Monday, December 18, 2017

End of days arts sale

Tough times call for tough measures, so I’m wielding a cutthroat razor and slashing hundreds and thousands of dollars in prices on originals.
Go check out my store and pick up something blacker than coal for your Xmas stocking.

Monday, December 4, 2017

Aldous Huxley

“…most men and women will grow up to love their servitude and will never dream of revolution.”
― Aldous Huxley, Brave New World
Another painted sketch, flexing the painted portrait muscles, while I busy myself for the next series. In this picture,Huxley reminds me of a cross between Jarvis Cocker and myself in my early 20’s .  I think that’s around the time I first read Brave New World. Then of course, it was still a work of fiction, or at least a cautionary tale. Like Orwell’s 1984, I suppose its become a sort of manifesto for the contemporary morass we live in. The Deltas intellectual malaise that is now the modern idocracy. The cultist anathema of the solidarity circle, now the evangelical right wing and the indignant Trump supporter.  Somas sleepwalkers….well, name your poison.
Dark days indeed.
The book had enough of a seminal impact on me to title one of my pieces after it, back in 2014 for my series Purgatorium. I’ll be making an announcement about its follow up series in the new year.

In the meantime, I’ll bung up the portrait in my store if nobody bites.
You can take a gander at whats currently available here:

Monday, November 20, 2017

The death of Manson

You know, a long time ago being crazy meant something. Nowadays everybody’s crazy.
Charles Manson
“Something Witchy” (2012) Oil on canvas, 11″ x 14″
So Charlie-the self proclaimed “God of Fuck”-has finally left this mortal coil. I’ve already said everything I thought I had to say in that regard, but I guess I ought to share my thoughts since so many comments were curious what those where now he has passed.
Whether one wants to believe that Manson was a mind-controlled, puppet messiah, programmed to terminate the hippie dream, or a patsy prophet, he certainly shouldn’t be lionized or vindicated, regardless of how ultimately complicit he was in snuffing the lives of Stephen Parent, Jay Sebring, Abigail Folger, Wojciech Frykowski, Sharon Tate, Paul Polanski, Leno LaBianca and Rosemary LaBianca.
One thing is certain, Manson was an able and charismatic grifter with the gift of the gibber gab. A pontificate who stoked a climate of paranoia, hatred and apocalyptic level fear to a group of gullible and disenfranchised cult disciples, who would go on to do something truly diabolical in his name.
For myself, it is a welcome reminder to be mindful of parallels, of false prophets who profiteer, because it seems no less apropos, that Manson dies in the era that he does.
You can see the entire series I produced for the 2012 solo exhibit at Hyaena Gallery from the following:
Or watch my interview expounding my research on the Manson case, in John Borowski’s Serial Killer Culture streaming on Amazon Prime.
Or read the art book I compiled from my research:

Sunday, November 19, 2017

Aleister (Prima) Crowley & the artists indomitable spirit

8″ x 11″
oil on canvas
So the great beast himself, knocked out so to speak- Alla Prima- in a few hours . Not that I’m an acolyte you understand. Even Bowie stated something along the lines that one better know their Latin inside out, if one wants to be a Crowleyite.
No, what I liked about the photo it was taken from, was that indomitable spirit, defiant in the wake of decrepitude and darkness, the last embers of a pipe hanging limply over that jutting chin. It was also a nice way to whet my whistle and make a bloody mess before getting down to the meaty stuff-something I’ve missed quite honestly since the days when I was doing author portraits before gritting my teeth through the Man/son series.
It loosens the arm you see, making you less inclined to over finicking.
At any rate, if the main course has seemed slower to get off the ground this year, it’s only because of  group exhibits and the ever prevailing need to hustle. Except to say, I shall be making an announcement shortly in regards of my next solo show- Paradiso’s Fall. So that drip is about to become a flood.
Speaking of indomitable spirits, someone I was honored to be introduced to by my artist friend Evgeniya Golik this past weekend was the artist, sculptor, architect and philanthropist James Hubbell. Nestled sedately in the hills of Santa Ysabel and a short ride from my own studio, his property is like a secret enclave that I can only describe as a kind of collusion of Hobbiton, with Art Nouveau, and Gaudian flourishes.

