Saturday 9 December 2017

Art and the naked body

I've always shied away from using naked flesh in my art. I've never been a great one for the classic nude. It's not that I'm a prude; it's just that it's often overdone or used gratuitously. I've also been wary of what might be seen as exploitation or even sexism. When does art become porn and vice versa?

Recently though I've begun to think that there are things that can best be expressed by including the naked body or parts thereof in my art. So why now?

Society is sick. We've time warped back to the Victorian era. We live in dark and dangerous times. They are always dangerous when right wing governments exist; at best they are bullies, at worst they are evil, merciless, murderous, oppressive thugs. There is too much that is false about society. Nudity is a great leveller; naked we are equals. The naked body represents for me a purity. A purity that we seem to have lost. Apologies if this sounds a bit pretentious, but I truly believe it.

I don't normally explain my art but Turning the tables is based on a comment I've heard from women on many occasions, about men who instead of making eye contact when holding a conversation stare at their breasts instead. I am often so ashamed to be a man in this man's world that men continue to fuck up. This picture depicts the breasts staring back. A metaphor for how the world should be; a world where we should all equal.

Below is the censored version of Turning the tables. The uncensored version can be found on this site (kept separate so that I can warn people about the 'adult content').

Tuesday 5 December 2017

The Turner Prize

The only thing you need to know about the Turner Prize is that it's all a sham. It exists to help bolster the fabricated notion that you can measure art, that there is good and bad art. The only reason for this is to fuel the 'art as an investment commodity' merry go round. It's all utter bollocks!

Thursday 23 November 2017

"Anything can be art, but there is very little good art.”

I love the work of Grayson Perry and mostly I agree with what he says on many subjects. I particularly like his analysis and observations on manhood. But I do have to disagree with him on the quote above. A quote attributed to him in this Guardian article. Well actually I only disagree with half of it; the other half is okay in my humble opinion.

It's the second half of the sentence that I can in no way agree with. You can't benchmark art. Art is purely subjective. Using good or bad is just a pointless exercise. When the art elite talk about good or bad they are not talking about weights and measures what they are really talking about is fashion. Fashion amongst the bourgeois art clique. It's all bollocks. For the umpteenth time you can't grade or measure art!

Sunday 19 November 2017

"A grand old painter died today"

Almost eight years before I was born and on this day in 1947 George Thomson passed away. In the 1911 census he was registered as being a painter and decorator but according to my mother he painted murals on the walls of theatres and cinemas in and around Dundee. I have no way of knowing whether or not he actually did paint murals but I like to think he did. I also like to think that's where  my artistic desire to create comes from.

George is buried, in view of the Tay, in the churchyard at Longforgan, Perth and Kinross, Scotland; 5 miles west of Dundee. George was my great-grandfather.

Thursday 5 October 2017

Elitist art fuckery

As an artist I find the approach to art by society's self-styled elite very frustrating. There's a lot of pretentious bollocks talked about art and I refuse to take any part in the charade. Art is just art. Everyone can be an artist. It doesn't require mystical powers. It doesn't require a degree. So please can we cut this utter nonsense out?

Art is only ever in the eye of the beholder. There's no Beaufort or Mohs scale for measuring art. Art is subjective. You can't pitch one work of art against another. Art competitions and art prizes are meaningless. You either like a piece of art or you don't. You don't even need to know what a work of art is about. If you get something from a piece of art then all well and good. If you don't then move on to some different art. You don't need some pretentious art critic or art historian telling you what to think.

I suppose I'm in the fortunate position that I have never sold my soul to the money god. I've never put myself in a position where I needed to earn a living from my art. I produce my art for the sheer love of it, for wanting to create, for wanting to express myself. When it comes to the art I produce I rarely compromise. Artists need to stop pandering to the whims and fancies of the rich who treat it as just another investment, just another collectable. Stop this elitist art fuckery!

Saturday 26 August 2017

“Talk sense to a fool and he calls you foolish.” - Euripides

The big problem with stupid people is that they are usually too stupid to know that they are stupid. Of course the dilemma and possible irony of me saying this is that I could well be stupid too. Ignorance I suppose is bliss.

