Saturday, December 24, 2011

...Way up north where the air gets cold

The stockings are stuffed, the tree is piled, the eggnog chilled... here's Sharon Tate to remind you to all to have a Merry Christmas.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

There's no angels-drawing by David Van Gough

Each Solstice, I try to make a concession-or antidote- to the sentiments of the season, and create limited edition cards for my friends. This year being no exception, here is a drawing entitled 'There's no angels' that shall be gracing mantles across the country.

Monday, December 19, 2011

High Rise-work in progress

There's almost an autonomy to painting the 'Rise' piece. It's not that I am disengaged-far from it-but dare I say that there are times when the strokes seem guided by something other than my hand...

Or perhaps the studio was a little too heady with turpentine and oil today.
In fact I know it was-it being too chill a prospect to crack the window and ventilate. It's reminded me that I want to move the studio from home in the new year. I must.
Lots of other things to look forward to, but I can't say too much because we aren't 'there' yet.

Enough for now to complete this painting by years end.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

The Shore

"The Shore" 1994
Acrylic on canvas

He're's a curious little painting I just rediscovered from the archives, circa mid 90's.

Someone I was emulating for about five minutes was Graham Sutherland , and for all his influence I like it much better in retrospect than I did at the time.

It was painted following a holiday in Cumbria,where I remember the fallen trees lining the lakes, made me think of rotting torso's washed up on the shore.

There may be the odd cadaver beneath those cold waters.

Interestingly, the tree motif of twisted roots and peeling bark has found its way into a lot of subsequent work.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

I endorse this Christmas message.

The tabloid, degenerate, darling, Banksy has been at it again-courting controversy with one of his little stunts. Banksy of course is about as anti establishment as Saatchi exhibiting the Chapman Bros-in fact Banksy is probably the brainchild of Saatchi, but that's another story.

I've given enough column inches already to this philistine, and this would have been just another note of irrelevancy, except to say that his latest wag is on my old stomping ground-The Walker Art gallery in Liverpool.
I daresay the Walker was in on it-good for them, it's a splendid gallery, that deserves national attention.

But what I
also like about the work in this instance, is that it's casting a light on an issue that far outweighs any of Banksy's usual media whoring for attention, at a time of year when religious sugar coating is predominant.
You can read the article here: Banksy unveils church abuse work

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Artistic Endeavour

I realize it may sound a little like a fortune cookie, but Art-like life-is an endless endeavor. Often, it means persevering whilst trying to ignore the ever diminishing voices. You know the ones ... the resume of failures, the unscaled peaks, the petty jealousies, the diminishing returns, the bank balance, the crows feet in the mirror that remind you it's another year. Sometimes you ignore them, sometimes you don't.
It can be a din in there, the unrealized dreams fighting for prominence against the reminder that there's rent to be paid, whilst stacks of unsold canvases line the walls, and the nights draw colder, longer and closer to Christmas.

Did Vincent burn canvas stretchers to keep warm I wonder?

Then there are the mornings, the battle with the fatigue of a restless night before, the cold, the umpteenth cup of tea, the news that the economy seems unsalvageable and Tracy Emin is now a professor of drawing, the what the fuck should I paint today, and what's the point anyway.

And then I walk into my studio and this is what awaits me.

Yes,it's a game of endurance, but its the only game worth playing.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Death and the Maiden drawing by David Van Gough

Death and the Maiden
9" x 9"
Felt tip pen on paper

The Death and the maiden motif has been one which has always fascinated me, so using Sharon Tate's likeness was going to be an obvious progression.
Little did I know that Polanski titled one of his films in the same vein. Anyway, I produced this sketch using felt tip pens-something I used consistently when I was a child-so it gives the impression of observing the murders from quite a naive point of view.

I think it worked out quite well for a sketch.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

The difference between oil and water-David Gough work in progress

For me, a painting never really comes to life until I paint it in oils-it doesn't fight with me in quite the same way that acrylics do.