Actually, that doesn’t even begin to do it justice, its organic, metaphysical, psychedelic, just really odd, but what it is, is an awe inspiring embodiment of a lifetimes work, from an artist who has clearly lived, breathed and made a gallery of his entire existence since laying roots there in 1958.
Being escorted through building after building, each idiosyncratic in their singularity, illuminated with dappled stained glass and intricate allegorical mosaics, with studios filled to the brim with sculptures, paintings and drawings was utterly staggering in its prolific accomplishment. One could barely fathom it being the product of ten lifetimes, let alone one. That he had to rebuild four of the buildings following a brush fire in 2004 makes it all the more astonishing.
Now in his 80’s, he shows no sign of slowing down, and on a personal note, it was a welcome and humbling reminder that age need not dull the blade. That the life of the artist is at his or her best, when the very will, the mere act to create, supplants any other constraint. Material, imagined or otherwise.
You can learn more about this incredible man or about his foundation (and perhaps donate) from the following links:
On a not insignificant and final note, I have my dear friend and fellow artist Evgeniya Golik to thank for the invitation to meet James.
“Broken Glass Melody” – 10″ x 10″ – Acrylic, metallic ink pen on wood panel – $400

As you can see, she is a tremendous artist who having lived through Perestroika, manifests the indomitable spirit of the artist in her own right-and I’ll write more about Evgeniya in another post, but for the time being you can see (or purchase) her beautiful exquisite art from the following:

Monday, October 2, 2017

The La Bodega years

Just added a new gallery, comprising the period between fall 2014 and early this year HERE.
To be honest, I hadn’t really envisioned those years as a cohesive and self encompassing body of work. Because of the nature of group shows, it’s niggled me that since producing Purgatorium , I’d been unable to invest my vision in quite the same way-that the work had felt somehow scattershot or constantly compromised and manicured to fit within the restrictions of an exhibitions chosen theme.
It only occurred to me very recently however, that looking at most of the paintings produced during my time at La Bodega gallery, seemed in retrospect as consistently composed as any of my former series.
This may have something to do with the environment I worked in. In fact I know it was, driving every day as I did beneath the Coronado bridge, emblazoning huge colorful murals, both in scale and historical reverence. One cannot be affected by the social injustice and cause of the Chicano community, especially when they embrace you as one of their own so readily. Lest we forget that this happened within the context of the soon to be leader of the free world, casting the entire population as rapists, drug dealers and murderers, or the doomsaying editorials within the self appointed SD ‘art media’, constantly warning of white gentrification.

Would this monster make a man (2014) 36″ x 48″-Oil on canvas
My own conceit had me promulgate the piece La Noche Triste, with its towering Coyolxauhqu over the murderous Hernan Cortez, as fitting tribute for a proposed mural, before the council and trustees of Chicano park.
Naturally, I was turned down.
Oh, how my own Anglo Irish truculence shrivels now in light of my audacity.
La Noche Triste -9″ x 12″ | Ink on card

Its within that framework then, that I now recognize that my world view had widened, gazing further as I was than the fluff in my naval. And that along with a stance that was more socially conscious, was an approach that contrived to marry my love of Otto Dix,Van Der Weyden and the brilliant primary colors of the Chicano murals themselves, and set them within alt historic and esoteric allusion. As close a relative as I will ever get to being Pop surreal, it was enough to finally gather the attentions of one of its former champions, Greg Escalante. (See Post Here)

The Devil-36″ x 48″| Oil on canvas (2015)

And though I shall always be grateful for my time there, the two hour commute to the studio no longer being feasible or a welcome prospect, the work represents an evolution in my art that not only stands alone, but in solidarity with the spirit of those years.

