Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Years End 2016

Here comes the fire
Our funeral pyre, baby”
Neil Hannon with the Divine Comedy-Here Comes the Flood

So 2016-the year of the reaper, the year the world lost its collective Reality TV-addled mind and went full tilt Walking Dead.
If the year began with the untimely passing of my greatest idol, it ends with a morticians pool that feels akin to some kind of celebrity rapture. Lest we forget the real horrors of Aleppo and Orlando. death toll the bell.
November brought another death, the year America got a malignant tumor and instead of performing a routine biopsy, decided to vote en masse to let the carcinoma riddle its way like a scourge through every vital organ. Prognosis isn’t good, and it currently lies choking its last, toxic gargled breath on a hallucinatory diet of hate and bitter rancor, stale 1950’s apple pie peppered with Cheeto dust and bullshit.  Experts are worried that unless the infection is contained, it may reach epidemic proportions with mass casualty.
Glibs aside, this sad sack year was party to the loss of two friends and an uncle to cancer. Fuck cancer.
It’s certainly no accident then that the compilation of works from the year, heavily feature some sort of death’s head motif.
On the other hand, my Art career has never looked more buoyant, so there’s that. I can’t tell you how grateful I am.
The supporters, the curators, the gallery’s, my wife, my family and friends.
No small blessings.
And in the post-Brexit, Trumpocalypse, what prospect for the year’s turn one wonders? The totalitarian pall of 1930’s Weimar Germany, the shadow of a reemerging cold war, a civil war, a race war, economic meltdown, genocide, the annihilation of the entire world at the infantile trigger-tweet finger of a despotic lunatic?  Take your pick.
I’ll be in my studio daubing as the world burns.
No better time than the end times after all.

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Mourning Star

“Hallelujah noel be it heaven or hell
The christmas we get we deserve”
Greg Lake-I believe in Father Christmas

9″ x 14″ | Biro on paper
It’s that time again, my annual antidote to the Hallmark season of kitsch platitude-although it’s arguable that this year has been one big antidote and fuck you to good will.
So on this first day of the Winter solstice, as an ode to this annus horribilis, this little biro drawing is a constellation of doom and misfortune, grief and ill omen-a flaming tear in the revolving cosmos, more a star of bedlam than Bethlehem.
Regardless, it remains with me to wish everyone, a most blessed and harmonious Saturnalia. It may be our last.

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Art and Cake Review

“In Van Gough’s vision, the devil is not in the details but in the distractions”
There’s a rather grand review of the recent Dark Realism/ Dark surrealism show at Gregorio Escalante gallery, up on Art and Cake LA.  I’m very grateful to the reviewer for their very astute and intuitive summation of ‘The Devil’-my piece in the show. You can read the full article from the link HERE.
The show is open until the 23rd of this month, so if you are in the area, please take a break from the shopping deluge of tinsel and tat, and soak up something that is more Satan’s grotto than the white bearded fella.

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Understanding Necrophilia

…the history of art is littered with a necrophilic undercurrent, and sex and death it seems is a constant, irresistible theme: from Carravagio’s use of drowned corpses as models for the holy virgin, to Hans Bellmer’s Doll, it is the inanimate body venerated as holy object, a soulless vessel procured for desire. “
Here’s quite a splendid honor-my artistic and academic inclusion in what is the definitive guide to Understanding Necrophilia which is designed to serve as a complete reference guide for psychiatrists, social workers, those working in law enforcement, and students of forensic medicine and psychology.
It’s an extraordinary and fascinating book, filled with professional insight from renowned criminologists. My own little contribution includes a chapter on sex and death in art and my process for the painting ‘Putrefying Venus’, and at almost 500 pages, this hefty tome is available on Amazon now.
Grab a copy for someone’s stocking and sour their eggnog:
As a sidenote, ‘Putrefying Venus was  originally commissioned for the cover, but I guess the publisher wanted a more academic, subdued, version, relegating the painting to the interior.
Whilst the honor stands, there’s a certain amount of irony about the publisher of a book on Necrophilia getting cold feet.
Here’s how the cover might have looked, had they gone in the direction I’d hoped for.
Ah well, maybe the second edition.

