October 27, 2008

A productive morning creating new acetates for the OHP to be used at some fantastic and trendy art night, part club, part toe to toe drawing session. I am turning up as the clown, yet to decide how childish my antics will be. Thought about art custard pies, water bombs and all that stuff but it possibly won’t go down well with the owners. Instead, I might just menace the artists by daubing on their work.


I love it at Repro. Made up the acetates whilst the magic copier churned out copy after copy of the cheap PEEP! for the interim show. Trimmed some artwork, packaged it up. And then I went to collect a free photocopier courtesy of the freecycle network and a kind man called Russell (http://www.freecycle.org/). I am planning to put it in the studio later on and see if it works, he said it does so more of a case of seeing how soon I might need a new toner drum, thing. I think it is digital and does things like reducing and enlarging and so on, in which case, it will be very useful.


New zines, one off zines.


Next Day

I tried the copier. It needs toner. I might be able to get one cheap. Should be good if I can, it does reduce and enlarge and once I have mastered the scanning area, the world will be my lobster. I can’t wait.


The studio is filling up. The irony being I am losing space to gain rent. When I was alone in there, I wasn’t actually using it much. As soon as another body moves in I work more. Perhaps I knew this on a subconscious level; it is tempting to do nothing when there is no one to see it or chart any progress. Apart from the bulky copier, I am refitting an old wardrobe as a new gallery. I can’t have my studio open when we do the ArtWalk as I am not insured, so I decided to have a gallery stood in the doorway instead.


It is a PEEP! gallery. Two door wardrobe with two drawers at the bottom. One drawer will be a gift shop, with FREE gifts, publications etc and so on. The other drawer will be a gallery. At the moment, I am planning to turn it into the ‘Almost Art’ gallery (or the ‘gallery of near misses’). It will contain items that have been carefully assembled over the years; fragments from artists studios. For example, I have some gloss paint drips scraped off the floor of Damien Hirst’s studio. These droplets nearly made it. A flick of the wrist of fate in a different direction and they would have been on the canvas, worth something; art. Through some cunning but secretive contacts, I have quite a few exhibits.


In the main body of the gallery, behind the doors, in the closet-I don’t know yet. The obvious thing to do would be to present some nicely printed imagery from PEEP!  However, my ego must be fed and so it might end up as an MTS show. Old stuff, obviously. The gallery is new, that is enough effort.


Day After That

More painting at the studio and more discussion of future MTS plans. Not in any careerist way at all, just ideas of work that we’d like to do. Since we began in 2006 we have averaged two ‘events’ a month; an event either being an exhibition or inclusion in a book, film programme etc. Something public as opposed to private meanderings. Our CV looks quite healthy and the issues we make aren’t even included on that list. We’ve done ‘quite well’ despite not much effort. Of course, if you use the normal measure of success-money-we’re shit.


We have looked out for exhibitions, real ones in proper spaces. We have done the odd ‘street’ thing and talked often of doing more ‘things’ in that way; we are quite lazy. Once planning, logistics and so on enter the thought process, we look elsewhere. Hopefully that is about to change, hopefully the couple of projects we have been working on will encourage more freedom. We are not ‘street artists’ or anything associated. We are trying to find an audience and get some immediate response. If some people laugh and like it, great; job done. Seeking a buzz really. The opposite of trying to make a career.


Two Days Later

Went to the Ferens Art Gallery in Hull to see Kirsten O’Brien, popular children’s television art person thing. Children joined in the Big Draw activities. I drooled from a distance. Realised I wasn’t so much drooling at her physical attributes as the knowledge that she inhabits a world I can only dream of, televisionland. All the while I hoped she would glance over and make me a star.

   “We really need a bloke who can drool so enthusiastically whilst drawing. Like the hat by the way. Are these your children?”


   “Shame, I really go for men who have children…”

   “Yes, they are mine. All of them, all the kids you can see in here are mine. Very fertile. Take me back to televisionland, please.”

   “Only if you cover me in PVA glue…we can pick it off together?”

   “Kids, you know the way back to your Grandma’s pub don’t you? I’ll call her in a few days, let her know what I’m doing, well, not exactly what I’m doing…”


Here is a clip of Kirsten in action. I’m not sure what she is doing, looks like art to me. I should have got her to sign a printed photo for MTS, really missed out on that one. I wonder what she thought of Hull. The view of Hull from inside the art gallery is very different to the one outside. Two worlds. I looked out for her in Primark; she never appeared. (http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=rPzk5MZa2dM)


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October 15, 2008

Some inescapable truths about PEEP! the paper version.


