Sunday, February 27, 2011

The Oscars

For all its obscene excess and turgid backslappery, I rather enjoy Oscar night-it transports me back to watching Bob Hope on a Black and White telly, with my old man in the Seventies.

Tonight we were treated to a remarkable Oscar themed dinner at our friend Shawna's- hors d' oeuvres manicured to resemble crowns and pig faces in honor of 'The King Speech' and 'Toy Story', Irish Stew for 'The Fighter'.

Some good contenders I believe, although so busy was I during the past year, I only caught two of the nominees- 'Inception' and 'Exit through the gift shop'.
Am rather relieved that the latter didn't win, the last thing the insufferable Banksy needs is further legitimacy. That's the joke of that entire thing, the fake authenticity of street martyrdom attacking the establishment, applauded by a groundswell of sycophantic media,collectors and artist's.
Which reminds me, I've been wanting to encourage anyone and everyone who is an artist to forget Banksy's droll wankfest, and watch Robert Hughes's exquisite diatribe about the contemporary art scene-'The Mona Lisa Curse.' As far as I know, It's only available on YouTube for the moment, and will probably be snagged for copyright in a month, but I implore you to watch it while you can, if only for the moment he eviscerates a collector for his expensive taste in bad art.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Waiting for Hockney

Discontent at squandering his artistic aspirations as a bartender, in 1994-Billy Pappa's decided to embark on a work which would be ten years in the making-a life-size, hyper real portrait of Marylin Monroe.
Using pin sharpened graphite and a magnifying glass, he painstakingly reproduced Richard Avedon's famous image to include pores, peach fuzz, hair follicles and blemishes, boldly said to measure a 1000 dpi.

Upon completion, Billy hit upon the notion that he wanted to present his decade long labor to his hero, David Hockney, thus validating his exercise as well as finding a kinship and champion.

So, armed with his moms poppy seed cake and an entourage that included his pastor, Billy left his home town of Baltimore and secured an audience with Hockney at his Hollywood home. Fame and Fortune ensued.

Except it didn't, and following a former assistants crushing assessment of the meeting said to have been dismissed by the veteran artist as 'Still just that fucking photograph', the harsh realities of Billy's odyssey conclude with a heartbreaking spiral back into bartending, $300,000 in debt to his friend, and the notion that all those years amounted to naught, but a portrait that can only be appreciated when viewed first hand.

What struck me about the film, was that harsh universal truth that troubles every artist, that of aspiration treading the wafer thin line of self delusion,and the elitism of the establishment being anathema to provincial ambition.
Of course,Hockney himself could be said at one time to be a working class boy made good, except as a media darling, stoked with the gloss of Californian superficiality,working on set pieces for Puccini's Opera and champion of the IPad, one would be hard pressed to recall his menial Yorkshire roots.
That said, for all Billy's earnest endeavors, the final results appear disappointingly sterile. Had Billy been acquainted with the work of say Dennis Peterson or even Ron Mueck before he embarked, his perspective could have focused on a subject more worthy of his odyssey. In that regard, Hockney's scathing assertion is right-Monroe as a cipher is ubiquitous to the point of cultural insignificance. Rauschenberg and Warhol, both understood that the visage of her celebrity had become a euphemism for the superfluous, and so trying to imbue new life into the subject could only ever be akin to shining a torch into a black hole.

As Brian Eno once concluded the journey is often more enjoyable than the destination,but as an artist one leaves the film wondering what price the ticket.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Mosaic gallery show

Expanding on the work I did for the recent Mosaic show, I'm currently working on a series of commissions for a sexologist. It's fascinating, and certainly not a direction I saw my artistry geared towards, but I'm really enjoying the diversion all the same.

Speaking of the Mosaic exhibit, there are four pieces still on show there, so anyone in the locale, could do better than staying in to catch reruns of Kourtney and Kim, by enjoying a glass of fine wine and enriching themselves with some local art culture.

Mosaic Gallery,
3422 30th North Park,
San Diego, CA 92104

Finally, I've been honored with an induction into the San Diego Visual Arts Guild, and have a rather nice gallery page on there website-check it out:


Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Art of the Shay Man

"Greed" Oil on Canvas

I first became aware of Shay Davis's work around two years ago. Vast sprawling canvases, full of surreal, multi layered grandeur and bathed in luscious gorgeousness, as well as all manner of dark progeny.

Be it a centaur impaling a rattlesnake with a trident, wild western bandit's sparring on a clockwork railroad, disembodied heads sprouting tentacles or a monumental stone head, rocking on brittle stilts like a propped boat, dwarfing a diminutive elephant sprouting from its jawline below, every piece was painted with the meticulousness of a grand old master.