Something else that I've been battling...

Since first reading the Bugulosi book way back in the 80's, there's been a wealth of material made available, published both in book form and on the web, so I've been revisiting the Manson story in depth as these pieces take shape.

As my sketchbooks margins swell with side notes daily, it's becoming obvious to me that what was intended as a smaller series is transitioning into a larger collection of work, with the necessity for a complete artistic case study.

Rather than inflict my diversion into the territory of conspiracy theory , onto the readership purely
here for the art, I shall be starting a second blog-title as yet undecided-early in the new year. I shall of course still be maintaining regular updates here.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Legacy-an artist's general truth-new painting by David Van Gough

"Legacy-an artist's general truth"
48" x 24"
Oil on Canvas

My homage to Jen Trute-using the paints and brushes I inherited from her-a painting that infused my thoughts and feelings about an artist's legacy along with her own passions for the environment.

There's more I could say about it, but I'd rather leave part of it's mystery intact-it feels a fitting tribute in a way.
I think she would have liked it-she was certainly worthy of this artist's contemplation.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Emma Goughs Competition series

My daughter-Emma is in her final year at University, and recently began a series which I feel is her best work to date. Entitled the 'Competition' series and dealing with female identity through the use of makeup, I'm hugely proud of her accomplishment and thought I'd share her newest works here.

Incidentally, Emma has a blog of her own and I recommend my followers check it out.

Emmas Blog

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Night shifts

Providing that I don't hate it in the morning, then the piece I am calling 'Legacy-an artists general truth' is finished.

Forgive the poorly lit photo, I'll post a better one once it's dry and in daylight.

Saturday, November 19, 2011


12" x 12"
Acrylic on canvas

To a certain generation-Kerouac is the one. For every aspiring writer or artist (although we had Gauguin) crippled with wanderlust from the paralyzing periphery of the every day, "On the road" was a bible manifesto.

Not that one can relate very much from a Liverpool back bedroom about road trips from Texas to Loredo-one would get as far as a Birmingham bus depot before becoming utterly disappointed.

Still one can dream.


Extinction Dance
60" x 48"
Acrylic on canvas

Someone I've recently had the good fortune of getting to know is a lovely young artist who goes by the name of Celestine. Having exhibited together at a couple of group shows here, it was a real pleasure the other day then to be given a personal tour of her solo exhibition at Pulse gallery.

Celestine-or Fei as I know her-was raised in China, and although she trained briefly in what she calls 'the Russian school of painting' when she was young, didn't begin her artistic odyssey until very recently.

One would never know.

The mess you left behind
30" x 24"
Oil on canvas

Her work seems thematically placed somewhere between the sensual half light of 80's film noir stained by an underbelly of vice and the muscular strokes of expressionism. Her paintings give that uneasy vantage point, through the so called Hollywood high life, late night last bubbles of bourbon and cocaine, and the toxic haze of cigar smoke.

The brittle beautiful child of Terry Rodgers and Eric Fischl without the sterility.

Beautiful Liar
40" x 40"
Oil on canvas

Sadly it's the final day before her show comes down, but anyone in the vicinity should catch this showcase if they can. Everyone else should follow what she does here-I fully intend to:

Celestine-in Darkness and Light.

Friday, November 18, 2011

About Face

Whilst I've some catching up to do on blog duties, this post comes to you in a shiny new wrapper, along with news of my sites relaunch.


It's a much more pristine affair, less Charles Barry -a bit more Walter Gropius, and whilst certain technicality will always elude my right brain, my years being stiffed on the sidelines as a designer, work in my favor for once.

There's some featured Limited Edition prints available, and in the coming weeks there will be additional Giclee prints added to the store.

Don't take my word for it, go see for yourself.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Far beyond our Halloween

Perhaps it was too bold a pronouncement, but I didn't complete the piece by All Hallows as I hoped I would-time eclipses ambition.

It can wait for another day.

For now, the Horror classics are queued and the Pumpkins are lit so...

