Family Sting

A pin punctures the sole

My god, thank you it’s not me today

as I stand on the cold floor

forgetting I’m already dead.

 

My memory sharpens

and my toes curl

as the needle sinks in too far

to forget what you said all those days ago.

Cold bitterness scrapes my cheeks

and I huddle

I’m a muddle HA HA HA

Now it’s the same Krapp scenario as the tape bleeds.

 

A girl stares

Again I’m punctured

Oh the banality of hopeful forgetfulness.

Punctured again

My soul

Punctured, ruptured, again.

My forgetfulness reminds me of you

Punctured again, my soul remains

Punctured, my soul remains

Punctured

Again.

On the cold floor I stand

Punctured.

 

 

 

 

Advertisements

Jesus Fucking Christ

I saw the cross raised above the horizon.

Rags of thoughtless bones slumped against the mounds were easily remembered and drawn by thoughtless drones.

Christ; every day, every fucking way and every fucking way the thieves seek salvation.

And the Bishops stare with greedy recognition of expectation.

Doomed; the feasting viewers unknown to their fate amongst thieves and rags and the corpse on the mound.

PAiNT Exhibition – Undercroft – Norwich

PAINT POSTER

We are privileged to be alive at a time when painting is not dominated by one single movement, at present we see the flourishing of many different styles, techniques, subjects, and themes. We have a wealth of artists of various backgrounds pushing at the boundaries of painting. Paint is an exhibition of over 22 artists all working in their own individual style, all very different but all producing interesting high quality and sometimes challenging work.

As well as being and exhibition there will also be artist lead practical workshops and a series of talks on Art history by art historian Andrew Taylor. To find out more or to book a place please visit the Workshops page and to see a list of the artists exhibiting visit the Artists page. 

Opening Times

Wednesday – Saturday 10am – 5pm

Sundays 11am – 4pm

The Undercoft is located below the War Memorial opposite City Hall, St. Peters Street, Norwich. Access via the right side door, top of the market, opposite the Guildhall.

Working Tax Credits and Art

In 2007 I was lucky enough to be accepted onto the Access to HE Art & Design course at City College Norwich. I’m not joking when I say I had to hold back the tears when the course leader, Brenda Unwin mentioned the delicate lines in some drawings in my sketchbook. The Access course was affordable and also paved the way for me to go to university; the first in my family to do so.

Two years later, and having sold two artworks – one purchased by the then Principal Dick Palmer – at the end of year show, I could only look forward and deliberately stub my toe to see if it was a reality that I had been accepted onto the Fine Art BA Hons course at Norwich University of the Arts.

Prior to these events a career of fruitless telesales jobs, and excruciatingly soulless door-to-door sales jobs, provided me with enough money to forget five days of seven week in, week out. Alongside those jobs I was fortunate enough to work as a stagehand for Theatre Royal, Norwich, and get odd jobs as a local crew guy helping shift band equipment for AC/DC, The Rolling Stones, Pantera et al at Transam Trucking. None of these jobs were regular, but paid well.

Now, in 2015, I find myself working very hard creating art, maintaining my website, responding to and sending emails, checking for opportunities, failing at all the above, but nevertheless continuing. As well as this I – until a few weeks ago – worked as a cleaner wherever and whenever I could in order to cobble together enough funds to pay the rent and bills and purchase materials necessary to create art. Considering I have a degree (a 2:1) it is only fitting I do so, and respectful to my hardworking lecturers who helped pave my way.

I was thrilled to receive £30 per week Working Tax Credits (it seems the ‘working’ bit has been ignored in recent political debate) and this helped ease the burden of my wife being the main provider. My wife has worked very hard to gain a sniff of an opportunity which has resulted in her employment for three years in the museum sector of East Anglia. Prior to this her employment was as a waitress/bar tender. Unless the opportunity arose, this would have been our future for the foreseeable time.

We met at Norwich University of the Arts (NUA) and, as many graduates do, looked forward to our new lives as artists or working as creative-minded people. When I graduated, I could not believe I received an award for my work; one was bought by Sir John Hurt, and another was bought by NUA for its permanent collection. I could hardly believe it when the Principal, John Last, mentioned my name amongst students who had excelled. My dad and his mum were in attendance, and coupled with meeting the late artist Roger Ackling and his wife Sylvia who gave me the award mentioned earlier, I could not believe the dream had exceeded itself and reality. For the first time in my life I was proud of myself. I was also selected for the Recent Graduates Exhibition at the Affordable Art Fair. Since then, of course, opportunities are slim and paid opportunities are even slimmer.

Many would argue, in some sense justifiably, that we chose to get in our metaphoric bed. We did, that is true. But we also have worked very hard to get we are today; which isn’t rolling around in money, owning our own home, being able to get on with work without any stress niggling away at our brains, but simply to do what we are capable of, and – this will sound egotistical – providing something for the enjoyment of others.

The Tax Credits of £30 per week made a huge difference. It meant I could buy art materials without having to budget so drastically. It meant we could, if we chose, order a takeaway. It meant we could pay the often forgotten water bill. We had some money that allowed us to pursue what, in my case, I’d spent 5 years studying for.

