Friday, 9 July 2021

Gunnera

 




"Gunnera is the sole genus of herbaceous flowering plants in the family Gunneraceae, which contains 63 species. Some species have extremely large leaves."


We don't have a garden but I quite like looking at other people's, and sometimes taking photographs. Last week we had a holiday in Devon, stopping in mediocre accommodation, but set in 13 acres of garden. There were some lovely examples of Gunnera and I took quite a lot of photos of them. Actually I took about 560 photos on holiday of various things, I get carried away, only about 30 were of Gunnera. Anyway here are about half of them:







Sunday, 16 May 2021

Going underground

 What is art?



It always amuses me when people are exercised by a work of art. I suppose art should challenge and be challenged, so from that point of view it’s good that they are. People are funny when they are affronted by something they basically can’t comprehend. Unable to shed their blinkers. And so it would seem that an ad that David Hockney has designed is causing people to become agitated because it disturbs their narrow idea of what art should be. 

‘Brilliant’ or Totally Phoned In? is the headline on Artnet News. People seem afraid of it because they don’t know which way to swing, and so they go with a gut reaction. Do you know what? I DON’T FUCKING CARE! 

Art is art. There are no rules. Stop trying to be fashionable. Relax. If you like it you like it. If you don’t, you don’t. Stop trying to pre-judge the pretentious zeitgeist. Stop trying to understand art. Wake up and get over yourself. 

Art is not something that trend setters/influencers prescribe. Art is what you want it to be. 

What is art?
If you don't know the answer, this pdf pamphlet might be able to help you. If you think you know the answer, think again. 




Wednesday, 12 May 2021

Magical menagerie

I like graffiti. Not all of it you understand. Some of it is offensive or in inappropriate places. But by and large I like it.

Recently in the King Street area of Norwich one artist has been busy using a style that I definitely like. Their stuff could be elsewhere for all I know, but this is the only place I’ve seen it.

Because of the ephemeral nature of graffiti I decided to nip out with my camera last week and snap as many as I could. Just as well as they have now gone. But here they are.


Saturday, 8 May 2021

Which side are you on?


 

There are some things where the choice can only ever be heads or tails. There are really only two types of politics, progressive or reactionary. You can't have a mix of the two. It's like in maths, a plus and a minus will always equal a minus. Reactionary politics being the minus. It's a hard border between the two. One doesn't merge into the other. There is no middle ground, no centre. 

Is there any point voting for one reactionary party because it's not the other reactionary party? I don't think so. You might think they will improve your lot but they really won't. They will always be a disappointment. Maintaining the status quo is a reactionary political choice. 

Unfortunately when you have a population that is politically illiterate how do you affect positive change? I really don't know. I am truly baffled. Without a major political party that supports progressive politics we can't even begin to move forward. Should we just give up and 'know our place'? That is what people seem to want. So I guess the answer is yes.

A broad church of reactionaries and progressives is never going to work. It will always be a constant tug of war with no real outcome apart from political impotence.

The choice is capitalism or socialism, fascism or democracy. Capitalism is fascism. Socialism is democracy in its purest form. Only trust people by their actions rather than what they say. Beware wolves in sheep's clothing; people will claim to be what they are not just to gain power.

If you appease capitalism you destroy all hope.

If you are not a socialist it is probably because you don't understand it. Get a grip. Educate yourself.

Perhaps one day we will have a mass membership socialist party.

Yours despondently



PS. I didn't vote for Keith.

Monday, 12 April 2021

Doing art

I was asked recently about what I was thinking when I created my art? I found that an almost impossible question to answer. 


I guess the easy answer would be everything and nothing but that would be a bit glib. Mostly when I’m making art I’m in a little world of my own so I’m probably not thinking at all in the accepted sense. Actually creating is often just so therapeutic that I’m often lost in a near meditative state. And then sometimes when things just aren’t going how I hoped they would be going I get a bit grumpy. Then is usually the time to get up and walk away and do something else. 

When I go and gawp at other peoples’ art I’m never bothered about what the artist was thinking or what the artist is trying to convey. So many people seem to have a need to understand art and I really don’t understand why. You can’t possibly feel what the artist was feeling so why bother worrying about it? 

People who wear the badge of Art Expert, Art Historian or Art Critic know no more than you about a piece of art. It’s all made up. All you need to know is that there is a piece of art which you either like or you don’t and that you take from it what you want to take from it. You can’t know the mind of the artist. 

With my art sometimes the title comes first and the piece springs from that. Other times the picture tells me what the title is. Then as often is the case I have a picture, I have a title, neither necessarily connected so I just put them together because it amuses me.I rarely explain my pictures because, well why should I? And anyhow, how are people going to exercise their minds if I give them the answers?

When presented with a piece of art before you, firstly, don’t panic! Then just take from it what you want and try not to read it like some cypher. Just take it for what it is and what it does for you. 

Art is easy. Stop taking it so seriously.

Friday, 9 April 2021

Patriotism no, flags perhaps

A dictionary definition of patriotism is “the feeling of loving your country more than any others and being proud of it”. I suppose one could just about accept that if we lived in a democracy, but as we don’t, we have absolutely nothing to be proud of. And why does it have to be oh so competitive anyway? 

I have always subscribed to Samuel Johnson's, "Patriotism is the last refuge of the scoundrel." In my book patriotism is just a form of fascism. And of course no sane person wants to entertain fascism. 