Aztec Ghost Groove -Oil on vinyl |12″ x 12″ (2016)

Sunday, October 1, 2017

Prints of Darkness

Samhain is upon us again, the witching hour, the feast of the great beast, hobgoblins and hubble bubble, or something like that.
There was a time not so very long ago when I bristled with resentment at being lumped in with all that. It felt so tacky, I mean every superstore in every mall has an aisle band wagoning rubber scare fare, plastic tombstone and inflatable gargoyle creature feature, and for thirty one days of the year I could look forward to being part of the self same novelty act.  De rigueur by proxy of my penchant for painting skulls and all manner of hellish progeny.
A side note, after complimenting my technique, I was once asked at a film festival by a woman of advancing years, if I painted anything less dark. The film festival in question was for horror movies.  On a similar train, I’ve lost count over the years, how often my work has been sought by a gallery, only to be featured as part of some Halloween showcase.
How I’ve laughed and died a little inside. I am a serious arteest after all.
The thing of it all is, I need not have recoiled at feeling so nailed down. After all, a cursory look at my bookshelf and film collection will reveal more than a passing interest in the macabre, weird and hellion. I am the fully formed product of the 70’s hauntology that my upbringing afforded me. And no one is more delighted to revel in the schmaltz on display at Michaels and the like this time of year.
All of this, is a roundabout way of me telling you that if the executioners black cap fits, then so be it, to which end, there’s a 30% off on signed prints and books in my online shop for the month of October, with the carrion call BOOO17 as the coupon code. Click the following link.
If you must bring demons home for All Hallows, then its generally better if they aren’t made in China.
Support living artists painting the dead.

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Vault plug

Altar Ergo, 16" x 12" mixed media on aquarelle paper-$250

At varying degrees throughout the five decades of my life, I've kept a sketchbook in some form or other. And although the well leafed contents have varied from scratchy and barely legible scrawl, to what are now almost anthropological, meticulously rendered explorations of my process, it only struck me very recently, that what I had considered mere morsels before getting down to the meat and potatoes of the main event, consisted of some fairly interesting nuggets of head toffee.

Pudding as an appetizer then.

Trying on a different skin. 9" x 12"-ink and wash on aquarelle paper-$65

To that end, and needs must as they are, I figured I would open the vault and make some of the archive available to purchase. 

What doesn't kill you. 10"x13"-Biro on paper-$150

Affordable for the bargain hunter and in some cases unique from my usual cannon of works, here then is a small collection of what is a growing vault of renderings.

More to follow, so don't miss out.In the meantime see more HERE

Abraxas whipping up and omelett. 9"x12"-Biro on paper-$65

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Greg Escalante

I suppose that its the natural order of things, that the older one gets, the more depleted the inner circle becomes. As Flaubert once remarked “A friend who dies, is something of you that dies”
Still it sucks.
In the case of Greg Escalante, it really fucking sucks. And whilst I can sadly never claim to have been ‘tight’ in the chumminess league, for the short breadth of time that I did know him, I got the sense of someone who was genuinely altruistic, someone who was as cool as a latter day beau Brummel, but didn’t brandish any of the icy heirs and graces, one might expect within the art scene.
A few of the short stories of immediate reminiscence I have then.
Though we’d been introduced once in passing many years ago, like a lot of aspiring artists I’d hoped to get on his radar, but for whatever reason, nothing had really stuck.  Hopes dashed then, and just as I’d all but called ‘time gentleman please’ on any  future aspiration in that regard, fuck me if the man himself didn’t wander into La Bodega gallery one day, and spying my art through the window, make a beeline for my studio.
Looking around at the art lining the walls, with that rare kind of awe you can only hope to imagine a doting parent might exact, he stopped short to see me sitting gobsmacked in the corner, before extending a hand with the humble and self-effacing introduction -‘Hi, I’m Greg, and I’d love to put you in my next show’.
Later, after he’d left to go next door to the Mexican restaurant ISalud,  he returned to rave about the tacos, and show me a video he’d taken on a recent trip to Galway, because he remembered I’d said I was homesick.
In the weeks that followed he sent me a video message, turning the pages of the promotional spread in Juxtapoz for the show, Dark realism/dark surrealism. I was thrilled and honored, and in the background, he made a whistling sound like a firework ascending. Which is kind of apt when one thinks about it, because he certainly put a rocket through the post Rothko/Pollock dribble that dominated the white box, until low brow shone a beacon like a neon diner on a midnight highway.
And now he’s left the diner, before pudding some will say, but still he paid the bill and even left a generous tip.
He’s on the road to the next destination.
His fedora and his many other hats will be sorely missed. I certainly doff my cap to him.

