December 13, 2007

It was inevitable that I would slacken off; the punishment being that this is now BLOG MONTH. I may as well give in and concede that 2008 will be BLOG YEAR, meaning an entry as often as possible. There has been no particular reason, other than I have been busy painting images on boards for the house in Manchester, so at the usual times when I get pissed and wallow in self pity, I have been productive. So there is one reason.  

Still no timetable for MADA. I don’t think I will do one. There seems to be little point when it will only have a few days dedicated to MADA related research and writing and most of that will be a construct. I have the end task, so long as that is done, so what. If PQ is part of my project proposal then I am working on it at various times, in various ways. I tend to work out my week roughly but allow enough freedom to do nothing. Since leaving the degree, my whole working method has been evolving. There, it was clearly structured; it had to be to follow the modules. Alone, abandoned, you have to find a way to make yourself work and for me, a rigid timetable isn’t it. A vague guide. I feel my way along; a good day is any day that I think I have been productive and that can’t be measured easily.  

I can’t help but think that I have lost of the purpose of this blog along the way; a reflective tool, a place to chart any progress whether related to MADA or not and a tranquil escape from the rest of the world where I can play. Maybe I am on track then. It isn’t a creative writing exercise, which I hoped it might be in some form. I seem to be governed by uncontrollable cycles. For weeks I can do little more than write crap about nothing, and then I need to work on some images, then back to the prose. The ultimate would be dedicated time each day for both. I was almost there with my nightly ramblings and the morning is supposed to be visual. I tend to use the mornings for anything; net, writing, bit of visual. And now the board painting has invaded the bullshit hour. None of which matters if something is being made.  

Tomorrow is the arts council seminar. A two and a half hour session on how to apply to the arts council for funding. Recently the government gave 50 million to Tate Modern for their underground tanks gallery project thing. I appreciate that they have more work than they can show but I think that a poor excuse. They could, if depriving the viewing public was really the issue, mount touring exhibitions which would solve that issue and decentralise access to ‘proper art’. For much less money they could open Tate Dewsbury. We have many empty mills and plenty of local businessmen who would jump in to partner such a scheme. The usual ‘grants for the arts’ for an individual is £5,000. That means they could fund 10,000 people instead of expanding the South Bank. The quality of project might vary enormously and the value of some of them would be questionable but in terms of diversity, and boosting creativity it would be a better solution that yet more wall space for dead people.  

So I will listen patiently tomorrow, I hope. If it is a waste of time I am likely to make a scene and leave. I don’t have any positive feelings about it, after the initial phone call to the arts council.  

The board painting is going well. I don’t have much more to say without descending into some pointless moan about nothing. I need to really focus in 2008 on what I want to do creatively, get some structure in place and crack on. Sounds dangerously like a resolution.   

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December 7, 2007



December 6, 2007

I have no where else to turn, this blog is not only a reflective tool; it is a confessional and bitching sponge. I like it that way. It doesn’t help me make work unless you consider seven hundred words of bullshit as work. I suppose it is a sketchbook, only with letters as the marks made. I don’t know, sounds all poncey and worthy to me.  

Maybe it is the time of year, or the virus that has pulled me down this week, but I really do think of quitting the entire art thing. I get tired of it. I don’t know what else I would do with my time and until I work that one out, I’ll keep at it but there is so much disappointment, and hassle involved in art. People let you down and most of all you let yourself down. I am fucking lazy. I really need a daily deadline to work to, which I do set myself, though there is no punishment for slacking. So it is an exercise in keeping things the way they are. Once in a while I get really wound up and push out some work. Maybe that is my pattern and I have to accept it, maybe that is a typical pattern. I know ‘artists’ who don’t work much. I know some who say they never stop. I imagine it isn’t about everyone being the same though, not really. That would be dull and the very opposite of creative.  

Constantly living for a future that never happens; some far off dream, an ideal that will mean an end to all the obstacles that get in the way of a full body of work, and even as I write it I can smell the bullshit. I need a studio. I need an OHP. I need this, I need that. All I really need is some reaction, some response and it gets me to work more, which was one positive aspect of working in a partnership, except that it is turning into a very one sided, dysfunctional partnership and I am wound up about it.  

