October 13, 2010
Ah – the wanderer hath returned! Mmmm…. not been very prolific in the old blogging bizz….not terribly impressive. So that’s August and September passed without a word – naughty me. I put it down to the summer – and one’s necessary seasonal forays up and down the country, and round abouts. The portrait above is one of funny chaps i met hanging around on my travels.
A recent question on University Challenge asked what BEBO stood for in the cyber world – well i had no idea – (which is not a surprise) – anyway it abbreviates the philosophy …’blog early -blog often’ …….. Yep well i failed on that score then! Me no bebo.
Art -wise I am happy to report I am still managing to keep the creativity flowing. The summer jaunts were obviously a little disruptive, but its still happening – I am at this moment in time doing my first multi layered screenprint at home and not at the print studio. Using my self assembled hinged printing base, it is going ok, but the amount of time i spend hosing the screen down in the shower trying to clean off, firstly the drawing fluid, then the inks and finally the screen block at the end of a print run is close to a form of punishment. No photo exposures units at home -so every stage is painstakingly hand done. Is it worth it? We shall see. I think i hear the print studio calling! Still its an experiment and satisfying when in works. I think the simpler the idea the better for the kitchen table. Mmm- i never can do simple.
The subject matter for this latest project is allowing me to indulge in one of my favourite enthusiasms – my fungi fetish, and what better time of year than Autumn to revel in this! Through late August and all of September i have spent most weekends out in various woodlands in the southeast and one in Belgium too(!) eyes trained to the ground foraging around the leaf litter and rotten timber to reveal these mysterious beauties! I would like to state here that i never pick the fungi or remove them from their habitats, i just stare at them, coo over them for a while and of course photograph them. In this way i can take these little treasures home with me, no matter how tasty they maybe in a wild mushroom risotto, mmm. Below is a very cute lil toad guy discovered at the close of a most fruitful fungi forage. He even has a toadstool on his bottom.
I have to admit to amassing an archive of hundreds of photographs of fungi over the years. Im still learning all the names and in making positive ids, tricky blighters as many look so similar and often change colours during their life cycles! Anyways i decided i really had to do something with all these images I’ve collected, and with all my recent exciting outings i just felt the time was right! So I’ve been drawing them and using them for print ideas. Marvellous! I simply have to show some of my favourite recent photos…. ahh how to choose?
Before embarking on this new work i had a good old clearing up session, since Urban Art, things had got a bit out of hand. Whilst sorting through old frames i found a long forgotten photograph of a rather amusing and mischievious incident concerning the Royal Horse Guards at Whitehall. I though i would share this grainy poor specimen of an instant photo taken two decades ago when i first came to London. Friends, Jo, Suzie and I happened to be passing through the Horse Guard parade one sunday evening when a cheeky Guard on horseback invited us back after he finished his shift to ‘hangout a bit’ in the barracks!! It was all very innocent even though we did get to try on the uniforms. Shiny boots, silver breastplates, swords and all! I just remember how heavy it all was to wear. We also got to meet the beautiful horses on our very unofficial tour of the barracks.(You have to remember security wasn’t so hyper paranoid then as it is now). If i may say, it was a right royal lark! Oh, and I should make a long overdue apology to young George, a ruddy faced horse guard of 16 years(!) for standing him up at ‘our’ date at the Empire on Leicester Square. Poor chap.
Whilst up in Liverpool this August, I again found myself rummaging amongst old neglected art stuff and found all my early ventures into etching which i did at the Liverpool Poly. Memories came flooding back of that crazy print department – particularly for some of the very funny characters that inhabited the subterranean studios, Kevin Heffernan – are you still out there? A wonderful lil Scouse/Irish fella who introduced me into the strange and alchemic world of etching – he kept me giggling as the deadly aquatint dust leaked out of the rickety wooden acid box! Health and Safety was a little more lax in those days! Anyway some of the prints i did were’nt half bad and clearly expressed a joy in grappling with the etching medium. Amidst this back catalogue i found some of my ancient sketch books and unearthed an old favourite drawing i did when i was about 16, of Mick Karn, the bassist from 80′s band Japan. It is done in Caran D’Ache crayons and drawn from a grainy concert press photograph. I loved Japan as a teenager and still do actually, as I type this ‘Sons of Pioneers’ has just come up on I-Tunes DJ- totally coincidently.(I really believe that my I-Tunes knows what mood I’m in and picks tracks accordingly.) Anyway, I was rather ‘keen’ on Mick Karn and his wonderful fretless bass- playing so drew and painted him many times. I particularly like this drawing and decided to bring it back to London with me and frame it for my studio wall.
No sooner had i unveiled the old smudgy drawing did i discover the distressing news that was going around the cyber music world that Mick Karn is seriously ill with cancer. Very sad news indeed. There has been a huge response from fans and friends to offer him support and to raise funds for specialist treatment in London. He has been living in Cyprus for many years with his family. I really hope the news is good. I include my little drawing here and wish Mick well.