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Back to the past

“History that repeats itself turns to farce. Farce that repeats itself turns to history.” ― Jean Baudrillard

So what am I listening to? It varies depending on the tool for the job; something high octane when painting from the waist, or a slow ambient morsel for the steadier hand.
Here I think I might have been listening to EMC 2 by Big Audio Dynamite, from back when I was a randy, spirited teen in the 80's.
Thrusty then.
I find music can evoke almost immediately a memory or emotion. Its like discovering a wrinkled old snapshot found between the pages of a favorite dusty old book.
So as you can tell, I've been thinking a lot about the past recently. Not just as fuel for the new series, but because I believe its the kind of yardstick we all measure the present by.
As Byron once mooted, "All times when old-are good" and it made me think of why this country finds itself teetering on the abyss now, the consequence of longing for a period when things were purportedly 'great', an embittered society caught in a nostalgia loop craving simpler times-although arguably-simplism is the reason for the season.

The cultural zeitgeist saw this coming a mile off. Or market forces, forced the market-I don't know. Remake after remake of seminal 80's classics-Total Recall, Fright Night, Robocop. Or shows that depict a marked nod and a wink like 'Stranger Things' or 'Halt and catch a fire'.
Except, like this sad sack poster version from 2011, all those remakes are utter garbage, a shoddy facsimile of something once unique-a piss poor pastiche. Or like a certain would be Biff Tannen-a con in a bad wig if you like.
I don't much.
As with my painting- '80's Hit', we've elevated a period of our historical past to myth, when the truth is the hardship and turmoil of those times are what made those things culturally resonate to begin with.

No doubt Jean Baudrillard was right when he cited the infantilization of society through media in his book America, is used to nullify and desensitize our senses from the true modern day horrors, making us ever more pliable, ever more detached.
All the same, the world is likely going to hell in a deplorable handbasket, and I have a full dance card between now and years end, so onward even as we go backward.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Paradise Lost and Found

Yes-yes, it’s been over a month I know.
So where have I  been?
Hitting the books and burning them. Misfiring in every direction. Having an existential crisis every five minutes.
The usual then.
Maybe its the albatross of turning fifty, the inevitable dulling of the flame, time waiting in the wing, impending nuclear war, this humidity, or maybe I just suck-I don’t fucking know-but for two months, scrawl as frantically as I might, page after page-nothing jibed for the new series.
So it’s true to say something felt amiss in Paradiso-like discovering an angry wasp nest in the garden. No really, I’m not being metaphorical when I say that. It hangs beneath the awning outside the bedroom window, growing bloated and more angry like a festering boil daily. It’s mere presence a blight in my peripheral minds eye, to the point that every few hours I  relieve myself from what I am doing to check it’s progress.
It’s been like the buzzing in my head, an insectoid creepy crawl beneath the skin. Every corpuscle telling me to its time stir up the hornets nest, regardless if I get stung.
Also, did I mention this fucking humidity?
Abandon all hope then. Or at least the last two months.
Time to shed moleskine, sharpen pencils, start afresh.
If only because one should be naked and unadorned when being reborn in Eden.
So what you are seeing is the first seeding, a gollum emerging from the mud-or at least the burnt umber.
Now if we could just do something about this humidity.

