Saturday, 23 April 2016

Cry. Sod Harry. Fuck England and St George!

I’m not against collectives per se. Collectives based on progressive ideas can be a force for good. The concept of international socialism is a laudable cause. But when collectivism manifests itself as nationalism and/or patriotism then we need to worry. Being proud of where you are born, a land mass, a line drawn in the sand is the territory of the half-wit. Why should you want to identify with the people that live in your vicinity just because they live in your vicinity? Life should be all about toleration and celebrating diversity and not about being in one homogenous tribe.

Down the centuries so many barbaric acts have been committed in the name of England, or more accurately the English elite that lord over us, that effectively as a ‘nation’ we all have blood on our hands.

We can’t. There is no such thing. Genetically we are a mongrel 'nation' and have been since time began. The Englishman* is a myth.

We all have blood on our hands

*I use the masculine term because in this unequal world it is men who have invented nationhood and religion in order to oppress.

Shakespeare Day - A Bank Holiday?

I really would like to see today as Shakespeare Day, a bank holiday (as you can never have enough of those), a day to celebrate our cultural heritage. Not because Shakespeare needs the PR, think he’s being doing quite nicely on that front for a few hundred years, but because it deflects the jingoism and ridiculous nonsense of St George. The arts enrich our lives, they are good for our wellbeing, and they help us on the road to happiness and fulfilment. The arts celebrate diversity.

Angry, bored, depressed, perplexed, stressed, having trouble making sense of the world or just generally unhappy?
Then get some art in your life. Open your heart to the arts. You’ll feel so much better for it.

Scene from A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Oberon, Titania and Puck with Fairies Dancing), William Blake, ca. 1825 — Source.

Friday, 8 April 2016

On losing my virginity

I'm sure you know the score; the anticipation is overwhelming, the pulse races as the nerves build and the fear of failure weighs heavy on the mind. Venturing into unchartered waters can be quite traumatic.

I've always been a late developer which probably accounts for my boyish looks. People are often surprised at how old I am. Apparently I look younger than my given years. It has been commented on many times. That's what good clean living does for you I guess.

At the tender age of 60 I am about to lose my exhibiting virginity. As from Sunday evening 14 pieces of my art will be on view to the public at the Art of Norwich NÂș43 exhibition. I would be lying if I said I wasn't a teeny bit apprehensive. I not particularly worried about how my work is received but very worried that my creations will stay hanging in situ. I'm responsible for putting the fixings in the board that my pictures will hang upon. I'm shit at DIY and as we know from the Bard of Barking, "the laws of gravity are very, very strict". It could all end in tears.

Wednesday, 30 March 2016

P-put it to the test-o

He said 'What do you think about my manifesto?'
'I like a manifesto, put it to the test-o.'

I wrote this manifesto (below) in 1982 and it still pretty much sums up how I feel about art and my art in particular. Everybody can be an artist. Nobody can tell you what is and isn't art and what you should like. Nobody can tell you how to enjoy art. Art is not exclusively for the elite. Art really needs to be democratised.

Sunday, 13 March 2016

Meet Fred

This is Fred. He's a dapper dude. I suspect this is what passed for cool in December 1920, and it still looks cool today.

Who is he?

Well he's definitely a relative of mine. We* think he's Granddad Garrard's brother. If this is so it makes him my great uncle. I don't ever remember meeting him. In fact I know virtually nothing about him. And in a way I'm fine with that. I'm not overly bothered about family history. I've done the odd thing on here about family but it doesn't figure greatly as a driving force in my life. I don't get the being tied genetically is more important than being connected with like minded people thing.

The gene pool is fickle and cruel sea, as It's interesting how someone as handsome as fred can mutate into an ugly bugger like me. Nature is without emotion.

I'm tempted to invent a fable around this photo and perhaps one day I will. But for now I'll let him rest in peace.

*My mother and sisters

Friday, 11 March 2016

Free ‘Money’ - Millions!

Would you like a free wad?

What must it be like to give away millions?*

What is money, anyway?
Money is artifice; a promise of a perceived value; an abstract concept. Its practical value can oscillate wildly, particularly in uncertain times.

What is art?
Art is in the eye of the beholder.

