Saturday, 30 May 2009

It's Over

The Private View, hang on it seems strange to call something that's widely advertised and open to anyone private - don't get it, maybe its just me been thick? Anyway Private View was last night, I wasn't fussed about going, I don't drink so the appeal of free wine is lost on me, but I'm glad I did, mainly chatted with people, had a good old nosy at other peoples work, but the best part was secretly spying on peoples reactions to my work, I didn't hear any negative comments [after a whole year of that its nice to have a change] quite a few people have asked me if the Fisherman painting has any Religious significance [Noah is the most comment comparison] it does and it doesn't is the only way I can answer that question, but its always really interesting to hear peoples ideas and theories about the work, and I was stoked to see one lad taking pictures of the Fisherman painting and then spending ages looking at the painting smiling, its always nice when someone appreciates something you've worked super hard on. The best thing about the night was the realization that I am finished in Uni. Yeah!

Friday, 29 May 2009

Degree Show






View of my Degree Show Exhibition space, the wheatpaste installation and the paintings


It's finally all up after alot of thinking and measuring the walls, then hanging and rehanging its all up and I'm beyond happy with the way it's all turned out. However I underestimated just how difficult hanging paintings actually is, my initial idea that its just chucking paintings up on the wall how hard can it be? proved somewhat naive, I'd managed 5 of them alright then the last 4 became a nightmare. But thanks to Wendy, Trace and Ewart's advice, I got the others up and they do look good [modest] it did nearly all end in tears when I accidentally kicked the drill over and it dented the painting of the car, thankfully I fixed it [God bless neon acrylic!] Wendy did nearly have kittens when I kicked the drill though [it was funny in hindsight] but no diva tantrums I just got the paint out and all is well. It is actually quite surprising how different the paintings look in a 'gallery' context, the white walls have definitely made the colours stand out and the light flooding in from the windows makes the neon spray paint I dusted areas of the paintings with really glow.
I literally couldn't be happier with the way its all come together, and more importantly I've done it all my own way and on my own terms, but then that's nothing new really...

Apocalypse Please








Views of the Wheatpaste Installation 'Apocalypse Please'

It took me over a week to paste up all the neon photocopies and the colouring books - since i was being super careful getting it up straight using a spirit level, the changed pattern works much better than the original patterns from the project space and I'm beyond pleased with the finished result. I've had really positive reactions from people about it, most do seem a bit apprehensive of walking on it, but thanks to two coats of varnish its holding up pretty darn well, the initial reaction is usually how colourful and overwhelming it is, then they get drawn into reading the text and looking closely at the images and realize the works true message. Thankfully I was given an awesome space to exhibit it so I've been able to adapt the wheatpaste to fill the space, and it creates the impact I wanted, thanks mainly to the high wall, which means the majority of people have to look up like a child.
So over all I'm ridiculously happy with my degree show, after a pretty hard year [difficult for oh so many reasons] its a relief to finish and even more of relief that its all come together...


Monday, 25 May 2009

Artist Statement Redux

Since my First Statement was quite autobiographical and didn't actually talk about my work, I was advised to rework parts of it, and to be honest I did rant a bit, then Trace and Ewart talked to me and told me that I could easily move parts about, add it bits from my notebook and cobble together some kind of Frankenstein Statement [and I've got to admit that it does make more sense now] so here it is
[On a completely unrelated side note how annoying this that f-ing paperclip on MicroSoft Word? not only does it take away any enjoyment I get from writing, but it makes it so stressful, I bet when God was inventing MicroSoft Word it kept transforming into a pair of binoculars or a bicycle and pissing him off with mindless suggestions and making fun of him when he paused to think what to type next by falling asleep! He should smite it.]


Badge: Artist Statement.

There comes a point in every child's life when they learn about death. I believe it to be an important milestone in life.

When I was 6, I went on a boat trip on the Conwy River, shortly after boarding I became convinced the boat would sink and we would all drown. The boat didn't sink, and we all made it back to shore safely, however for the first time I was aware of my own mortality.
Not long after the boat trip, my Dad suffered a stroke and was hospitalised. Fortunately he recovered, but it made me realise that circumstances and lives can change without warning.

