The new painting is going well. Sometimes you lose sight of what you should really be doing. In such moments, I refer to the Oblique Strategies, which on this occasion offered me this sage counsel: “Don’t be afraid of things because they’re easy to do.” Not that I’m suggesting any painting is “easy”, but after spending ten years or more cracking the code on how to paint, and having finally reached a level of competence, now is the time to start applying it and refining it, creating things of – as Tim Winton puts it – “useless beauty”. Once this one is finished, I’ll be offering it up for sale, so watch this space.
Reality continues to ruin my life, but I’ve got the bastard by the nads now, rather than the other way around. Will be making some artistic progress this weekend, both visually and otherwise. Plans are afoot, and I hope to share further details soon.
Exile In The Margins is pleased to announce a new title, now available to order. The Brief Life and Eternal Death of Plastic Dracula is a prose ‘working’ in the Crowleyean sense, an evocation of the spirits – benign and malevolent – that haunt the arcades and promenades of Britain’s seaside towns. Scrying in the Fun House mirror. Decoding angel language from bingo cards. Ectoplasmic candy floss snagged under the pier. Brylcreem, gasoline and Vaseline. Sticky fingers and bloody knuckles. Hot blood and cold chips. Wish you weren’t here.
24 pages. A5 chapbook. Full colour cover. Text by Martin Jones. Design by Rik Rawling. £3 & shipping.
One of the very first drawings in my sketchbook, dating back to 2010. Before that, I never did sketches, but I’d seen the results of that practice – taken to the level of obsession – from the likes of Robert Crumb, Chris Ware and James Jean, and felt it would be a way of developing my abilities of an evening, when I’m just too shagged out to paint. I’ve always liked this one, which was a study of a homeless Native American on an un-named U.S. city street. Few people in history have been more collectively shafted than the tribes of North America, utterly crushed under the jackboot of ‘Manifest Destiny’. Dee Brown’s Bury My Heart At Wounded Knee is the starting point to understand just how severe that shafting was.
A drawing from circa 2014, which could be summed up as my ‘Snow Leopard period’, when I painted little else for a couple of years. Blame it on Peter Matthiessen’s The Snow Leopard, and the impression it made on me at the time. There’s now a painting of a snow leopard in almost every house in my immediate family, and another couple of them filed under my bed. I don’t feel the need to paint one ever again, the point having been made, I think, but I’ve learnt to never say never.
My 2011 drawing. mocked-up as a poster for Ben Rivers’ film about a man who, after a lifetime spent working at sea, retired/retreated to a hermit-like existence in a Scottish forest. That man – Jake Williams – was recently featured in Ben Fogle’s New Lives In The Wild series, which prompted me to revisit this image and upgrade it.
An artist who is self-taught is taught by a very ignorant person indeed.
John Constable said that. Is he right? I’ve been autodidactic my whole life, and feel that I’ve always preferred the efforts of those similarly inclined. I think that’s how you get idiosyncratic perspectives and unique styles, and that’s what all the creative disciplines need in order to stay vital. Or am I simply justifying my deeply-ingrained antithesis to authority and being told what to do, even by the most kindly and benevolent of Mr Miyagi figures? Anyway, here’s a drawing of some trees and a pond.