Monday 19 December 2022


I always think that the idea that art is somehow precious is quite laughable. People treat art with far too much reverence. It's basically what has turned art into a commodity. Creating fictitious standards, competition in the art world and notions of good and bad art has played right into the hands of the money men. It's only art for goodness sake!

Everyone is an artist. You don't need a piece of paper to tell you that you are an artist. You don't need anyone's permission to be an artist. You just need to do it. The only values that art really have are the ones that the artist has in the joy of creating and to those that consider something to be art are the joy of viewing/experiencing a piece. These are the reasons why I hate the concept of NFTs and embrace AI picture generation. Art is in the eye of the beholder as Duchamp illustrated. Art is what you want it to be. All art is collage in one form or another. AI is just an automated way of creating collage. It's here to stay. I suggest you get over it and embrace it. Nobody will die from it. Lighten up folks.

Generated by Dall·E using: Is AI art and what really is art?

Friday 16 December 2022

All hail the Christmas tortoise

When the festivities begin do you ever think about the Christmas tortoise?

This time last year we were in France. In total we spent 87 days there, which is just inside the 90 day maximum restriction that the fucking idiot Brexit voters imposed upon us. We were there from early December 2021 until the end of February 2022 and we had a great time. We spent the first 6 weeks in a place called Lézignan-Corbières, a commune in the Aude department in the Occitanie region in southern France. We really liked Lézignan-Corbières, it’s small but has most things you need. It’s bigger than a village but smaller than a town. Even though it’s not that big it definitely punches above its weight. They also like to celebrate Christmas, and thankfully these things don’t start as ridiculously early as they do in the UK. The high street had a Christmas market which came alive in the evening. A tannoy system in the centre played Christmas flavoured songs. Sitting out on a cold winter's evening, wrapped up warm, drinking Alsatian beer and eating a pretzel was a very enjoyable experience. The town was lit up with lights and there were extra illuminated Christmassy things in front of the Marie. Behind the high street was a park which had been decorated with lights in the trees and bushes along with various festive models and structures to form a Village de Noel. In amongst the Father Christmases, reindeer, penguins, igloos, slays and snowmen was an illuminated giant tortoise. The Christmas tortoise? How have I got to my late sixties without knowing about the Christmas tortoise? What is the meaning of the Christmas tortoise? Does anyone care?

We don’t really celebrate Christmas, but for me, knowing about the Christmas tortoise has enriched my life, and it will always have a special place in my heart. Seasons greetings all, however you spend your time.

Friday 9 December 2022

Did somebody say... ...Just Stop Oil?

I support the Just Stop Oil campaign. Their cause is a just one. They are protesting for the good of humankind.

“Oil is causing the climate and cost of living crisis, making us poorer and destroying everything we love.”

We do need to end our dependence on fossil fuels, and fast!

As an artist I also don't have a problem with the just stop oil protests directed at galleries. Stop treating old art like it's something precious. All art is ephemeral. Don't blame the protesters, the problem lies with those that have turned art into a commodity. Capitalists, and governments that serve them. Who's going to look at art when the last human dies because we've destroyed our environment? Priorities. The human race needs to get its priorities right!

Monday 5 December 2022

Jesus on a unicycle

 As a digital artist I’ve embraced technology where I’ve seen value in it and dismissed it where I can’t. I think some of you will be aware of my contempt and dismissal of the Emperor’s New Clothes that are NFTs. I've also been avoiding AI* in the main because I couldn't quite see how useful it might be. I do have one picture that I created a while back that includes some AI, thanks to my Twitter friend Trundle, but I've never really been tempted to take it any further. Then the other day I read an article in the Guardian about how artists are using AI to create art and I thought, perhaps now the time is right to delve a bit deeper.

My attitude to AI can be summed up as this: You know how natural fabrics breath and synthetics don't. Well the same applies to art and AI. As far as I'm concerned AI will never take the place of humans totally. At best AI is a Bri-Nylon shirt that can only be improved by the addition of human creativity. Add that creativity and you could have the art equivalent of a polyester cotton shirt. It will always need human input. But one thing that is certain is that it's the perfect Dadaist tool.

I've created an account with Dall.E 2, which is some online software that creates pictures based on written instructions that you give it. I plan to use some AI generated pictures in my art where appropriate. I’m still working on a piece that uses the first few images I created with this particular software, but below is an image totally created in AI. As you can see it has limitations. Artists really do not have anything to fear from it. Well certainly not at the moment.

The instruction that I gave it were: “Jesus with a middle eastern complexion riding a unicycle in a supermarket. Father Christmas is being crucified in the background.” This text was inspired by a conversation I had on Twitter with Groggy and Neill where it was suggested that perhaps I create a picture with Jesus on a unicycle. I thought it would be interesting to use AI to generate such a picture. As you can see from the picture, it’s not very good at following orders, and it doesn’t know what a unicycle is. Oh well, early days.

created using Dall·E 2

*AI = Artificial Intelligence. Software that is designed to learn and grow its knowledge derived from the tasks it is asked to perform.