Both events had a profound effect on me; I began to question life, the meaning of it, and the afterlife. It was around this time the nightmares started. Visions of death, destruction and hellish scenes plagued my sleep, I developed fears for my family’s safety, convinced the nightmares would come true, and that I'd lose them all, leaving me behind, alone, the sole survivor of an apocalypse. I dreaded going to sleep. The scariest things about the dreams was the fact it was the only place my parents couldn't protect me.

I spent hours poring over encyclopedias trying to find answers to my questions and nightmares. It quickly dawned on me that I have no control of my life and the events that ultimately affect it. Of course the books and research fed the nightmares, and spurred my imagination. I sought comfort in objects and places around me, in the belief that if my nightmares came true those objects would remain.

My paintings have become a form of documentation of both the nightmares and of the objects, locations and memories I sought comfort in, a way of publicly recording the experience and staking a claim for them by branding them my own.
The encyclopedic research informed the wheatpasting, with images and texts culled from them to demonstrate the horrors of the ‘real world’, which is then juxtaposed with the childhood innocence that the colouring books represent. The characters playfully make their way from the care-free unspoilt world of childhood into the harsh bright reality of the real world.

I wanted to present my own personal transition from childhood innocence into the real world via the paintings, giving my perspective as a child, and contrast that with my current adult understanding of the transition - which is shown in the wheatpasting, it takes a more structured and ordered format compared to the paintings, the repetition of the pattern echoing the more mundane aspects of adult life, children may be in a hurry to grow up but quickly realize underneath the colourful veneer lies routine, boredom and more often than not misery. My use of colour stems again from the nightmares – which were always Technicolor, but also from a personal love of colour, I tend to be drawn instantly to colour, hence the usage of neon to represent the real world, but I wanted to create a contrast between the subject matter and the colour. Joshua Hoffine sums it up best when he said of his own work:
“I didn’t want them [his photographs] to be dark or grungy. I wanted them to be shiny like pieces of candy so that you can look at them longer. I want them ultimately to be dainty, pretty things that you would want to look at but in the middle is something awful”.
www.rangefndermag.com/Repository/AC/Articles/PDF/AC1008_Hoffine_Wiltz.pdf

The work has become an exorcism of sorts I can now see the events and nightmares as a personal apocalypse, both in the traditional sense of "The End" [i.e. the end of a childhood innocence] and also in the literal sense of a revelation - the revelation that the end can visit in many guises, be it a loved one or pet dying, or the end of a blissful ignorance.

Friday, 22 May 2009

This Charming Man ...




I noticed this on the door to the First Years Studio in Uni, it was back when I was absolutely hating the place, It was a particularly crap day when I first saw it, it sounds stupid to say that it made my day and made me smile. I saw it again today and took some photos, then in the car on the way home, they played 'This Charming Man' on the radio for Morrissey's Birthday, so I had a massive grin on my face the entire way home!

Happy Birthday Morrissey!

Thursday, 21 May 2009

SlipKnot




Trace just sent me this link to what is possibly the most awesome thing I have ever seen, you cannot imagine how much I want some of these! And I apparently model for the site - or my twin does

http://www.threadbanger.com/post/12543/weekly-diy-roundup-funny-knit-patterns


My Artist Statement

This is the First one I handed in that was sent back to me to change, since I didn't actually mention my work or practice in it, but I'm really pleased with it so I thought I'd plonk it on here to act as my 'on-line' version:

Badge: Artist Statement.

There comes a point in every child's life when they learn about death, usually it comes via the death of a family pet. I believe it to be an important milestone in life.
When I was 6 I went on a boat trip up the Conwy River, shortly after boarding I became convinced the boat would sink and we would all drown.
The boat didn't sink, and we all made it back to shore safely, however for the first time I was aware of my own mortality.

Not long after the boat trip, my Dad suffered a stroke and was hospitalised. Fortunately he recovered, but it made me realise that circumstances and lives can change without warning.

Both events had a profound effect on me; I began to question life, the meaning of it, and the afterlife. It was around this time the nightmares started. Visions of death, destruction and hellish scenes plagued my sleep, I developed fears for my family’s safety, convinced the nightmares would come true, and that I'd lose them all, leaving me behind, alone, the sole survivor of an apocalypse.

