The inspiration of other artists – stealing a bit!

#Letter365 No107 on the wall of the Floozie's Jacuzzi
No107 on the wall of the Floozie’s Jacuzzi

Today’s piece was created and posted in Birmingham (although the printed elements of the envelope were prepared yesterday in advance) and the picture above was taken in Victoria Square on the wall of the pool where some words from Burnt Norton, one of the Four Quartets by T.S. Eliot are carved:

And the pool was filled with water out of sunlight,
And the lotos rose, quietly, quietly,
The surface glittered out of heart of light,
And they were behind us, reflected in the pool.
Then a cloud passed, and the pool was empty.

But at present the cloud has permanently passed as the pool is drained and the fountains stilled presumably for maintenance:

To look down into the drained pool.
Dry the pool, dry concrete

So there is a little touch of inspiration from Eliot and the light-hearted Brummie love of its public art. My picture of the Floozie says it all:

Floozie in the Jacuzzi with seagull and bird dropping
Floozie in the Jacuzzi with seagull and bird dropping

And of course behind and below the Floozie is Gormley’s Iron Man, a little of its magic rubbed off on me I hope, and round the corner is the Museum & Art Gallery with its great collection of Pre-Raphaelites amongst much else, though sadly I don’t think there are any Rauschenbergs there. And, of course, the stunning new library is not far away. I have been reading about Rauschenberg and looking at his work a lot recently. I think if I had become familiar with his work in the late 60s I might have studied painting rather than sculpture or perhaps I might have had the courage to be bolder in my sculpture. It is only today that I am really beginning to understand the very radical nature of his work and the interesting questions he has been asking through his career. His¬†Erased de Kooning Drawing for example is intriguingly complex. Rubbing out Iron Man or TS Eliot is a little more difficult!

When I came to post No107 I was surprised to find the letter boxes at the Post Office had been painted white with no helpful patterns to educate you in how to post a letter.

#Letter365 No107 gets posted in Birmingham
No107 gets posted in Birmingham

And someone (is there anybody out there?) is bound to want to see the back of the envelope:

Back of No107
Back of No107

The printer problem gets worse – action needed

Printer error on #Letter365 No104
The printer problem is even worse on No104

If you read the back of the envelope you will see I felt there was a sense of the I Ching in the way I wrote, and then wrote a parody. When I came to title this post I felt the same thing and had to hold myself back from making it sound more Confucian!

I think I have said all I want to say on the envelope except to emphasise that I think the printer patterns have gone too far. I checked the drivers and printed – they are ok – and printed out a photgraph with interesting results, so it must be the nozzles. Watch out for tomorrow’s exciting installment!

Back of No104
Back of No104

Oh no, the special #Letter365 box has gone!!!

#Letter354 No103 can't be posted!
The #Letter365 box has eroded away!

I could pretend that I was surprised and deeply upset that the special #Letter365 box in the Bridport Arts Centre foyer had disappeared when I went to deliver No103 by hand. The truth is that Polly had been kind enough to let me know in advance that another installation was using that space for a few weeks and a very interesting array it is too!

The email Polly Gifford sent
The email Polly sent

So I had to post this piece into the hands of lovely Dee, who finally appears in a picture with enough of her face showing to be recognisable. You will note the worsening state of the printer errors front of the envelope. My annotation about it on the back appears below:

Back of #Letter365 No103
Back of #Letter365 No103

Chaos makes its mark on No102

Unexpected printing on the envelope of #Letter365 No102
Printer errors wreak havoc on the envelope of No102

The great thing about exploring the interplay between chaos and control is that when it all fucks up it is just the effects of chaos in the ascendant. In other spheres at other times marks on envelopes or any other unforeseen mistakes or problems would have caused me a lot of unhappiness and anger,

The marks on today’s envelope are quite attractive and it would be gret to be able to reproduce the effect at will and they did mar what should have been just neutral grey and red. You might notice that the red is hardly red. I have been blaming the paper, but I fear the printer is on the blink. I might have a little investigate one day soon.

Reverse side of envelope of #Letter365 No102
Reverse side of envelope of #Letter365 No102

There is perhaps more to say about 101

#Letter365 No101 gets posted
No101 gets posted

Yesterday I pondered about how 100 and other round numbers have an unwarranted fascination for us but it could be said that 101 has more call to be celebrated. Room 101 was the torture chamber in Orwell’s 1984 and it has subsequently been turned into a kind of joke with the BBC shows of the same name. In the US 101 is used to denote the introductory or beginners’ level of anything – I hope I am past that now with #Letter365! 101 is the phone number to contact the Police with non-urgent matters and there is of course 101 Dalmatians, the Disney movie based on Dodie Smith’s book. I probably should say “movies” but the 1961 classic is so far ahead of the others it is in a different league – and there you have caught me out because to be honest I have not seen 102 Dalmatians but, however good Glenn Close might have been in it, it is rare that a sequel offers more than the original, except maybe more of the same. Talking of “more of the same” I hope you are enjoying today’s image of a letter being posted.

Back of #Letter365 No101
Annotation and sealing wax on back of No101’s envelope

A fitting piece for No100

#Letter365 No100 gets posted
No100 goes in the box

Here I am sort of celebrating reaching 100 consecutive days of this project, and yet I wonder why we put such a significance to round numbers? It has become anathema¬† to me on the radio or in papers every time there is some spurious celebration to mark a centenary or more usually just a round number like 40 or 65 or 950. Mostly these numbers have no magical or symbolic significance – a notable exception being a jubilee – it’s just an excuse to sell something. If you have no ideas look up dates or create a top 10/50/100.

Anyway, it’s a pretty good piece and I am glad I used the idea I used rather than the one I originally had in mind. The one I didn’t use needs more consideration and probably more space.

Back of #Letter365 No100
Back of No100

Oh no! now I’m annotating the front

Annotation on the front of #Letter365 No99
Annotation on the front of #Letter365 No99

As if it wasn’t enough to create an artwork every day for this project AND put it in an envelope AND print messages on the front of that envelope AND seal the flap with sealing wax AND annotate the back: as if all that wasn’t enough now I have started annotating the front too! What am I doing?

Is it perhaps because it is Friday 13th and full moon? Is it perhaps that it is a hot day and I did some strimming in the garden today and a whiff of petrol and nettle juice mixed with grass pollen has tipped me over the edge? Or is it perhaps that my obsessive nature has got its claws into this project?

Anyway, the offending dot of watercolour could be a clue to what is inside or to the work I did immediately after that kept me from posting it straightaway or I could have just put a spot of paint there as an excuse to annotate the front and write about it on this blog. If nobody buys it you will probably never know.

The other day someone said they enjoyed my Twitter feed as it had a Mornington Crescent feel to it. I sense this blog is going that way!

Back of #Letter365 No99
Back of No99
#Letter365 No99 gets posted in bright sunshine
No99 gets posted in bright sunshine