Hellicious Halloween everyone.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Art After Death-Momento Mori-Oceanside Museum

Last night could have awakened the dead. Or at least rattled a few bones.
We were at the posthumously titled "Art after Death" event at the OMA-attendees and patrons in full costumed regalia.

I must say its a singularly surreal experience to see a succession of zombies file past ones work-art imitating life imitating art.

The misses and I plumbed for something a little more subdued-sartorial period homages to Poe and Mary Shelly-or faux Poe as one of my circle quipped.

Another bedazzling blur of faces (masked or otherwise), consigned to the faded memorabilia of crumpled programs-thank you to everyone who made it happen and made it out to see us.

The show closes on October the 30th.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

The Beat Goes On-article in City Beat with David Gough

"Gough’s oil paintings are beautifully done narratives often dealing with the cruel inevitability of mortality...

a pretty solid interview and review of my book in San Diego City Beat today, courtesy of Kinsee Morlan.
We actually talked for almost an hour early the other morning, and
despite only being on my third brew-she somehow managed to make my ramblings lucid..

Thank you Kinsee.

You can read the full transcript from the following:

Art Depicting Death, by Kinsee Morlan

OMA closing reception just two days away, clobber out of moth balls.

In between I've set myself the task of completing the painting I am now calling "An Artists Hommage-a general truth" before All hallows.

I may need to conjure spirits to help me.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Momento Mori-Oceanside Museum of Art-Featuring David Van Gough

I think any artist will tell you that opening shows feel like a brief bittersweet culmination. Lost in the whirlwind hubbub of meet and greeting, and word trifling, and back slappery, one rarely gets the chance to meditate in tranquility, the earnest ambiance of the voices on the wall, the months of travail that brought everything to this point.

Which is why it seems so fitting then, that what thus far has been my most prestigious showing, opened without the usual trappings of champagne embellishments.
Of course, the champagne shall still flow on the 28th, in what will be not so much of a reception as a closing, but that this particular show is a testament to the celebration of 'The' ultimate end, seems somehow oddly apropos.

Some thoughts on the collection-putting aside my own modest contributions for the moment, I was struck by not just the quality of work by my fellow journeyman, but the thematic restraint of the exhibit.

With All Hallows looming, thankfully this is no descent into what could have been the easy quagmire of schlock horror.
Other than my own pieces of course, my standout favorite painting was a work entitled "Horns". by Dan Allen, but my compliments to all the artists involved, along with the sterling work performed by the curators and staff at the OMA.

Full details of the Art after Death event on the 28th to follow.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Depiction of Depict

Dropped by the OMA today to pick up some flyers and a copy of Depict magazine.
Great full page of The Valley.

Since the exhibit hasn't been fully hung yet, I didn't get to chance a sneak peak at the work that will be on display, but I know something of my conferees, and the company shall be sterling.

Three long hot sleepless nights aead-fall santa ana relentless.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Pacific specific

With the OMA-Momento Mori show opening in less than a week, here's another nice little article that someone drew my attention to in Pacific Magazine.

October is ramping up to be a month of activity, punctuated with the obligatory late night mining of Netflix for 60's and 70's Horror classics.

I did however make it into the studio yesterday, and spent the hours embellishing details on the (working title) "Red reaper" piece.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Depict Magazine article

Further to my City Beat unpublished interview post, I've discovered a rather wonderful new magazine has posted this article for the forthcoming OMA show-remember your mortality, featuring a large splendid picture of 'The Valley' and a mention of someone you've never heard of.

You can read it online here:


Wednesday, October 5, 2011

The City Beat interview that never was

I did an exclusive, comprehensive interview with San Diego City Beat some weeks ago for my book, with the view that it was scheduled for the following issue.

It never materialized.

Whither it ever finds it's way into print, is on the bewildering whims of that particular papers editorship and a continuing indication of the support (or lack there of) that I receive from the media here in my adopted home town.
Sad but true.

Here nether the less it is, in it's full unedited glory.

