March 17, 2008


That is a link to the Iceland Film Festival and the contribution from MTS. I can’t get it to create itself as a hyperlink, you’ll have to use the copy and paste option should you be bothered. I’m not bothered if you do or not, it is there for the sake of some kind of continuity. I am still in review mode and offering all the evidence I can that I am able, willing and worthy of a place at such an esteemed hinstitution.  

I quite enjoyed the whole process of gathering together all the bits and pieces and making sense of it. I thought I was up shit creek without a paddle, when in actual fact I have an onboard motor but no arms. I am taking the long view; it may be a weak submission but I can always do worse next time. Staggering towards the final mark. I did once think of trying to become a PhD student but I don’t think I can take myself seriously enough, let alone expect other people to. And I am running out of big words and fancy sounding phrases. There is only so much a gloit from the North can do. I know my plaice.  

A friend has offered me a small section of table, the size of an A5 publication, at an upcoming book and multiples fair in London. I have three weeks, possibly less than that, to create something. Luckily, I have an idea. I’m not saying anything more than that. If I do it, I will post something about it here.  

It will be cheap. I don’t want to charge a lot. I am sick of silly prices. For any artwork, book, painting and so on, you can’t really account for the time it takes in arriving at a price. Some work takes a long time, other moments are inspired. I know that pricing a piece is contentious for many artists. Keep it simple. Work out the actual material cost, double it and round it up. Time is a silly factor to add to the equation. You would be doing the work anyway, paid or otherwise. It is, after all, your calling. Fuck time. Equally difficult is assessing your own ‘worth’ via the position you think you have in the ‘art world’. We are all, most of us, minor players no matter how long it is since you graduated, or didn’t. And, as a creative, we are not a factory; this is not mass production. There is a small market for your work. Accept it. Make a bit on top, be generous in your pricing. I would say that ideally you should give it away.  

So, I may end up having all the books I send returned. Too cheap. People don’t trust the worth of the item because it is cheap. Must be a small time art player, or maybe someone who is a dabbler, not serious. Words and drawings at a low, low price. It is a test, or a taster for later in the year. I want to produce a range of publications all at a pound. Stack ‘em high, sell ‘em cheap. I will still use decent paper and so on, no cutting of corners unless it is that type of artist book. One corrupted book I do want to try is pissing on an old book, so that the paper yellows and pages fuse. Dry it out. A nice hardback. I might sell sketchbooks. Going cheap, one A6 sketchbook. All my own work. Over and over, the same sketchbook with the same drawings, same marks and stains. Copies but original.  

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March 16, 2008



March 16, 2008


An ability to analyse personal skills, experience and interests, conduct relevant research, formulate related objectives and construct a plan for a programme of study. 

The analysis takes place in the blog; pick an entry, any entry. There is possibly too much analysis: “I can’t even write a shit novel. I haven’t tried either.” (EIGHTEENTH POST). The blog is used to constantly pick over the carcass of my personal skills and lack of experience. Each exhibition is an opportunity to broaden experience and all of this is discussed in the blog. The blog is the answer to everything. In my case, I think that this is very true.  

Everything is relevant to my practice and therefore the project proposal, so any research is relevant and how I conduct it is in secret and late at night. I will be adding a concise list of research at the end of this entry. Or on a separate piece of paper, I haven’t formulated the objective yet. When I do, it will be analysed in the blog. An example of some research, leading to a site visit, discussed in the blog: “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.” (TWENTY NINTH POST) 

An objective mentioned in that post is to secure an exhibition at the Red Gallery. The blog is a constructed plan for a programme of study. By study I mean the continued exploration of the role of the artist/definition of what an artist is/should be in the context of my project, PEEP! At this point I should possibly scan one of the many scraps of paper that make up my physical plan for a programme of study. If it is really necessary, I will. I have a lot of them. Some people would make them into work. For some people, that would be the work. I am less ambitious than that, preferring to undercomplicate things.  

Knowledge of staff and peer work and current areas of professional exploration and research within Digital Arts and the Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) and the ability to contribute to group debate. 

Yes. I think my text ought to be in bold, really. I read the other blogs and have a sense of what everyone is doing. When there is group debate I contribute, otherwise I make quips. Quips are relevant to my practice and therefore my project proposal. Firstly, a contribution to group debate: “Bob Milner: I read that Digital Arts doesn’t cover video/film art so I suppose they would fall under New Media.” (04/10/2007). This also supports the learning outcome of relevant research. Secondly, a quip: “Bob Milner: mental decline is the only process in need of definition.” (26/11/2007). Current areas of professional exploration and research within DA are covered by the research list.  