Tuesday, July 4, 2017


Then another horse came out, a fiery red one. Its rider was given power to take peace from the earth and to make men slay each other. To him was given a large sword.”
Revelation 6:4

Oil on Canvas
36″ x 48″
And so a bloodied harbinger, one of John of Patmos’s magic mushroom induced four. Like a butchers castoff wrenched from the pit of Hades, gallops the crimson steed stripped of its artifices. Give it up then for deaths own points man, here to cleave empires into ferocious war and division. Hooray!
Here he is, sporting the latest fall fashions- jodhpurs and jackboots, along with a swordfish head resembling a Klansman’s hood or a papal Mitre: a false crown for hell’s Borgia general: the preferred head dress of demagogues and blood thirsty zealots. There’s enough in the capes fountain to quench them I believe.  And if there’s any doubt as to which festering dark stable unleashed our Mr (D)Ed, then a blind, rabid diamondback coils from the animated corpses cold dead fist – Gadsen’s relic co-opted as every risible little bumper sticker-now waving into view like Satan’s own spewing cock.
If after all of that, you missed the carrion call of our horseback messenger, the lightning bolt clutched aloft also trebles as a Sig rune, cross and spear of destiny. Talk about the unholy trinity of Swiss army knives eh?
No prizes for guessing what fireworks awaits at the finish line, but I’d wear sunblock if I were you.
Yes, I realize I’m posting this on Independence day, but look-I began this one on 12,21,12- the Aztec dooms date-so  this piece was forged for these end times.
So here we are, July 4th baring down upon this once great nation like funerary pallbearer-one more last supper culminating in a glittering firecracker of whizz bang and char grilled offal.
How depressingly apt, eh?
Two plus millennia that includes a historical cannon of almost mythological prowess-names like Washington, Lincoln, Kennedy echoing through the grand halls of history, all diminished by the wet, shrill, reverberating fart of a coiffed, bloviating, bowel, tweeting in an ill fitting suit. An ignoble and all too fitting end I suppose, if only because the American dream has become a nightmare.
Nostrovia Comrades.
If we’re all still here come November, it’ll be on view at Copro’s upcoming Underworld group show.

Sunday, June 4, 2017

Riding a dark horse.

Back in the saddle on this one then.  Pushing my charge to the finish line while I manifest the next series.  If memory serves, I began this one at a live painting event at the Ruby Room in San Diego, on what was purportedly a Mayan predictor to the end times-12/21/12. Of course, it turned out to be the usual load of apocalyptic bollocks, but given the current state of world events, one wonders whether the countdown to midnight was merely set in motion on that date.
Each day feels like a dark revelation in new levels of madness now, a hangman’s breakfast for a world ever on the precipice of some fresh horror, all delivered by a bloviating buffoon tweeting diatribes of inanity and petty gripes, like an indignant, salivating ape lobbing feces.  And whilst my beloved England comes to grips with another night of deadly attacks by radicalized zealots, the true modern day terrorism it seems is on the collective psyche.
For one of the envisioned pieces, I’ve been researching Jonestown and Heavens Gate, and though I’ve grazed the draw of cultism before of course with the Man/son series,  it’s been unnerving not to draw parallels with the ease by which the masses can be so easily subjugated here.  As if the contemporary pied pipers are political and pastoral pontificates, enchanting with arias of disenchantment, hypnotizing the dogmatically obstinate. In these dark days, it’s hard not to feel like all is lost, like the experimental petri dish marked mankind has mutated into some monstrous pathogen.
Which reminds me, I watched my friend Chet Zar’s wonderful documentary “I like to paint monsters” the other day, and he said something in it which really struck a chord, and to paraphrase, it was that dark art makes sense of a dark world that doesn’t. It’s a moving and hugely inspiring film if you haven’t seen it (please do), but it reminded me that the artists role is more important than ever, and that I’ll keep doing my part to fathom the unraveling shitstorm, in the event that we make it for future generations to disseminate.