I must give credit to journo Michael Misselwitz for his great vainglorious attempts to get it in last/last/this/next weeks/years issues.

Upon moving from the UK to the US, why did you chose San Diego specifically?

I wish I could say it was arbitrary, except we moved here purely because it was my wife’s home-turf, and since she had roots here, we thought it would be easier to make that transition from anglophile to American. Of course the reverse proved to be true.
It says in your press release that you were effected by what you saw as “extreme fundamentalism” in the media. Can you tell me more about this? In your opinion, what is extreme fundamentalism and how is it affecting media?

Having gotten my news from the good old stoic BBC for most of my life, the shocking thing for me was to suddenly be confronted with news that was delivered as opinion. It wasn’t news relayed as factual, dry reportage-it felt filtered through some scary party rally cry, where the fires of nationalism are stoked through paranoia and the fears of McCarthyism. In some respects, I think a lot of if has a certain amount to do with recapitulating the news as a theater, a sort of aspiration to be the Peter Finch character in Network-”mad, and not going to take it anymore”, but certainly if you look at what’s happening with Murdoch and his crew, the sense is that there is an underlying corrupt agenda beneath the surface that goes beyond mere ratings.

What do you think compelled the San Diego Art Institute to label you their featured artist for 2010?

Firstly, I felt extremely honored when I was approached, although I must admit that when I was told that they felt my work had a certain youthful appeal, there was a small niggling doubt in the back of my mind that I might be recast as some ghastly Ed Hardy knock off. Of course, that’s not giving the faculty or the students enough credit, because as it turned out, the exhibit was received with a great deal of reverence, and in fact I was told that often the kids would come and sit in quiet contemplation through out the day, almost as if they were meditating in church, which I thought was a delicious irony.

When you transitioned the emphasis of your series from the themes of The Theothanatos to the themes of Dead/Ends, you shifted focus from themes of “human origin” to themes death, death’s aftermath, and post-apocalypse. Your book describes the transition as a natural evolution, part of art’s ever-changing intention.Tell me more about this. What inspired the 180 shift?

Particularly with this series, the questions seemed so intrinsically part of journey-both personally and conceptually-one question seemed the counterpoint of the other, so: “where do I come from?” would always segue into “how long have I got?”, and those questions became more emphatic, the more I considered loss and grieving-in this case three friends who had expired over a fifteen year period. Eventually one looks inward, and as I had just tured the cusp of 40, all the questions of my own mortality were brought to the fore.
In some ways the work was mercurial, the result of its own rational equation, although the emphasis for me was always more emotive than from a logical standpoint.

Did you abandon the work from The Theothanatos Series completely? If not, what elements were carried on into Dead/Ends, and why?
The series actually culminated in the Ghost pieces, once I’d painted “Is there life after death?” the question seemed to be about decay and legacy. Dead/Ends was the thread-tying them together, plus with the book in mind, there was the connotation that it sounded like dead friends. I suppose if there is one residual element to it, it’s that there was an arc because with an end there is always a beginning that follows, so were back to some framework of origin.

Do you truly believe that God is dead, as implied by the Theothanatos titling? Why or why not?

In less the Nietzschian view that implies-for me it was, do I believe in a God at all-an omnipotent figurehead-and sadly I would have to say no. Faced with that realization,the question for me became how does one mourn the passing of something that never existed? The series and the book then I suppose is a reconciliation, but also in doing so makes the assertion that one has an abiding need to supplant one God -or spiritual epicenter-for another.

How long have you been working on The Theothanatos Series and Dead/Ends?

The pieces themselves were produced over a three year period,the book was a year, although I like to think I’d been working towards this series my whole life.
If you had to title yourself professionally, what would your title be? How would you describe yourself as an artist?

Titles sound a little too groomed for the nine to five, I’m just a working man trying to survive by doing something I love.