A knowledge of key themes in contemporary and historical practice of digital arts. 

I think that this is demonstrated by my research, the blog and my continued insightful contributions to group debate. “There is no ‘ism’ in Digital Arts. There is onanism.” (SEVENTEENTH POST). 

An ability to apply specific working methods and processes in the development of your work, according to your individual study proposal. An ability to work independently with appropriate resources and a knowledge of essential health and safety issues. Knowledge of basic hardware, technologies, media and components and their uses and an awareness of electronic resources. 

PEEP! has necessitated the development of existing working methods, for example the curation of a wide range of artistic style into one publication, as opposed to previous work on ‘Milk, Two Sugars’ where the symbiotic relationship of the two artists involved creates a visual harmony that defies meticulous or intellectual explanation. It is magic. PEEP! is work. I am able to work independently. I demonstrate this even in the visual partnership of MTS as we rarely work together physically. With PEEP! I have sole responsibility for the gallery and the publication. I carry on the work needed for both as well as being involved in MTS and other art projects.  

Health and Safety is fully considered at the PEEP! gallery as the space is part of a larger building which has to adhere to H&S as the public are present. Specifically for the gallery, I ensure that each artist is fully aware of any H&S issues in dealing with the building and the gallery structure in particular. During other exhibitions and events, we always consider the spectator and this will be evident in future blog entries as we are part of a group organising an exhibition at a mill.  

I have a basic knowledge of hardware, technologies, media and components and their uses and an awareness of electronic resources. I have rummaged around the bowels of the blackboard site and contributed to the wikispace for Camberwell. I don’t know what other proof you want. I wish I did. I have used the internet to make this post. I have made a very simple website for our last presentation (www.piczo.com/milktwosugars) and for the joint presentation I made a short film. It no longer appears to be on YouTube, I assume it was so popular that they removed it for H&S concerns. People were laughing so hard, they were having an aneurism. What an art movement that would be, so much passion that the body responds by almost killing the artist.  


September 2007 

‘Curious Animals’, Dewsbury. Exhibition moved from Huddersfield Art Gallery to the Black Bull, a town centre ‘art pub’, featuring the c’ART gallery and new work from MTS.   

“Festival of Bathing Beauties”, Mablethorpe. Two day beach hut show/event. Display of framed drawings/prints. ‘Random Record’ public event. New issue of MTS.  

Second Manchester Book Fair, Holden Gallery, Manchester. One day book fair. Display of new publications/reprints and associated multiples.  

November 2007 

HOST 07, Bates Mill, Huddersfield. Three day residency/exhibition. Wall drawing with film projection. New issue of MTS: HOST special.  

PEEP! gallery opened. First show was “Shockingly Taut”: new work by MTS. Drawings/prints. PEEP! gallery built/conceived as part of the project proposal.  

Short film ‘Zero’ and MADA version of MTS made for the joint presentation. 

Contributing artist to the Xmas edition of ‘irk’, Hull based publication.  

December 2007 

Call for contributions to PEEP! Preparation work for the new publication, an international zine/community. Project ongoing, due for release April 2008.  

Exhibition of MTS paintings, Whitworth Park, Manchester. Paintings exhibited at art/house venue/party on New Years Eve.  

January 2008 

New PEEP! show: Kathryn Cooper ‘The Ecology of Making a Cup of Tea’.  

New issue of MTS: 3D 

http://www.piczo.com/milktwosugars updated for presentation of project proposal.  

Wall drawing/demonstration, with digital projection at Batley School of Art and Design.  

February 2008  

New PEEP! show: Katie Chaplin ‘Japanese Silk Painting’ 

Another Roadside Attraction: film night at The Griffin, London. MTS film ‘Cinefun’ was shown, new issues of MTS distributed.  

March 2008  

New PEEP! show: Sophie Wilson ‘Pieces of Sylvia’ 

700IS: Icelandic Film Festival, MTS film ‘Cinefun’.  

Contributing artist/PEEP! feature in the latest edition of Creaturemag, an online magazine/website.  