I’m not lazy. I work. I work really hard which often encompasses a huge mental battle of whether my work is any good, should be exhibited, or even bought. When I do sell an artwork, it is Christmas Day. I can’t expect anyone outside of creative work to fully understand just how difficult it is producing something; I’ve the benefit of being able to talk to two very well-known authors and they have sympathy for what I do because they know just how ridiculous a pursuit art is.

If the government goes ahead with its proposal to cut Tax Credits, this will be a blow to my creative practice. It will make my work harder and not for the reasons it is supposed to be. Creative work does not spring out of a hat willy-nilly. It is not easy (I used to think it was), and it takes an incredibly blinkered view to carry out.

If I was an artist with work in Tate, or top-end galleries in London, New York, or Paris, some members of the government may even own a piece of my work. They may think that my success was down to sheer hard work. No success is down to that. Luck is a huge factor. The people you know MAY be able to open doors, but artists should not have to factor luck or wealthy friends into their equation. They should be able to get on with their work.

Of course some members of parliament think I’m being an entrepreneur because I’m registered as being self-employed. I’m only self-employed because I could get £30 a week to help with my art. My earnings are less than funny.

If George Osborne really wants to help me in my hard work, he could always pay above the going rate for one of my paintings.

Expected Year of Mortality

Expected Year of Mortality

The Secret on the Reverse

Recent news in the art world involves the coming to auction of Picasso’s La Gommeuse created during the artist’s blue period.

Of course there is huge interest in this work and not simply because it is associated with a well-known period in the artist’s life, but because the reverse of the canvas features a secret painting which has never been publicly seen before.

I laughed at this. Not because I can never afford to buy the work, nor because of the articles in global media outlets about the secret work on the other side, but because it was another confirmation of the problem in trying to create an original work of art.

A Discussion about Money

A Discussion about Money

Found object

2012

Permanent collection – Norwich University of the Arts.

Whilst an undergraduate at Norwich University of the Arts, I became so frustrated at the seemingly never-ending futility of the task that my desperation resulted in the willful vandalism of works I purchased by other artists living or dead, known or unknown. These paintings are hung so the original work faces the wall like a naughty child. The reverse sometimes provides insights into the artist’s dedication and thoughts as well as the framer’s notes. The secret to my work, until purchased, involves no-one knows who painted the original (the signature often being on the front, which is now the reverse) and no-one can now ascertain the original works’ value.

The only thing visible to the audience is the sale price; clear, transparent and surgically removed via scalpel on the reverse of the original painting.

Gathering the Harvest

Gathering the Harvest

Found object

2012

Unknown.

A handful of people know what is on the other side of these works (that also include figurative styles), and maybe I have accidentally struck gold through irreversibly destroying a well-known piece of art. Of course some things appear, and are easily mistaken as, gold but only fools bother to seek their fortune through actively searching for it in the face of overwhelming odds.

To Love

To Love

Found object, oil on canvas

2014

Private collection.

I am one of those fools, but my search for gold continues and does so through the shameless self-promotion of attaching my work to important articles and artworks reported in the world’s press. It’s no good to me or my wife being successful when I’m dead. Cheers!

Self-portrait 1977 - 2012

Self-portrait 1977 – 2012

Found object

2012

Automatic Capitalist Transmissions during Rush Hour

Enticed

X-rays

Impact

Trustful

.

Decisions

Obstructing

Obvious

Reactions.

.

Empathy

Not

Theological

Exclamations

Refine

.

Caricature

Arrested

Reformations.

……….

Jewelled

Utopia,

Nobody

Connects

Tomorrow,

Instead

Origins

Neglect

.

Turns

Reaching,

Accepting,

Forever

Father,

I

Cradle:

.

Love.

Instead

Golden

Hubristic

Torment

Sears.

.

Brave

Radiations

Ignite

Dilligence;

Great

Excitement.

.

Degraded

Explosions

Slow

Temptation.

Instead,

Now,

Altogether,

These

Immoral

Objects

Narrow:

.

Boastful

Results;

Aggresive

Knowledge

Excludes:

!

Confidence,

Rage,

Altruism,

Smashing

Hearts.

…………………….

#Ism

For a long time it’s been clear it will be difficult to suppose another “ism” in art that is universally acknowledged. I guess it’s simply because the world and everything happening in it can be accessed as quickly as it is forgotten.

There’s a dating website where people flick through possible suitors as if they’re on a supermarket shelf. I mean, that’s really not cool. Why anyone would willingly reduce themselves to a product…if your labels or branding don’t catch the eye, to the bargain bin you go!

That’s one of the problems of contemporary life; we forget substance and it’s too often abused and never used.

I guess one of my problems is that I’m an observer as well as a participant and I find it difficult to sift through the muck. Lots of people are media-savvy, which is good, but this also blurs the understanding in how time is necessary to create something meaningful.

I thought I’d die, willingly, at 27. Join that club, you know? And then 27 came quicker than I ever did, and I’m now 38. I’m middle aged. I’ll definitely be middle-aged on 1st February 2016 if the tattoo on my neck and my year of birth has anything to do with it: 77.

Now I hope I live until at least my 70s without being affected by some form of illness that renders me incapable of thought and loving action (ahem). If I am, I’ll find whatever I need to see it out with a huge fucking smile on my face, but I’ve always said I’ll do that anyway.

Contrary to what many people say, Life is a party and you’re the fucking host. Welcome the guests and make sure they have a good time too.

If that ain’t an ism, it fucking should be.