Is art currency?
Only if you want it to be. Like money art has value if you believe it has value. The minute you stop believing it’s all worthless. But of course art can have value way beyond any recognised monetary worth; an aesthetic, cerebral or decorative value. Think about it!

The great currency give away
I’ve designed my own artistic currency. There is no promise of any monetary value but if you like my art you may feel that it has a certain intrinsic value.

Each one of these folding sheets of paper ‘money’ is worth a million notes*. Up until now I’ve been printing out a few at a time and leaving them in strategic places as an experiment in found art. I leave them on trains and buses, in racks of leaflets, as extra tips in restaurants and extra donations in collection boxes, in library books, in pubs partially tucked under a beer mat and in other public places where they might be observed by the curious.

Would you like a free wad of this ‘cash’?
I’ve had several thousand printed so if you would like a wad at absolutely no charge to yourself then please contact me and I’ll send you a goodly supply of notes. Help spread the joy. Distribute them as freely as you wish. Feel like you are an eccentric millionaire. Guaranteed to break the ice at parties! Contact me and the ‘cash’ is yours. Be part of my art experiment.

*please note that this ‘currency’ has absolutely no guaranteed monetary value. The notes are purely works of art.

If you would like a free wad of artist cash, yes at absolutely no charge to yourself, then please fill in your name and address below and I’ll send you a goodly supply of notes. Help spread the joy. Distribute them as freely as you wish. Feel like you are an eccentric millionaire. Guaranteed to break the ice at parties! Apply now and the ‘cash’ is yours.

Fill out my online form.
Use Wufoo integrations and get your data to your favorite apps.

Saturday, 23 January 2016

Why does society continue to ask the wrong questions?

Why is society so fixated with quick fix solutions to failed outcomes, rather than truly questioning the diverse root causes of a particular problem? Things can only ever be improved if we are brave enough to think things through in greater detail than most people do now. Nothing is ever black and white. Answers are rarely simple, and on the odd occasion that they are society won’t accept them. Society doesn’t like the unpalatable ‘truth’. Society would rather blame a scapegoat than get to root causes.

All discrimination is evil. It only serves to divide society. Trying to right wrongs with other wrongs is wrong. It doesn’t work. Initially it might apply a superficial gloss and appear to be a solution but deep down, bubbling away will be the seeds of discontent, slowly seething and growing. Positive discrimination isn’t. It’s an oxymoron. Whilst the human race continues its fixation with competition there will always be discrimination in one form or another. Competition ensures that there are always winners and losers. Should we really label people losers? I don’t think so. Nobody should be considered a loser.

That brings me onto the over-hyped nonsense known as the Oscars. The recent comments and complaints about the racist nature of the Oscars along with Charlotte Rampling's reported opinions on the matter are all ignoring the obvious. Why is society not questioning the misguided need to have competitions right across the arts? The ‘best of’ label applied to any art form is totally without any validity. Appreciation of the arts can only ever be subjective. Popularity is never a measure of quality. There are no quality standards in the arts and any attempt to apply them is pure artifice. ‘Good’ or ‘bad’ can’t be applied to the vocabulary that describes the arts. Unfortunately many people can’t seem to cope with abstracts. They bizarrely have to categorise and objectivise the arts. But it doesn’t have to be this way. So rather than this smoke-screen of great debate about who said what and the possible nature of the alleged inherent racism within the American Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences why is nobody questioning the need for the Oscars in the first place?

Let’s eradicate arts competitions as they have no place in a civilised society!

Tuesday, 5 January 2016

The great art giveaway

Well not really a great giveaway, but I am trying to shout a bit louder about my art; up until now I've been quite passive about promoting it. I'm hoping to change that. I have a number of things in the pipeline for this year which I will tell the world about once I'm able.

I've started a mailing list to help keep people informed about what I'm up to with my work. I'm very keen for people to sign up. I won't bombard with masses of emails, but from time to time there may be giveaways and unique offers.

Those on my mailing list will be put into a free prize draw and every quarter one lucky person will receive a limited edition print (signed and numbered).

What are you waiting for?
Please sign up today.

