THE LAUNCH OF HOUSEHOLD WORMS,
Please note; all entries regarding LOST ANGELES are now on this page.
Hello again. I've not 'up-dated' this sorry excuse for a blog for some time, as the more analogue facets of my existence have become quite pressing. One of these is that I'm making a new book; not Household Worms, as that is a relatively new book. Although you are, dear reader, invited to dally in the salubrious environs of the Notting Hill branch of Waterstone's bookshop on the evening of the 22nd March, as I may have mentioned before.
No, this is a truly new book, in that it doesn't yet exist. The drawing above, although unfinished and not even intended for inclusion in the book is, nonetheless, a clue to the nature of the book. I'm working on it with Cefmor Tallboy (with whom I have been working with for many years), Robert Macfarlane, (a writer of such fine books as The Wild Places), and Dan Richards (who wrote the afterword for my 2009 book Red Maze. Cefmor's doing the printing, Robert and Dan are writing, and I'm doing the illustrations, which will look vaguely like the drawing that you can see above.
Essentially this slender volume will be an account of a journey into the holloways of Dorset undertaken in the autumn of 2011. We will be printing using a monotype casting machine, molten lead and an unusual level of nervousness.
We haven't got a title for it yet, but we will be printing 277 copies as that is the height above sea level of Pilsden Pen, the Iron Age hillfort where we started our journey. More details later on, of course.
- 21st February.
A RELATIVELY NEW BOOK BY STANLEY DONWOOD
WILL TAKE PLACE AT 7PM, 22ND MARCH 2012, WATERSTONE'S BOOKSHOP,
NOTTING HILL GATE, LONDON.
READINGS FROM RIC JERROM, ESQ
78rpm GRAMOPHONE RECORD MIXING
WITH THE WIND-UP MERCHANT
A GIANT VERSION OF THE BOOK WILL BE FOR SALE, ONE PAGE AT A TIME
- 6th February.
Good evening. I am informed that there will be a 'launch party' for my relatively new book, HOUSEHOLD WORMS, at the Notting Hill branch of Waterstone's bookshop on the 22nd March 2012. Guests will be entertained by the mellifluous tones of Ric Jerrom, esq.'s voice as he declaims several choice selections from the book, and by the delights provided by a disc jockey who uses only wind-up gramophones and original 78rpm recordings.
Free to enter, of course.
After a discussion carried out in a pub this evening, we have a further plan. We wish to offer, on the evening of the 'launch', pages from the book entitled Household Worms as individual prints, approximately A3 in size (but a bit narrower). And also two-colour prints of the cover. At the same size.
Is this a good idea? We don't know. Not yet.
Since last night I have become convinced that it is a good idea. So the plan is to have individual prints sized 420mm x 255mm made of each page of the book. There will only be one print of each page, and they will cost £5 each. And we will make 50 prints, the same size, in two colours, of the front cover. They will be £5 too.
The event will run from 7pm until 8.30pm.
- 29th January 2012, amended 30th January.
Hapy n yr etc. All things are in progress at the moment. Soon there will be new drawings and prints and other fine things, only not quite yet. There will be an exhibition of the epic linocut Lost Angeles in several permutations in the fine city of Los Angeles this year of the apocalypse, 2012. More details soon, amigos. In the meantime, here are some photographs of a show I did some time ago, which was called El Chupacabra. Just as the banking crisis began to reveal its true disastrous nature...
This exhibition, or rather, installation, was back in summer 2009, before I had started this stupid blog. I retain a fondness for my lovely goats. I believe that one of them is still at large, here. Although you might have to email them about it.
- 12th January 2012
- 22nd December 2011
Well, that was cool with the PDF I put up in my previous post here. It went all over the place, digitally speaking. I'm going to make 99 prints of it (you know, because of the 99% thing), and donate half the profit to Occupy. To the people printing the Occupy Wall Street Journal, I think.
