The location is the lovely house of my old friends the Hitchmen. I look forward to welcoming people to the front room which will be 80s themed with music from that era as that what I listening to when painting the pictures :-).
Indeed the series of new abstracts take the Creation Record sleeves art of the mid 1980s as their starting point. Series are then titled 1977, 1985, etc…
Record Sleeve for Creation Records 1985 more here:
Documented experiences of the second wind go back at least 100 years, when it was taken to be a commonly held fact of exercise.The phenomenon has come to be used as a metaphor for continuing on with renewed energy past the point thought to be one’s prime, whether in other sports, careers, or life in general.
Thanks to my fellow studio ‘inmate’ Zenon I being provided with plenty of background reading. Today’s tome ‘What is Abstraction’ by Andrew Benjamin (1996). Interesting but very philosophically dense read which really only gets going when he responds to W. J. Mitchell’s attack on Greenburg. Good overview of Greenburg’s near total dominance of the field and some interesting painters at end..David Reed and Jonathan Lasker included which, as it 1996, confirms that I missed at least ten years of abstract painting and theory maybe more.
I also picked up on an excellent short article on the Diebenkorn show at R.A. by Ian McKeever which chimed very well with Benjamin’s observations.
It is only now that I made the connection between music and painting…which some 30 years too late as the cover to ‘She Comes From the Rain’ effortlessly did this in 1985. As I trying to be in studio actually painting as much as possible..as opposed to thinking about it..I been building soundtracks for my painting. Today I looked back at 1980 and took the above corresponding sounds for this week..last week it was 1977.
Fascinating to look back at 1980 as it was second year of my degree at Hornsey and I was drumming (allegedly) for art school band ‘Damp Jungle’ then. Music seemed pretty exciting that year with Teardrop Explodes, Birthday Party and Orange Juice all issuing seminal 45s :-).
Well I finally made it back to painting in what must be the most convoluted way possible. To start painting again don’t go via my route. Seven years teaching web design in academia, a fine art M.A. in art research (through drawing) then a abandoned attempt to do a Creative Writing M.A. Oh and then two months sorting out what the hell I was doing in painting in the first place (the Archive)
All of this so that I finally can go into the studio in mid-March 2015 and stare at a blank wall and wonder what the hell it all about….
It seems like a very long way round to arrive back where I started. I studied fine art painting at Hornsey College of Art in 1978-1981. My first love was painting not poetry or songwriting. I was ‘good at art’ at school. I was offered a place at the Royal College in 1981 on painting M.A. which was my dream. I wanted to be the new David Hockney….I almost did it but Margaret Thatcher took away the grant funding and my working-class parents could not afford the £9K, even then, fees.
I have always despised the Tories ever since. I ploughed on and re-applied to the Royal in 1985 (see this post in archive). this application was the high water mark of my early abstraction. I never got back to this level until today. It has taken 30 years to be able to paint full time if only for a couple of months. I am not a part-time painter.
The paintings in the posts above are my finding my way again after all this time. I naively aimed to be the best painter in England between 1981 and 1985……right now I’m just happy to get a second chance. I was however always a serious abstract painter…and that I remain. I dedicate these paintings to my Father who would have been 83 last Monday. I call these paintings ‘second wind’ for an explanation see poem here:
So after 40…yes 40 years (I started at the tender age of 16 in 1975) as an infrequently practicing artist I find myself finally with a studio and time to paint so as of next Monday there no more excuses….
What will it look like? Well going by the last completed canvas above from May 2014 probably a bit cartoony, a bit abstract, a bit colourful….somewhere along the fault line between Contemporary British Abstraction (see show on now in London poster below ) and a crazed version of Disney trapped in a hunting lodge…so think David Lynch and rabbits…paint…it’s all about the paint..stupid….
So her it is or there it was and now it is or almost now …or something….whir..dribble…splat..thunk….
Bit of a shock to system this. I knew my artistic output had ‘slowed’ but as I can only find one canvas and two drawings from the whole last year it not slow it slithering to a stop.
Mostly the result of the gradual wind down of the Multimedia course and its attendant crap ( not from students I would like to make clear) and the failure of NTU SAD to recognise anything else I did..and an attempt to bury me in graphic design…
I did not have much time to paint I was too busy trying to save my job until I gave up trying and did something I enjoy instead i.e. creative writing which fabulous…and such a relief at least for a year….I due to return in June 2015..we shall see…
Silly blog post title of month. it amused me to write that especially as I just wrote that the future of painting is behind us…a smidgen of irony here.
At 55 years old and with a back catalogue of failed projects, dumb moves and shit jobs behind me (before I shipwrecked on to Academia Island) I have decided to once more ride into the valley of death armed with nothing more than a paintbrush and some blank canvases. Why? Why not everything else is shot to bits so might as well tilt at the greatest windmill of all….the painter of modern life.
I spent the day clearing out the cobwebs in my too often deserted studio and discovering that I had actually painted a few canvases in the past few years. Not many because I remain unconvinced that it an honourable occupation or even a perfectable art..see below. If I am like Will Self trapped in a Guston led Gutenbergian brain then so be it. I think paintings matter. I think they can change the world and that’s it really. Sod the consequences….life too short.
So here the sweepings from the last few years soon to be revealed at Lady Bay in my old schoolfriend Stephe’s front room. Not quite the Tate but you got to start somewhere:-)