Tuesday, 16 September 2014

well, the first thing i want to say is:

What an opening line! Mandate my ass!
Theres a background blog which you should check out concerning my art project B-Movie. And since this whole project is based on Gil Scott Herons song, if you havent ever heard it, you must do it now, and listen to what he says. Written in 1981, it's eerily prophetic. I've combined a mural commission from Benricks Coffee Shop in Prenton. who wanted to brighten the place up, and their brief was to do something that 'got people talking', together with a couple of artworks, and it's my contribution to this years Liverpool Biennial as a registered Independent.
And what mandate has Scotland given this total sham of a US lapdog Govt? I mean there's only 1 tory mp elected up there. The muck's flying now though, and the No campaign finally got going. Doom, gloom, scare stories, and backwards facing policies.
Salmond wants to lead his Country to energy self sufficiency by the year 2020. Meanwhile, we're 
getting more tied to hip with the US, and out of touch with so much of the rest of the world, even Europe doesn't like us.Can you blame Alex Salmond for wanting away?
While everyone else is going green, were still guzzling the black stuff, and faster than ever. And while we're tied to oil, we're tied to war. The word war doesn't mean anything to us any more I don't think. It's slaughter thats going on in the Middle East, and it's only getting worse. The only place to get both the story, and behind the story, is to watch Aljazeera. Brave journalism. They have Correspondants everywhere, not, incidentally, 'embedded' with 'our boys'! So I chose the Aljazeera symbol to represent a couple of things with this project. First, it translates as 'peninsula'. I'm staging the project on the Wirral this year, and looking at the skyline from this side of the Mersey this Biennial. So I've painted in the Liverpool skyline as a reflection on the glasses of the main artwork. Secondly, they really do do news well. They started broadcasting in the US just over a year ago. I was surprised when I heard that, what with the Corporate  dumbed-down media that dominates. Aljazeera is like Gil, tellin' it like it is. So I thought I'd combine some iconic imigary on the mural.

We've managed to manipulate a situation with Putin this past year, which no doubt will be the narrative behind fracking. We don't live in the US or Australia, where 200 miles of nothingness can surround a town. And the environmental disasters caused are numerous. Problem is, everyone's been paid off well, and there's confidentiality clauses built in, to stop the downsides of fracking becoming known. While all the mess unfolds daily on mainstream news, and people walk around  connected to the world via a smartphone and twitter, moaning and gossiping about all the bad news and the bankers, laws are being slipped through Parliament. These laws have stood for centuries, and they're changing them so that licenses can be bought by foreign owned companies, in order to frack right under your house. I briefly remember a snipppet a few weeks ago, where Dave (the one who would lead the greenest Govt yet) said something to the effect that we would only frack our national heritage sites, and areas of outstanding natural beauty in 'exceptional circumstances'.

This man will frack the lot of you, then it'll be off with all his chums after a jolly good days hunting for a share of the spoils. I liked him when he tore a strip off Van Rumpoy, here's a politician who speaks his mind I thought.. But his true colours are the worst kind of tory. He's been doing the rounds in the States this last week. All the talk shows, fox, Hannity....etc...etc. God help us! Anyway, I painted him enjoying a spot of Bulgarian red, and having a fag. 
The mural took me 4 days, and resides on a wall in an alleyway besides Benricks.

This next piece symbolises the tough face the US shows to the world, but its a society that has so many of its own problems to fix, fragmenting and fracturing. Recent events in Fergusson highlighted this. Aljazeera were there, got fired directly at by tear gas, and not just one round. They had set up cameras on the top of a driveway of a private house, and they were ordered away by military style police, who then actually started dismantling all their lighting rig and cameras. This is America in 2014. This all happened a couple of days before it even made the news in the UK. 
 I wanted the piece to look like it had been made from a pair of old saloon doors. It's called, 'we woulda' rather had John Wayne'
Excuse the feet!

