Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Mourning Tea-new still life study by David Gough

Mourning Tea
11" x 14"
Acrylic on Canvas

Still life isn't something I ever felt a calling toward, but it doesn't hurt to occasionally stretch other muscles.

This quick study started out as an idea I had for something I wanted to ruminate on between the pages of my forthcoming book-Dead/Ends.

It's much better served I think as a quick study, which I've done in a semi-impressionist style for incongruity, but it deals with that thing we English have of procuring tea whenever there is news of a bereavement. Having been the recipient of such news and the obligatory brew, its always struck me as an odd juxtaposition-the cold chill of mortality served with a hot, sweet comfort of a tea in a delicate china cup-the forced civility of familiar rituals and table etiquette over human frailty and any potential social discomfort.

For such occasions, I've oft been tempted to craft a teapot from an skull, of course the various cracks and crevices of the dome would have to be plumbed to avoid leakage, but there the pot would sit amongst the doilies and china, grinning like....well death.

Here however-a black kettle will have to suffice-(because of course its a pot calling a...you got it), and as well as being a nod to my own artistic legacy, the skull having fallen (and oh how I delight in little symbolic gestures like that) there's that whole thing of a 'watched pot never boils', which could be as much about my artistic fortunes as anything.

And if there's any doubt sill left about my intent for this piece, there's the discarded pine cone, spent of its seed and looking for all the world like a lumpen, shriveled turd, either casting a reflection or staining the virgin white of the table cloth, depending on your preference.

Not bad for a mornings work.

Monday, March 28, 2011

David Gough, fourth place, Most Modern Art Contest-Pacific San Diego

So my entry for the Most Modern Art contest has taken fifth place in Pacific magazine as voted for by Facebook supporters. Thank you.

The magazine is available from all Ralph stores, or to view online from the following:

Pacific San Diego Magazine.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Joshua Tree

We're back from a two day sojourn to Joshua Tree. It was cold, windy, inhospitable and alien-everything in fact that is the prerequisite to fire my imagination.
At night the gale tugged at the tents canvas, so we curled in our sleeping bags like pupae,awaiting the eye of the storm. And I had the most vividly,epic dreams.

It was perfect. Thank you my darling wife-x

What did I miss whilst I was away?

Well, my daughter-Emma, was part of an exhibit that's going on called Studio 121,
showcasing second year BA Hons Fine Art students. I've only seen a small photo sample of her work on display, but it looks like a tremendous combination of cubist collage and naturalism, and I say that without a hint of bias.
I'll post photos as soon as I have them.

The show is currently showing at:

The CUC Liverpool
41-51 Greenland Street
Liverpool, United Kingdom

Emma also has a blog of her own, which you can follow here:


I also received news about something which I should be able to confirm over the next few days-past indiscretions have taught me the folly of spilling beans before money is in the bank, so to speak, but I think I am on fairly safe ground to tell you that good things are afoot, or at least a small toe.

Friday, March 25, 2011

David Gough inspirations-day five: The Walker Art gallery-Liverpool

Day Five of five Things that Influenced me as a kid

Living in Liverpool in the 70's, one could have been forgiven for thinking that the only culture left was the unisong of Kop supporters singing 'You'll Never Walk Alone', or hearing the Beatles on the radio.

That certainly would have been the case, had it not been for faded 19th Century coliseum building in the town center called the Walker Art Gallery.
My first visit must have been with my Old Man, or perhaps my Grandad-I was still too much of a tot to remember who exactly-but what I do recall is the opulence of the lobby, the smell of varnished oak and high ceilings with gold flourishes, a side room with alabaster statues before the marble staircase with vast canvases resplendent with Napoleon or Greek allegory.

It was my first introduction to real Art,and although it would be years before I was to see a faded reprint of Bosh's Earthly Delights, my calling was assured in the years between. I've visited so many times since, from bunking off from school to sit for hours studying the masterworks, to seeing it's glories fresh through my children's eyes.

Below are five pieces that consumed me.

'A Horse Frightened by a Lion'-George Stubbs. 1770

'Interior at Paddington'-Lucian Freud-1951

'And when did you last see your father?' William Frederick Yeames-1878

'Echo and Narcissus', John William Waterhouse, 1903

'The Murder'-Paul Cezanne-1868

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Samuel Beckett portrait by David Van Gough

11" x 14"

Acrylic on canvas

"Birth was the death of him"Add ImageSamuel Beckett.

So another year. Ho Hum.

Should I be lucky enough to reach relative sagehood, I hope that I do so looking as cool as Samuel Beckett.
What a face-a veritable crumpled road map of life.
What a legacy-although truth be told I'm a little more partial to Joyce.
Each to his own.