1. My printer cannot take it.


I have spent most of the day printing one copy, mostly to see what it looks like for real, spot any errors and so on. I have been doing other things whilst the printer mutters its way through the job, spitting ink and ejaculating chewed paper. Of the forty pages, about three would pass even a low tolerance check. Unexplained lines, smears and other oddities abound. At this rate, I would be printing forty copies to get one that is saleable. Ridiculous.


2. Cheap ink is expensive.


I found a supplier of cheap ink, not the brand stuff. He gives me extra discount on top as I usually arrive at his office looking petrified and slightly unkempt. I think he assumes I am on some kind of programme or that I sniff his cartridges. He is nice but at a distance. I think he wants me out of his office as soon as is possible before other customers see me. Even at this highly discounted rate, I estimate that I will only get four copies per tenner, if the entire print job goes well and with few mistakes. That is too expensive.


3. I don’t have the time or the patience.


Aside from being grumpy, the printer is slow. Hand binding is slow. Even if I dedicated myself just to making PEEP! and only one issue a year, I would have little time for anything else. Art or otherwise.


4. Where is the market?


I don’t know. I have one gallery in San Francisco willing to take it, despite having never seen it, which sounds very good on paper-international, huh-but in reality, I don’t even know this gallery. It might be a shit gallery. I know of places to approach and I assume that some of them will take it, I think quite a few will, not because it is a wonderful publication, just because it exists and they think they can sell it and I am on an MA course, so I must be heavyweight stuff and of course, they will take a cut. I assumed that this would be the easy but tedious part. I could be wrong; I might be staring at a box of printed, unsold PEEP! for a long time. I don’t mind that.


5. Should it be free?


Why am I selling it? “This is free; this quality publication with colour pages is free? Wow!” I want to hear that, I really do. In the early days of MTS I was adamant that it should be free. No adverts, no sponsors. It is a belief that I hold dear to generally. I like stuff in kind; give me some free paint, brilliant. I’ll have it, I’ll use it. If you make something and you love it and you believe in it, pay for it and give it away. Somewhere along the journey of making PEEP! I have wobbled, stumbled, almost fallen down. Why should PEEP! be paid for? I can’t afford to produce it as easily as making a new MTS and this is a solo project, so it is even less affordable but why charge for it? What is the motivation other than to grab back some of the production costs? If, and it should be a big IF, I sold all or most of the run, it would be great. It would be a nice little earner. And so what. I know that some of the potential outlets won’t take a free publication; it occupies space that they could use for retail. I understand that even if I find it sickening. Nog Gallery, Brick Lane; you do that. Name and shame. I can find places for PEEP!, places that will appreciate it and being free from any monetary concerns I can ‘afford’ (!) to be a little bit sluttish. Send some to New York, fuck it. Toronto. Berlin. Send ‘em, let them do what they like with them.


Why do we do this? Ego. Something to pass the time. Immortality. Will we be remembered and does it matter either way? We come into this world with nothing, we go out of it clutching a free copy of PEEP! MTS is on issue twenty right now, the next one is being prepared. We have some ‘fans’, people who like what we do. We don’t get paid or laid and it doesn’t matter. We cause no ripples in the art world, other than minor ones. Does it matter…no, not really. We enjoy it. Nice that some people beyond our little world enjoy it too. What is it that we seek; adoration? Money? To be called by Nike to design a limited edition sneaker. A spread in the Culture section of the Sunday Times; the next big thing. A guest spot on the Chris Moyles show. A sell out show, in all senses. A play thing for the rich and famous; please, we’d love you to do something urban on our guest room wall, something shocking, with those, um, delightful little characters you have in your, erm, pamphlet. BBC3 wants to commission you for some animated links. And don’t worry, you don’t have to actually draw them, we have a team who can do that. You just provide the guidance, a few scribbles, the spark, the spunk; the nitty gritty we can hire out to pencil monkeys. We wouldn’t want you tied to a desk for long hours, spoiling the flow of your creativity.


