November 13, 2008

I don’t know what to think right now. I don’t know what an artist is and even if I could define that clearly, I’m not sure I would fit the bill. For me, an artist is a grafter, someone who works almost compulsively and continuously and has a defined path to follow. I feel that most of the time I am scrabbling around in the dark, trying to find the light switch and stumbling around hopelessly. I make some nice drawings and I can organise a show. I can do the admin and shite like that with my eyes closed. I am intuitive more than cerebral, although I do like to think dark thoughts. I’m never that sure of my position though. I might just be a lucky fool, a meagre amount of ability in the right place. In the land of the blind…and so on.


The Interim Show came and went.


November has been and will continue to be a busy month. Old work for new audiences and new work of little consequence. I have one artist friend who only uses a piece three times as a loose rule. I am intrigued by this as MTS constantly recycles, reuses and relies on ‘classic’ images. I tend to think that if you show a piece in Manchester, then London (a small part of) and then in Edinburgh, the good people of Crewe (by way of a random example) have missed out on the thrill, so show them. Not everyone in Manchester will have seen it, so why not take it there again? How many times have you heard that Slade Christmas song? Yes, it does become tedious but you know you would miss it if it was banned from future airplay. I wouldn’t mind if MTS art/imagery became the visual equivalent of Slade. I often think of ‘art’ in terms of music. A piece is a single, an exhibition an LP. I think art is, or should be, as disposable as ‘pop’. Well, hang on. The exhibition is really the concert…no it isn’t. The concert is the book.


I work……I am, therefore.


Did the third book fair at Manchester, very poor. Not many people. No one sniffing around. Wrong crowd. I enjoyed the social aspect. Had a brief fling with the Whitworth Gallery. Crap. At the same time we had issues at the ‘Handmade and Bound’ fair in London, which was featured in the Guardian and as a result was very popular. You win some, you lose some.


The run away success of the book fair was my raffle. The prize was a MTS hamper of goodies, including a framed drawing, several issues, and other multiples from the past. Several people bought raffle tickets and someone won it. She was another stallholder, so in theory, she’ll appreciate it. Or pinch the ideas. And this weekend the dream of selling small, cheaper versions of PEEP! to fund the larger, more colourful version died. It didn’t happen, it won’t happen. Not to worry. Ever resourceful between dark bouts of mood and cheap alcohol, the remaining cheap PEEP! will go to a book fair in Liverpool next week, to delight the masses for free. It does mean a readjustment in thinking, which isn’t a bad thing. It is a thing that will be covered in the soon-to-be-written discussion paper, following on from the PGPD paper entitled ‘Books and Zines and Web Two ‘O’’ which was the best part of the essay; downhill all the way after that.


And now to the future. Chin up, eyes skyward, drink down. Dry those eyes. It doesn’t matter, nothing matters; it’s all an illusion. You don’t even exist. If an artist’s spine cracks during an act of self-fellation in a studio and there is no one there watching, does it make a sound?


We have two shows to plan for at the end of the month and possibly a slot in the show organised by Dan Fone at the House Gallery. The latter will be a more or less straight transfer of work from the Interim Show, I think. I was expecting this time of year to be slow. Or was I hoping for that?


So, PEEP! What the fuck to do? I don’t mind putting my hand in my near empty pocket to fund a vision, even to give away the product of that tattered vision. I don’t mind at all, I do trouble over the point sometimes. Some people will just want a freebie, simple as that. They won’t appreciate it fully. We all like a bargain, it is human nature. But I can’t control the distribution to such an anal level that only art students (am I deluded here or what?) and up-and-coming-over-their-own-work artists and gallery enthusiasts and semi-professional onanists are the only people allowed a free PEEP! I have no problem with the-man-in-the-street having one, in some ways I would prefer that. I am not pitching it at inbreeds (art subdivision) really. I am, I suppose, pitching at me. The current stage is looking at affordable printing. Or an alternative to printing at all. Or an alternative where something is printed but cheaply and something is added to that to make it full, perhaps a bit digital. A mix, a hybrid.


I don’t know if making it wholly web based is right. I need to work out what the motivation is. Is it purely economics or am I seeking to create a new form; is there a new form at all. Desperate times call for disparate measures. Fully funded I could make progress on the project without having to think.


Here is a picture of the lucky winner of the ‘hamper’. Her name is Clare. I think she was from ‘Paw Quality Comics’ or ‘Milkkitten’. Or someone else. Anyway, I haven’t a clue how to get hold of her, so I can’t ask permission to use her image, but as she was so thrilled to be the winner, I don’t think she’ll mind.


1,000 words