All the plans for this month have been thrown off course because the OHP isn’t working. I don’t know why, the bulb looks fine. So, Manchester can’t happen in the time we have without it, the new show at PEEP! can’t go up without it and the new work we needed to do for January won’t happen either. Added to that was the total absence of a reply about making the two new issues of MTS before Christmas and I go in thirty seconds from having work to do to having nothing to do. Well, obviously I could do some other work. Make something else. Fuck MTS. That might be the best idea.  

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December 5, 2007

When the sea levels rise by seven metres and London is swamped by water, I will probably laugh until I cry. I assume it will happen slowly so there won’t be destruction and death on a Hollywood scale and all the nations’ treasures, including Dale Winton, will be safely preserved on a hillside in Yorkshire. In one act of nature the whole cultural bias will swing inevitably North and I am right now on my hands and knees fucking praying for it. Rising house prices in the South East or the rising damp; you’ve had it so good for so long, I don’t care. The downside will be the influx of starving whinnying Southern bastards looking for a place to set up their new venture capital business. Well, a lot of the North is protected and preserved, so, um…squash them into the Midlands. The Midlands needs a boost culturally, come on.  

I am still ill, though less weak. I did prep for more fucking boards today. I spoke to the other ‘alf of MTS, for what it was worth. I can raise more enthusiasm from a corpse at times. More and more it seems that I need to divert attention to my own, singular, work rather than MTS, if only to keep me interested in doing anything. The boards and the brief call were both concerning an opportunity to paint/draw the walls/cellar of a house in Manchester. We have total freedom it seems as I think it is some kind of semi-squat. They are having a huge party on New Years Eve; five bands, two disc jockeys, plenty of booze, drugs and loose women and the possibility of performing midgets too. We can’t make it for the jollities and I don’t mind really. All that noise and hallucinogens, combined with loose midgets and jockeying bowels will be too much for my fragile and delicate artist-curator disposition. I might enjoy it and what kind of a start to the New Year would that be? I am hoping to be bogged down in trying to turn a dinner party analogy into something readable and relevant to my project proposal. I have been working on the guest list and more crucially, the seating plan.  

I wanted to make sure we got the two new issues out, but doubt was cast on that idea. I had hoped that beginning something like PQ would, because it barely involves him, get the enthusiasm going for MTS. I never want to be the one accused of killing MTS because of other commitments and I don’t think that would happen; I work eighteen hour days just to get so little done. Once the small boy is in school full time, I will be shitting work, mostly because there will be sod all else to do. I don’t think I am driven enough. I want to make work but the hassle of getting out all my equipment, sharpening pencils and fretting about subject matter really dampens the mood. I need a studio where I can leave all the stuff out.  

So I don’t know what will happen. I have quite a lot I want to do in this final month of the year but I could dump it all and use t’other ‘alf of MTS as the excuse. Oh yeah, the MA. That needs some attention too.  

The upside to the sorry tale of global warming is that Horbury may well end up as a coastal resort. PEEP! will be an acclaimed national hinstitution and I will be able to open a small business drawing dirty postcards and selling quaint seascapes of long forgotten towns such as Grimsby, Cleethorpes and Filey. I look forward to a bit of global disturbance to be honest, I think we need to be reminded that we are fairly inconsequential as a race. And there might be something else on the front cover of the Daily Express other than yet another twist in the Diana Plot; receipt for laundry bill at the Ritz proves that Dodi thought that his luck was in the fateful night of the assassination, sorry, tragic accident, sorry, accident.  

A bit of trumpet blowing for a change. MTS features in this book; we even got a double page spread! Follow the link, pretend you are a tutor, get a free copy:http://www.rotovision.com/description.asp?isbn=978-2-940361-58-8

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December 3, 2007

I am ill. This will be brief. I am here, so I should write something. The illness has kicked back all my drawing plans for today and I have no idea how soon I will recover. I should be in bed now really, sweating and fighting it.  