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Dark Realism/Dark Surrealism Opening

So two weekends, Gregorio Escalante gallery, an artistic pantheon presenting the absolute pinnacle of dark Art. I mean what more can you ask for? My gracious thanks and gratitude to Greg Escalante, Chet Zar, Myron Conan Dyal and all the other incredible artists I shared walls with.

Here are some more stellar shots from the show- HERE
Show runs through December 23rd.

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Flogging a dead horse

It’s winter on the mountain, so colder than a witches tit , as my fingers numb painting progeny from some region of Hades. I’m tempted to liken it all to Munch in his open-air studio, or Brueghel freezing his arse off painting Hunters in the snow, except the make shift home studio / garage seems less romantic, and for all its crappiness-the little space heater disqualifies me from truly suffering for my art.
Still, it’s brass monkeys.
This one actually started out as something I knocked up at a live painting thing at some bar several years back. It’s sat abandoned behind a bunch of other unfinished canvases ever since. And then November happened, so no better time to dust off one of the four horsemen in the face of impending apocalypse I suppose.
I’m juggling two other large-scale pieces right now, which means all this renewed fever of activity will keep me warm before actual hell or a nuclear winter is unleashed on earth.

Monday, November 14, 2016

All the Devils are here.

36″ x 48″
Oil on canvas
Painted this, one-month last year.
Here’s the obligatory wank I wrote at the time:
“If the inherent meanings attributed with the up-right turn of the Devil tarot, are those of bondage, addiction, materialism, sexuality then how do these external forces translate in a contemporary sense?
With this piece, I wanted to take a traditional, almost secular avatar and revise it to a set of recognizable boundary’s in a culturally and politically relevant sense.
So I used the moment a first term president, stood on the literal flagship,representing an iconographic and establishment figure head-U.S.S Lincoln-to pronounce “Mission Accomplished”
What was accomplished exactly?
Was it a pronouncement to something far more sinister, made as it was on May 1st- or May day- a sacred Beltane date in the Illuminati calendar and also coincidentally, the same date of the Gulf oil spill , the death of Bin Laden, and a decade to the day that I completed this painting.
History has catalogued the subsequent fallout and the measure of swaggering, corporate, militarized, imperial arrogance of that speech far more adroitly than I ever can in paint, but in regards to the framework of the Tarot and its meaning, how do we navigate these murky waters to understand our own complicity to inevitable destruction, and the Cthulu-like tendrils that tumult and take root beneath the surface?
We do so because we are beholden to established power structures, to our acquisitions, our narcissism, to the illusionary deception of fear through the media, the physical bondage of materialism, to superficial totems, to our endless distractions, our disconnection of each other through a wifi connection, our addiction to fossil fuels for the plundering of our Online Articles.
Who are the real Devils then?  Are we the Luciferian aspect-the idolators that impose a hell of our own making upon Earth? And do we have it within our power to break the bonds of enslavement?
Or do we leave  the chance to the turn of a card?”
It’s never seemed more prevalent.
It’s also going to be on display at Gregorio Escalante’s gallery for Chet Zar’s Dark Realism / Dark Surrealism show from December 3rd.
I’ll post more details soon.

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Hell is truth seen too late.

What a week ,eh?  A week in which it seems the world has gone utterly barking mad. In the proliferation of editorials and post-mortems it’s hard not to cast this period as America’s final obituary. Hard not to fear the cataclysms and horrors the future holds. Hard not to see the dark specters in the hard lessons of history. Hard not to feel like Nietzsche’s crazed ragman, raging at the sky.
All too easy in fact, in a blighted year that has already been so fucking wretched.
As an artist particularly, its all too easy to retreat to escapism and impartiality, after all-I’ve heard it said that “being divisive, is bad for business old boy”.
Except I see nothing but complicity in silence.
Art-NOW more than ever- has a responsibility to turn a mirror on the unraveling shit storm that will prevail over the coming years. And it may be the only democratizer and means of expression left to those who may fear retaliation for speaking out.
And I will do my bit, as I always have to put my brush where uncomfortable truths lie.
To that end, there is my new series, a direct follow on from Purgatorium, called Paradiso-Edens Fall,a title that may give something of an insight into my dark intent.
Then there is the bridge piece between the two, “Leviathan”-(pictured above) which takes its title from Thomas Hobbes book of the same name.
I shall also be making an announcement about a piece which shall be showing at Gregorio Escalante’s wonderful basement gallery shortly.
To quote Hobbes-“Hell is truth seen too late.” , and for me there is no more critical time but now to tell it.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Cagliastro’s Feast:

Bad table manners at Djinner time
11″ x 14″ | Oil on canvas
For the uninitiated, Alessandro Cagliastro (also known as Joseph Balsamo) was a self styled occultist from the 1800’s who developed the disreputable distinction of being a charlatan or as Thomas Carlyle put it- ‘the Prince of Quacks’. His reputation wasn’t helped by his legacy as a forger par excellence, or by his connection to the Marie Antoinette Diamond Necklace affair. There’s something of case for him being a forebearer of Crowley’s however, a kind of 0.1 version and in fact, the great beast himself claimed Cagliastro to be one of his early manifestations.
He is also the author of the esoteric manuscript, The Most Holy Trinosophia, and was the founder of the lodge for the rite of Egyptian Freemasonry, which would prove to be curtains for the old magus when the inquisition put him on a charge of being one of its paternal members.
Here, I have him seated at an altar for the knights of Malta,surrounded by his props and uncorking a djinn- no doubt spinning tales of treasures in the distant Mount Pellegrino, to the duped cracked skull of Marano. Yet there’s an overshadowing menace bearing down on the com media dell’arte. Something which is always peering from beneath the surface, a primal fear of dark foreboding and ancient rite as represented by the seven headed dragon of Babylon.
It’s the notion of something ancient being played out over time, a return to the themes I touched on in the Man/son series, and it’s given me something of a flavor of what my next body of work will look like.
Cagliastro’s Feast will be on show during the Dark Matters show,at Bash Fine Art from this coming weekend through the 26th November.

Saturday, October 1, 2016

What doesn’t kill you

0″ x 12″-Oil on panel
Given that this is my umpteenth work this year to feature some sort of death motif, ought to give you an indication of how I’m feeling about everything.
This one particularly is about the relentless (bastard) disease of cancer which I’ve tackled twice in my work before- the first time in ‘Mothers Milk’ and secondly as a homage to a friend in ‘Legacy-an artist general truth’
This one may seem a lot less po-faced, even pop surreal I suppose, but no less vitriolic, particularly when I recall the two family members, the friend, and the idol lost in its ruthless wake this past year.
The Big ‘C’ is like a plague one dare not say fully, for fear of  invoking a death sentence, it’s there a lurking, malevolent, silent, conspiracy of the bodies betrayal, a festering paranoia in every breath you inhale.
I wanted to evoke some of that in this piece which will be part of a special group show called simply ‘Cancer’ at Hyaena Gallery from October 1st through October 30th.

Sunday, August 21, 2016

The Eternal Battle progress 1

What to say about my latest outing? I could tell you that this one has been five years in the making.The huge canvas is at least that old, and the piece itself was meant to be the focal piece of the Purgatorium series, except time put paid to that. I never thought I’d gotten the idea right you see, so it was reworked as a dozen sketches over the years, before being shelved until very recently.
That was when I realized it should have been vertical instead of horizontal all along.
If nothing else, this tumultuous year has offered perspective.
The Eternal Battle is just a working title for now, but that’s Hitler and Van Gogh scrapping it out by the way, which is part of an ongoing theory I have about creative destruction and artistic failure in the 20th century. That would make a great title of a modern thesis actually-perhaps Mathew Collings should option it.  Perhaps not.
Lots of shows between now and the year end, but I’ll keep battling away on it and posting progressions in the interim.

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Renderings Sketch Book

As far as I know, I could scrawl before I could crawl.  I couldn’t tell you for the life of me, what it was the sparked the whole need to leave marks on paper, but that exuberant spirit of discovery has stayed with me through my whole life and dozens of sketchbooks.

So, I thought it might be a nice idea to actually compile some of the stuff from the last five years and put together a Black and White book which I’ve called Renderings, and which I am releasing with two purchase options.

Available as is, signed with a couple of blank pages in the back for you to add your own doodles, or for an extra $30, I can draw a Van Gough original, full purchase details when you click the link below:
Renderings Sketch Book
It would also make a cool coloring book.