And scattered bits of writing, some drawing that piles up. Plans, many, many plans. I have probably missed something but if you read the blog it is all there. I am very tired now; all my strength has been sapped. I still have to tidy up the project proposal, prioritise future projects, get PEEP! out there, do some work for the next issue of MTS. It never ends. Uploading this will be a menace, I do it all in word first and then have to copy and paste, which is all right but it does tend to squash all the sentences into one. I don’t know why, I don’t really care. It does and I correct it. Painstaking attention to detail. It has to be right. I won’t settle for less. I am a semi-professional. This is a serious submission. I am serious about my art, or MyArt if you prefer. I am expecting a delivery of four thousand paper cups which will take up all the remaining space in my studio-cum-home, much to the annoyance of everyone else. I then plan to pollute the family home with the smell of marker pens for at least three weeks. I do this because I have no studio space. There are piles of shit everywhere. All surrounded by a generous stretch of hazard tape; I am ever aware of H&S regulations.

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March 12, 2008


I have worked hard. I deserve a break.

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March 12, 2008


As a Visual Practitioner (V.P.) I am aware of the need for thorough documentation in order to pass time, seem important and justify future funding claims. This documentation, sometimes in the form of a review, can also be useful for those who have neither the time nor inclination to thoroughly examine the progress of an individual.  

We at the “Party Dedicated to the Enhancement of MyCareer” have identified some key words often bandied about by junior colleagues in order to sound more convincing. Here, we discuss one or two, maybe a few more. It depends on how soon we get bored of it. Reading this shit is bad enough but dwelling on it.  

1. Facilitator/To Facilitate (verb), to make easy or easier. Not to be confused with facile, this comes from the same Latin root, meaning superficial. In artland they are trying to say that they are like the lubricant for a sexual act, that without their slippery intervention, there would only be pain. Two camps need to exchange ideas via intercourse and a third body is needed, this is the facilitator. The bit that is made easy is the funding application. I am a facilitator, without me there could be no art worth looking at. There is a hand and a pencil but there has to be some intervention or nothing will happen. This is my role, to facilitate. Having secured a grant, I managed to place the pencil in the hand in such a position that it was possible for the hand to draw. This was repeated with several hands over a specified timeframe. We hope to show the results of this collaboration.  

2. Resonance (noun), prolongation of sound by reflection. Pictures don’t make noises but some artists do. You can record the sound of the pencil gliding over the surface of a good quality paper, provided you muffle the artist; any background orgasm could seriously affect the integrity of the project. A painting at an exhibition cannot make a noise but the pompous bastards viewing it can make a tremendous contribution to the auditory pollution via prolonged use of bullshit. Bullshit is prolongation of sound without any reflection. Not to be confused with prolapse, a possible side effect. 

3. Gestural (adj.), spasmodic painting method, an action performed for show in the knowledge that it will have no effect. A technique employed by lesser painters who have an excess of paint and shortage of ideas. Often treated by the ill informed as the true arbiter of knowledge and feeling, these minor painters are the living embodiment of irony as they are usually the least expressive people at a party, shamed as they are by their very public display of sexual inadequacy. Not to be confused with the Guttural School. See Video Art.  

Fuck it.  

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March 12, 2008

I spend a lot of time slouched over the keyboard, assuming that I am making progress when in actual fact I am largely documenting failure. I can pretend that these hundreds of words are going somewhere but I lack the real discipline to do anything with it. I have no time. I am thirty five and as I watched Scarfe and Sir P.Blake on the idiotbox, I made a mental calculation that I might have a good thirty years of work in me. If I can be arsed. I should be more selfish with my time, more ruthless with the children and all the other distractions in life. Fuck off, I am creating. I work around all of them and the art life does suffer. Then I think I ought to be more kind and remember that my serious, committed art life only really began in 2003 with a solid six month stint of painting, most of them have been destroyed, which led to the degree course and three years of tireless devotion. Since graduating I have made work, exhibited and if I was twenty eight, I would think that I am doing all right. That seven year difference, time spent mostly doing nothing and being as high as a kite whilst holding down three half jobs and trying to be a good role model for children who I constantly feel I am letting down because I abandon them to an education system that is deeply flawed, really bothers me. Think of the work I could have done, think of the paintings that would now be gathering dust in the attic. Relics of a non-life. I know, you come to things when the time is right. I couldn’t do what I do now, then.  