The medal, 'B-Movie' represents some old American political medals I've got, some 100 years old. There was a secret handshake style one in there, so I've interpreted  that to hang the Gil Scott Heron medal on. That picture of it at the top isn't quite finished. I've still got to glue on some eu cufflinks to the sleeves.

I hope to add to this project. The cafe owners have asked me about updating it for next years election, and if so, I'll make a couple of new artworks.
I can't decide which aj logo shot I like best, I'm going to make some canvasses with them.

Thursday, 31 July 2014

from a different perspective, in a different accent

I was commissioned earlier this year, the brief being to liven up a large gable wall belonging to Benricks coffee shop and cafe, along the busy Woodchurch Road on the Wirral.
So I'm about to start work on both a mural, and the associated art which will be my project for this years Liverpool Biennial as a registered independent.  I had an exhibition as part of it two years ago, with my two main pieces Deliverance, and McRings, 2012. It was a big step in my art at the time, and a learning experience.
The mural will form part of 'B-Movie', inspired by the words of Gil Scott Heron's track of the same name, and my artistic interpretation of a song that I first heard in the mid eighties, falling in love back then with the monotonous and repetitive heavy beat, and a style of delivery that was unique to my ears at that time.
Featuring prominently will be the AlJazeera logo, teardrop shaped and made up of Arabic script, and I've read that it translates as 'peninsula', the perfect symbol for my Wirral based project.
I've been watching AlJazeera for a good few years now. Sadly, as a Country, I don't think we realise how out of step we are with so many Countries round the Globe. Maybee we're too busy two-steppin' with the USA?
You learn a lot watching AlJazeera. This week on a past episode of Earthrise I've seen how in Spain, they're currently building a plant that turns algae into oil. The algae feeds on CO2, so they're building it next to one of Spains largest CO2 emmitters, a cement plant.  Spains emmissions would fall by 20%, whilst also producing millions of barrels of oil. The one that got me though, was a technique using sea water and fresh water, seperated by a membrane that lets the fresh water pass into the seawater, but not vice-versa. They've now perfected it, so a system built into the basement of a large building would create enough energy to power not only the building, but the neighborhood too. No emissions, no toxic chemicals, just water and green renewable energy. Given that we live on an Island surrounded by salt water, why aren't we doing this? Simple reverse osmosis. No environmental catastrophies with after effects lasting for generations, more like, ''Number 5 membranes blown, go get the mop and bucket. Clean up on tank 3.'' Instead, we're going to frack. One day they'll be fracking near you, polluting the groundwater with toxic chemicals, and you'll have to get used to earth tremors. The Company doing it will be sold to the highest bidder, someone like Cuadrilla. They can't do it in their home Country because it's illegal, but it's OK here.
And its because we're allied to the USA, who are still allied to Oil. And its being sold to us against a narrative of big bad Russia turning off the gas tap. There's even a race to the bottom now. We're going to re-open the investigation of the death  of Alexander Litvinenko, but bigger and bolder come the Yanks, who last night claim Russia broke a nuclear test-fire treaty, back in the days of Ronald Reagan, which coincidentally was when Gil Scott Heron wrote B-Movie. All this against a background of chaos in the Middle East, but it's OK, Tony Blair is the Peace Envoy. The whole of the UN last week wanted to open an inquiry into the actions of Israel on Gaza, but the USA was the only one who vetoed it. We didn't have the balls, so abstained. Out of touch with the rest of the world, with Cameron defending Israel's right to defend themselves against Hamas, who incidentally are Democratically elected, but not recognised as such by the US.. The UN vote was covered by AlJazeera, but I didn't hear much mention of it on mainstream news. There's a human tragedy happening, and the numbers speak for themselves. It's all wrong, on both sides.
 Meanwhile at home, Cameron is going to get tough on immigrants, sadly heralding a theme song for the next General Election. If you've never listened to B-Movie, do it now. Is he talking about 1981 or 2014? Hard to tell apart from the names.
So hope my artistic interpretation does it justice, and with a bit of luck will be ready in 3 or 4 weeks.
Thanks to Richard and Jane from Benricks, Andy the manager from Robinson Neals in Birkenhead who've supplied me with all the painting and clean up materials free of charge. Steve from Birkenhead roofing, who have donated all the timber. Two local companies, who despite tough economic times, are helping to make this project happen.

