Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Staring at white walls

Felt like a corpse today- one of those plastinated exhibits by Gunther Von whatsisface-posed in permanent stance, brush aloft, eyes like razor slashes, skin like alabaster. The irony isn't lost on me of all people.

I've been buried beneath a pyre of art books, and cds,grimoires and wet palettes this past week. You could be forgiven for thinking I'm auditioning for Hoarders, but it's actually kind of like my painters alchemy, and one day I imagine they will find my paint spattered carcass crushed under the detritus of my influences.

It struck me that I hadn't left the house in five days-it did rain for two of them, and I did spend the other two obsessing over the subtle hue's of a white wall only to discover it was grey, but regardless-the studio can be my retreat and my prison.

Ventured outside and walked to the local park, and sat in the sun, straining to hear birdsong beneath the hum of jets and the traffic on the 5, and for once didn't wish I was somewhere else, though did wish I had a dog.

It was the most clarity I'd felt in days.

I think it was Monet (or was it Manet?) who once said “color is my daylong obsession, joy, and torment,” Its so easy to walk that razors edge-its not like drinking or drugging or fucking, but when it's good it's addictive all the same.

The Mission

The Mission
11" x 17"
Oil on Canvas

Who are the arbiters of taste? Is taste a construct of the media, facilitated by a hunger for merely the next fad, and are people just sheep waiting to be herded in that regard?

I've been thinking about that notion for a while now, what resonates with those who make the decisions over what is 'noteworthy', and why? Do cultural shifts come into being as a distraction from the interminable mundane, or something more relevant going on behind the scenes? Are they chosen for their excellence and potential to expand minds or are they just so much flotsam and jetsam in the endless cultural landfill, appropriated to distend the mind like junk food.

So what does Lana-Del-Rey have to do with this?Miss Rey-formerly Lizzy Grant, daughter of a domain investor, is a self constructed phenomena herself, and came into prominence in what could be said the most democratic means these days-the viral video through her song on Youtube called without an inkling of a nod and a wink- 'Video Games'. And what a lovely 4 minutes and 47 seconds it was, a pristine pop song all crackly 70's cinefilm glamor, with a voice, sound and a look that could have come from the soundtrack to a David Lynch movie.

Everything was fine and dandy, the media smitten, covergirl-next big thing assured...that was until she appeared on SNL, and did the unthinkable, stood in a white dress (not a meat one) looking fragile and sang without the aid of backing dancers, fireworks or autotune.
Here was a product of artifice performing authentically. The arbiters went tittylipped and threw a tantrum like it had been sold a pup. Pop will build them up and eat its own. Still,bad publicity is better than none at all.

And whilst the Twittersphere and Blogoverse went apoplectic over a singers tv performance, the lower column inches hummed almost inaudibly with disdain for daily irrelevancy's such as Iraq, Wall Street and the machinations of policy makers.

So,here we have the lovely miss Rey-because you know my weakness for redheads-cast as Joan of Arc (played by that other Ray, Gabrielle) - a witch and pariah to be burned in the place of a war.

Video Games indeed.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Twenty four years separate us

With the self portrait currently consuming me, I thought this sketch was too irresistible a prospect not to do. Of course there's a part of me that balked at laying the cruel ravages of age bare on the slab for all to see, but the perverse side won out.

So 1988 to 2011.

Maybe I'll make it a decagonal thing-laugh in the face of old age.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Carry on Painting.

Week two of 2012 and I'm battling my annual cold, between a commission which I cannot share and a self portrait (which I want not to just yet). I've also been trying to bring Rise to completion-Trying being the operative...a perfect case of disconnect between whats on the canvas and in the minds eye.
Will Rise be my fall? Pun not withstanding.

What do other artists do at such times I wonder? Persevere stoically or make a pyre of failure? That could be an encapsulation of the creative process right there. As well as a splendid title for a painting. I'll carry on regardless.

"Carry on painting"...now there's a movie I'd love to see. Sid James as an old spiv Art dealer, Kenneth Williams and Hattie Jaques as sniffy collectors, Jim Dale would be the undiscovered Art ingenue and Babs Windsor his muse. It would all have to descend into a nude covered in paint farce, Yves Klein style of course.
Perhaps Damien Hirst should option the rights for his next post modern foray into celluloid. He could re-title it "Ooer Misses."

I digress,forgive me it's the fever-Sid James and Yves Klein all in the same post, what a cocktail.

In the absence of anything new then, here's something old-a curio from the archives of 1989, in which I briefly flirted with a kind of surreal cubism- Max Ernst style, making forms from string dipped in paint. Its called 'Woman attacked by moths' or something hopeless like that.

Quite rightly, I was leathered by the Bridewell studio crew for my callow affront- I was so crestfallen, but... I carried on regardless.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

...the rumour spread that I was aging fast

Can't believe this chap is 65, perhaps because it means I am getting older too.He's been a soundtrack to my life for over thirty years now, and whilst we can all lament that there shall be no more new music, there's enough legacy to relive our teens for several life times.

drawing is from when I was a young dude myself,back in early 1984 I believe.
Below are my ten favorite Bowie tracks-at least this week.

Many Happy Returns Mr Bowie

  1. Ashes to Ashes
  2. Quicksand
  3. Word on a wing
  4. A small plot of Land
  5. Always Crashing in the same car
  6. Wild Eyed Boy from Freecloud
  7. This is not America
  8. We are the Dead
  9. Planet of Dreams
  10. Untitled no. 1

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Rise and Arisen

Despite best efforts, Rise cannot rise to the occasion until it dries. I think it's the new organic turps I've been using, it's like a drying retardant, which would be fine except the snails pace makes it feel like it's still 2011.

Since reading about that time Frazetta lost the ability to paint because of the cheap turps he was using, I've been weary. Toxins be damned however, regardless of my studio's lousy ventilation and it being 80 degrees I am going to have to fall back on the hallucinogenic stuff for the time being.

In the interim, I'm working on a self portrait of sorts, which shall be part of the ongoing assimilation (working title) series. It's my epic project for this co
ming year, punctuated with occasional diversions into the American Madonna (another working title) sidearm.

Suffice to say, the first post of my sister blog is finally up, which are my working notes and research which accompany said series. So without further ado...