6. I need to start saving.


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October 13, 2008

If I had written each post as a chapter, I would have a book by now. A year of writing to produce the equivalent of a book, in length only. All that time and most of it spent doing other things, not writing each post. So if I actually set myself the task of writing a post every other night, one of at least five hundred words, a thousand when I was on form, over a year I would have a book of some kind. That is the crux of the matter, ignoring a small vocabulary and a lack of faith, I have no structure. I have thought about doing a ‘Clarkson’ and writing a ‘column’ every other day and this then builds into a book. It seems easy. Today the topic is Arab suicide bombers and the interior of the new Lamborghini 8000. Be a bit of a lad about it, slightly controversial but not too much so and ta-da! A slight approach that builds week by week into a best seller. For those of you not familiar with Clarkson and I am undecided whether that is a good thing or unfortunate; he is an odd character, clearly intelligent but sprinkled with a lot of smug asides that I find annoying. Like an angry young man who isn’t that angry but seeks the angry dollar audience. (http://www.jeremyclarkson.co.uk/)


I am stuck. PEEP! the paper version is troubling me. I can work to my own timetable and no one is demanding advance copies and I know that the best thing to do for the project is to hold back and make it as professional as I can. In the meantime, whilst searching for the money to finance it, I can try to secure some retail places, tweak the layout and so on. Perhaps start on issue two. There is plenty of work to do on the course all of a sudden. I was so certain that this week would give me the thrill of seeing a printed version of the Publisher files that I have been staring at for weeks that I feel a sort of anti-climax. I think I have some kind of mental condition, one where I constantly need to reassess my position in relation to the rest of the universe, to rewrite the ‘to do’ list endlessly, seeking some kind of progress by completing small tasks.


Tomorrow I plan to start the PGPD essay, writing as much as I can in the morning. I will then break off to find some second hand books for the book fair and return to try and write some more. The day after, I will write more and in the evening try to assemble an electronic PEEP! show reel for the interim show. I think if I concentrate on MADA tasks this week I will feel happier. As I am writing, I intend to print a dummy PEEP!, partly so that I can see it and make improvements and partly so that it can be subjected to a brief and friendly critique with a couple of friends. I trust them to say it is shit if that be the case. And they’ll say it in a nice way too.


For the interim show I am planning to exhibit the show reel, ideally projected on a wall, or failing that via a PC screen. I will send paper examples of the book to be shown and one thousand cups are already in Camberwell. I wanted them to be in one of the glass cabinets if possible, if not I will suggest an alternative. It is difficult never having seen the space. I might post some of the latest MTS issues too. I don’t know. This is my current work and my work specifically concerned with the MA, touching on the digital and the paper versions. And it would be a literal example of the book and zine comparison, thingy, sort of.


I can see the essay in my mind and it doesn’t feel like a daunting task.


Popped into the studio today, briefly. There is such a positive feel to the place, outside of my room. I like the people there. I want to stay and that need to ‘belong’ to something, that chance of some ‘support’ seems to be more important than any desire to retain full and sole occupation of my space. I like people to be around. Sharing it with someone half my age, someone younger than one of my step children will be a challenge; in so much as I don’t want to fall into the role of fat, old, painter type. I don’t feel thirty six and working with someone ten years younger on MTS helps me avoid the trap of being dead from the neck up. Actually, it is me too. I am not dead from the neck up and many people much more advanced in years than me aren’t either. Fuck, I am tripping up. I just am, I is. And so is you and them, just are.


I am human though and I do wish I was four stone lighter, at least. Skinny. Taller. Better teeth, fewer chins. I want to be sexy. I think if you are sexy, you don’t worry about stupid shit like art, you just look good. And people look at you. For the right reasons, not because you have an erect woolly hat or tatty clothes and so on.


I am collecting the ‘Let’s Grow’ vouchers for schools offered by Morrisons. Not from any devotion to growing your own really, as much as I support it as a theory. They give you them when you spend over ten pounds, except that when I go to the store I have to ask for them because, as a poorly dressed man on my own in the middle of the day, I clearly don’t have any children, in fact it would beyond reason to expect that I am ever in contact with any children. I see the look in the till girls eye (she only has one); loner, unemployed, probably a ‘meths’ addict. Almost certainly a paedo or some other sick twisted cunt. And those are the nice till girls, the ones I talk to. I think, look at my basket, look at what I am buying; obviously the ingredients for a meal, for more than one person and a little something for a small person, look. At least ask me if I want a fucking voucher. (http://www.morrisons.co.uk/LetsGrow/)


It is all bullshit. A supermarket wanting kids to learn more about the food that they eat and grow it themselves? So that they can buy less at the supermarket when they realise the difference in quality? It won’t happen though will it. The schools will get their free trowels and knee pads and packets of seeds and the Morrisons logo will be burned onto the little minds; Morrisons is good, Morrisons cares. And they will shop at Morrisons. And of course, some of them do anyway. Perhaps the collection of vouchers is merely there to lure some parents in to the store when little child moans that he/she hasn’t taken any vouchers into school and so feels inadequate. And so on. Brand changing. Probably, I think. I am collecting them because I am sick of the till girls and their prejudice with their beady eye, just the one.


