Wednesday, 31 August 2011

'sweet toof says I'

'sweet toof says I'
conte on paper
29 x 40 cm
31st August 2011

Tuesday, 30 August 2011

'(all the friends I've never met) Joni hits things'

'(all the friends I've never met) Joni hits things'
conte and chalk on paper
50 x 64 cm
30th August 2011

Monday, 29 August 2011

'seventh drawing from original portrait of Gwénaëlle'

'seventh drawing from original portrait of Gwénaëlle'
water soluble pencil and chalk on paper
17 x 27 cm
29th August 2011

Sunday, 28 August 2011

preparatory drawing for 'S.M.O.S. (painting for Ruth Ellis)'

preparatory drawing for 'S.M.O.S. (painting for Ruth Ellis)'
conte and chalk on paper
19 x 27 cm
28th August 2011

Saturday, 27 August 2011

'Italian glory' (preparatory work for Paradiso)

'Italian glory' (preparatory work for Paradiso)
conte and chalk on unprimed canvas
65 x 54 cm
27th August 2011

Friday, 26 August 2011

Thursday, 25 August 2011

'fractional reserve ratios' (preparatory drawing)

'fractional reserve ratios' (preparatory drawing)
conte and chalk on paper
36 x 36 cm
25th August 2011

Wednesday, 24 August 2011

'the eye of the sculptor'

'the eye of the sculptor'
conte on paper
29 x 40 cm
24th August 2011

Tuesday, 23 August 2011

'fourth drawing from original portrait of Gwénaëlle'

'fourth drawing from original portrait of Gwénaëlle'
conte on paper
24 x 32 cm
23rd August 2011

Monday, 22 August 2011

'third drawing from original portrait of Gwénaëlle'

'third drawing from original portrait of Gwénaëlle'
conte on paper
24 x 32 cm
22nd August 2011

Sunday, 21 August 2011

'S.M.O.S. (the undeserving poor)'


'S.M.O.S. (the undeserving poor)'
glass pencil on abrasive paper
10 x 10 cm
21st August 2011

Saturday, 20 August 2011

'S.M.O.S. (the deserving poor)'

'S.M.O.S. (the deserving poor)'
glass pencil on abrasive paper
10 x 10 cm
20th August 2011

Friday, 19 August 2011

'second drawing from original portrait of Gwénaëlle'

'second drawing from original portrait of Gwénaëlle'
conte and chalk on paper
24 x 32 cm
19th August 2011

Thursday, 18 August 2011

'S.M.O.S (thoughts adrift)'

'S.M.O.S (thoughts adrift)'
conte and chalk on paper
19 x 27 cm
18th August 2011

Wednesday, 17 August 2011

'S.M.O.S (I left them behind)'

'S.M.O.S (I left them behind)'
conte and chalk on paper
19 x 27 cm
17th August 2011

Tuesday, 16 August 2011

'S.M.O.S (anger just in check)'

'S.M.O.S (anger just in check)'
conte and chalk on paper
19 x 27 cm
16th August 2011

Monday, 15 August 2011

'S.M.O.S (we draw the march)'

'S.M.O.S (we draw the march)'
conte and chalk on paper
19 x 27 cm
15th August 2011

Sunday, 14 August 2011

'Cecile's eyes'

'Cecile's eyes'
conte and chalk on paper
30 x 40 cm
14th August 2011

Saturday, 13 August 2011

isms

I’m frequently being asked if I my work is stuckist, or neo-modernist, or expressionist or just urban art...

Post-modern irony or post-oddern morony. It’s all cheese as they say...



What is Stuckism? Well it’s certainly not a definitive style of painting. If you consider the origin of the term then it’s basically the opinion of one artist (Tracey Emin), concerning the work of another artist (Billy Childish), that any work not following the methodologies of a few lecturers at a few London colleges, informed by western art developments throughout the latter half of the twentieth century (conceptualism) were irrelevant at a certain time (late 1990s). This proposed insult was first taken as a badge of opposition and then of identity in challenging the mainstream art practice of the late twentieth century.

The group of artists I informally presented together online, under the banner of Neomodernism, was founded in much the same spirit. We, along with the Stuckists and Remodernists, felt that the visual arts were being led by critics, curators and theory. The visual had been replaced by the word, represented by the visual. The value of craft had been replaced by the value of ideas. I was certainly never opposed to all conceptualist installations as I was never an apologist for all and any painting.

