Blackpaint 30


Tomorrow, I have to take down an exhibition of my stuff in a London gastropub.  Sold one;  hardly a world – class result.  Got another one starting next week, and some stuff still up in another pub, so all is not lost, but a depressing start to the year.  I could do with some art journalist dropping in for lunch and being bowled over and tearing back through the snow to the office – or the computer, if they’ve been forced to go freelance – and writing a glowing review, recommending everyone to rush down and see (and buy) the amazing stuff…  Sorry, fantasy organ now back under control.

I had a good run – for me – in the few weeks before Christmas, sold three or four, but I’m back to normal situation now, with exactly the same amount in the bank as always at this time of the month; about 200 quid less than I need to see me through until my next payday arrives.  I’ll need about 50 quid’s worth of canvases before then.

HOWEVER – I’m still 100% happier than I was in my “proper” job, so that’s enough moaning.  I find it gives me a lift to look at some of the paintings (let alone installations) that pop up in art books and galleries; who would have thought that someone would have the foresight to make, and others to like, some of the stuff that is produced?  I don’t mean that in a sneering way – I mean art that is a challenge, is ugly or crude or shocking or feeble or trite or apparently lacking in traditional skill – that’s the art that may open eyes or minds and lead to something new and good.  But obviously, people tend to work in the style before last – isn’t that what they say about armies, they prepare to fight the last war, not the next one – and the audiences too.  It’s a sort of assurance of quality for something to look a bit like a Bacon, or a Hilton, or a Peter Doig; you can buy it knowing that a number of people who know, have already spent big money on similar (but of course, astronomically better) works.

So that’s what I’m doing – rehashing ideas and techniques and textures worked out in the 50s and 60s, and producing far inferior stuff that sometimes vaguely reminds people of my heroes in St.Ives and USA.  I don’t do it consciously, however; I don’t copy and it’s only when I’m writing this that it’s obvious to me.

For the record, some of the contemporary artists I really like are;

Cecily Brown, Matthew Barney, Rineke Dijkstra,  Andre Butzer….. more tomorrow.

listening to, “Elgin Movements”, by Blue Smitty (words borrowed from Robert Johnson);

“She got elgin movements from her hips down to her toes,

Break in on a dollar anywhere she goes.”



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