In other news, Household Worms has come back from the printers, as you can see above. I'm very fucking pleased with it, and am enjoying this sense of acheivement whilst it lasts. Before it fades into the inevitable ennui. So yes, my new book! It will be available from the shop on this site, which you can get to by simply clicking that word right above here that says 'SHOP'. And also from actual bookshops. Even, possibly, Amazon too. Happy happy, joy joy etc.
- 22nd November 2011
As the mendacity of the One Per Cent continues, here is a small tool which you may download, blow up, paste, copy, pass on, and do whatever with. I'm not sure where the quote is from; I saw it on a poster at Occupy Sheffield last week, where they thought that the words were possibly from a former Prime Minister of Canada. The file is a zipped PDF, and it's 300dpi CMYK, approximately A4. (It's just over 3MB) So it should enlarge quite well.
If you use a plan printer in a copy shop you can enlarge an A4 printout to A1 or even A0; black and white is way cheaper than colour. The red will come out grey, which is okay.
If you are going to put it on a wall, then mix your wallpaper paste with warm water; much more pleasant on a chilly night. Carry the mixed paste in a double layer of plastic bags, as that doesn't look as suspicious as a bucket.
- 17th November 2011
Here are a few photographs, taken by Ian Cox, of the labyrinth that was built below Waterloo Station in London. I'm a little sad that it existed for such a short time, but so it goes. If you click on these little photos a window will appear with much larger photographs, and a brief description.
I'm afraid that, as yet, I have no photographs of the inside of the labyrinth. If they exist, I shall track them down, and post them here for whoever may be interested.
- 7th November 2011
The print shown above, which is called Some Kind Of Monster is now available HERE, at the Lazarides Outsiders site, as are the three Alchemical Terror prints shown below.
More details, bigger pictures, embarrassing hyperbole, all waiting for you here.
- 21st October 2011
This evidence from The Minotaur is now available from HERE.
The Alchemical Terror prints, shown below, are currently only available from The Outsiders gift shoppe within the tunnels wherein The Minotaur is imprisoned.
- 18th October 2011
At the time of writing, The Minotaur exhibition (if an 'exhibition' is what it actually is...) has one week yet to run. I spent a week in the tunnels building the black labyrinth, with a lot of help from many people. The structure is called Mithras Tauroctonos Subterranea.
Here are the few terrible photographs I took. I am a truly dreadful photographer, for which I apologise. I will get some proper photos soon and post them up here. But for now, this is all I have.
The posters (about 900 of them) represent the propaganda of three splinter factions of the same esoteric alchemical terrorist group, and utilise the angelic language vouchsafed to Dr John Dee and Edward Kelley in the sixteenth century. More on all this later, as midnight approaches and I must ensure the thresholds are correctly sealed.
- 17th October 2011
I feel that I've been cryptic for long enough, and now I believe that there"s even a press release doing the rounds about THE MINOTAUR, an event organised by that curator of the questionable, Mr Steve Lazarides. The event will take place in the cavernous tunnels below Waterloo Station in London. Me, I'm going to be something unlike anything that I've done before, if you discount that business with the maze in Holland a year or so ago.
I've also done two new prints for the event; the one shown above, which is the show poster, as it were, and will be available for a price that may be attractive to the impecunious. The other print is still in production, so I cannot show it here yet, but it addresses the central quandary that my piece in THE MINOTAUR is essentially all about.
Bookings for THE MINOTAUR are being taken from 10th October. Click here: theminotaur.co.uk for more details.
In other, very exciting (to me) news: the printed version of Divided Woods will be available very very soon! It worked! It only took seven months! Hooray, etc.
The next Taglibro will be out by the 28th September. Sorry for the long gap. Things have been... interesting.
- 14th September 2011
My apologies for the comparative lack of 'up-dates' on this thing. I've been very busy with Lost Angeles and various other things of medium to high-level secrecy. Above is a painting called Winterfold which is, I hope, available to be seen with actual eyes in the city of Los Angeles from tonight, here:
POST NO BILLS
Apparently there is a record of the painting leaving the UK but no corresponding record of it arriving in the USA. So it goes, as the late Kurt Vonnegut would say. But there are some new giclée prints there, for sure. Well, there must be something anyway because they've put my name on the flyer. So yes, 1103 Abbot Kinney Boulevard, Venice Beach, California. From tonight! I believe it's very warm over there at the moment.
