Sunday, 19 June 2016

Do you want to be in my gang, my gang, my gang?

Events don’t happen in isolation. Life on earth is an ongoing chain reaction with the past influencing the present and the future. As humans many of us like to categorise or compartmentalise bits of life. We want things to be black and white. But life ain’t like that. It's never that tidy. Pigeon holes are dangerous, and the human race is at its most dangerous and downright despicable when sections of it are tribal.

When people belong to a tribe all rational thinking goes out of the window. If you are not in a tribe you are the enemy. The tribe stifles creativity. The collective noun for sheep should be tribe. Tribal members are just one of the herd. They are no longer individuals. The tribe allows for easier manipulation. Tribe members become the foot soldiers to carry out the dirty work of those that pull the strings. In this country those pulling the strings are the white male English elite.

Countries, family, religion and sport are the main culprits when it comes to the creation of tribes. Tribe members, or sheeple, take the view that their tribe is the most important thing in the world and non tribe members are somehow worthless. Fascism loves tribes

I’m all for collectivism in the sense of working together for the common good, but I don’t see that in doing so your identity should be governed by the collective.

I think that events this week have reinforced my belief that tribalism is a parasite that is going to slowly but surely destroy the human race.

The world would be a better place without countries, 'family', religion or sport. Tribes divide. We need to learn to live together before it's too late.

I choose my blog titles very carefully by the way.

Sunday, 29 May 2016

Dr Zeeman’s Catastrophe Machine Show

I've been aware of the poet Martin Figura for a couple of years. I've seen him perform three times before Thursday night's performance of Dr Zeeman’s Catastrophe Machine Show. The show was part of the Norfolk and Norwich festival. I don't think I've ever seen a more absorbing and spellbinding one person performance of poetry and prose. It seems to be a mix of autobiography and poetic licence, which along with some inspiring props and well displayed photos and graphics to support Martin's charming and humorous writing makes for a wondrous evening.

It's a show that will make you smile, laugh, empathise and engender an inner glow. If you get the chance it's a must see!

Wednesday, 11 May 2016

Object Oriented Art

Sometimes when I publish my art on The Art of Being Paul Garrard I do so without being entirely happy with a piece. Sometimes ideas work and sometimes they don't. And just because I don't like something that I've produced it doesn't mean that someone out there won't like it or find it interesting. So I often publish work and work in progress just in case someone finds value in it.

I recently completed a picture called Rotunda. Something didn't feel quite right about it but I couldn't quite work out what so I put it on the web regardless. I kept on thinking. In the meantime here is the original picture:

Object oriented programming in the computer world has been around for a long time. Essentially a programme is made up of different objects that have certain functions, routines or tasks. You can use those objects over and over again in different configurations and in different programmes. It saves painstakingly rewriting code from scratch. Well the same can apply to digital art. The programmes that I use to create my art allow you to use bits over and over ad infinitum. Digital art programmes are powerful tools. I can take a section from one of my pictures and transform it into some entirely different. Some might think that it's somehow cheating and I'm sure many think that digital is not proper art. People are entitled to their opinions but of course I disagree. And what is art anyway? Also I firmly believe that had he been alive today Leonardo Da Vinci would have used digital.

Anyway, back to Rotunda. Despite my not liking the original version I still felt that as a picture it had potential. So I reworked a section and transformed it into a new picture with a different direction. I'm rather pleased with it. I hope you like it. Ladies and gentlemen I present to you Rotunda II:

Sunday, 1 May 2016

We are artists you and I

Art is not exclusively a rich man's sport. I realise that it might be perceived as such, particularly in the media, but it is not so. The British Critical Establishment try to tell us what is and isn't art, but in no way do we have to accept that. Based on the narrow-minded opinions of the critical elite, the education system churns out clones of what are defined as talented artists; giving them a certificate to back this up. You can legitimately teach craft, but in no way can you teach anyone to be an artist. Art is subjective; it is in the eye of the beholder, there are no rules defining what art should or should not be. There is no good art and there is no bad art, just art.

High prices at art auctions reinforce the myth that artists are good or bad, winners or losers. The elite use the language of competition and false quality standards to bolster the artistic myths. There is no competition in art. Art is beyond competition. In the South Sea bubble of the elitist art world a value system is applied that is meaningless in the extreme. Art critics give the thumbs up to what they see as good art based on their fictitious criteria. These art critics, these self-styled experts on art are charlatans. Unfortunately as with the Emperor's new clothes most believe what the charlatans say. The fashionistas dictate what's in and what's not and so that gallery content and major exhibitions are influenced by just a few. And thus a commodity is born.

Art is whatever you want it to be.

There is one artist above all others who has been so influential in the way that I look at art and in particular how I creatively operate. His name was Ken Sprague. I first became aware of him in the 1970s through his posters and flyers for a number of left wing political campaigns. I liked his bold, sometimes neo-brutalist, lino prints. It was a style that got the message across. Ken was direct in his message. Then in the 1980s he presented a television series called 'Everyone a Special Kind of Artist' where he highlighted 'ordinary' folk who practised their art for the pure love, enjoyment and fulfilment it brought them. Since then 'Everyone a Special Kind of Artist' has been my mantra.

'Everyone a Special Kind of Artist' is derived from a quote often used by Eric Gill, an artist and designer of some rather pleasing typefaces, and unfortunately a practitioner, allegedly, of some rather dubious moral behaviour. That quote is 'An artist is not a special kind of man, but every man is a special kind of artist' and as I understand it originally comes from the philosopher Ananda Coomaraswamy.

The idea that only a chosen few can be artists is yet another piece of pernicious propaganda perpetrated by the elite who continue to oppress us. The elitist concept of art is a downright lie. If you want to be an artist then you can be.

We need to liberate art. We need a mass movement of art participants. Anyone can be an artist if they want to be. Seize that notion and own it. Go forth and create.

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.

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