Down in the Park

Extra marks to anyone who gets the occasional musical references in my titles.

This is quite a big picture…. two A2 sheets side by side and stuck together. I finished it a little while ago but have had other stuff going on. It was inspired by walking in Richmond Park. As I was walking around, I noticed how all the trees looked like they were shouting at the sky. It reminded me of a quote from Edvard Munch:

“I was walking along a path with two friends – the sun was setting – suddenly the sky turned blood red – I paused, feeling exhausted, and leaned on the fence – there was blood and tongues of fire above the blue-black fjord and the city – my friends walked on, and I stood there trembling with anxiety – and I sensed an infinite scream passing through nature.”

At the moment, I am thinking of someone I love who is going through a hard time, but that has nothing to do with these trees or this picture!

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You Are Invited!

Come to my show! Having a kind of an opening thing from 18:00 on July 3rd, any time after 18:00. Come and have a drink!

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Lonesome Cowboy

A lot of my drawings have been a bit… intense lately. So it’s time for some light relief. When I was walking the other day I imagined this fellow- let’s call him Lance. He is stuck out in the desert with only his horse for company, and a bunch of beeves, but they don’t really count (that’s cowboy for cows, for anyone who hasn’t read Larry McMurtry). Yet he aspires to a modern existence…

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100 Years of Alex

I’ve taken part in this project, illustrating 100 years in the life of Alex- 1963 – 2003. Its all in French, and I have to report that google translate makes a crazy nonsense of it, which is fun but not very illuminating.

http://alex100ans.blogspot.co.uk/

This here is my entry:

Alexsm

 

Translated it reads:

After a year exploring the psychosphere in the company of her doppelganger, Alex returned to the world to find that the A.I.L had been busy…

 

It kind of makes sense in context! You have to read the rest of the blog to get the story so far…

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Being Human

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Road to Ayahuasca

I’ve coloured in this picture from last week. Would have got it done sooner but I was at the Bath Fringe Festival invigilating for a couple of days. For anyone who missed the last post, its supposed to be either an illustration from some dodgy cult literature, or the album art for a prog rock band I invented called Gypsy Fibroid.

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Fire on the Mountain

Once in a while I find it essential to re-calibrate with a bit of unadulterated psychedelia. Here is the black and white drawing; I’ll be colouring it in by and by.

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I had several thoughts going through my mind as I was drawing this. I was mostly imagining it would be the imagery for some kind of ridiculous 1970s cult, probably in the desert, chomping on Peyote and getting wildly paranoid whilst growing epic beards. The cult would be called something like the Children of Blood Mountain. But I also thought it could be album artwork for the experimental prog rock group Gypsy Fibroid (okay, I made them up too). This album would be called Children of Blood Mountain also (perhaps they joined the cult for a spell?), and it would spell an ill-advised departure into Psyc-Disco, before their triumphant return to their purer Prog Rock roots for the seminal 1978 tour ‘Road to Aioaska’ with jazz-folk legends Mandatory Towel Hire. ‘Children of Blood Mountain’ would be described by critics ‘An acid-melt-down on wax.’ Yuck.

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Red in tooth and claw

I had a dream the other night featuring a comedy sketch. Usually when I dream comedy it cracks me up, and I wake up thinking I’ve created the best sketch in comedy history, only for it to gradually dawn on me that it didn’t make any sense whatsoever. In this dream, I didn’t find it funny even in the dream, but thought it was very crass. On waking up, I thought it had a kind of surreal integrity, although it still isn’t very funny: A man with severe breathing difficulties was being pushed through a run-down urban setting by a giant pair of lungs. With doomed optimism the man uttered a wheeze and suggested it had been a good deep breath. The lungs assented, sounding unconvinced and looking bored, as if this were a routine they went through regularly.

 

Here is my latest picture… The usual stuff. The thing that I love about nature is that it can’t be made to adhere to human constructs of ‘good’ and ‘evil’. It is entirely indifferent. Which scares the pants of everybody and rightly so, because if you end up in the wilderness it isn’t a friendly place. But then neither is it entirely hostile. So the eyes in the picture are supposed to convey a sense of otherness. They might be gods, or spirits, or creatures, or something in the imagination. Similarly, the woven sticks and leaves could have been put that way for some sinister reason, but might equally be part of a perfectly innocent nest, and might even have grown that way completely naturally; we can’t help but anthropomorphise the world around us.