I spent hours poring over encyclopaedias trying to find answers to my questions and nightmares. The more I read the less comfort I found, It quickly dawned on me that I have no control of my life and the events that ultimately effect it, wars can be waged, bombs can be dropped, a single button could end the world. Of course the books and research fed the nightmares, and spurred my imagination. I sought comfort in objects and places around me, in the belief that if my nightmares came true those objects would remain.

Although it all sounds bleak and depressing and that I suffered some torturous childhood, I didn't. I had an idyllic childhood and was unbelievably happy; I just had a strange fascination with the macabre. The only hardship came with the nightmares, I dreaded going to sleep, the scariest things about the dreams was the fact it was the only place my parents couldn't protect me.

All of the above forced me to grow up and accept certain truths at a very early age, I still had a childhood and did all the regular things kids do, I was just more aware that life isn't one big Disney film.

The nightmares are thankfully long gone; occasionally I'll get a friendly reminder of the visions that kept me awake as a child. However the fears still remain, festering in the back of my mind, I don't think I'll ever be able to exorcize them, they don't affect me on a daily basis, only sometimes will the band-aid be ripped off and old fears exposed. When that happens I still seek comfort in the same objects and places I did as a child.

In hindsight I see the events and nightmares as a personal apocalypse, both in the traditional sense of "The End" [i.e. the end of a childhood innocence] and also in the literal sense of a revelation - the revelation that the end can visit in many guises, be it a loved one or pet dying, or the end of a blissful ignorance.
It’s an apocalypse which saw me make the transition from childhood into the ‘real world’.

Breathe and Stop ...

Decided to stay at home yesterday and get all my paperwork sorted ready for the assessment, I started around 9a.m and finished about quarter to 1 this morning, so dragging myself out of bed to go to uni was the last thing I wanted to do, but I managed it, kind of wished I'd just stayed in bed. Spent a large portion of the day sat in front of a computer, yet again, trying in vain to edit my Artist Statement, as once again I had problems talking about my own work.
I tried the approach I took last year where I just wrote exactly what had Inspired the work and the personal reasons behind it, but, I need to mention my practice and work more [since I had pretty much neglected to do so] rather than throw my toys out of my pram and sulk, I swallowed my pride and changed it, recent events at home have taught me there are far more important things in life than getting upset and stressed over the Degree Show. Most people are stressed and a few have transformed into prima-donna monsters but my philosophy is, it'll happen and things will get done, and no amount of kicking and screaming will change that! I'm still waiting for my hardboard to go down so I can cover my floor and finish the wheatpasting, but rather than nag the technician [whose running around doing jobs for everyone] I'm willing to wait my turn, a lesson some people could do with learning rather than throwing hissy-fits and demanding he helps them there and then!! Maybe I'm taking the wrong approach here, but I'm much more relaxed than the majority of people, especially now that my statement is done, I've altered it and fingers crossed its OK, it is a bit long though, I do have a habit of not shutting up [just realized this is turning into a rant, better wrap it up quick] My paintings are all hung, Wendy helped my hang them today so that's one less job, just the floor to go, whenever that ,may be...

Tuesday, 19 May 2009

I've Started So I'll Finish...




Thought I'd post some photos I took today whilst setting my space up ready for the assessments next week, and then the Degree Show [which opens a week on Friday, i think - shows how clued up I am] managed to get my wall wheatpasted on Monday, it took the whole day to do, but it was worth all the effort it works really well, I'm just waiting for the hardboard to go down on the floor so i can continue the pattern down, so that it starts off on the floor then builds up the wall [you know the drill by now I've talked about it often enough on here] I've changed the pattern slightly and instead of a zigzag join between the two kinds of papers I've pasted the colouring books in a pyramid pattern to emphasise the fact that they're moving up the wall, and its made a real difference to the over-all look, and the message of the work. I spent two whole hours cutting out images from the colouring books to play in the 'neon real world' and they're all up on the wall now frolicking amongst the mushroom clouds!
I've arranged my paintings around the rest of the walls and they follow a sequence from the initial boat trip that inspired the work right through to my uncle's car that i sought protection in, my helper Emma helped me to measure and figure out the spacings of the paintings and we managed to hang a couple of them before the drill packed in. So far its looking pretty good, just got some paperwork to sort out, it's been getting on for 8pm when I'm strolling in from uni so gonna have to set aside a day off to get all that sorted. Quite looking forward to the end so I can have a break and finally get to Manchester to see the Joe Simpson Exhibition!