"Questioning anything and everything, to me, is punk rock." Henry Rollins

Wednesday 31 May 2017

Neanderthal Man

But I was not poor so I did nothing.
I'm just a fat white bloke.
I don't vote.
Then they came for the disabled,
But I was not disabled so I did nothing.
I'm just a fat white bloke.
I vote Tory.
Then they came for the immigrants,
We are all immigrants but I didn't know that.
I'm just a fat white bloke.
I don't vote.
Next they came for the old,
But I'm not old so fuck 'em.
I'm just a fat white bloke.
I vote Tory.
I mouth off in the pub.
I talk out of my arse.
I'm just a fat white bloke.
I don't know how to vote
I vote Tory.
I see life in a binary way.

©Paul Garrard 2017

Saturday 27 May 2017

Oh Moses! - Murder in the family - Update

I've been meaning to write this blog post for quite some time. Back in 2011 I wrote a blog about my great, great grandfather Moses Whiting. He sadly murdered his youngest son, and as a result spent the rest of his life in Broadmoor. I speculated in my previous post the Moses might have had Huntington's Disease. But my theory about my great, great grandfather having Huntington's Disease might well be wrong.

About a year and a half ago I was contacted by a member of the Binks family. William Whiting, my great grandfather (Moses Whiting's son), married Elizabeth Binks. Elizabeth Binks was my grandmother's mother. My grandmother (and subsequently my father) had HD. Perhaps it didn't come from the Whiting line after all?

So when Moses in a fit of pique murdered his young son it might well not have been due to HD. Or maybe by some cruel twist of fate both sides of the family had the disease; either because HD was a bit more common in this region, or because it was a tight-knit community and some family connection occurred at some point before the birth of Moses. We will never know the answer.

Sunday 14 May 2017


Religion and right wing politics exist to exploit and oppress large groups of people; enabling a few to control the many. They both offer easy answers. Answers that people can accept at face value without any thought. Answers that are no more than advertising slogans. It doesn't matter that the answers they give are not evidence based, or what they promise fails to materialise; there will either be an excuse, a distraction or a lie to cover up their failings, a papering over the cracks to hide their charlatanism.

Reactionaries and devotees of magic men with beards (right wing politicians and clerics to the simple) operate using the K.I.S.S. form of delivery: 'Keep it simple, stupid'. Not my phrase but one once used in business presentation circles. People like simple. Simple enables them to believe without intellect. They can relate to X being the problem and Y being the solution. They can't relate to the possibility that the solution might require measures that are complex and perhaps need to run in tandem or appear on the surface not to be directly connected. If chaos theory is correct (obviously it's a theory so it might or might not be) then existence is a multitudinal array of chain reactions going on ad infinitum.

Of course some questions/problems in life might not have a known answer/solution. This never worries the right-wing politician or man of religion. In religion if there's something wrong it's the work of a devil or the punishment of a god; little matter that there is absolutely no proof of the existence of either. In right-wing politics if there is a problem it's the fault of someone 'different' to their perceived norm; they'll blame foreigners, the sick, the infirm, the poor etc. There's always a handy scapegoat.

'Humankind cannot bear very much reality'. T. S. Eliot.

It used to be said that the Church of England was the Tory party at prayer. I'm not sure how accurate that is but in many ways they were/are similar in one respect in that they both peddle lies. Religion and reactionary politics are not based on facts; they are based on a warped faith. Faith is illogical, it is not thinking, but laziness. They are each no more than superstition.

Nothing is ever black and white. There isn't always an answer.

And now a few words from the master of right-wing propaganda* Joseph Goebbels:

'A lie told once remains a lie but a lie told a thousand times becomes the truth.'

'There was no point in seeking to convert the intellectuals. For intellectuals would never be converted and would anyway always yield to the stronger, and this will always be "the man in the street." Arguments must therefore be crude, clear and forcible, and appeal to emotions and instincts, not the intellect. Truth was unimportant and entirely subordinate to tactics and psychology.'

'...the rank and file are usually much more primitive than we imagine. Propaganda must therefore always be essentially simple and repetitious.'

* These principles are still being used today.

Monday 8 May 2017

Broken Britain - Thatcher's Legacy

Towards the end of last year, a couple we are friends with gave us a small package, and sniggered as they did so. It was a commemorative plate of Margaret Thatcher. It was amongst the effects of their late mother/mother-in-law. 'Was she a fan of Thatcher?', we asked. Apparently not. She couldn't stand her. They felt sure that someone had given it to her as a joke. So why were they giving it to us we wondered? We loathed Thatcher too. Their reason for giving it to us? They felt sure we would know what to do with it. So a couple of months ago they came round to dinner, along with another couple who just happen to come from Syria.