- 28th July 2011
For those persons out there who may retain a modicum of interest in my 'up-dates', here's another: the eighteen-foot-long Lost Angeles linocut has entered the long slide towards completion, as I've now cut twelve feet of it (only six feet to go, mathematicians!) and myself and Mr Cefmor Tallboy have printed, er, about four feet of it. As you can perhaps see from the photo above, the artwork has developed into some kind of vorticist-meteorite-fireball thing. I'm currently cutting a quasi-mediaeval version of the Hollywood district, specifically the Roosevelt Hotel, an exotic palace where I have, unbelievably, cavorted with the tall and well-heeled of Los Angeles. It was kind of like a scene from a science fiction movie.
Oh, and look. Sitting on top of the linocut is one of the new batch of Tiny Treasure Island prints. Apparently the Manufactory had sold out of them, so I've done some more. Printed on the Heidelberg platen press, they are. An unlimited edition, signed and stamped. The ideal gift for your Gran, perhaps.
Anyway. I hope to have a concentrated July of cutting and printing. And that Lost Angeles will reach completion in the next few weeks. Ha.
In further quite depressing news, the Friday Woods lithographs arrived from the printers looking not quite right. I stuck one up in my house, and I stuck one up at the studio, but something wasn't right. They looked sort of dull, which admittedly seeing as it's a reproduction of an oil painting of black fog in trees could have been expected, but, you know what? It was the wrong kind of dull. I have now realised that they are, in the end, printed on the wrong fucking paper. This was proved only last night, in the studio, after a fruitless attempt to make the picture sing by applying a layer of high gloss varnish.
So, delay upon delay. These arboreal paintings have taken up a lot of time and money so far, commodities which I have previously shown an considerable aptitude for wasting. Never mind, never mind. I'm going to get them done again, this time on the right paper. And when I do, I shall of course 'up-date' my stupid blog.
- 6th July 2011
The Glastonbury 2011 prints are now in, in full lithographic techno-colour. As you can see, above. As usual, the process of making the artwork has been a jagged trajectory veering from dread to despair, taking in self-aggrandizement and smugness on the way. Still, that's not really relevant, is it? No. The point is, I like it, and I very much hope that you will too. There are 250 in the edition, which I very much hope is neither an underestimate or a wild overestimate of the 'demand' for this print. I have decided that they should cost £88, which, again, I hope was a good call. For interior decorators and compulsive measurement-takers, the paper is 49cm x 59cm, and the print itself measures 40cm x 48cm. If you are so inclined, you can get one here.
- 1st June 2011
I've started printing the editions for Lost Angeles. Once again, myself and the indefatigable Cefmor Tallboy cleared the detritus from around the venerable 1860 Albion press and off we went; inking, loading paper, printing, as well as the more arcane arts of frisket preparation, testing and adaptation. As you can see from the picture, space was at a premium as Mr Tallboy is having his workshop rebuilt. Eventually, he tells me, everything will be fine and I won't have anything to complain about, cf. previous moans about freezing temperatures etc.
The first section of Lost Angeles is the fairytale castle at Disneyland, in Anaheim. I cut this last September, incredibly enough, when I was kidding myself that the whole eighteen feet of it would only take a couple of weeks. I was evidently deluded, and it's only now, seven months later, that the end of the chiselling of linoleum is actually within sight. Printing it is of course another matter entirely, and one which relies on the goodwill, patience and hard labour of many people besides myself.
I'm planning to make a linocut edition (ie., prints taken directly from the inked lino) of 66, which generally means that we need to print about 90 to get 66 good prints. As there are eighteen sections, this means we will be doing 1,620 prints for the edition of 1,188. I've only just worked that out. Hmm.
Anyway, here's the slowly growing stack of prints:
Now that I'm thinking this through, I'm filled once more with a sense of sustained peril. I am thinking in adult language and there may be scenes of a violent nature, although it is early days, as yet. It's best not to think too much about these things. It's best just to do things as if each thing is just itself. Like these little counting marks:
See? It's fine. I'm up to 64 already. Only 1,556 to go.