Friday, 8 May 2009

Hello Darkness My Old Friend. I've Come To Talk With You Again..."


"Hello Darkness My Old Friend. I've come to talk with you again..."
Acrylic on Board


I wanted to produce a Self Portrait, to act as a kind of focal point for the group of paintings, I have a photo taken when my Dad was first in hospital after the first Stroke, I'm stood in our living room gazing upwards towards the camera, clutching my Dad's jumper, the look on my face completely sums up my fears. I tried painting from the photo, but found it increasingly difficult to paint myself - especially given the circumstances surrounding the photo. So after much thinking, I hit upon the idea of portraying myself from the back, so you can't see my expression, it leaves it up to the viewer to envision my expression and emotions.
When I was a kid, I had a silver and red oil-skin coat, that was far too big for me, but I insisted on wearing it [often when it wasn't raining]. When I had it on I felt like the Fisherman from outside the Chippy, and I felt invincible and protected, I guess it was sort of like a comfort blanket. I wanted to use it in the painting as a symbol of that protection, as darkness starts to surround me, something I could use to ward off the nightmares and fears.
The composition was partly inspired by the cover for Stephen King's 'It', and from the opening scenes with George, but also by the cover for another of his novels, 'The girl who loved Tom Gordon'. There's also references to the films 'Close Encounters of the Third Kind' and 'Poltergeist' - children back lit against glowing lights [a television screen in 'Poltergeist' and a open doorway in 'Close Encounters'].

Son, What Have You Done? You're Caught By The River, You're Coming Undone



"Son, What have you done? You're caught by the river, You're coming undone"
Acrylic and Spraypaint on Board

The first pets I remember dying where the two goldfish that jumped out of their tub when my Mam was changing the water. She was changing them on the patio, and had just put them into a spare tub while she cleaned the main bowl, then the phone rang. After a lengthy telephone conversation she went back out to get the bowl in, and kept the cleaning things. She failed to notice the two dead goldfish on the wall.
The next morning I went out to play on our patio and discovered the fish, we realized what had happened and noticed that the bowl in the house contained no fish.
The concept of death was explained to me, and we held a funeral for the departed fish. I still think of the fish from time to time, we've had many fish over the years but they where my favourite.

I see the fish in the painting as a personification of the fears i had [and still have if I'm honest] of losing those closest to me, I quickly realized learnt on that summer morning when I ran out to play that life is fragile and fleeting, quite a deep and painful lesson to learn when all you intended to do that day was kick a ball against the patio door...

I'm Going To See The River Man, I'm Gonna Tell Him All I Can



"I'm Going to see the River Man, I'm gonna tell Him all I can..."
Acrylic, Spraypaint and Varnish on Board

Near where I live there's a Chippy that has a life sized plastic Fisherman stood outside, he's holding a massive fish, and looking out across the Conwy River, smiling away. At first I was a tiny frightened of him, partly because I couldn't see his eyes [they're closed] but I soon warmed to him, and whenever we used to go the Chippy, I'd wait outside and share my chips with him and sit talking to him, mostly it would be idle chatter about school or whatever craze I was obsessed with at the time, but I'd had a particularly bad nightmare I'd tell him about it, his smiling face looking down at me was quite comforting, I felt like he'd protect me if I was ever on the river again, or if anything came out of the water.
We read Ted Hughes 'Iron Man' quite early on in Primary School and completed various projects about it, and I could see parallels between Iron Man and the Fisherman, to me both came from the sea to protect us from unknown dangers, so I saw the Fisherman as a kind of guardian, watching the river and looking out for those in trouble. So Iron Man and the illustrations became a reference point both contextually and compositionally - there's a drawing in the book of Iron Man emerging from the sea that I based the paintings composition on. The painting is fairly long [its nearly the same height as me] and it's hung height up on the wall so that he is looking down at you, just like the 'real' one did when I was little.
The original Fisherman still stands watching over the River today, and he still gets some chips whenever I go to the Chippy

Thursday, 7 May 2009

Ladies and Gentlemen: This is the Captain of Your Ship ... I'm Sorry... We Depart This Way.