Well, Morrisons, winter is coming and I have a plot of land going spare and I will use it to reduce your profits next year and encourage my small things to take an interest in the stuff that grows in the ground. Finger will be pulled out of arse, I promise. It won’t help me bag that MA but fuck that. Only I can save myself. Or the team of monkeys I have locked up in the larder. Useful beasts, tasty too. I tell you, it is time to reclaim this blog as my own. It will be here once the ink has dried on my MA certificate and I will be too, this is the virtual stick I use to punish myself. I like it. I almost pissed the bed last night which is worrying as even when I was little, I was never a bed wetter. Had too many buns tonight, fucking birthdays.






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October 13, 2008



October 13, 2008

This art lark is a difficult thing. One minute you think that there is some point to the whole thing, the next minute it seems a frivolous waste of time. I don’t mean ‘a point’ as in deep and meaningful. I know this applies to some artists. Deep, shallow; who cares, really? It is all the same but viewed from a different perspective. Ah, so I suppose I could have meant ‘a point’ as in deep and meaningful after all. I do ‘art’ because I want to. It isn’t even about showing off any technical skill or thinking that I can make anything other than a small difference (a titter) to anyone. I have nothing better to do. On a good day, I don’t understand why everyone isn’t trying it. Work? Fuck that. Draw and paint and cut out pictures from magazines and look at art, proper art, in books and in a gallery. Wow! What a way to pass the time!


On a bad day I wonder if I should really look for a job. Earn some money, spend it. Have a holiday. Eat out. Eat. Buy some ‘art’ instead. Am I merely a curator, a collector who cannot afford to buy stuff and so as a substitute I make stuff? Are there too many questions in fact? Does it need so much chewing over? I am here, I like to write and make. I have no ambition to join the rest of society. I don’t like bosses, I don’t care much for money, I have no career ambitions and I like to spend time with my children rather than buy them things and farm then off to various clubs and activities. The last bit might be unfashionable I know. I like my kids.


I seem to be constantly chasing projects that aren’t always what I want to focus on, as enjoyable as they are. There is some path in art, some body of work that I want to make but never have the time to start. As a chance to begin rises on the horizon like the morning sun, some other art distraction stands in the way like a big fat man casting a big fat shadow. I am trying to work this out, trying to push myself to get to that start. I might need to be rude to the fat man, make him cry and run away. Unless the morning sun is really the light at the end of the tunnel. Perhaps the fat man is good company and I am grateful for the shade.


Ideally I would spend the whole day drawing and painting. The evening writing and drinking. The few hours of sleep dreaming of a variety of naked people in a variety of poses. Repeat. Well no, that isn’t totally ideal as the children play no part in that plan. Unless I have one day on, one day off. Ah, getting somewhere! This could be life changing.


I might have to share my studio for financial reasons. I am torn between loss of space and privacy over the need to pay the rent. I like the challenge of sharing it with someone unknown. Sort of, one half of me is concerned, the other half thinks ‘fuck it’. And PEEP! has hit an interesting wall. I am ready to print and I was planning to do all the binding myself, spending hours with the fat man, knee deep in PVA and thread. I enquired as to professional stitching and gluing by a binding company and not only is it much cheaper than I imagined, it will be quick and professionally done and me and the fat man will have nothing to do but paint…


If I go for the bound by a machine option, it will delay the ‘launch’ on an unsuspecting and uninterested public. I will need to save money to pay for it all. The book fair in November, where I was hoping to show PEEP! for the first time, would have to be reassessed. I would turn up but with what? A table of fucking cups?


I can get a supply of real books. Second hand ones. For nothing. I did think….fill the table with, er, books. All books, 50p. Raise some money, piss off some artists. Banana boxes full of musty books, a real mix of shit. I am tempted. I can always claim it was sculpture. Or altered books. I have altered their context. I can stamp them with the ‘Milk, Two Sugars’ rubber stamp and leave it at that. (http://www.bookarts.uwe.ac.uk/regen1.htm)


Bed time. The naked visions await.