In other matters of vaguely interconnected interest:
This is as far as we have got with the successor to the ill-starred Divided Woods, which is a picture called Friday Woods.
I've reluctantly come to the conclusion that the expert screenprinters consulted before we started on this sorry affair were right. It's not really possible to screenprint this picture. It's been a very hard lesson to learn, and we've tried everything to make it work. But. But we can't. So...
This print, Friday Woods, and the other, Divided Woods, will be made. However, to maintain the depth, distance, and general sense of unease that are essential to this painting, they will be printed using the very latest in lithographic technology. More information will be posted up here soon, but right now I have to make a cup of tea.
- 17th May 2011
Some of the time that disappeared lately I spent making artwork for this year's Glastonbury Festival, and the result is above. It ended up okay, or so I like to think. As usual it was very difficult to get right, and some of the pictures I made whilst trying to get it right were so bad they surprised even me, and I'm used to the sorts of horror that I'm capable of. I've been making artwork for Glastonbury Festival since 2002, and the pile of rejects is considerable. Last year I did the thing with the big glow-in-the-dark moon, which was fine, but an earlier version looked like a fucking beer mat. Anyway. There's this year's, coming soon to a t-shirt and a programme cover. I hope people like it.
Here's a close-up of the pyramid/tor/rainbow bit.
When I first got the job I wandered around an empty Worthy Farm taking photographs, the pyramid stage just a scaffolding framework, the dank winter fields empty of everything except some cows, but a strange site-memory of the festivals that I'd been to over the years before. The pyramid was built on a leyline that runs through the distant tor, and a big oak tree behind the stage marks the route. There are a lot of books about pyramids and leylines, and some of them are quite good. John Michell, who lived until his recent death in Glastonbury wrote some fantastic books; The View Over Atlantis and The Flying Saucer Vision are both worth reading. Unless you're a miserable cynic of some kind.
In other matters of tangental interest:
After the depressing failure of the attemt to print Divided Woods we turned our attention to the next picture in that series, entitled Friday Woods. We could have continued with the first, but it would perhaps have been a little sad to work immediately on something that had gone wrong. But! Having learnt a great deal from the failure of Divided Woods I have a certain amount of faith that things will go more smoothly this time.
I've also been chiselling away at what will eventually become an eighteen-foot-long linocut of Los Angeles being destroyed by fire, flood and miscellaneous natural and man-made disasters in a quasi-mediaeval style. This is tentatively titled Lost Angeles. I have alluded to this project before, but it had to be put on the back burner whilst I was preoccupied with various facets of The King of Limbs, Radiohead's recent recording. But now it's at the front of the queue, and I am officially half-way along. I can only do a few inches a day due to the titchiness of the chisel and the deranged level of detail demanded by my ridiculous personality. Pictures soon, when I get some proofs printed...
Oh yes. I will be making some screenprints of the Glastonbury Festival artwork soon. Big ones, I think. Well, as big as I can fit on the screens.
- 3rd May 2011
Had a major fail in the studio. The print being produced, Divided Woods, was looking good when we sampled it, and against the wise advice of what is probably the best screenprinting company in the UK, we decided to go ahead and attempt to print an edition of a hundred using four inks and a varnish. This took a while, during which time I was also involved in other, newspaper-related matters. Perhaps it was a lack of attention. Perhaps it was the poor lighting. Perhaps it was tiredness. But. But the entire edition, I have reluctantly and gloomily concluded, is NO GOOD.
Due to inconsistency of the cyan print, a little pinhole of magenta and a really fucking annoying overlooked yellow registration mark, the somewhat depressing fact is... we got to do it again. But I do try to look on the happy side; the studio is no longer so unbelievably cold that it makes you want to shout in pain. Hooray.
Anyway, fuck it. Do it again, better.
Also we have got ten each of the Bad Woods editions that Lazarides printed for the Work on Paper show to sell through the Manufactory. By the way.