Monday, 28 December 2015

My top 10 list of 2015

At this time of year people like to review the previous 12 months and make lists about their favourite things, their least favourite things or things or events they believe to be significant. Why?
Newspapers and periodicals are full of them. They are easy; they fill space with very little effort. They are cheap, and in so many ways.

I don’t have a top ten list. It’s all arse!

Time is essentially a manmade constraint and calendars are just a tool to falsely measure it in a very arbitrary way. We don’t live our lives like chapters in a book so why pretend otherwise? In my opinion it’s all to make things tidy in our minds. Filing for those that can’t cope with the fluid nature of existence. It’s laziness.

Lists of favourite things would seem to be the worst of the genre; trying to measure stuff that can only ever be subjective is worthless, anal and crass. If I like something it doesn’t make it important to anyone else. Someone else might also like it, but popularity is just what it says on the box, it’s popular, which doesn’t make it better or worse than stuff that’s not as popular.

If chaos theory is to be believed, and I have no reason not to believe it, then a butterfly flapping its wings is a significant and therefore warrants a place on any list of important world events, but I doubt you’ll ever see it.

So come on people, lets shun this lists nonsense and accept the fractal reality of being. Break free from your filing. Get a life!

Sunday, 8 November 2015

The veneer of the red poppy fascists

Remembrance, what a perfect example of Orwellian newspeak that is!

Remembrance is to forget; to forget the sheer folly of war, and the mistakes mankind* makes over and over again. To forget the mistakes that continually lead to war. To forget the sheer folly and futility of war, of war that is death, destruction, waste, terror, tragedy and trauma. The horrors that are glossed over with pomp, costume, medals, trinkets, weapon ‘salutes’ and concentrated jingoism in a pantomime that not once emphasises how evil and pointless war is, or even considers how to end war.

All war is murder, and there is nothing heroic about murder. Who dies in wars? Why the middle, working and peasant classes of course; both civilian and service people. No surprises there. War is waged by the establishment. War is the sport of the ruling classes. The one percent never suffer; they thrive and profit from war. They are the manipulators. They control us with their relentless propaganda; it’s how the few can keep the many ‘in their place’. They use tools like patriotism and xenophobia. Patriotism is the opposite of what it is purported to be. It’s all lies. Establishment lies. Red poppies are a marker. A marker to check that we are toeing the line. Think about it, and I mean really think about it; analyse.

All war is murder; to those of you that are of a religious** disposition it is the ultimate blasphemy, and to those of us that are atheist it is totally unjust and a moral outrage!

We are all pawns in the establishment’s game.

Now then! If any of you Daily Mail types have got thus far in my blog post you’re probably fuming. You’re probably thinking that I’m being disrespectful to all of those who fought and died for my so called freedom. But I am certainly not. I have the greatest respect for them, and for those that have suffered and been maimed by war. To me all human life is sacred. As a pacifist I want to end all war; surely it is the greatest respect one can offer to those who have experienced the unimaginable horror that war must be. The disrespectful ones are the elite, the ruling classes, the ones that will today be dressed in their finery and brandishing their blood red poppies. They don’t give a shit about the likes of you, me and the rest of the hoi polloi. And they certainly don’t give a shit about those past and present members of the armed forces. To those in charge the armed forces are just cannon fodder. The UK is the 9th richest country in the world yet we still have poverty and homelessness; that shows you how much those that rule over us, the richest 1%, care about the rest of us. And, a sizeable proportion of the homeless, the drink and drug dependant, those with mental health issues and the prison population will be ex-service people. That’s how much they, the establishment, respect those that have ‘fought for their country’. Think about it! Wake up! Then remember that!

And finally, don’t forget that in the world today, war is ever present. We all need to say enough is enough. Think about all those poor people fleeing from war, the refugees that precariously take to the high seas or trek large inhospitable distances across land to escape the carnage. They will be the middle, working and peasant classes of their respective countries. They won’t be the rich. Money is a passport to go anywhere, and to flee from anywhere. If you are filthy rich you have free movement. Think about that too!

*I make no apologies for using the word mankind as it is men that control the world and it is men that wage war

**Religion – another tool that the establishment use to keep large sections of populations under control

This post builds on a previous one from a few years back. Pacifism has a constant in my adult life.