Some say that we get the art we deserve; that the excesses of the last flush of the contemporary art market (2007) where increasingly abstract sums of money were being paid for (apparently) increasing un-art-like art objects was symptomatic of the crisis in the western capitalist neo-liberal world.

Perhaps...

Certainly art was not being treated as an object without utility. It was now being used, at this level, primarily as an investment vehicle.

Another label of the current art world (driven primarily by an enthusiastic collector base) that has now been safely absorbed into the mainstream art market is ‘urban’ art. It’s just another ‘ism’ (even though, to my knowledge, it hasn’t turned up yet as ‘Urbanism’) that I’ve been marketed under, despite the fact that a collector described my work as ‘urban’ about fifteen years ago...

It’s a strange name that seems to be waiting for a clear definition as it apparently covers any artist that a growing bundle of galleries want to push. So it stands in for graffiti (indoors and out), street art and performance, paintings that contain references to urban culture, paintings that don’t but are made by artists who have worked on walls, paintings on walls by artists that usually don’t, art interventions against advertising, graffiti being re-imagined on canvas, paste-ups of woodcut prints, mass produced subversive stickers, stencils, tags, tag wars... It’s all very amorphous and perhaps with a long life specifically because of that lack of a clear definition. The one thing that all the work under this umbrella does seem to benefit from is the democratic nature of its audience. It isn’t an exclusive art. It’s not an art that needs the knowledgeable, art-bollox spouting critic to validate it. It has a relevance to an audience that otherwise would have ignored art as being not for them. It’s an art for the modern world.

Things have changed. The distrust in the intrinsic value of postmodern conceptualism is becoming more widespread. Even the critics are starting to challenge their churches a little more freely.

There appears to be a growing return to the appreciation of the value of the small gesture and the quiet moment. There is a growing distrust of league tables of artistic quality being more or less identical to league tables of financial value.

Agents of Stuckism, Neomodernism, Remodernism and a million other artists not slave to the tyranny of the idea of word over art are now able to move forward without the automatic accusations of ‘reactionary’. And it is time to move on. We’ve had our say – so let’s just get on with the work. So I’ll declare my position now. I am no longer a Stuckist or a Neomodernist (I’m not sure I ever identified myself as that anyway). I’m not an Expressionist painter or an Urban Artist. I’m a painter, a visual artist, an artist. I paint for a hundred and one reasons. I paint to the demands of a commissioner, I paint for myself, I paint to make a political point, I paint as personal therapy, I paint to learn about painting, I paint to give away the work and I paint to sell the work, I paint because it’s an obsession and I paint because I’m selfish, I paint to make beautiful things, I paint to make ugly things and I paint for reasons I can’t even explain.

'S.M.O.S (and erasing the reason)'

'S.M.O.S (and erasing the reason)'
conte and chalk on paper
19 x 27 cm
13th August 2011

Friday, 12 August 2011

"Bristol life (Icarus)"

"Bristol life (Icarus)"
drawing from 2004
pencil on paper

Thursday, 11 August 2011

London riots

To the politicians



you blame the anarchists

and you blame the youth

you blame the immigrants

but ignore the hard truth

it isn't the Muslims

it isn't the blacks

it's a world of lost dreams

that fuel the attacks

kids promised everything

they'll never achieve

at school and on TV

and on estates they can't leave

you'll call for more money

to support your rich friends

and it'll come from the people

who call for your end



London is burning





So August 6, 2011 will go down in English history as the night when, once again, society seemed to disintegrate beneath the flames of street violence, anti-police sentiment, vandalism and looting.

The trouble continued into the following nights and I posted the piece of writing above. Now I'm not one for usually feeling the need to defend what I say or do to any great degree, but some of the emails I have received concerning my poem have been so vitriolic I feel I should write something in return...

I do not defend what has happened; anyone that knows me will know I am a pacifist and believe in the virtues of non-violent protest. But I have been thinking long and hard about why we have seen such an upsurge in violent protest coupled with organised looting.

I don’t think that what we’ve seen on our TV screens these last few nights is the important issue. We’re all familiar with violence and thieving in its many guises. I personally think that the issue of primary concern is that so many people were involved in what was clearly NOT a political protest. That so many people were so disconnected from a commonly accepted civic morality, to consider it acceptable to attempt to get away with whatever they thought they could get away with when an opportunity presented itself, is the important issue.