After dinner we all trooped out to our balcony armed with our weapons of choice to deal with the porcelain pornography in a fitting and proper manner. With two cameras set up we videoed, for posterity, justice being done. And, despite being somewhat bemused by the proceedings, and not really understanding who this vile woman was, fair play to our young Syrian friends for joining in with the spirit of the event.

I've now taken that footage and mixed it with some other material to make 'Broken Britain - Thatcher's Legacy' and, with apologies for the speak your weight machine style commentary, here it is:

Also, if you are interested, here is the transcript from the video:

Broken Britain - Thatcher's Legacy

If you didn't live through the Thatcher era you possibly won't understand the contempt and loathing that the majority of right thinking people felt for what she did.

Jo Brand summed her up very well: “God, what a depressing day that was and what an irony that Britain’s first female prime minister had to be Margaret Thatcher. She was the woman who asked, ‘What has feminism ever done for me?’ Well, dear, if you need to ask that question then you’re obviously not very bright

Thatcher broke Britain. She presided over the ruination of our nation. When she entered Nº10 all decency left.

Friday 24 March 2017

Hockney rhyming slang

Yesterday we went to Tate Britain to see the current Hockney exhibition. It was muchly enjoyable.

I think Hockney is perfect at dispelling the myth that there is such a thing as good and bad art. What he does mostly anyone can do? Having said that his draughtsmanship is excellent; and whilst to be an artist need to be a draughts person it's certainly a skill that helps. And then there's the photography. What he does with a camera is so inventive. Photographs should not be restricted by their typical borders.

At exhibitions, especially busy ones, I dart around. Where gaps appear in the crowd I'm there. I never gawp in any particular order. Free space is everything.

Hockney's liberal use of vibrant colours is so exciting; the strong oranges, blues and purples delight the observer. They assault the eyes in a most pleasurable way. Sometimes his colours are almost fluorescent.

He's both primitive and sophisticated. He is the distilled essence of what art should be.

Sunday 19 March 2017

My arrogance is fuelled by anger

I'm angry, angry because a country I actually like living in is being destroyed by fascist tendencies. Fascism is ignorance. That's not arrogance by the way, that's fact. Fascism is irrational; it's not based on any moral philosophy or code, just hatred and stupidity. To consider someone as a lesser being because of their ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation or superstitions has no place in a civilised society. Bigotry is destructive, divisive and counterproductive to human progression.

I'm still angry about Brexit, and as a result I lash out sometimes and refer to those that voted for it as idiots. This suggests a certain arrogance on my part. A valid criticism. But in my defence I've yet to hear a non-moronic justification from anyone who voted for it. All I hear is ill informed opinions and gutter press sound bites that crumble in the face of any informed counter argument. There are no sound philosophical arguments to defend the Brexit vote. It is an act of mass-stupidity not seen in this country since Thatcher was elected. And even then she never had the support of even half of those that vote.

My challenge to you Brexit voters out there is to give me one good and credible reason for why Brexit is a sound proposition. Until the day that this happens I shall continue to call you idiots. For idiots you truly are. And to add to the charges of arrogance I will state that I don't believe you can help being idiots. You've been conditioned to be that way. Decades of government policy and manoeuvrings by the elite have created an underclass of Epsilons open to manipulation.

Welcome to our brave new fascist world, or wake up to your ignorance turkeys, and stop voting for Christmas.

Thursday 5 January 2017

2016 is over, welcome to the future

I watched the film Pride the other evening. It's about the Lesbian and Gay community that supported the miners' strike in 1984. I balled my eyes out at the end of the film and both laughed and felt the tears trickling down my face through it. It's a film that conveys an important message. That message is:
The importance of solidarity - United we stand, divided we fall.

We can defeat the Tories and all the other bigots on the right. We can overcome the hate mongers. There are more of us than them. We just need to organise. If all those that are currently being targeted and persecuted by the right joined together we could drive them from power and elect a progressive government. A progressive government, an alliance that will serve all of the people.

I have always felt that the miners' strike was a misjudgement by the likes of Arthur Scargill and the NUM leadership. A trap was set and they fell for it. And it was the members that suffered. The men of the pits paid the price. The folly of their leaders broke the labour movement.
If all the pressure groups that represent those that are currently being bullied and oppressed by the right joined forces then a powerful movement could be built. A movement of inclusiveness. A movement for fairness, equality and justice. Society is a hollow vessel if it is not for all.