I kept this one fast and loose, and it turned out all the better for it.
With a face like that, the rest was easy.

David Gough inspirations-day four : British TV Titles in the Seventies

Day four of five things that influenced me as a kid

Perhaps it was the result of some residual psychedelic Acid trip from the Sixties at Broadcasting house's Art department, but there seemed to be something positively unsettling about some British TV in the Seventies.

Whatever it was, the shows titles alone seemed designed in some Orwellian lab, to imprint dark nightmarish visions on an impressionable young cerebellum. Certainly for this artist, they colored an already fevered imagination.

Take 'The Tomorrow People', billed as a children's Television show about superbrained adolescents, no doubt some of the plots would have gone completely over my head even now, But the title sequence still puts the fear of dark Gods into me.

U.F.O came from the same stable as Thunderbirds, except
as opposed to puppets it was Aliens that looked in the throws of epilepsy, Ed Stryker and the delicious Gabrielle Drake looking like a throwback to 2001. The end sequence can still give me cold sweats.

Armchair Thriller WAS on usually after Ovaltine and as I was about to be ordered up the stairs, but try falling into a wistful slumber with this sequence resonating in your skull.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

David Gough inspirations-day three: Liverpool

Day three of five things that influenced me as a kid

"No one who has any self-respect stays -but flees afar as though from a country that has undergone the visitation of an angered Jove.”James Joyce

Every artist or writer holds a weary relationship with there hometown. Growing up in Liverpool in the Seventies and early Eighties felt akin to living in a warzone.
The architectural contemporary dream of the sixties had been reduced to the urban squalor of a abandoned tenements, whilst dilapidated Victorian alleyways lay strewn with garbage, soiled mattresses and bursting couches. Burned out cars sat on faceless gray estates, while shipyards heaved with rusted old vessels on banks of shit colored mud-bygones of an industrious era. Everything felt like decay, particularly when you lived by a cemetery.

These were the playgrounds of my youth.

It's all too easy to heighten reality, recast it as some romantic, resilient 'Boys from the Blackstuff' morality play, but the truth is far from ideal. Still looking back at pictures from that era, I can see the influence that those times had on my creative geography.

All photos copyright Dave Sinclair, for more of his incredible images go to http://www.flickr.com/photos/dave_sinclair_liverpool_photos/

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

David Gough inspirations-day two: The Berlin Trilog

Day two of five things that influenced me as a kid.

If memory serves, Low was the third album I bought. It’s dark timbres blew open my universe, gave me a brittle sound-scape to pin all my adolescent, depressive nihilism to, as well as elevating my dilapidated geography to the status of Art. It made me imagine I could be living in Berlin or Paris, anywhere but the grey dirge of Liverpool.

The first of his so called triptych of Low, Heroes and Lodger, has long passed into rock mythos. Bowie’s rehab, exiling to Berlin after the LA cocaine fever of storing his piss in fridges, for fear a witches coven was trying to use his fluids to sire the anti Christ. So, living over an auto parts shop in the Turkish quarter of the city, chaperoned by fellow addict Iggy Pop and former Roxy Music knob twiddler Eno, Bowie set out to make an album of ambient muzik- an album to cut your throat to, as Charles Shaar Murray sniffily stated at the time-but still a counterpoint no less to the gobbing sneer that was the height of punk.

Beset by legal battles, the dissolution of his marriage to Angie-Low and its proceeding album was borne in the shadow of armed guards at Hansa studio by the wall, regular jaunts through Die Brücke museum  and stumbling wasted through Transgender cabaret clubs with Iggy.  I’d argue that Iggy’s the Idiot and Lust for Life form the cannon, The Idiot, opening with Sister Midnight, and Lodger book-ending  with a note for note rewrite in the form of Red Money.

By which point, the man himself was ready to serve notice on the Seventies,  dragging a few Blitz clubbers along to be bulldozed for the Ashes video, before turning his back on them altogether with the polished R&B grooves of Lets Dance.

To a working class lad growing up in poverty stricken inner city, there was little hope of ones world being opened to culture of any kind, but there it was German Expressionism, Dada, Surrealism, Nietzsche, Ballard, Phillip K Dick, Burroughs, all filtered through the perfection of an angular pop song.
Where else could one hear about Cabaret Voltaire or Dr Caligari, where else could one find aspiration to be something other- certainly not in the stifling of a provincial class room.

Choice Cuts:
A New Career in a New Town
Joe the Lion
Fantastic Voyage
Red Money

Monday, March 21, 2011

David Gough inspirations-day one: Kevin O'Neill-Nemesis

Day one of five things that influenced me as a kid.