Can you give me a list of your most popular past works?
That’s tough-I don’t know that one could ever label my work as populist, since popularity in any contemporary sense feels like the antithesis of what I do. People have a soft spot for “Incarceration”-I think that piece really speaks of the human condition. Before that, it was probably “Killing Time” (2006) or “Gods and Monsters” (2004). I don’t really know.

When is the exact date for the expected release of Dead/Ends

 Currently its available online from the link below as a limited signed edition until September 30th, after which it shall be available from October through Amazon and various specialist outlets. http://davidgoughart.com/Dead_Ends.html
Any news on the book tour? When will it begin? 

No venues confirmed as yet, but books will be available at the Momento Mori show at Oceanside Museum of Art, where I am showing Oct 15th. Just to say that there will be three or four appearances in the fall here and possibly in LA. I’ll be posting regular updates through my site.

What do you see yourself doing in future with your professional artwork?
Aspiration will be my undoing- the disappointment can be so crushing. I know the work i am doing right now has no agenda beyond the journey, which is utterly fulfilling and enough to me for now. Beyond that-its as unknowable as an afterlife.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Our Father-excerpt from Dead/Ends

Further to it's recent release, here is another exclusive excerpt from my book-of Dead/Ends:

My dad Joseph, was a demolition man. Liverpool was a dereliction of extinct tenements, waiting to be razed to a landfill.

Caked in the muck of a days toil, he would often return with some relic—a yellow paged book or a faded tin toy.
The empty buildings were embellished with a forgotten era -cornices or metal fireplaces, wooden doors or roof slates could be stripped and sold for extra subsidy.

That’s the way it was during the searing summer of 77, when my Dad had clamored through a window onto a two- story building to retrieve the slate. Except the slate wasn’t secure, and as it slipped from its battens, my father lost his footing, falling thirty feet to the pavement below.
His body was shattered, his back broken and he spent the next eight months in a hospital healing, forcing himself to walk again, though he never truly recovered.

My Dad was a demolished man.

Years later, he would recount that there had been no slideshow of life flashing before him, only the presence of mind to land on his feet.

People would thank God, and say it was a miracle my Dad survived.
At the time I wondered why any merciful God would set him on a path to fall in the first place.
To my mind, my dads suffering made the almighty fallible, a brat petulantly toying with lives on a whim, all for the sake of being afforded some graciousness for abstaining his hand from an untimely end.

It wasn’t any God I wanted to revere.

Two fathers fell that day.

Dead/Ends is available to order from HERE

Sunday, October 2, 2011


Tentative. That's how I've been feeling for sometime now. It may have began to percolate months ago, but probably manifested when I went to pay my respects to Jen Trute.

In that little studio of hers overlooking Oceanside bay, stacked vestiges of an artists working life condensed into boxes, unpainted canvases and medical equipment.

That it reminded me of John Liddy's post legacy, was all too much like bad de ja vu.

That arc again-that shadow.

It made me wonder what my own ramshackle legacy would be, how the final tally would be disseminated-the books, the materials, the art. When personal effects and debtors are settled, would the most I could hope for be a hidden artifact collecting dust in a thrift store corner?

So, on the day I was interviewing for my return to the bourgeois lot of a regular paycheck, I was also at Jen Trute's former studio, inheriting boxes of oil paint and brushes, stacks of canvas, volumes of art books.
Irony gluts like a bloated slug.

And yet, for all her penultimate generosity, for all my gratitude, I couldn't shake the sense of feeling like some ghastly vulture. It made me tentative, especially when I got home and unloaded the boxes.

Let me tell you that Jen Trute was as meticulous with her materials as she was her work. High quality paints were ordered into color category, whilst thousands of swatches on cards annotated mixed values, and brushes separated into jars by size and material-everything as pristine as the day she had purchased them.

It all felt a little intimidating-I felt a little unworthy of the torch being passed.

Until finally I realized the best way to break the spell, and honor her, would be to paint her-or at least an imagined portrait of her-since we were acquaintances but never met.
And what better way than to do it using the materials she lovingly procured. Here then is a progression of the new piece-"tentatively" called Red Reaper- but done very much in the spirit, honor and paint of the incomparable Jen.