So, September is the big month. The excuses of being Daddy are swept away as another child is swallowed whole by the system. I will have six hours a day to work, in a space away from home. The timing is good, the start of the second year of the MA. I will be thirty six, another twenty nine years of productivity ahead. Over four thousand pieces of work to pass on to the next generation who will have no appreciation for it because the trade off was letting them rot in class.  

Stella Vine was on the idiotbox too. I imagined a world where my hybrid mix of her work and Scarfe, with a flavouring of MTS/PEEP! would make an impression. Lauded as the next someone, I would be the toast of Londontown. This morning, I was deeply involved in a dream of a similar nature. It wasn’t odd or freakishly sexual, very normal and warm and satisfying. I was in a room with artists and I was an artist and people liked my work. I had work to show, real work not scraps; the usual tossed off stuff. I was in that world quite deeply too and was reluctant to wake up to face this one. Perhaps I was in another dimension. I groggily wandered to the bathroom to piss, full of regret for having to wake. The sun was up, the sky was blue, my piss was clear and my son was pleased to see me. As I picked him up, I remembered why I came back from that other place.  

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March 10, 2008

The session was a non event today. Technical issues. Therefore, reflection is difficult. I didn’t mind too much as it cleared the afternoon to crack on with PEEP! the paper version.  

I’m convinced the human race is a random phenomenon on a random phenomenon (the Earth) in a random phenomenon (the Universe) that is a small part of large random phenomena that exists because of chance. We seek to understand the unfathomable and assume we are more important than we are. Maybe the bacteria in our bodies fight wars and make art too but we can’t see it.  

What I love about e-mail or electronic mail is you never know what will be waiting in the inbox. Instant contact which might be life enhancing on any number of levels. One thing that I realised today is that I should use a pencil more and construct elaborate drawings. E-mail gave me that insight. Post is nice but it never reveals the eternal truths in the way that electronic mail does. If only a letter had hyperlinks that delivered a further unfolding piece of paper and by the end of the session you had this eccentric mass of paper that was unmanageable. I’d like that. I suppose I could make one. Might be fun. I am shit at folding paper neatly which is a handicap as a self publisher. Same with staples, I rarely hit the spine. Good job I am not a quality book artist, I am lo-fi for the single reason that I am grubby and ineffectual.  

I went to the book fair at Leeds University on Saturday. I made books in the corner with all the other children, my daughter being a good excuse to sit and join in. It was the best time I have ever had at a book fair. I walked around the fair afterwards feeling immune to the stares of the smug and the worthy. The main problem with these events, to my very limited mind, is that you have to judge the books by their covers. You just can’t pick up every book to flick through and see whether it has any interest. Mostly a practical problem, the fair is only on for two days and the other problem being some socio-psychological thing. These book people sit at loin height in anticipation of a sale. You pick up their book knowing they have invested time in it, if not creativity and to simply put it back down within half a minute is torture. You can sense their spirit sinking. So I don’t browse unless the stall holder is talking to someone else; chatting about their muse or the weight of certain exotic paper.  

It was quite an active and arty forty eight hours. The night before the fair we had another meeting about the currently untitled mill show. It was a bit surreal but I do feel optimistic. I like the venue, I like the other artists and between us I think we have the necessary skills to publicise and organise it. The MTS work will be all right, I think. Aside from fixing a date for the show and a title, it all seems too easy. If it works well, it might be the first of many shows at the mill. Not so jolly is the preparation for the Liverpool show in June. We seem to avoid talking about it. In truth, it is an awkward space; a small rectangle with brick walls. There is more energy for the mill show.  

My ideal state is to work all the time. To write and draw daily and make new books. To hide these books in shops and other places of interest. I don’t though and I don’t understand why, motivation is a bit sparse. The world could be my oyster and yet I fritter away time. Mentally I am quite well adjusted, to my mind, in that I would make for making sake, not for profit or fame. Recognition from strangers is always welcome, as is a few nice words from those who know you. So, the state of mind is there, the hand is able and the synapses work. Quite what the ‘problem’ is, I don’t know.  

Studio or no studio…big debate that I can’t be arsed having tonight. Fuck it, go on then. My instinct is that a studio would be a good idea, a place to go and work in, to make a serious commitment to this art lark. It needs to be local and cheap. I ought to wait until September when my son is in school full time and so I have all day to devote to serious scribbling. I am impatient to get one though. Chomping at the bit. But if I get one now and don’t use it, I will feel shit. That might be the motivation to get one! Self abuse!  


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