchised times. How someone like me that is, and woe is me and the artist fucking lot, blah, bollocks, blah.

Shut up David!!
'Tis not a total exercise in navel gazing however, I've finally finished the first of eight illustrations for the Octavo (pictured) Peter (J Carrol) has an exceptional breadth of imagination, as multi faceted as my own. Matching his theories in 2d space however is another matter-or anti matter depending on seating arrangements. For the first piece, I settled into the transcendental ruminations of things like an illustrated book of the dead I recall renting from Norris Green library nearly 30 years ago, but since I cannot recall the author, I canny find it online.
Also in the Bombay mix-Esher,Goya and the movie Brainstorm starring Christopher Walken, and Natalie Wood, which I've not seen for almost as long as I rented that book, but my memory of it certainly adds flavor.

Nice segue David-Thanksgiving hangs as much of a pall as it does for the fattened turkeys eating ground offal, but fortunately I shall be ensconced in the North with my lovely wife at a location called Big Bear. I cannot wait to get out of San Diego for a few days and recharge-maybe a beard and a new life awaits me there.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Gough Medicine-Journeys End

'Tell me not, in mournful numbers,
Life is but an empty dream.
For the soul is dead that slumbers,
and things are not what they seem.
Life is real! Life is earnest!
And the grave is not its goal;
Dust thou art; to dust returnest,
Was not spoken of the soul.'
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Friday, November 13, 2009

A full Belly - David Gough live painting at the Belly Up

Very occasionally, there comes a moment, when you feel a part of something that is the culmination of all the blood, sweat and-frankly-ballache of being an artist. And so it was last evening at the Belly Up.

Staring back down the hazy passage of 24 hours since, a muddy post beer hangover and still feeling like that scene from Midnight Express, where Brad Davies is strung from his ankles in a Turkish prison, and beaten on the soles of his feet, its hard to sum up a postcard of the night, but singularly the word that immediately springs to mind is 'profound.'

I must admit to being a little nervous before the evening-live painting is the metier of practitioners who paint from the shoulder and not the wrist, and with three hours in which to construct something I was determined that it wouldn't look like the result of a post paint enema.
In the end, I went with what I know, and painted a skull with an iconic Aladdin Sane flash splashed across the dry bone surface, I appropriately titled the piece 'Dead Sound'-after the Raveonettes most well known song. Having spent almost four months crawling through 'The Valley', it was a revelation to be able to paint something that amounted to more than a stroke in such a short amount of time.
Incidentally, the Valley looked tremendous hanging with its accompanying sisters in the restaurant, drawing a lot of interests, and a few price enquries. Indeed, considering my approximation to people, more intent on consuming delicious Mexican dishes, I enjoyed a healthy influx of admirers and possibilities.
I was signing and handing the piece over to be raffled by 9pm, much to the disappointment of a lovely young lady who had come to the restaurant to watch me paint, but had missed me due to being seated behind a partition. We exchanged cards, and I consoled her that the piece would be available to win, and that if she was going to the show, she would at least see it in its glory, as it was up on the stage whilst the bands played.
I make reference to this because it became a defining moment later in the evening, when having drawn the winning number from the hat, it turned out that this self same young lady was the winner. Coincidences of the past several months have seldom seemed favorable, but we were all genuinely floored by the serendipity of the event. I think it shows in the photo.
The night belonged to The Ravonettes however, and their sonic wall of spectral guitars and haunting voices-female singer-Sharin Foo is something truly enchanting to behold, with her peroxide Clara Bow bangs, and the kind of cheekbones that could slice through paper.

After they'd finished their set, they met us briefly-very graciously signing a poster and sweetly posing for a photograph.

It was 1am by the time we breathed the night air, and as we passed the duo on the street in our car-we couldn't resist rolling down the window and caterwauling 'Ravonettes Rule-wooooo!!!' To which they smiled and waved. The perfect end to a perfect night.