I think she would have liked it.

Friday, September 30, 2011

Upon a Midnight Dreary book review

Written by the delectable Dahlia Jane for her blog of all things macabre-Upon a midnight dreary-the first review of Dead/Ends is in, and its really rather wonderful.

You can read it in full from the following:

Dead Ends Review

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Ocean aside. Momento Mori show at Oceanside Museum of Art

I was forwarded this the other day. It's the flier for the Momento Mori show at the Oceanside Museum of Art.

What a lovely honor.

Speaking of which I dropped the two pieces I'm showing there yesterday.
They looked beautifully dressed in their new frames,as you can see below.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Momentum Mori

Now that the book is out, and we are two weeks into the release, I can report with a resonant sigh of relief that sales of the first edition have been steady, and nobody has demanded their money back-yet.

Of course, I have to tip my hat to my regulars-you know who you are-from antipodean to anglophile-thanks for keeping the Dead alive.
So far reviews amongst my coterie have been positive, and having done a couple of interviews with local press this week, it seems to be gathering some momentum.

We'll see.

Momento Mori show at OMA is October 15th-both the "Valley" and "Legend" shall be exhibited, and I'll be on hand to sign books which shall also be available.

Meanwhile, work in the studio continues, even if it does feel sporadic for the moment, so between tickling "the wall" piece-today I began a new painting, which you can see taking shape in the studio shot below.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Dead/Ends-The Beginning of the End-art book by David Gough


Here it finally is-A project literally three years in the making-Dead/Ends...as it were.

The order page is up and running, and I'm making a special limited edition signed (soft) release available for just 30 days.

There after, the book will be available through Amazon, Indie Store finder etc, with full ISBN.

Those who would still like a signed copy after that date, can come and purchase one in person, as I shall be doing a short tour here in San Diego.

Whilst venues are still to be announced- suffice to say that I can confirm that one of the dates coincides with my Momento Mori showing at the Oceanside Museum of Art on October 15th.

Exciting times ahead.

Below is the full official press release:



San Diego
DEAD/ENDS words and pictures by David Gough
In 2005 artist David Gough left his English roots to live and work in America.
Affected by what he saw as extreme fundamentalism in the media, he began a series entitled The Theothanatos Series, which would deal with broad questions of religious dogma and human origin.
However, as the series developed, he began to confront more existential questions of his own mortality, bringing to the forefront memories of personal loss, and an obsession with both the human skull and the number three.
Dead/Ends presents twenty-five works as well as the annotations and recollections that shaped the series.
A special limited signed edition is available for a thirty days online from the following link:
In October, the Book shall be available on Amazon, followed by a short book tour in San Diego. Venues to be announced.
Author of Strange Fascination: David Bowie — the Definitive Story, No Mercy: the Authorised and Uncensored Biography of the Stranglers, R.E.M. Fiction: an Alternative Biography, David Buckley,reflects on parallels between the lyrics of David Bowie and Gough's Art, as well as growing up in their mutual home town of Liverpool.
Raised in Liverpool, England, David Gough has been working as a professional artist for over twenty years.A former commercial illustrator, now living in the U.S, his work has been collected and licensed worldwide, as well as being exhibited and collected both in prominent exhibitions in the U.K, as well as being a regular addition to shows on both the West and East coasts of the U.S. Recently he was honored with the distinction of featured artist of 2010 at the San Diego Art Institute, as well as being featured at gallery’s in LA and Monterrey.
In the coming months, his work shall be included at the Oceanside Museum of Art as part of the 'Momeneto Mori' show

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Dead/Ends book site.

Here-as promised-is the sister site for my forthcoming Dead/Ends book, which doesn't have all the working links yet, but does have some preview pages up. In the coming weeks, there will be additional pages detailing reviews, the upcoming book tour and that all important how to order a copy.

Check it out.