- 6th April 2011
I have spent a lot of time looking at photographs of Iceland. Blue water, white land. Drinking wine and considering what to do. Since I last posted anything here on this stupid blog much has occurred, some planned, some unexpected. We gave out the newspapers, so one secret is out. I did a thoughtless interview for a snazzy magazine from Hong Kong, in which I said this:
"I thought I'd better try painting with oils. I can't remember exactly why, but I used to like the smell of oil paint and turps whilst I was at art college, and I had a vague and rather old-fashioned notion that oil was what proper artists used. This has probably more to do with romantic novels of the mid 20th century than anything else. Never mind, never mind.
Anyway, as usual I was hugely over-ambitious and tried to copy the work of Gerhard Richter, a fantastic painter. Of course, I failed terribly and miserably and I deserved to do nothing less for my appalling presumption. It was a very depressing period, as for weeks and months my work got steadily worse, until I wanted to burn my studio to the fucking ground, leave my stupid job and do something less totally pointless.
Perhaps luckily I eventually worked through this dark valley and started to paint the woods and forests, and the odd creatures who dwelt inside. These scenes were starting to emerge from the music that Radiohead were making. Just at the right time. Maybe.
The newspaper album was an idea that I developed concurrently with the oil painting. I was reading a newspaper one sunny summer morning, and after a while I left it on the bench where I was sitting. A few hours later I came back to the bench, and the newspaper had started to curl, get brittle, and go slightly yellow in the sunlight. This, to me, was very appealing; here was a medium that was like a speeded-up version of our own bodies, something that was mirroring the inevitable decay that comes with being alive.
At the same time, someone had donated a big stack of old 1960s counterculture newspapers to Radiohead's studio. These were mostly copies of 'it' (International Times), a few copies of Oz and other strange publications. Because of their age, these newspapers had acquired a sort of value, an archivable quality that was surely far from the minds of the radicals who had produced them with the aim of documenting and advertising the day by day activities of revolutionaries."
They asked me a lot of questions, very politely. I tried to be polite back.
In other 'news', printing continues in a rather experimental fashion in the Manufactory... and my stupid blog was quoted in a newspaper. So I will have to become ever more elliptical, to avoid that kind of horror occurring again.
- 2nd April 2011
Last night we started work on printing Divided Woods. This image was an oil painting which was photographed with a Canon eos5D. These cameras are kind of unnerving; they can see more than we do. I was able to pick up the weave of the canvas the picture was painted on from a distance of about two metres. Words like 'forensic' and 'military' spring to mind.
Anyway, with digital photographs like this the challenge is to try to lose as little detail as possible, so we made 4-colour separations and had these output onto film, and then exposed the fine-mesh screens. Ordinarily nobody would ever use screenprinting to try to create an image like this. As we were informed by experts. But never mind! Onward! Into the Manufactory (which is no longer a terrifyingly squalid cell with sub-zero temperatures, but now, in late March, is actually quite pleasant) and out with the brand-new squeegee, and a very fine sample we made. Cyan, magenta, yellow, and superskinny black. It's not finished yet, as we have to experiment further, but as you can see from the crappy photo above, things are looking good.
- 23rd March 2011
For the past year I've been working on oil paintings which are attempts to glimpse into the dark forests that crowd the European - my - subconscious. These forests are where all the native folk-tales of the North are born; Red Riding Hood, Goldilocks, Baba Yaga and all the rest; the princess sleeping for a hundred years behind inpenetrable thickets of blackthorn, the delectable cottage that houses an oven for children. This is where the creatures prowl - the goblins and trolls that scutter from tree to tree in the bad woods of our minds. In Northern Europe we are deeply afraid of the forest and what it means; the hero is the one who can cut through the blackthorn, or the woodcutter himself. Perhaps this reflects thousands of years of woodland clearance, fields hewn at great cost from the wilderness, or perhaps long memories of dangerous journeys along dark, rutted, signless tracks, never knowing what lurks in the shadows.