770 words


October 13, 2008
Dear Group
As I have not showered in over a week and there is an opportunity to take a long bath tomorrow afternoon, uninterrupted, I may not be able to make it to the chat. I will catch up in the archive.
All the best


October 8, 2008

Extracts from The Musings of an Idiot or Publish and Be Dumbed


Modern culture is lost. Serious art is about jokes and funny art is taken seriously. Writers no longer write, they simply form sentences. Books are just that, books. Pages of ironic prose wrapped in a cover that begs to be judged. We read about people like us trying to be people like us. Mochaculture. Manufactured individualism. Craft has been replaced by convenience. Audiences are not broadly educated or demanding and so the artist does not need to be challenging. We like spectacle and stunt. We want it Lite.


We don’t mind that the politicians are squeezing every last freedom out of modern living because we have all that we want. Let them put surveillance cameras in every nook and cranny because I will feel safer eating my fucking panini at the chrome altar in the Church of Mediocrity on the pavement of Anycity. I work hard. I play hard. I want my panini.


Bloated funding bodies throwing money at second rate artists with third rate ideas. I feel pain, give me money. I want to engage with a wider community. I am an artist. I suffer; last week I had to buy own brand fusilli. No one understands me. I don’t even understand me which is why I need more public money to further explore my limited intellectual capacity to the full.


The artist had an idea to dye his hair ginger and become a Van Gogh ‘tribute act’. Grow the beard, don a straw hat and sit in fields all day painting. It would be therapy. He could lead group therapy with disadvantaged people. Make a lottery application. Cheap, tacky and lacking in anything other than a desire to be a certain type of idiot-fuck artist.


Open a grotty domestic gallery. A real shithole; smelly, dank. Decorated with a collection of the vital debris of modern living; fag ends, wank mags and empty take away cartons. A critical stance on the state of contemporary curation. A curatorial stare at the stain of contemptuous critics. Something like that. The refuge of the artist formerly known as a potential bright young thing; someone who watched it all slip away, becoming bitter in the process. The art materials locked away, hidden.


Acquiring tat and displaying it as a piss take. Knowing, deep, ironic. In reality he likes it and that is part of his struggle, always has been. His head is full of fresh, exciting ideas but his heart remains attached to a traditional past and he can never let it go. And he never negotiated a coping strategy with himself, never worked out how to make it work.


We all need ‘visual freedom’.


Alone, ending up being a pencil nerd. Occasionally a gestural painter of poor temper. Desire, ambition. I want to be Jack Vettriano. I want to be liked by the masses; to walk into WH Smiths and see a diary with one of my images on the cover is my artistic wet dream. I long to be a calendar; to make more money from reproduction than selling the original work.


The solution: London. I need a cheap floor and an inferior mind to keep me amused. All minds are inferior today; it is such a shitty and mediocre world. I can recall a time when I thought I was thick. It was a ‘golden age’ when I knew my place and had no illusion of bettering my position. I was a northern gloit and would be bitter until my last breath. Suddenly the world changed and my shallow understanding appears oceanic in comparison.


I am shit at this art thing. I don’t do big stuff or good stuff; it’s not funny or clever. I can draw a bit, that’s it. I can’t back it up with intellectual vigour and I don’t have anything worthwhile to say. I am tired. Grumpy. I don’t know what to do next I suppose. Eat and get fatter seems the best option. I want money. Not a huge amount. I will be happy to get a job that means I can afford food and drink and get fatter. So huge that it becomes physically impossible to hold a pencil. I need a biscuit.


Art is structure.


I can’t be arsed pretending that I like people. I will be civil.


I suppose I could work on being indifferent. I have a passion for this thing, not that I know whether people realise that or not. I still worry that I am the clown and that’s all I allow others to see. I don’t credit most people with much insight. I might be wrong. The big joke could be that I am the one lacking any insight about anything and they are the truly enlightened.


So let us get to the crux of the matter. Drawing is the core activity; what happens to the drawing is the application or the chosen vehicle of communication, which is what it is all about. I draw to communicate. The application is determined by the appropriateness of the work or message needing to be conveyed. I work in all possible realms because to deny any application would be a limitation.


There is no need to debate notions of authorship, that discussion is tired. If I can’t make it but I have the idea it is still valid.


I have a desire to communicate because I am a passionate soul who is full of the joy of life and this world is shitty. This is my calling. It is not a career choice or a get rich quick scheme. I do this because when I wake up I have ideas and I need to make stuff. I like doing it. I wish I could do it all the time, in a sense I am seeking a visual enlightenment; attempting to create a world so perfect that I never have to or want to leave it and every hour of every day is rich, full and utterly fucking gorgeous.


1005 words