Category Archives: Art

The strong take advantage of the weak

#Letter365 No123 goes in the box
No123 or is it 1-2-3?

When I did my #Collage365 project I gave a title to each piece and often gave clues to strange, oblique connections in the hope that someone with the same references and a similar mental bent would see what I was on about and smile. They would smile the same smile that you might if you had just worked out a hard but almost “closed circle” clue. Recent days have seen a return to that kind of thinking with musical references. Question is, do I give the answers here on the blog? I will today.

Today’s solution is of course Len Barry’s song “1-2-3” in which he suggests that falling in love is something that you just decide to do and which is as easy as “taking candy from a baby”. Seems to me that it is a very cold, manipulative and oppressive attitude and if you watch the video you may feel, like I do, that the cheesiness of his performance is laced with a fair helping creepiness. You could believe that he has actually taken candy from a baby. There is a moment when he actually demonstrates how he did it. Now of course he could offer a defence of being a health watchdog, aiming to save the child from bad teeth and obesity, but his glee says it is just an act of bullying and the misuse of power. This could open up all kinds of angry feelings in me about politics and the suppression of the weak by the strong so I will move on to say that the artwork … well I could get het up over art or depressed about it so I will stop it now.

Back of #Letter365 No123
Back of No123

One third of the way through

Sealing wax on the tip of a scalpel blade
Who says I am mean? Waste not want not!

I half hoped that I would accidentally (or “accidentally”) find the blazing wick would fall out and set light to the envelope but I was far too controlled.

#Letter365 No122 goes in the box
No122 means I have crossed the third of the way mark

So I have managed 122 days straight and that is one third of the year passed and I am still going strong/ Not that there is any doubt that I will finish the job and do all 365.

Back of #Letter365 No122
Back of No122

Close to deadline but I have been most of the day

#Letter365 No121 goes in the box
No121 goes in the box

We went over to Frome today to check out the town (we have heard good reports of it) and particularly to see Paul Newman’s wonderful graphite works as part of Frome Open Studios. To be honest we ended up only seeing Paul’s stuff as we spent ages there and after a nice late lunch we had run out of time on the car park ticket. I’m sure there was plenty of nice stuff to see, but from the brochure Paul’s was clearly the shine out show. Instead of art we decided to drop in on friends in nearby Mells.

So by the time we got home and after cooking a very fine meal I was pushing it a bit and even got this posted (just) before midnight.

Back of #Letter365 No121
Back of No121

Rain again so this one may be damp outside…and in?

#Letter365 No120 goes in the box in the rain
No120 goes in the box in the rain

The reference to damp inside is my fear that I had chosen the wrong media today as noted in the previous post. As for the stuff on the envelope I feel I need to explain a little.

You may have noticed a musical theme over the last few days. The Morning Glory reference two days ago just popped into my head and yesterday’s Emile Ford was a bit more “manufactured” following on. (I saw Emile Ford’s band the Checkmates on the same bill as the Rolling Stones and the Hollies – a long time ago!) I had forgotten that I was going to say hi to the postie and ask if he had had a good holiday. That was because I stumbled across this post on Twitter from Helen Atkin-Roach about a mystery item:

Photo od an old trouser press
Helen’s mystery item is of course a trouser press

As a time-served Bonzo’s fan I had to enter into a dialogue about it and ended up posting  this video of the Bonzo’s:

This led me to referring to the trouser press in the “Do Not Bend” area and alluding to the album title at the other side. Sad isn’t it? Or maybe it is art of the highest kind! Certainly the Bonzo Dog Band (or Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band as they were then) must have a  right to be labelled art!

On the back, however, I have probably lost the plot and maybe the will to live:

Back of #Letter365 No120
Back of No120

It always pays to be straight and not cut corners

#Letter365 No118 goes in the box
No118 gets posted

Today I have been stressed and stretched, doing things I had to do but shouldn’t have needed to do, things that gave me a headache from the start. So when I grabbed some time to go to the studio I was looking for a quick result and no stress. No way! I tried to shoehorn an idea into the wrong format with some bits I prepared yesterday for something else. Well I left it on the desk and went to the house to do the envelope (quite successfully and stress-free) and when I returned I sat and studied what I had made as I usually do. Usually I feel good, sometimes smug even, but today  I was asking myself “is that OK?” I was trying to convince myself it was good; that I liked it. Whereas, in fact, I didn’t believe it to be good enough. There was a little period when I tried to tell myself it “would do” but in truth I knew I had to discard it and start afresh. Much better!

I should perhaps say that I finished a little constraint I put on myself for the month of June and am flowing freely till the next mad idea crops up.

Back of #Letter365 No118
Back of No118

There are days when I know that I’m pretty good at art

#Letter365 No117 goes in the official Royal Mail sack
No117 goes in the official Royal Mail sack

Yeah, caught the post! I had just taken some images of me about to post No117 when the post van sped up and to give us a break from letters at the mouth of the box we have it going into the “official sack”.

But as I was saying … there are day’s when I am confident that I am pretty good at this art business. Ha! I’m not so sure about the business side of it, but with the background of my training, years of practice, years of looking, wide references, good taste and a helping of talent I can create pieces with integrity and intensity. They may not be to everyone’s taste but the work I am prepared to put out there is of good quality. (I do have a problem photographing it well though!)

Fortunately some people appreciate my work and it’s great when I get a spontaneous tweet from a client:

Screen grab from Twitter

And of course the printer problem persists but while I mentioned it on the front of the envelope it doesn’t get a mention on the back:

Back of #Letter365 No117
Back of No117

It should be a bit irritating, but will people get it?

#Letter365 No116 gets posted in bright evening sunshine
No116 gets posted in bright evening sunshine

First of all I should explain that I have changed the style of posting picture today because of the return of the shadow rabbit. I felt that Violet Lines and The Rabbit was a combination too much!

The piece I’ve produced today is superficially attractive and well composed but is designed to irritate the spatially astute among you.  Part of what art should do is challenge us; ask questions; irritate us. I suspect that most people (who like my work) will just go “ooh, that’s nice”. If that is your reaction then you should look harder, more carefully, longer. Of course now there’s the rub, you cannot see the item in question, at least not until next March and even then only if it is sold!

Back of #Letter365 No116 (detail)
Back of No116 (detail)

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