Ladies and Gentlemen: This is the Captain of your ship.

I'm Sorry ... We depart this way.


Acrylic and Spraypaint on Board

This composition for this painting comes from a photo taken from Carreg Yr Groes of the little boat that travels up and down the Conwy River. When I was 6 we went on it as part of school trip, as soon as we started sailing, i became hysterical and convinced the boat was going to sink and we'd all drown, then i managed to convince my cousin Sarah, we both sat clinging onto each other in floods of tears terrified we'd die. For me it was the first time I was ever aware of my own mortality, and it was one of the main factors behind my nightmares. So the painting here became more of a documentation of that event, a revisiting of sorts. Only the boat is here heading back towards Conwy suggesting that it will make it back, however I purposefully sprayed the sky to glow in the middle almost like the boat is heading towards the light [as in 'go towards the light']. The sky came from photos I'd taken of sunset in the village, the pictures are on here somewhere [as are my reasons of liking them so much] and also reference the sky from the cover of Metallica's 'Master of Puppets' - when I was little I used to love going to my mates houses and hearing their older brothers and sisters playing Maiden, Metallica, Sabbath etc, and luckily my neighbour used to play it out of his bedroom window, and the artwork always fascinated me. So the painting has become a symbol of the origin of my fears, yet with references rooted in comforting images and music [odd that a kid would find comfort in Metallica but that's me]

Be Quiet and Drive, I Don't Care Were Just Far



"Be Quiet and Drive, I Don't Care Were Just Far"
Acrylic and Spraypaint on Board

When I was little my Uncle Joe had a Lada [he had two in fact a yellow one and a blue one] I loved going in the car, it was massive inside it felt like I was sat in a tank, unfortunately I used to get car-sick every time I went in it. When he got the Blue Lada I noticed it had a tail, well a black and white striped plastic tail hanging from the rear bumper, I asked Joe why it had a tail and he replied it was to stop me getting car-sick, and it worked, I was never car-sick in his car again. I'm not sure what the tail was really for, apparently it was something to do with reducing static, a big part of me doesn't want to find out for sure as it'll shatter my illusions, I want to uphold my childhood belief that the car was protecting me, I always felt extremely safe when I was in there, so in the painting the car has become a symbol of that protection, standing up to threat of the stormy sky. I suppose I have a romantic notion of the car been like an anti-Christine, a car that will look out for me rather than try mow me down...

I Used to be a Little Boy, So Old in My Youth.

"I Used to be a Little Boy, So Old in my Youth"
Acrylic and Spraypaint on Board

In the woods at the backs of our house is a rope swing, its been there for years, and predates even my childhood, each time it broke a new swing replaced it. It was blue when I was a kid and along with the park on my estate it was where I spent most of my time. For the longest amount of time I was scared to go on the swing, fearing I'd fall off, and stupidly the first time I did actually pluck up the courage to go on it I was alone, I didn't fall, and the next time I went there with my mates I took my turn and for once actually enjoyed the lack of control, that was until Adele fell off it, she was alright, but I didn't go on it again.
I went back to the swing last summer when I was preparing for this body of work, to take photos and revisit my childhood [facing fears etc] and was disappointed to find the swing broken waiting for the next generation to rebuild it. The old blue rope from 'our' swing is still there, I've painted it to try preserve its memory, to remember all the time I spent playing there, and also to document the one time I actually faced a fear head on and jumped in.