Finally, I've heard it said, no man is an island, so before I wax another archipelago analogy, I'd like to thank the following: The lovely Jackie Eash and gracious Beau Dorin, for inviting me to such an auspicious event-kings have enjoyed less geniality.
Thank you to the staff at the Belly Up who were so wonderfully accommodating, and to everyone who came out in support or who just wandered over to tell me 'hello- I love what you are doing.'

Big kudos to the Ravonettes for being so lovely and cool, and not sniffy rock stars post gig.

Thanks to my great pal and live painting master Mark Jesinoski for giving me the tip of the hat that made it happen in the first place.

And finally-to Lani, who is a bottomless well of love and support to my dreams, even when she is suffering a cold like she was last night-Thank you my darling.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Notes from an easel-work in progress-the Valley stage twelve by David Gough

Save for a few minor embellishments, the piece is done. I have it in mind to expand the concept, although not on this scale, but at the very least, this piece did instill in me an entirely new set of possibilities that I hadn't envisaged before.

All being well, and paint being dry, I shall be premiering it at the show tomorrow.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

David Gough and the Ravenoettes at the Belly Up-12th November

This Thursday I shall be adding a painted flourish to a show at the Belly Up here in San Diego, where the Danish duo-The Raveonettes are heading the bill. Supporting them, shall be the Crocodiles and the Dum Dum girls, and myself, who shall be ensconced at the side cafe, where I am live painting and exhibiting. I've cooked up a special rock themed piece in preparation especially for the event and shall be there from 6pm until 9pm.Belly Up Tavern, 143 S. Cedros Ave, Solana Beach, CA 92075


Join us at the Wild Note Café before The Raveonettes show at the Belly Up. DJ Man-Cat will be setting the mood for the night while David Gough will be painting live in the café. Guests will have the opportunity to take home a piece of David’s live artwork by entering into a $1 raffle, which proceeds will go towards 94.9’s About The Music Fund. David will be showcasing several pieces in the café and will begin his live painting at 6pm.

David Gough is a modern, surreal, fantasy artist, hailing from Liverpool, England and now residing in San Diego, CA. He has worked as a professional artist since 1995. His paintings delve into the realms of the surreal and the dark phantastique, exploring mortality through gothic, religious imagery juxtaposed with the starkness of the human skull.

Collected worldwide, he has exhibited both in prominent exhibitions in the UK, as well as being a regular addition to shows on both the West and East coasts of the US. In Oct 2010, his work shall be on display at two featured shows at the Hive and The Alternate Cafe in LA.

Featured in numerous publications and periodicals such as "Gothic Art Now" coffee table book, his own retrospective book, entitled "Gods and Monsters", and Peter J Caroll's "The Apophenion", he is currently working on illustrating Carroll's next novel-"The Octavo", due for release next year.

Inside the Belly Up the Morrison Hotel Gallery will be displaying several photos of alternative rock artists including Paul Weller & Pete Townshend, Iggy Pop, Nick Cave, Elvis Costello, Bowie, Lou Reed, Jagger, Yeah Yeah Yeahs and The Killers.

The Raveonettes show details are as follows:
THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 12 @ 9:00 PM (Doors @ 8 PM)

Monday, November 9, 2009

Gough Medicine-Dead Ends

"Can't you see a giant walks among you, seeing through your petty lives. Do you think I do these things for real? I do these things just so I survive."

I Spy-Jarvis Cocker

Sunday, November 8, 2009

And Another thing-Con Art

'I kept hearing David's plaintive cry, "I just wish something would break soon."' relates former manager, Kenneth Pitt in Marc Spitz's excellent new book- Bowie biography.

Reading those lines, its the Bowie I connect with the most. I think of him there, mired in pre-fame anonymity...'down on my knees in suburbia, down on myself in every way...' he would sing later on the 'Buddha of Suburbia' title song.
For nine years he schlepped himself around every dead beat, dead end repository, starving for his gravy, but still an indomitable talent never the less. Pre Ziggy, he couldn't even get arrested let alone a break. What spurred that self belief? Certainly he wasn't delusional, but in the face of such endless disappointment, I imagine he must have believed that he would die in the obscurity of his Beckenham roots-
demons dance you to the precipice of defeat so many times as an artist.