It's only comparatively recently that we have reached a condition of industrial modernity which requires us to protect our forests, to enact laws that forbid anyone from felling them. It's only recently that we have learned to walk in them for pleasure. We profess to love the woods and forests, but most people, I think, if they found themselves alone in the forest at night would feel a deep sense of unease. I don't think we are scared of the real menaces that may lie in wait, or even some sort of supernatural event. It's something much, much older, and much deeper. It's something without a name.
- 18th March 2011
I mentioned a large drawing I was doing a while ago, which is currently fixed to the wall of the Outsiders Gallery in London's merry district of Soho. Well, here it is, pictured above.
It's made with graphite sticks and graphite powder, it's two metres wide and a metre and a half high, and it's called Drawn Out Woods. It's actually fixed to a wall covered with a wallpaper version of another, similar drawing, which might be a little confusing on this photograph. Well, the show's on until the 12th March, so if you're interested in seeing it for real you know what to do...
In other news, I'm hoping, during my sudden absence (see below) from the Slowly Downward Manufactory premises, that work is commencing on a new screenprint. This will be a work taken from the yet-to-be-seen-by-anyone artwork for Radiohead's new record, The King Of Limbs. Entitled Divided Woods, it is (or will be) a screen printed version of one of the series of oil paintings that I and the Doktor produced during the recording of the aforementioned album.
I'm currently in hiding in a strange city far from my usual haunts. Events caused by or connected to the production of artwork had become a sort of sticky web of entanglement.
But now, from here, they seem less ensnaring, and my new project, possibly the most ambitious yet, is taking shape across the digital lines of communication. This new project will, if everything goes to plan, involve many major cities of the world.
I feel a little like a Bond villain, hiding from the world in this hilltop fastness, with lists of capital cities taped to the walls of my lair, scrumpled versions of my plans littering the metal floor. I should think up a suitable codename for it, perhaps.
- 2nd March 2011
It doesn't seem like much time has passed since I made a silent vow to myself never to do another exhibition. I am no good at keeping silent vows made to myself. Another one, Work on Paper, is up now, hanging on the walls of the gallery pictured above.
Look carefully, because this is important. There are two doors, aren't there? One on the left, one on the right. If you choose to visit this exhibition then I recommend you choose the door on the left. Not the door on the right, as that leads elsewhere and moreover to regions which are beyond the purview of the exhibition. Don't say I didn't warn you. Although for some people this warning may have come to late. My apologies to all concerned for any confusion or distress caused...
Anyway, I was in London putting up the exhibition last week when I really shouldn't have been, because I should have been attending to business seeing as the record that I've been working on for the past two and a half years was released. That record was and is The King Of Limbs, by Radiohead. And naturally there was stuff to do and all of it in some kind of hurry. Well, I ask you. How can someone like me be expected to do two things at once? So instead of doing all the things I should have been doing I bought a fat marker pen and wrote this:
A little bit of politics, ladies and gentlemen, as Ben Elton used to say.
- 20th February 2011
Last night I think I finished this drawing, which is almost the last thing to do for the show next week. I had to start it again because the studio was intolerably cold, so I moved into the hallway of my house. It's very narrow in the hallway of my house, and a bit cluttered, so I've not been able to actually see what it looks like properly. These photos are taken from either end of the drawing. I have learnt that graphite powder is kind of messy.
- 9th February 2011
The show is to be extended by a week, until the 12th March. I would like to think that this was due to 'popular demand', but have to concede that this is not the case. 'Unpopular lack of demand' may be nearer the truth.
- 7th February 2011
Last year I did a big exhibition in Holland (which, if you care, you can read about in the Red Maze section from the front page of this site) and for the looting of the show (ditto) I pasted up lots and lots of artwork that hadn't been seen, or had been seen but had been covered in writing, or just things that I had forgotten about, because I'd done them years ago.
Of course, during the looting all of these were taken away/stolen/appropriated/looted.