Morning Is Mocking Me, Blood Hit The Sky. [It's The End Of The World As We Know It, And I Feel Fine]



Morning Is Mocking Me, Blood Hit The Sky
[It's The End of the World as We Know It, And I Feel Fine]
Acrylic, Spraypaint and Papercut on Board

The composition for this piece came from an old photo I found of my Mam and Dad which was taken on a family day out to a little beach in our village. The beach [its more of a cove] is called Carreg Yr Groes, mainly because of the big rock that sticks out into the River. We used to go there for picnics when I was little, its quite a trek to get to it, you have to cross the train track and struggle through a wood but its a beautiful little hide away and you have a stunning view down to Conwy and up the Valley, years later when I read Stephen King's 'The Body' [the film version 'Stand By Me'] I was reminded of the journey to get to the beach.
I have incredible memories of days spent there so I wanted to use them and the location as a comforting reference, then have then dark blood red sky threatening the scene. The Skeleton was a labour of love to draw and get onto the painting, after been given a one legged armless and headless skeleton to draw from I had to consult the anatomy books, and painting it proved difficult so i ended up drawing and cutting it out then carefully collaging it onto the painting.
I wanted some kind of overt reference to the Apocalyptic theme of the work, and "The End is Nigh" sign was the perfect choice, I had a frightening experience with a man brandishing one of them signs in my local town and had leaflets outlining why i was going to Hell thrust into my ten year old hands, so another memory thrown into the mix.
I chose to have the skeleton neon yellow, firstly to make it stand out, but also to give the impression that the colour and sign are the result of some kind of nuclear/atomic bomb, accident etc, we had a man who helped in the orphanages surrounding Chernobyl come to talk to us in Primary School, he told us all about the power plant disaster, and we all took tins of food in for the children [I took in Alphabet Spaghetti that my Mam had got for me to eat but I didn't like them so I took the tin in for the orphans, and felt so guilty afterwards, I felt really bad that i was giving the children food I didn't like instead of something nice, but hopefully someone liked it, i still feel awful about that even now] we also learnt of the effect the fallout had on sheep and the landscape of Wales which terrified me to my very core, so the skeleton has shades of that story to it...

Down By The Water [A Candy Coloured Clown They Call The Sandman]



Down By The Water
[A Candy Coloured Clown They Call The Sandman]
Acrylic and Spraypaint on Board

Thought it was about time I posted some pictures of my Paintings and explained a bit about each one - basically the story behind them.

They all stem from my childhood, they're a mixture of my memories, experiences, nightmares, learning about death, my fears of the apocalypse [ - people dying, the end etc] and of the objects, locations and memories I sought comfort in to protect me from the above.

This painting is based on the Mill Pond in our village that's part of the Water Mill, my brother worked in the cafe and gift shop there when i was little and I spent a large chunk of my summers playing in the Mill.
The pond fascinated me, as it appeared to be a massive circular bright green pond, when in fact it was the mixture of the reflections of the trees and the algae covering that tricked me to thinking it was bigger and deeper than it actually was. You had to walk through a narrow clearing in the trees to get to the pond, and a small stream ran alongside the windy path, so it was quite an adventure in itself to get to it, and when you arrived you were greeted by the stone table from the painting. I always looked at the stone like a sacrificial altar, and the eerie quiet of the pond always unnerved my slightly. Naturally I had a massive fear that I'd fall into the pond, so I'd make sure I didn't stand to close, and each time before I left I'd always throw stones into it purely to exert some kind of power over the pond [silly really thinking me throwing a stone would hurt the pond in some way]
I used a photo I took recently of the pond, as a reference for the painting, but its changed dramatically so I also relied on my memories.
I wanted to use the paintings to document the fears i had and the things i used to comfort myself during the times when i had really bad nightmares, I'd talk to my clown and tell it about the deaths, so it almost became like a 'worry doll' [the concept of a problem shared coming into effect] so the clown isn't really dead it's just floating in the water, the water cannot take it completely or kill it [since it isn't really alive] My theory about these objects like the clown was that even if my dreams came true and the world ended or i lost all my family, they would still remain, so I've tried to put that across in the paintings, but of course I've not shied away from making them menacing.
Stephen King's 'It' has also been used here as a reference both visually and contextually, I've tapped into a common fear of clowns to unsettle the viewer and also dealt with the notion of returning to locations from your childhood to face your fears...