Friday, July 8, 2016

Fridom Kahlo-Infinito

“Feet, what do I need you for when I have wings to fly?”
Frida Kahlo
11″ x 14″ | Oil on panel
Working in the Chicano quarter as I do, its hard not to feel the incandescence cast by Frida’s influence. Her striking visage is ubiquitous, even staring out nobly from a mural to the entrance of La Bodega gallery.
My piece for the forthcoming Tribute group show has our Art heroine reborn as the feathered serpent Quetzalcoatl, whose resume boasts of being the Aztec god of wind, Venus, the dawn and Arts and Crafts.
In such days when the world seems intent on bloodshed and cavernous divide, a celebration of Frida’s legacy remains one which is thankfully universal to all.
Show opens July 9th | 4pm-10pm. Free admission and open to all ages. Children’s and adult look-alike contest. Art, food, music, merchandise, culture!

Friday, June 24, 2016

Rise and Dead/Ends signed Art Books

   “The question implored…what is it to die? What is it to unsheathe this mortal coil, like a pupa? Is there life after death?”
Excerpt from Dead/Ends
Dead/Ends-in which I collected together the entire accumulation of my Theothantos series and accompanied it with annotation and anecdotes about my old adversary Mr G. Reaper:

“Yet in what began as an artistic quest for a contemporary Lizzy Sidall, set me on a fucked up odyssey that would break the back of Sisyphus”
Excerpt from Rise
Rise-Man/son and the Haunting of the American Madonna, was the culminating series following a years research into the fevered, esoteric, bedlam surrounding the sinister, ritualistic murder of Sharon Tate August 8th, 1969:

Both books are now available as signed, softcover editions, reproducing all the accompanying Art in 32 pages of beautiful full color for $30 Each from the links.
*First thirty copies come with a FREE 8.5″ x 11″ signed print-purchase  Dead/Ends and get an art print of The Valley, or Rise-a copy of Healter Skelter

Saturday, June 18, 2016

Ribbon Cutting Ceremony at Bash

Following on from the recent opening, the Dreamscapes showcase was the spectral arena in which local dignitaries of Las Vegas-Mayor Caroline Goodman, Councilman Bob Beers and representatives from Councilman Bob Coffin’s office,assembled to inaugurate the opening of the good ship Bash Fine Art. Damn right too.
Sadly, I was unable to attend so I couldn’t tell you one iota, how utterly bemused and mortified the gathered throng might have been, by the aberrant darkness of mine and Jeff Christensens work, but there are some photos to attest that this bizarre incongruity actually happened.

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Dreamscapes Opening Reception

Bash Fine Art
1009 S. Main
Las Vegas NV 89101
Saturday May 28th-June 25th
Memorial day weekend traffic on the long haul to Vegas, enough fear and loathing in bat country right there, 111 degrees not withstanding-hot peppers marinated with Jolokia sauce in Hades kind of hot.
Just a little off the mainline through Main street, Past the microcosm of faux New York spires and Greek Pantheon, Bash Fine Art ran the second outing of a vestigial Purgatorium. Sin city may have been host in the past to broken dreams and Elvis tributes but they never saw a show like this, particularly as the walls where shared with Jeff Christensen’s sublime horrors. The whole thing must have seemed like a dark mirror reflecting some grotesque progeny of America’s Babylon.
The locals where rapt nevertheless, despite Joan Jett putting another dime in the jukebox  a few blocks away.
Big thanks to attendees for braving the heat and listening to my waffle,  Bash for the enduring belief and Jeff for being cut from the same cloth.
David Copperfield will be playing for another two centuries, but Dreamscapes only runs until June 25th. Don’t miss it.

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Artist interview with Coma Music Magazine

 ” I keep on regardless, because the notion is as inherently terrifying and nihilistic as the alternative…”
There’s a really nice interview I did with Coma music magazine recently, in which I talk about Art, Bowie, Ghost haunting’s, my top five current musical picks and what I would do in the event of a Zombie apocalypse, and you can read it from the link below.
Many thanks both to Coma and Anitra DeLorenzo.