So for the upcoming show, Work On Paper, I've had ten of these images made into giclée prints, on Fabriano paper. I looked over the studio proofs the other day, and they are FUCKING GORGEOUS. I am, of course referring to the quality of the print, rather than the artwork itself, as my ingrained English sense of modesty forbids me from liking my own stuff. Anyway, there they are, above, all tiny and on a computer screen. They will be in editions of ten, and you can see the real thing at the exhibition. You can then decide for yourself about the gorgeousness, or otherwise.
- 5th February 2011
Work on paper, I thought... work on paper. The forthcoming show at Mr Lazarides' earliest gallery acquisition, once an emporium of sado-masochistic paraphenalia called 'Swish' and now a sort of shop-cum-gallery called 'The Outsiders' is to be an exhibition of various marks that I've made on paper. Except for one thing, which is still a print, but it's on a treated section of MDF (medium density fibreboard) which I suppose technically is a kind of paper; made, as it is, from woodpulp.
So, for 'WORK ON PAPER' I thought it would be fun to make some large drawings with graphite. I got hold of some rolls of really lovely Fabriano paper, rolls that are 1.5 metres high and 10 metres long, and cut myself a 2 metre length. I found a flattish wall in the sensory deprivation unit that I kid myself is my studio and carefully taped the paper to the wall. It is, of course, absolutely freezing here.
And the thing is, I'm not actually in my studio, but in a kind of no-man's-land in the crumbling edifice that houses it. So the only lighting is this weird motion-detector thing that only comes on when rats or the homeless or desperate art thieves come in. It's to save electricity, or something. So every fucking three minutes I have to do a kind of staggering, half-frozen dance so the light stays on. If I forget, then it's dark, and I can't see what it is that I'm supposed to be drawing.
It's at times like this that I wonder why I didn't listen to my teachers when I was younger, why I laughed at those careers-advice people. It was only a flask of hot tea that saved me from a horrible descent into cackling madness.
Well, anyway, that's that. My cathartic typed splurge. My contribution to the tsunami of self-indulgent tripe on the internet. I'll stop now, and I do apologise. Just trying to put the 'work' in some sort of 'context'.
So, I'm incrementally getting things arranged for this little print show, in between a couple of other slightly more demanding projects, and I thought that perhaps I'd better start doing a little publicity. And to that end I've made six A4 PDF adverts, or posters, or whatever. Each one should print out fine on A4, and slightly less fine on anything bigger. They're about 2MB each, I think. Teeny versions are reproduced below, and if you click on any of them then a print-quality PDF should miraculously download onto your computer. And then you can do what you like. Or not.
- 24th January 2011
Well, all sorts of trivial instances have taken place in the vacuum of human existence that is my particular slice of emotional real estate. I went over to London the other day 'on business', as they say, and one of the things I did whilst there was to figure out how to do this print show that I'm going to do at Mr Lazarides' place on Greek Street.
I've done two shows at the gallery there before, one in 2006 and one about a year later. I remember both shows with a kind of hideous hallucinatory clarity; I think that at one of them I had my wig cut by a celebrity hairdresser, and at another someone was sick on my lap. It's possible neither of these things actually happened, but even so.
Of course I'm way older and much wiser nowadays, and anyway I think that a little thing like a print show should be quite safe. This will be a much, much safer deal. So, the show's going to be called 'WORK ON PAPER', because that's what it is, and it'll be at The Outsiders on Greek Street in Soho, London, between Thursday 17th of February 2011 and Thursday 3rd of March 2011. Their website is www.theoutsiders.net.
More details later, of course, when I know what they are.
- 17th January 2011
This is where I've been. Every day the snow melted infinitesimally, and every night froze once more. Acres of diamond dust in the sunlight. Without a breath of wind the snow rested on the branches of trees, on telephone wires, on hedges. Water that had run beneath the thick mats of moorland froze when it reached the air in strange extruded blooms. Silent conifer woods stood black against the white. Blizzards gathering above the mountains and flowing inklike as they approached. Snow blindness and an absent horizon.
I'm going to do a little show of prints and things at Mr Lazarides' gallery in Soho. I don't know what to call it yet. I'll be trying to do as many new works as I can. But I don't have very long.