Unsurprisingly I was to discover upon meeting Shay, that each piece takes months to complete, and that he is currently sequestered for hours completing what will surely be his magnum opus-The Seven Deadly Sins.

"Pride" Oil on Canvas

I've since been honored to share wall space and a growing friendship with Shay, and even if on first appearance, he does remind one a little of a more affable Joaquin Phoenix, it should come as no surprise then that he is also to feature in his own documentary entitled 'Shay Vision' which premiers April 8th at the Birch North Park Theater, here in San Diego.

Tickets are $10 with $1 of every purchase donated to the San Diego Visual Arts Network. For full details go to the following link, get your tickets soon, as this event promises to sell out:


Monday, February 21, 2011

All the Presidents Men

It's Presidents day here in the US, distinguishable for myself as an extra day spent with the misses. I'd like to say that we have plans, perhaps a road trip to the snow capped hills of Julian, or a wander around Borders before it disappears into the same dusty realm as Hollywood Video and Music Trader, except a week on, I am still nursing some horrible lurgy.

In lieu of anything remotely newsworthy, here then is a rather apt cover expressing my disposition, from that 80's DC classic- 'Shade the Changing Man'. Conjured by Brendan McCarthy who may have been on some psychotropic experimental drug or merely necking Benedryl-but whatever he was on-sadly, you don't see comic book covers like that anymore.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Mosaic Anniversary Show

The run up to Valentines might as well have been served on a bed of roses. Not that there was any resting on laurels to be had, since the Mosaic anniversary show was wonderfully hectic.
With over fifty shows under my belt, it would be all too easy to feel like one is going through the motions at these affairs, but then I am always swayed by the enthusiasm and interest by the amount of people who attend.

Obviously, making sales doesn't hurt either.

I am very grateful.
We were also fortunate enough to have the lovely and delightful miss Dahlia Jane stay with us.
Dahlia, is a writer who also runs a wonderfully esoteric blog of all things dark and macabre. aptly entitled "upon a midnight dreary", and has written a much more erudite account of the evening than I could, particularly as she was inspired enough to purchase one of the pieces-'Osmosis' Thank you Dahlia.

Please go to the link here: New Artwork from David Gough

Valentines itself was lovely and heady, except I have somehow managed to catch another ghastly bout of cold. Regardless of lurgy, I have a freshly primed canvas awaiting, and will post some missives soon.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Matters of the Art

To all intents, my book is complete -just a few kinks to iron out, and all being well it will be going to press before the month is through. I am hugely excited about the prospect and the coming months will be given to promotional duties and getting it under some noses.

In the interim, there are some other noteworthy things going on-the Mosaic Anniversary show is this coming weekend, and there has already been some interest in the few things I have there.

Continuing the Valentines theme, I've made some 16" x 20" signed canvas prints available of 'Kiss of Death', the piece I painted last year.

I'll keep the link working until Friday,for those last minute gifts:

Kiss Of Death Canvas Prints

I'm also running the special offer of $45 on selected canvas prints until Friday too, so get your orders in whilst they are still available

Canvas Print Sale

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Drawing in Love-show at Mosaic gallery featuring David Van Gough

The Mosaic anniversary show is next week, so I spent the past week completing three sketches for it.
The show being two days short of Valentines, the theme is 'Drawing in Love' and here are my submissions.
'Chimera Rising'
11" x 14"
Ink, Acrylic and pencil on paper

Regular visitors to my blog, will know that this piece has already been through several incarnations, but until I completed this version I realized what was missing. I've had an aversion to putting wings on any of my muses for some time now, since the connotation with my old work is there, but then I thought that doing something I didn't want to do was as good a reason as any, so it followed.

Chimera of course was a fire breathing creature from Lycia, comprised of animals, and there is something compelling and enigmatic in her manifestation. Beautiful but deadly, sophisticated but primeval, Its that juxtaposition inherent in woman that can enchant man even to his own detriment. The cracks are merely reflections on a false idol.
11" x 17" (approx)
graphite and acrylic on paper

Autonomy was the key to the conception of this one, and so its meaning didn't really reveal itself to me until I was almost complete. Certainly, its an overtly sexual piece, but its mired is in that transcendental moment of orgasm when the self becomes detached and fragmentary from time and space and yet there is that conjoining of the physical through the act itself, so becoming almost a third entity.
9" x 12" (approx)
graphite and acrylic on paper

Without being saccharine (when could one ever accuse my work of that) this was very much about how love is a unifying force, but also means the compromise of the individual as a possession. The arms could be all encompassing or suffocating depending on ones viewpoint and the merging of forms either a consolidation as a whole or the loss of the singular, which is why the figures are androgynous.

The show opens on the 12th February from five pm until 12am at Mosaic Gallery, 3422 30th North Park San Diego, CA 92104