My Space [Is Ace]

Got allocated our spaces for the Degree Show today, and for once i was pleasantly surprised! I have a pretty big space to fill. Its basically two large cubicles opposite each other, with a walk way through the middle to allow access to the other spaces. I've actually got windows for the first time ever in my space! two really tall windows that let in loads of light - so that when the sunlight hits the paintings they'll hopefully glow [God Bless Neon Spraypaint], and best of all my space is potentially one the first spaces you'll see as you come in from the lift! so i am well chuffed with my space.
We get assigned "helpers" from the first and second years to prepare and paint our spaces which after three years of having to do that myself for shows its a welcome break! my helper is a girl called Emma from the Second year who does the most beautiful pencil drawings [quite jealous!]
I've decided in my space to wheatpaste the biggest wall opposite the windows with the colouring books and neon photocopies, and then have my paintings run around the rest of the walls - in a sequence.
Just got to get all my photocoping done and cut the colourbooks, then once the walls are painted and the floor cleaned i can start pasting!

Sunday, 3 May 2009

Black Hole Sun - Soundgarden



Another video I remember seeing countless times on the 'Chart Show', it further extended my belief that the End of the World would be technicolour, i love the cleverness of the metaphors and juxtapositions within the video - like the kids frying bugs, then getting fried themselves, and the Barbie on the barbecue next to the girl suntanning... love the song as well.

Metallica




I can remember the video for 'Enter Sandman' been played on the Chart Show on Saturday mornings, when I was a kid and marveling at how right they'd got it, the video touches on archetypal nightmare imagery and sensations - especially falling in your dreams [something I experience a lot of] and it has some of the best descriptions of childhood fear/nightmares in the lyrics, with the refrain of 'Sleep with one eye open' the most effective...





The artwork for 'Master of Puppets' and 'Ride the Lightning' have also been incredibly influential this year, I remember seeing the poster for 'Master..' on my friend's older sister's bedroom wall and hearing her play the title track on repeat. The skies/clouds have been referenced throughout my own spraypaintings as I've tried to create a similar feeling of rolling storm clouds.

Laura Marling








I totally fell in love with Laura Marling last summer, then got my friend Meg hooked on her album, which was played countless times on our way to uni [good times] not only do I love Laura, but I also love her music. Her debut album 'Alas, I Cannot Swim' has been super important to my work, it was one of the key influences for the work before Christmas when I was using water as a metaphor for death, and its still equally as important to the post-xmas work. The album deals with notions of fear holding you back in your life, and the different guises fear can take, these 3 songs have probabley been the most inspirational, the lyrics to 'My Manic & I' especially, it informed many of the choices I made whilst painting the skeleton holding the 'End is Nigh' sign - the title of which is a line from the song ["Morning is mocking me. Blood hit the sky"]

Down By The Water - P J Harvey




I actually remember seeing this when it was Jools Holland in 1995 and was transifixed by both Polly Jean and the song [and still am] this song was very influential when I started the work as I was using water as a metaphor for death, the atmosphere the song creates is intense and the overiding theme is the loss of innocence [- its open to interpretation whether the loss comes in the form of sexual abuse or death] which is a major theme in my own work

Sound of Silence - Simon & Garfunkel




My Dad sometimes sings the opening lines of this when he's wondering around the house, or in the garden so its a song I've heard on a regular basis since I was little, it wasn't until a few years ago that it dawned on me that the lyrics - especially the opening verse, seem to sum up my childhood nightmares and my memories of them...

Caught By The River - Doves




I saw Doves live a few years ago and it was such a wicked night - and this song a massive highlight. The lyrics have been really influential to my work, I feel a real affinity with them, the notion of having no control over life, having to learn hard life lessons are all things I can relate to and are themes within my work, I might as well let the lyrics do the talking...

Lyrics:

Son
What have you done?
You're caught by the river
You're coming undone

Life
You know it can't be so easy
But you can't just leave it
Cause you're not in control no more

And you give it all away
Would you give it all away now?
Don't let it come apart
Don't want to see you come apart

Son
What are you doing?
You learned a hard lesson
When you stood by the water

You and I
Were so full of love and hope
Would you give it all up now?
Would you give in just to spite them all?