There go I without the rest.

Robert Williams-the godfather of pop surrealism, makes some rather wonderful observations about the artists lot in this months anniversary edition of Juxtapoz too. A soundbyte every two sentences, I could pour over his eminently quotable delivery for hours, or at least every time I take my leave to the bog, which is where I do a lot of my ruminating in all honesty.

To paraphrase: 'In the last 30 years, the most gifted have had to make do with occupations as commercial artists. The fine art establishment has purged
itself of beautifully executed imagery, and Art has become what Marcel Duchamp hoped for-whatever the artist points as Art.'
Though his consternation is largely pointed at the continuing adoption by the elite for abstraction, its a valid point that holds more than a cistern of water, particularly when you consider the most recent excreble contribution by post modernists figurehead, Damien Hirst, and the inevitable legion of platinum gold card collectors, that will be fawning over his shabby,Francis Bacon knock offs.

Capital "A" Art is a con, and I suspect the true artisans are those practitioners such as the Hirsts, Emmins, and that guy who glued elephant shit to a canvas whose name escapes me now. Those artists that parlay any true draftsmanship for the shock value of the emperors new clothes, and good for them-art history is littered with as many poseurs as it is Van Gogh's, auteur's rather than artists-why not give a kick to the establishment, take the money or even the Monet and run as it where. There is no honor in the artists garret, believe me.
For myself, I imagine that means I've taken the lesser road then, part of the marginalized that Williams advocates, but still no less hungry for that break as Bowie was in his suburban ennui.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Something for the weekend-The Place Inbetween

1.As the week draws to a close, I am putting the final touches to the piece which has taken me almost three months to complete. All being well, I should be able to post a final portrait soon.

The show at Belly Up has also been confirmed for November the 12th, and having seen the venue, I am beside myself with excitement. I shall be setting up my paints for a live painting event at around 6pm, as well as hanging the new piece and others, before the bands come on. Full details are at the following link:

2.And I posted another piece on Ebay-the mentor painting, which I was reticent to sell because of its personal nature, but space is becoming an issue with so many pieces lining the walls now, and I need to let work go just as I do any emotions that manifest them to begin with.

Mentor Original painting Auction

3.So the best laid plans of mice and men-given my distaste for rodents, the quote always struck me as diminishing human achievement to nothing more than rats foraging for moldy cheese and spreading pestilence and plague with our infestation. Certainly following today's events at the Fort Hood facility, and the subsequent bile peddled by so called experts on various tv news channels, gives one pause that perhaps the sentiment isn't too far from the truth.
Reflection rather than accusation takes precedent at such times, and as I watched the images, I felt moved listening to Unfinished Sympathy by Massive Attack on my ipod today. Sometimes the endless diatribe of reportage is so numbing, that one feels detached from the true tragedy of such events.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009


November is two days old, and I'm keen to wash the bitter taste of October from my mouth with the peppermint rinse of mentioning that today, I meet to spec the premises for the live painting event with FM 94.9 on November 12th.

I also wanted to let you know that my interview with Fantasy E-zine is now available to read for subscribers at the following address:


A snippet of which follows:
FE: How would you describe or categorize your art?
DG: I really don’t like to-its too static. By nature, artists are flighty and evolving constantly, and to formalize any kind of label is to box you in. This week, I happen to be a hyper real Victorian, surrealist with a sideline in biomechanic-steampunk, next week I may be playing jazz flute.

Finally, I am in the process of illustrating a book with author Peter J Carroll, who used my Gods and Monsters piece on the cover of his previous book-The Apophenion. Peters new book is a very exciting project, and I shall post occasional teasers. It's a continued exploration of
practical and theoretical magic and higher dimensional curved spacetime

Which brings us back to matters of karmic influences in a way-arc, circle closed.

Uh-oh, don't look now...

Monday, November 2, 2009

Gough Medicine-communication

"I'd wipe the machines off the face of the earth again, and end the industrial epoch absolutely, like a black mistake."
D. H. Lawrence