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This picture has a soundtrack. Music is one of my great passions and it has a big influence on the way my work turns out. I’ve cut it down from a huge list in the interests of keeping things concise:

  1. Lead Me Saviour – The Young Tuxedo Brass Band
  2. Racing with the Sun – Ella Jenkins
  3. Petite Fleur – Sydney Bechet
  4. I Seen What I Saw – 16 Horsepower
  5. Dying Crapshooter’s Bluse – Blind Willie McTell
  6. My Sister’s Tiny Hands – The Handsome Family
  7. Open the Door, Homer – Bob Dylan
  8. Pharoah’s Host got Lost – The McIntosh County Shouters
  9. Don’t Rock the Boat – The Charioteers
  10. Alone and Forsaken – Hank WIlliams
  11. He’ll Have to Go – Ry Cooder
  12. Goin’ Back to Harlan – Emmylou Harris
  13. Hey Joe – Nick Cave
  14. Paris, Texas – Ry Cooder
  15. Wild Flowers – Dolly Parton, Emmylou Harris and Linda Ronstadt
  16. John Hardy – Martin Simpson
  17. Medley of Hymns – The Young Tuxedo Brass Band
  18. Vigilante Man – Bruce Springsteen
  19. Lemonade Song – Leroy Broussard
  20. The Prodigal – Golden Eagle Gospel Singers
  21. Wade in the Water – The Staples Singers
  22. Jesus is on the Mainline – Zion Harmonizers and Olympia Brass Band
  23. Rolling Pin – Jo-El Sonnier
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Hitting the Wall

No, not come kind of awful artists block or running limit… its the Bath Fringe Festival!

Fringe Poster 2014

I’ve just got back from what felt a bit like a holiday; a week spent working on a wall for the Bath Fringe Festival. I was staying with my folks in Bristol, commuting to Bath on the bus every day. It was so good- I’m a person who has a lot of trouble winding down and sitting still (I fidget even when I’m watching the telly. Seriously, I get up about 10 times during a film just to faff about) so this kind of enforced relaxation -pootling through the Somerset countryside in the sunshine and just looking out of the window without very much going on in my mind apart from ‘oh, what a nice tree. And another one. Such quaint cottages. Wait… was that a buzzard..?’- was the mental equivalent to a massage.

I was working with a lot of other artists in a big dis-used shop on Stall street. The wall was on the staircase, where a bunch of us were working on a section called ‘Tall Tales’, curated by Sophie Erin Cooper. Above me was Robert Good, who did a writing piece; immediately next to me was Oliver Goodson (that’s two goods) working on a submarine interior. Here is the wall as a work in progress… The photos are crummy. I’m going back in a couple of weeks to invigilate and I’ll take a better camera to get some better shots:

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I didn’t make a plan before working, deciding to respond to the space and to the idea of weaving a ‘tall tale’, just as if I were telling an increasingly ridiculous story, making it up as I went along. I’d work for a few hours until I couldn’t see where to go next, then finish for the day knowing that I’d have new ideas when I came back the next day. Once I ran home along the Bristol-Bath cycle path, which is a decent run, but even better is the walk along the river Avon – the Avon Trail- which I did a couple of times. To sum it up? Scenic.

More progress on the wall…

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Those square and circle bits screen right are Oliver’s work- I can’t take credit for them!

The open evening was May 23rd. I went with my mum and my aunt. We had a day out in Bath – saw the excellent Julian Opie exhibition at the Holbourne, drank a lot of tea, and visited Mr. B’s bookshop, which is one of my favourite book shops EVER: http://www.mrbsemporium.com/ where the staff really know their stuff and are friendly and enthusiastic. Bibleophiles take note. The show was brilliant; so many different ideas in this mad space. There was a man taped to the floor who my mum thought might have been dead in a sort of macabre crime-thriller way. There were some machines that drew by themselves. There was a tube that did funny things to sound, and a creepy dripping cellar where a woman was playing glass shapes covered in spores with a violin bow. Have you seen the original Ring film by Hideo Nakata? The sound it made was a bit like that. Absolutely terrifying. So, I managed to blur all my final pictures of the wall of course, and until I get a decent shot I’ll have to make do with these two pictures scrobbled together. They’re taken at different angles so I couldn’t line them up exactly, but it gives you a decent idea!

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Going once, going twice…

A piece from my current exhibition (Salt and Pegram showroom, Princelet street) has been selected for a charity auction taking place at the Brunner Showroom on May 21st. The charity is the National Youth Arts Trust, who aim to provide access to the preforming arts for young people regardless of their economic circumstances… I hope the picture makes them some money! The wonderful Grayson Perry has also donated an artwork, and this may be the only time my art gets to share space with his:

http://www.nationalyouthartstrust.com/

Alas, I wont be able to attend as I’ll be working on my wall at the Bath Fringe festival. Everything always comes along at once.

Along with the other contributing artists I’ve been asked to write a piece for the Fringe Festival blog, and they asked us to provide a photograph of ourselves or a sketch. So I did this sketch of myself at work:

Portrait

 

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