2000ad was a British sci-fi weekly, borne from the same year that brought us punk and Star Wars-in fact you could say it was a beautiful bastard child of the two.
To any kid with a rapacious imagination, it was a revelation.

In its tenure, it brought to the fore some formidable comic book talent- Brian Bolland, Mike McMahon, Dave Gibbons and my favorite Kevin O'Neill.

The story goes that O'Neill had been an office junior at publishers IPC,who having shown some aptitude, was thrown the bone of an art assignment on one of Tharg's (the alien editor) strips.
Such were the times back then.

He quickly elevated to covers, before regular duties were assigned to titles such as Ro-Busters, ABC warriors and the magnificent Nemesis the Warlock.

Nemesis was like nothing in comics that I'd ever seen before-an angular headed ET freedom fighter touched by mystical madness.
With perfect foil-Pat Mills writing an anti religious parable about alien cleansing exterminators wearing KKK garb led by a tyrannical Torquemada, O'Neill's imagination was free to indulge his neurotic, scratchy renderings with all manner of weirdness and progeny.

It wasn't even comics, it felt like the twisted mind warp of someone who had been genetically cultured from the same petri dish as Bosch melded with some alien offspring.

This was no comic for kids.

Indeed, his work was to come under the scrutiny of comics code censorship, which has always left me to marvel at what manner of grotesque horror he had to tone down, given the full tilt that did make it to print.

Then of course America beckoned and off he went to illuminate Marshall Law, Batman and his more recent stellar work on League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, all of which I collected just because.
However, it's his Art on Nemesis with it's gothic detail and
demented subversion that upon revisiting, can conjure again, all the artistic aspirations, sense of play and enthusiasms I had as a child.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Drawing Breath-art comission by David Gough for local Sexologist

Some last minute retouching on the erotic drawings before I deliver them later today.

Here they are in no particular order.

'Paradox'-11" x 17"-Graphite and acrylic wash on paper

'Palindrone'-11" x 17"-Graphite and acrylic wash on paper

'Osmosis'-11" x 17"-Graphite and acrylic wash on paper

I'm very pleased with the set, and at some juncture I may put them together as a series of limited edition prints. We'll see.

All being well, I should have some more good news to impart over the next few days, and as its the week that celebrates (or commiserates) another year older, I'll be posting a daily feature showcasing five things that influenced me growing up.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Sarah Palin

Sarah Palin thinks the arts are frivolous.

So bereft of intelligence is this repugnant, homecoming spleen queen, that she completely lacks the faculty to contemplate the sense of irony in that statement.

Do you know why Palin hates the Arts? Because as I've written before
Art is "...an ever evolving amoeba that continually redefines itself, but can define whole cultures with a flourish, visualize the future dreams that are the foundation of empires, encapsulate a human epithet or a profound moment in world history" Basically then, everything this troll lacks in understanding, everything that is counterpoint to the Republican dream.

Why does the media here continue to give a platform to this ghastly woman? Because she is the the dribbling mouthpiece of extremes that a certain withered arm of the tabloid is ravenous for?
Because she is some homegrown champion of a Pleasantville,white supremacist, time-warp?


For me she represents everything that is currently stagnant about America-myopic, vapid, self obsessed, indignant, unrepentant, draconian, toxic-a catchall chasm of bilious soundbites bathed in the star spangled banner of apple pie,scripture and poison.

To waste another adjective on her behalf would be to give her more credit than her twisted sense of the universe could process, and yet there she is undeniably squatting on column inches like Snooki, or some other piece of cultural excreta,but that's what it is to be fodder, that's what it is to be truly "frivolous."

Monday, March 14, 2011

Dead / Ends book by David Gough

So here we have it-thirty two pages, filled with twenty five color plates and complimented by annotations and anecdotes, and self published on my own Darq Matter imprint-I am finally able to reveal the cover for my upcoming Dead/Ends book, along with the blurbage that accompanies it:

"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 body of works 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 fore memories of personal loss and an obsession with the human skull and the number three.

This volume collects together twenty five works as well as the annotations and recollections that shaped the series.

At this stage and if all goes according to plan, I am aiming for a full release April 30th, which will be available through my site as well as several online outlets, as well as a possible show to accompany it sometime in May. I'll also be publishing small excerpts in the run up to release here, so you know drill by now, stay tuned as there are more details to follow.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Life stuff

Sitting in Starbucks amongst the hub bub of normalcy on a Sunday morning. Customers ordering frappuccino lattes, valley girls jabbering a million miles a minute about nothing of note at the next table.
It's difficult not to be reminded of the superficial absurdity of it all, when looking at images from the Tsunami. Nothing so trite as adding some vacuous soundbyte to the incomprehension of 10,000 fatalities on the Twittervese or Blogosphere either.