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Cereal Killing

There are moments when I feel like I’m more of an anthropologist than a dauber. I have to remind myself that the genesis of any new series always kicks off like this though, relentlessly poring through acres of text digging for clues, trying to line up all the executioners. It’s exciting and frustrating by equal measure.
And what a rabid band of cut-throat miscreants, rapscallions and sea dogs I’m conjuring to inhabit my Eden, beginning with no less than genocidal pioneer-Christopher Columbus. He makes Manson look like a Scooby Doo villain. If only hadn’t been for those damn kids.
It’s a lot to unpack, and at times I feel like I’m eating breakfast between Dan Brown and Alex Jones.
Should I order waffles or fruit loops?

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Making a little Eden

No, I haven’t shuffled off this mortal coil.  Not yet. A moral one perhaps, and rather fittingly for these end of days, it’s more of a spiral than a coil, but I digress.
If I’m honest, hitting the half-century mark has felt like a need to hit some sort of reset button. David Van Gough version 5.0. Software updates to include curmudgeonly scowling at the car radio, dodgy knees and a complete  shutdown by 11:30pm.  “Forget that I’m fifty cos you just got paid.”
So in between the manna of commission duties, I’ve been brewing. Stewing. Boiling. Scrawling. And for all the buzzing in my head, it feels like I’m preparing a soup made of flies. Next on the menu, Paradiso’s Fall. If Purgatorium was the entree of a three-course meal, this one is the main. It’ll taste strangely delicious, trust me.
Of course, it’s meant retreating again, closing up shop at La Bodega, dispensing with the three-hour daily commute and wandering no further than the canvases in my little-converted studio/garage down the hill. Not a soul other than the ones that haunt my visions. No sound, other than the whispering pines, the cackle of crows, and the usual voices in my head.
In these dark days of endless noise and looming annihilation,  it’s as close to Eden as one can hope to get.

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Half a century away

If I’m honest. I never thought I’d make it to my half century. I imagined the long shadow cast by the reaper over much of my life, would have caught up with me by now.
Twenty years ago, I might have invited it to.
Ah, the nihilism and self-destruction of callow youth eh?
Still, I made it regardless, far happier, blessed and fortunate than any other dauber from the back jiggers of Liverpool might have reason to hope for.
Hindsight has also provided me the knowledge that as much as times change, some things remain the same.  For myself, it’s been that unrelenting need to make art.
Which is why I thought it might be quite nice to put together a little video retrospective of work from the  70’s to present day. Also notable I suppose, is that for the very first time (and possibly the last) it includes a little musical accompaniment composed and performed by myself throughout.
Looking back over the body of my work these last few weeks, it’s been interesting to note that regardless of any evolution in style or technique, there’s been a common thread through my work that has remained constant: those same niggling questions of mortality, and it could be a coping mechanism for the ‘comprehensible darkness’ as Jung called it, or simply because I am ‘still a kid at heart’ as my wife-Lani says, but I can’t deny the almost neurotic obsession that has been there from childhood scrawl to sprawling canvas.
I imagine it will be that way until the darkness swallows me.

Monday, March 13, 2017

Illusion Magazine article

“His paintings are complex, for where there is kitsch and playfulness, there is also discomfort and violence, together gesturing towards an inevitable end for the bodies and cultural eras they depict.”
Hayley Evans-Illusion Magazine
Whilst I am sequestered on commission duties, here is a superbly eloquent article about yours truly. Thank you Hayley and Illusion mag. The title alone “Rot and Transformation” could be a career manifesto:

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Fake News Schism

“Words can be like X-rays if you use them properly — they’ll go through anything. You read and you’re pierced.”
― Aldous Huxley, Brave New World
6.5″ x 8″-Mixed Media on Ingres paper
Its just a sketch tossed off in a couple of hours, the culmination of feeling like one’s head has been encased in concrete for six months.
Except to say, it encapsulates entirely the tumult of these politically divisive times, where falsehoods are legitimized as alternative facts, where lies are filtered through a monocle of partisan bias, where reality has no cachet because everything does.