The weekly chat was slight but I think that my proposal made more sense to me from what was said, albeit very little. Sometimes that is all it takes. I think my area of study and research is publications and how I use these to convey my scattered and pungent thoughts, either visually or in words. And the gallery or series of galleries/shows somehow slots in as well. I think. I don’t know. I have two years to publish me, me, and me. PQ will be very different to MTS, both in approach and in content, so that should be ok. If all goes to plan there will be six issues by the time of concluding this merry adventure. I can’t imagine that right now. Or, it will have evolved, changed direction. And that is fine, acceptable because this is a statement of intent, an exploration and not a way of confining creativity.  

This blog will soon be available as a limited edition extended version. There will be the posts as you see them here and then bonus material. A live web stream of typing as it happens. A podcast audio commentary of each post and my reflections upon the reflections. Never before seen footage of the author chewing gum. A set of virtual postcards of the artwork often mentioned. Additional video material of each exhibition mentioned in the blog. A pair of identical underpants to those worn through by the author. And, published for the first time, personal emails that were read during the writing of each post and in the bonus platinum version of the virtual boxed set, the replies sent to those emails. See the blog in context and as a whole.    

I just need to make some fucking work. I think that is the answer.  

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December 3, 2007

The day away and the day getting back from being away were so tiring that no blog entry appeared. As a punishment, not sure whether that is to you, dear Reader, or to me, this has now become BLOG FORTNIGHT. This will evolve into blog forever, every available night because fuck it, nothing else is happening on MADA. Eleven weeks in and my task is to timetable what I will do for the next four weeks in order to write a 1500 word document about a proposal that I am not sure of, issues about which might have been resolved if I had taken part in the requested but so far absent tutorial.  

In the meantime, Camberwell have enrolled me despite no evidence that I can pay for the course, which I can’t. I guess all that is really important is the money, not whether I have any worth as an artist or anything worthwhile to add to the course. So my bum is firmly on the seat for now, instead of languishing on the fence which seems to be the preferred posture for many of my contemporaries.  

What is the role for the artist in modern society? We live in a very visual world and yet no one seems to be reaping the benefit materially. I know of very few people who make a living from ‘art’ other than in the sideshow of teaching or occasionally whoring themselves for agencies. No one seems to be happy. Everyone appears to make work, or show in exhibitions at a loss to themselves in the belief that it will create a positive CV that will impress some distant figure who will radically change their prospects. Of course, I don’t know anybody worth knowing. I am a small fish in a very crowded tank of shit eaters. Anyone will take a grateful and willing artist who gives in to the demand of a full CV.  

I need a piss.  

Back. I do so wish this was live and interactive. Perhaps that is the ‘promised land’ in terms of a decent project proposal. I fucking hate ‘players’; people who only gather around a decent prospect. I am stupid, clearly, as I tend to hang around people who I like, value or feel a common bond with. Very few of them will do anything beneficial to my ‘career’ (as in careering off a gorge, having gorged myself on bile) as an ‘artist’. Some of them might hold me back. Shit, I should reassess all my current contacts and start to be a little more ruthless. I can’t waste time on timewasters. I need to go for the jugular. I must feast on the rotting carcass of integrity. To be alone and unhappy but connected is the way forward.  

We are nothing and the things that we do are of little consequence to anyone. The best that you can hope for is that a drawing or a bit of writing might have caused a mild but positive reaction in someone, for a moment. In this digital world, this vast collection of data, you leave a trail, a mark but it doesn’t really matter. In time, all this will be nothing. Individually we are gone in the blink of an eye and collectively it might be a hard stare but nothing more. We are all equal in the vastness of eternity; as one day the drawings of Leonardo will no longer mean anything to eternity, neither will these words. All will be gone, forgotten; erased. They may as well have never existed.  

On a lighter note, I found a really good space. The Red Gallery in Hull is a wonderfully evocative space, tucked away from the main thrust of the city. It is three small rooms, connected by a sort of corridor that isn’t really a corridor; each room almost a square with quite a low ceiling. There is only one way in and out which is a good metaphor for life, possibly, if I understood what a metaphor was or how that statement I just made had any basis in fact. I have missed the submission date for proposals for this year but I will be applying for June 2008, once I have cleared my current list of correspondents and found new social contacts that are worth having. See, I have already dehumanised ‘them’ by referring to them as correspondents rather than friends. The edge I need is the edge of sanity.  

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