There was no single clear demographic identity to relate a cause to the symptom except age; the majority of the trouble felt was at the hands of the young. Whatever the reason is for the change in attitude to the idea of civil society, I think its core lies in generational differences.

What is it about the current cultural environment that has produced such a different personal outlook from, say, my generation?

Certainly something substantial drives individuals in such numbers to behave like pack looters. They clearly feel there is a selfish sense of acquisitiveness that needs fulfilling and they also clearly feel that this is perfectly reasonable; I’m sure it is justifiable and supported within their own peer group too. It is a sense of entitlement that the rest of us, particularly those who are older, do not consider right or excusable. What is so different about their circumstances?

I don’t know if they are contributory factors, but I do know that I did not grow up through the seventies and eighties a so thoroughly targeted recipient of consumer advertising. The era of disposable consumerism fed by incessant novelty product was far less intrusive than it has been for the last twenty years. Though there was always a childhood desire to be ‘grown up’ there was still a distinct separation in the mind of children between theirs and the adult world. That has disappeared and now children are just a different subset of consumer.

The celebrity culture that existed in my childhood was distant and tended more to an adult world than a child audience. It wasn’t all pervasive, it was considered trivial and it was never the focus of the news to the level it is now.

When I was a child was there a huge number of hidden children that suffered clinical depression? Or the varieties of eating disorders, suicide attempts or other psychiatric disorders that we generally consider to be (at their earliest) the concern of young adults but are increasingly creeping into the lives of primary-school aged children?

Was my childhood so unusual that until the 1980s the majority of my friend’s parents had stable work and affordable housing?

Was my childhood so unusual that the kids at my primary school only really aspired to occasional passing fashion fads? And is twenty-four hour, multi-channel TV creating a mental environment where everything (both on and off the screen) now has a life of a few weeks at best, creating a perpetual hunger for the next fashionable ‘must-have’?

Is there a more readily accepted culture of entitlement, fed by media pundits, than there was when I was a child?

Is there more common, general public acceptance that politicians are more corrupt, and corruptible, than there was when I was a child?

Are the disparities of wealth between the extremely rich and the rest of the public more apparent than when I was a child?

Is money more central to our ideas of cultural and social value now than when I was child?

I know it isn’t a simplistic case of cause and effect; I know of twins, born within minutes of each other and raised in identical environments from home through to secondary schools who, as adults, are absolutely different in their characters and moral outlook.

I don’t know the answers. I’m not a social scientist. I’m an artist and I just look at things.

I do know that the capacity for theft is a common human trait – driven by opportunity and a perceived personal need. Some of it is illegal and some of it is formalised into our society as being acceptable practise. The capacity for violence is equally reprehensible and justifiable for most people, dependant on circumstance. The responsibility for change is too important to be left to the politicians – we all have a duty to involve ourselves with our communities in a positive way.

But that’s another blog post.

'mister morning self-portrait'


'mister morning self-portrait'
conte and chalk on paper
27 x 37 cm
11th August 2011

Wednesday, 10 August 2011

'David'

'David'
conte and chalk on paper
24 x 32 cm
10th August 2011

Tuesday, 9 August 2011

'Say if this is true'

'Say if this is true'
conte and chalk on paper
38 x 28 cm
9th August 2011

Monday, 8 August 2011

'Sub prime'

'Sub prime'
conte and chalk on paper
24 x 32 cm
8th August 2011

Sunday, 7 August 2011

'Down growth'

'Down growth'
conte and chalk on paper
24 x 32 cm
7th August 2011

Saturday, 6 August 2011

'Write down'

'Write down'
conte on paper
24 x 32 cm
6th August 2011

Friday, 5 August 2011

"Bristol life"

"Bristol life"
drawing from 2004
pencil and correction fluid on paper

Thursday, 4 August 2011

'Utøya (the scream)'


'Utøya (the scream)'
conte and chalk on paper
75 x 55 cm
4th August 2011

Wednesday, 3 August 2011

"Bristol life"

"Bristol life"
drawing from 2004
pencil, photocopy and correction fluid on paper

Tuesday, 2 August 2011

'back of the dress'

'back of the dress'
conte and chalk on paper
75 x 55 cm
2nd August 2011

Monday, 1 August 2011

"Bristol life"

"Bristol life"
drawing from 2004
pencil and correction fluid on paper