Coma Interview

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Dreamscapes at Bash Fine Art

“Hell is empty, and all the Devils are here”
The Tempest-William Shakespeare
Way back in September 2014, I unleashed a 24 piece series that I had been working on every day for the better part of two years. Purgatorium was my epic judgement day opus-raging at the sky and shaking a fist, framing the kind of question that asks ‘is anybody fucking listening?’.  Judging from the single but favorable review I got at the time, the answer came back resoundingly that nobody really was-certainly all the usual suspects couldn’t give a flying fuck.
In the echo chamber since the work vacated the walls, the pieces have sat unseen by anyone,  smouldering in some crate like the Lost Ark in Raiders one imagines.
That is until now, because Purgatorium is getting a second outing, and alongside the work of the extraordinary Jeff Christensen, can be seen under the new banner of Dreamscapes at Bash Fine Arts new location in Las Vegas. Beneath the black pyramid of Luxor I can think of no better Babylon for the Phoenix to be reborn.
Dreamscapes runs through May 21st-June 25th. Opening Reception Saturday, May 28th 6-10pm
1009 S. Main
Las Vegas NV 89101

Sunday, May 1, 2016

San Diego City Beat

“Nobody wants to come home, and be confronted with evisceration’s and mortal truths…”
Here’s quite a nice little recent mention, to accompany an article about Psychedelic Art, which appeared in a recent issue of SD City Beat. Cheers Seth and CB, even though you forgot to park the Van.

Sunday, April 10, 2016

Article Round up

“It involves equal parts frustration, melancholy,rage, tenacity, and a desire to be heard.”
I am returned from Old Blighty, so whilst I am still reorienting myself to the time difference and readying myself to mix up fresh palettes, here’s some very nice articles from BrutForce regarding my contribution to the Saint Bowie showcase, and a feature all the way from Italy, for MassonCreativita-the transcript of each is republished below.
“Take David Van Gough’s “Starcophagus” for instance. This wooden pentagram-shaped box offers insight into Bowie’s creative process. Romano explains its function through demonstration. Carefully removing the lid, Romano’s hands reveal a pile of cut-up pieces of paper containing Bowie’s lyrics. “This was how he’d write his song,” says Romano, referring to the ancient occult practice of emptying the mind, allowing invisible forces to guide your hand.”
(What is creativity?) DvG: “Its a manifestation of something intangible, a kind of alchemy that goes on where you take base materials, and refashion them as gold, except sometimes you make a Frankenstein monster of all your demons. It’s a little bit like playing at God, in that regard.
It involves equal parts frustration, melancholy,rage, tenacity, and a desire to be heard. Just stir and add a pinch of garlic and hey presto. Afterwards there is either an enormous sense of triumph or defeat. Also possible indigestion.
The method and technicalities evolve certainly, but the aspect of needing to do it, is very much coded in my DNA and the bus route I travel.”

Friday, March 18, 2016

80's Hit

“All it comes down to is this: I feel like shit but look great.”
― Bret Easton Ellis, American Psycho
8O’s hit
12″ x 12″
Oil on panel
La Bodega Gallery
March 19th.

So the 80’s : era of day glo, Yuppies and mulletts, Iran-Contra and Chernobyl, a veritable bonfire of vanities for the decade that taste forgot.
Catapulting into my teens as I was, It didn’t feel like that at the time- I was randy for it all -everything that had been denied me in pre-adolescence was suddenly for the taking, accompanied by low rent video, an incredible soundtrack and an Ad execs wardrobe.
All absolute bollocks of course because in retrospect it was soulless, by the end of it I was utterly miserable, jobless and broke with a first child on the way.
So here you have a collage of  that eras excess, a marketers swirling coke addled dream; Gordon Gekko in the penthouse, full metal jacket, Keith Haring tie with Patrick Nagel sideline, an American Psychometric of the ages, with Freddie Krugers chrome talons extending from it’s slick dimension.
Except there’s grotty Liverpool on the periphary, post Toxteth maelstrom, dockers strikes and another three terms of Maggie’s despotic reign to look forward to.
Real life seldom works on MTV.
Relax, don’t do it.
If my piece Aztec Ghost Groove was a picture disk, this would be the album cover.
The piece will be on display during the I Love the 80’s group show at La Bodega gallery, Saturday 19th March. Contact labodegagallerysd@gmail.com for pricing and purchase details