I’ve always struggled with the concept of flags, nationhood, nationalism and patriotism. I’ve always seen them as symbols and concepts built around hate and tribalism. I would dearly love to be able to wear a badge to proclaim my sympathies but have always felt uneasy about such things. But perhaps I should totally separate my political beliefs from the disdain I have for flags that are so beloved by the parochial fascists 

Is identity important, and in turn national identity? I have always thought not. But perhaps I’m wrong? And why are specific plots of land so important? I do struggle to comprehend that. 

There are more questions than answers. 

I am changing my view slightly on flags though. Whilst I could never accept or understand the reactionary stance of the flag-shagging fascist, when a flag represents a set of worthy principles, then I think it's fine to wave one. But not going overboard. The red flag is the obvious acceptable flag. International socialism is a very worthy cause. The EU flag too is a worthy one. A flag that represents harmony and union. Then there are the flags of nations that represent a struggle for self determination. The Palestinian flag being the obvious one, the Saltire and the Catalonian flag being two more. I could go on. 

Of course if we lived in an English Socialist Republic with a different flag (perhaps was a red circle on a white background for example) then I’d happily celebrate that. Flags are nothing without the intellect. 

The jury is out.



Wednesday, 24 March 2021

The art market “knows the price of everything and the value of nothing”

There’s been a fair bit of coverage recently in the press about digital art and non-fungible tokens. With NFTs digital alchemists have reinvented the south sea bubble. It truly is all artifice. 



The problem here is how artists see the 'art market' in general terms. The 'art market' and the whole cryptoart thing are no different to the Emperor's New Clothes. It's all made up bollocks that has nothing to do with art whatsoever. People need to understand that. 

For as long as I can remember I’ve despised the art market. I decided early on, when I first started to take my art seriously, that I didn’t want to make my living as an artist and that I didn’t want to get on to the treadmill that is the art market. 

As I’ve never sought to make a living from my art that puts me in a privileged position. One of being able to treat the art market with the disdain it deserves. I feel for those poor souls who struggle to make a living from their art. They often become slaves to an uncaring system. a system that sees money making and competition as virtues. I decided never to sell my soul to the devil. 

The value of art cannot be measured in monetary terms. The only values that art has is in the feelings that reside with the artist and the feelings of any beholder/s. No ‘expert’ can value art. There are no experts; art experts are charlatans. Art investors don’t give a shit about art. Their only interest is in making money. They worship a fool’s gold. The artwork is incidental. 

I’ve never wanted to sell my original works of art. In my earlier days I experimented with producing simple black and white pictures so that they could be photocopied. I’ve always liked the idea as art being ephemeral. Then when digital art came along I realised that it was what I had been waiting for all my life. I could create art without actually producing an original. The great thing about a digital file is that it can be copied over and over and each file is exactly the same. This really upsets the art market. They can’t cope with an art that they can’t exploit. Enter blockchain technology; it creates a unique non-copyable ‘thing’. That ‘thing’ is then sold as a provenance with a piece of digital art supposedly making the artwork ‘original’. Of course it’s not, as you can still create identical copies of the actual artwork, so it is very much a shame. But, hey ho, I’m not going to be able to stop it. So why does it bother me? 

What does it bother me?
Well it bothers me because it gives people a false impression about what art is. They think art is something elite, something they could never understand and so they never go there. They never explore. They never get to dip their toe in the rich, warm, stimulatingly efficacious waters of the arts. And that’s sad. That’s why!



Sunday, 10 January 2021

Breaking Brexit

 I fear it will be quite a few years before England can rejoin the EU, but rejoin it will, of that I am in no doubt. Just because the end goal is on the distant horizon it doesn't mean there are not other victories to be won on the way. Victories that will hasten our return.


If you want to be a citizen of Europe again it will require you to be involved in politics to one degree or another. Progressive change isn't carried out by an elite few. That's reactionary change; a reverting back to the bad old days. The more people involved in politics the better. And if you tell me that all political parties are the same and that there isn't one to suit you, then you have one of two choices. Join an existing party and work to change it from within or help form a new party. That's how you take back control!


One thing that is long overdue is the need to change the voting system. First past the post is not fit for purpose, We need a more proportional system. We need more democracy, more accountability. At every level of society. Some form of proportional representation is needed, otherwise the dice are firmly loaded against us.


We need to work towards being a republic. If you are serious about taking back control, one of the key things that needs to happen is to break down the barriers that prevent you from taking back control; the moneyed, vested interest elite, the aristocracy and the monarchy all need to be stripped of their power. That power should belong to everybody.


I've saved the best until last. One of the best ways to hasten our speedy return is to break up the union. The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland needs to be dissolved. It's a ridiculous anachronism that needs to be firmly consigned to history. Breaking the union will create a domino effect that will bring down Tory England with a gigantic thump and free it's Celtic colonies. A United Ireland now seems entirely possible, Scotland could well vote for independence this year and there are rumblings in Wales. It only takes one of them to break free and the door is wide open.

BREAK BREXIT BY BREAKING THE UNION




Friday, 1 January 2021

Today is the start of a new decade

 Many people just won't get this, but then so many people are dickheads. It's really quite simple. Today is the first day of the new decade. I'm not going to repeat myself because you can jolly well read what I posted a year ago here. It's maths and in maths you have two choices, the right answer and the wrong answer. If you can't grasp this very simple concept about when decades start then you really are utterly stupid. If you start wittering on about Gregorian and Julian calendars then you are beyond stupid and need to crawl under the nearest stone. This is not up for discussion. You're welcome.