I shalln't even try.

It does remind you however, of how tenuous everything is, forces you to savor the minutia. At least one hopes it does. That's how it's been this weekend. Drinks and karaoke with family, breakfast with a friend, dinner and a movie with my wife.
For me, the world never makes more sense than in the studio, there I can reorder the chaos. Recapitulate anew. Feel possibly immortal or something.
So progress on the aptly titled 'Osmosis' goes to plan, more layers to add, but it evolves surprisingly with ease.

And I finished another piece for the series of drawings I am working on, which goes by the working title of 'Paradox', but may end up being called 'Flux'.

Tomorrow, I'll be releasing details of my book Dead|Ends-which friends of my Facebook, have already gotten a preview of.

All the life stuff then.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

I lean back on my radio oh oh

Between 7:30pm and 8pm this evening, my North Western parlance could be heard on WS Radio's Art Rocks segment. I hope I didn't waffle too much, as I've always said, I have the perfect face for radio, so it seemed to go well. Thanks to anyone who listened in, and if you missed it, at some point the podcast should be available online,should you want to hear it.
A quick shout out to hosts Philly Joe Swendoza and Cynthia Kosciuczyk for easing me into my first broadcast too.

Back to the studio tomorrow, progress missives to follow.
Which just leaves me to share this photo I snapped of my cat Ronin today.
I am beginning to suspect that he might be a Judy Garland fan.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Art Rocks Radio

As a last minute addition, I'll be appearing on WS local Art Rocks Radio tomorrow, sometime between 7pm and 8pm.

As one half Irish, I'll be one of those representing the artistic contingent in anticipation for St Patricks day, as well talking about my art and whatever else pops up esoterically.
You can listen to the show at the following link:

Art Rocks Radio

Two of my works are also in the running for the Pacific San Diego Magazines Most Modern Art contest.

The winning entry will end up on the cover, and so far I am
30 votes behind the leader. With two days to go before the close of polls, it's likely a shoo in who will win at this point, but at the very least I may hope to get a mention as a runner up in the residual article. To vote firstly click Like on Pacific Magazines Facebook page:


The click like for one or both of my entries:

Shadow Entry

Ghost of Medusa Entry

My thanks in advance, along with apologies for the linksanity of this post, normal viewing shall resume soon.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Cracking nuts

Was going to wait 'till it was dry and I had a proper scan, but since the wife is passed out on the couch and I'm done clicking through my usual distractions, then bugger it.

Its just a study in oil-a warm up, a meagre apéritif, but why paint a ballerina?

Why not?

Actually if you want context (and no, I've not seen Black Swan) there is something to preface this.

When I was a mere tadpole, I swore down blind that one day I would marry a ballerina. Possibly this was the result of watching a tellyplay of 'The Nutcracker' every Christmas, but regardless, I realised there was something beautiful and pure, that bespoke innately to my prepubescent mind.

Of course I didn't marry a ballerina...although I kind of did.

When my wife was a mere cygnet, she took ballet lessons and was eventually brought to bear at the ripe old age of six, to play a doormouse in-yes you guessed it-'The Nutcracker'.

Life...it's all about the arc's and where you find them.

Then again, it could all just be a bloody shambles.

More soon.


Thursday, March 3, 2011

Exit through the Taco Shop.

The Artistic "community" here seems besotted with a recent appearance of an alleged Banksy, on the wall of an Oceanside Taco shop. I've made my growing distaste for the artist known as Banksy here before, so ground covered (or wall), I've said all I want to in that regard.

I wasn't going to further add to the mire then, except what perturbs me most about about this whole thing, is the attention that's being expended in the question of it's authenticity.
Is it a Banksy?
Isn't it?
Who the fuck cares..?

For all his supposed anonymity, the hype surrounding such shameless attention whoring ensures cultural ubiquity to the point of it's authenticity being moot.
Indeed, even after Banksy's P.R office (a subversive street artist with an agent and PR dept-doesn't this strike anyone else as a glaring contradiction?) has dismissed the piece as a fake, the media here continues to flutter around the wearisome question of who the forger is, like flies around a fresh,shiny turd.

What we end up with then, is a poor duplicate of a puerile artistic degenerative, now holding the rapt media with column inches and some skewed perception of ingenuity.

Meanwhile, sales at the Taco shop have doubled, which says it all really.

Exit through the Taco Shop.

Can I have cheese with mine.