Having become an avid reader of http://www.sharkforum.org and imbibed some of its oppositional stance I finally got tired of playing the arts council game having seen a group of ACE apparachniks saunter round the studios and dismiss me out of hand I fought back with a bunch of cartoons ridiculing the whole process. I actually drew them as people were walking around and they got a far better reaction than the comic art paintings.
In response to some early debate on Sharkforum Chicago I played around with multiple identities and created my own ‘Fake’ gallery which showed various ‘personas’ artworks in different styles – all mine ( a bit like an artistic Pessoa 🙂
The Fake Artist and the Fake Gallery
Here a further response to the Mark Staff Brandl article on sharkforum.org
This article really hits home from the perspective of an ‘ex’ artist, future artist struggling to deal with the multiplicity of styles and cliques now infecting the British ‘Body Artistic’. I was a party to the initial infection of ‘oblique strategy’ art through a couple of interviews for Goldsmith’s College of Art here in the late 1980?s ( ironically just before the Brit-Art boom).
I was discarded as being too ‘traditional’ at these interviews and responded by disappearing literally to the countryside where I grew up to complete the supposed ‘reactionary’ art I was accused of. I ceased exhibiting soon after and have led a merry dance around the genres ever since and in fact came across r.d.roth of sharkforum in that dance.
It seemed then and it seems now that a a badly misunderstood ‘mission statement’ based on an outpouring of cobbled together cod philosophy (especially French) actually mattered more than an ability to develop or complete a substantial body of work. This trend has thrived like a virus especially in regard to art-training which has shed all pretence to accomodate ‘skills’ in favour of ‘networking’ and ‘business acumen’.
As an example of how far this trend predominates I recently had a show where I instinctively felt that my actual ‘work’ ( traditional landscape drawings influenced by Paul Nash ) were irrelevant to my audience and in a fit of pique I started drawing on the day of the show a series of sarcastic and irreverant cartoons about the art-world in Nottingham on basis if you can’t beat them join them! I immediately gained attention, some small renumeration and a possible future show……
I feel that I have stumbled into that world the article describes of small pecks at the rhino’s hide in search of my own artistic salvation. I increasingly over last decade and a half admired ‘polymath’ souls such as Butch Hancock (musician/photographer) and anybody operating well away from the main stream especially so-called ‘outsider art’ as they seemed immune to this ‘tainted generation’s’ stylistic morass.
It seems to me that artists have two choices…travel to Rome and adopt the clothes of the conquerer’s and become ‘curators’ or walk to the furthest edges and break down fences that border the still wild and unexplored possibly with multiple personas….Pessoa comes to mind and in his spirit I have invented any number of ‘Fake’ musicians and artists recently….indeed to the point where I declared myself a ‘Fake Gallery‘and declared my various ‘styles’ separate personas…
With half an eye on the community art area that I now involved in and my genuine interest in 1980’s art and comic forms I painted over the original Hodgkin-like paintings on board from Lady Bay and these were completed before my switch to the City Arts studio in 2006 as part of a ‘artist-in-residence’ scheme they were running.
I moved to Nottingham in May 2002 following a very rough time in London living in a room 8 feet by six just big enough for a bed in a mad house in Harlesden (then the drive by shooting locale of note). I rented a flat in Lady Bay, West Bridgford and managed to do some painting in the summer of 2003 just after I had met my wife to be Emma in London in July 2003. I took the paintings to the Egerton Studio which I joined in 2004 and subsequently painted over them.