Sunday, 9 February 2014

you don't know what you've got till it's gone

I'm glad I stopped and took this picture. I'd been watching that tree grow out of the window for a few years, and I was passing nearby one day with my newly bought fuji x100. I took 3 shots, and this was my pick of them.
It's been done up now, so the trees gone, as has the x100, which I'd bought as take everywhere camera. And for a while I did, but when the new om-d came out, traded it in as I was desperate to try out a camera that looked and felt like a camera of my time, and one that felt familiar  as soon as you picked it up.
Looking back through some pictures tonight, has made me want to get an x-100 again. Yea, the autofocus was awful hunting in and out forever. Took great pictures in very low light, problem was, you couldnt rely on it to lock focus, especially on a moving subject, but it was a camera that felt right to carry and use. And thats what its all about really. Use. Its not quite the same dragging an slr everywhere, so the second of my new years resoultions, (yes....it's February already I know, but the blog was my first resolution, so I'm cutting myself some slack), is to get a camera to take everywhere. One I can always use.

It's nice when a picture comes out just as you'd wanted. Nothing posed or staged, just something you can see, taken as and when you could in that pursuit, and coming out maybe different than anticipated because of subject matter, but as you'd wanted visually.
Looking back, the x-100 was perfect for that, and I miss it.

One thing I don't miss is 9-5 grind. I probably looked that happy when I used to work for someone. The first and last time was back in the late 90's, when I spent 4 years back and forward to Manchester when I worked for Granada. Being my own boss is the only way for me, no middle management idiots, and no annoying workmates, as I choose who I want to work with. You see workmates quite literally at war with each other, working for titles instead of money, and the causes of wars as inane as someone earning 30 pence more per hour. So no thanks. I'll get an x-100 instead please.
Oh, and the third and last new years resolution is to get out more and use the first two.

Wednesday, 14 August 2013

some things gotta bloom

I haven't blogged in months. It's been a difficult year all told, and I got some knocks earlier in the year that set my confidence right back with my art.
It's difficult to know exactly what to do to 'become' an artist, and what circles you should try in. One thing I learned , and a circle I'll be avoiding is the 'Emperors new Clothes' lot. You see, the fact is, I've made a decent living being one to this point. The interiors may pay the bills when I choose to do them, but my art has already been used and paid for by some pretty big names in film and tv. I forget that some of the stuff  I've designed and produced can be seen that way, but the fact is it has and can. I've just looked through a CV that I put online last year, and to be honest, I'll hold that up to all the bullshit artists I've met along my path to 'be' an artist. Fact is, I am one, get over it haters.
I'm experimenting with a finish at the moment for the first sculpture in the series Bluette. The foundry I spoke to said it can't be done, and maybe they're right, but I'll persevere and do it myself, as it will link in nicely with a piece I did for the Butterfly Park in New Ferry. So fingers crossed on that one.
I spotted the sunflower walking the dog Friday. I couldn't figure out how I hadn't seen it before that to be honest, as I walk up that road every day! I put it down to the fact that it's probably been below the metal fence until then. I've no idea how it wound up between the two fences, but it kind of speaks to how I've felt the last few months with life in general and my art, blocked off on one side, and watching the other through barriers. So I'll make sure I get a couple of snaps when it blooms, and I'll try and keep the blog updated a bit more. I really don't give a shit anymore how my art's perceived by those who seek to criticise and mock, I learned who they are, and they're actually a pretty sad bunch! Leave them to it, and I'll keep doing what I do.