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

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Delusions and why they can be useful

“Another deluded artist thinks he’s Picasso…” or, “My five year old could’ve done that.”

                           Right.                                                               Wrong.

And, so what if one appears deluded? How else is one supposed to believe in something that many others think ridiculous, or, God(?) help us, simple? Of course there are other ways to fill this existence; television, popular culture, celebrity worship, WORKING, WORKING, WORKING, to EARN MONEY to pay for all the fucking “tech” that, supposedly, makes one attractive or – holy fuck – COOL.

Thinking one IS Picasso may not be the best way forward, but believing one’s work comes from the same place IS the best way forward. Why on earth would one think otherwise? Picasso was a bloke from Spain. He made art. He was as complicated as everyone else who realises that life is about much, much, more than appeasing the millions incapable of thinking for themselves, or worse, those who try to control what one should be doing.

Of course, I’m deluded. I’m absolutely deluded, or why would I keep making art? I do it because I have to. That’s right, I have to. I used to believe everyone can make art, and it is true to an extent, but real art comes from the soul; the bad choices; the good choices; the recognition of things; the constant attempt to try and understand why things are the way they are and then reinterpreting them as something that takes form and resonates with people one will never meet.

I’m glad I’m deluded. I’m an artist. I’m a deluded artist who is very scared about never again being able to make art. I’m an artist, and there’s no fucking going back. It’s much better than the alternative of being a zombie. Isn’t it strange that zombie stuff has permeated popular culture so much that zombie shit is fucking everywhere? It strikes me as being terribly ironic, and terribly shit, that not many other people seem to get the joke?

As for your five year old, well, yes they can make art, but if you honestly believe your five year old can decide to leave a canvas blank and title it, say, Black Sun and know how it may be interpreted or not, then good for them. I doubt they really understand what they’re doing, and that’s the difference. An artist knows why they’re making decisions and making a work in a particular way. So, no, your five year old could not intentionally do that.

Angry? You fucking bet I am, and I couldn’t care less.

Deluded? You fucking bet I am, and I couldn’t care less.

Picasso? I see similarities, and I couldn’t care less.

Cocksure? You fucking bet I’m not. I’m terrified of myself, and I couldn’t care less.

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