Cause you give it all away
And you give it all away now
Don't let it come apart
Don't want to see you come apart

Cause you give it all away
And you give it all away now
Don't let it come apart
Don't want to see you come apart

Lay
I lay in the long grass
So many people
So many people pass

Stay
Stay here and lie on back
Get down in the cornfields
Stay till we're caught at last

Give it all away
Give it all away now
Don't let it come apart
Don't want to see you come apart

And you give it all away
Would you give it all away now?
Don't let it come apart
Don't want to see you come apart

Would you give it all away?
Would you give it all away?
Would you give it all away?
Give it all away
Give it all away
Give it all away
Give it all away


[J.Williams, A.Williams, G.Goodwin]

River Man - Nick Drake




This song just sounds like summer, it always reminds me of going on picnics to Carreg yr Groes and playing in the woods on really sunny days, but most of all it makes me think of the Fisherman outside the Chippy and how I'd talk to him, as Nick sings

"I'm going to see the River Man,
I'm gonna tell Him all I can..."

Abandon Ship - Gallows



Gonna post some songs that I've listened to quite heavily this past year and have inspired this body of work in one way or another, i always tend to use lyrics, quotes, lines from books/films etc as titles for my pieces, and some lines from these songs will no doubt wind up as titles.

First song is 'Abandon Ship' by the Gallows, the sound quality isn't really up to scratch on this, ideally its needs to be listened to with decent headphones as loud as humanly possible. Although alot of people will only hear 'noise' as my mam would call it, the song too me actually sounds like a sinking ship and the emotion in Frank's voice, especially when he sings the 'Ladies and Gentlemen' line [at the 2.12 mark] that bit really gives me shivers! [and yes it does remind me of my boat trip]

I do have to admit that the very first I heard the song I was convinced it opened with the line "Matey Matey" as in the bubblebath, but by the next listen I realized it was in fact "Mayday Mayday", which disappointed me slightly...

Saturday, 2 May 2009

Apocalypse Now Screen Caps




I couldn't find a clip of this scene so I've had to use screen caps, it's the scene that inspired my usage of neon pink spraypaint, simply because I really like the contrast of the pink with the landscape, and partly because I like colourful things so grey smoke doesn't really appeal to me that much ...

Apocalypse Now

I first saw the film towards the end of primary school and read Joseph Conrad's 'Heart of Darkness' [on which the film is loosely based] a few years later. The journey that Willard/Marlow make in both the book and film always give me flashbacks to the boat trip i made aged 6 [yep that fatefully trip where the boat didn't sink] Its a bit of a 'clutching-at-straws' link but the characters in the film/book have to journey up a river into the 'heart of darkness' to face truths about life, humanity and the darkness that lurks within all of mankind - which in the case of the films title uses the duality of the meaning of 'Apocalypse' - both as a Revelation and the End. The notion of the boat trip leading to a revelation [or apocalypse] has been employed as a reference for my work, and I can't help but draw pararlells between the overall ideas of the film/book and my own experience - I'm not for one minute implying that my boat trip was anything like the one Willard goes on in the film!! I'm talking about the metaphorically meaning to the trip.

I've posted the very opening of the film and the very end [well if you listen to the commentary on the ending clip Coppola himself will explain why its the ending for some versions and not the others - its better to mute that clip though, i only wanted the images] The opening contains quite possibly one of the best ever uses of music within a film, and really sets the tone for the film [and gives me goosebumps] the marriage of Jim Morrison's lyrics with the imagery on screen is beautiful, and again something I've tried to incorporate into my work by using carefully chosen lyrics as titles [all songs that have inspired the work]. The clip from the end where Kurtz Compound is blown up is pretty darn spectacular, and the coloured smoke and flames heavily influenced the skies in my paintings [along with Iron Maiden and Metallica artwork] it literally looks like the End of the World...

Friday, 1 May 2009

Alternative Life Drawing 2


Tonight was the Second Alternative Life Drawing, I will have more photos to upload soon, but they will be on a new blog created especially for the "classes" [there not classes as such - no-one teaches them its more of an opportunity for people to come and draw] after much stressful planning and organizing the night thankfully ran without any problems! And I'm looking forward to the next one, which will be June 5th

The link to the new blog

www.alternativelifedrawing.blogspot.com

Photography by Ewart Hulse

ewart@jelorian.info