- 7th January 2011
It's been an interesting time in the refrigeration unit I laughingly refer to as my 'studio'. Because I've been using this material called diamond dust we've had to reorganise the place a little to accomodate an adapted process. It's a lot like screen printing, only not quite, as the Diamond Heist editions require different and fiddly treatment. They look really good though, as this photograph more or less completely fails to show.
The show in Rome, Palimpsest at Mondo Bizzarro finished last week, so many thanks to anyone/everyone who came. I had a great time there, and have the tattoo to prove it.
I am actually hoping to get one or two new prints done before the end of the year, but it's probably a ridiculous plan. No time and a studio where your breath hangs in the air like a puff of fog.
- 6th December 2010
There's been no further progress on the Los Angeles linocut because I've been a little preoccupied with other matters. But I did find the stupid lead that connects my stupid phone to a computer, and can therefore explain, with photographs, the intricate and highly technical process of relief printing.
This is the press, acquired by Mr Lawrence for the sum of forty quid. Inserted between its heavy rollers is a length of MDF. We have stuck the linoleum onto this with double-sided sticky tape. Although the photograph doesn't show it, the workshop is extremely cold. All studios are cold. It's the law.
Next, you can see the linocut after we have rollered ink all over it. Then we laid a piece of kozo paper on the inked lino, then placed a length of cheap lining wallpaper on top of that. Next, we cranked the wooden handle on that great big wheel thing until the whole caboodle had passed through the metal rollers.
Well, of course there were several factors that I had not taken into account, not least that the roll of paper I had brought with me was considerably shorter than I'd thought. But anyway, we managed to get some half-decent proofs by the end of the day. Whenever I remind myself that this four and a half feet of lino represents only about a third of what I plan to cut and print, I am filled with a sense of mild but sustained peril.
In other news, in another equally freezing studio, the first prints from an edition of Diamond Bears are drying quietly on a rack. These are made using graded diamond dust, and look quite remarkable. They are also a real fucker to photograph, so I have engaged a professional to attempt the task. If things go well, I'll post a photo on here. As ever, don't hold your breath.
- 21st November 2010
This photograph was taken one year ago. I'm back in this room, for the first time since the summer, and the spiders and rats have developed ways of passing the quiet hours of my absence.
The other day I started the process of printing the lino cut I'm doing of Los Angeles, the one which will eventually be eighteen feet long. I've done about a third of it, and myself and Richard Lawrence tried to print it using a very long piece of MDF (medium density fibre board) and an old etching press. It was not easy. I dread to think how I'm going to print it when it's eighteen feet long.
I will have some photos of the process soon, but they're on my stupid old phone and I've forgotten the lead to connect it to the computer.
- 4th November 2010
This is a new print. It will make its first appearance here:
- 17th October 2010
No sooner than I had returned to England from San Francisco I got back on an aeroplane and went to Los Angeles. This is not a recommended route and is definitely the long way round. As a result my mind is rotating slowly in a weary sort of dementia.
So, anyway, the idea - the point - was to attempt to repeat what I did a few years ago with London Views,1 only this time using the city of Los Angeles as the tragic victim of fire, flood, and whatever else I could throw at it, carved in linoleum in a quasi-medieval style. I ordered a vast expanse of linoleum and made sure not to take my pointy chisel in my hand luggage, as you could really hurt somebody with it, were you a crazed killing sort of person.
I ended up with a length of linoleum one foot high by eighteen feet long, which is five feet longer than London Views was. This may or may not turn out to be a good thing. It's certainly going to be something of a challenge to cut, and an absolute fucking bastard to print.
The thing is, I have got a bit more fancy with the chisel since London Views, having 'honed my skills' on the linocut called Fleet Street Apocalypse,2 and now it takes me about five times longer to cut a square foot of lino, especially as I'm including features such as the demented Victoriana shown above. This is from an area in Los Angeles which is completely overrun with this kind of thing; wooden houses built around the turn of the 20th century, tricked out wth all kinds of carved and painted decoration. It's apparently 'the place to be' at Halloween. I think the house above is on Carroll Street, but I'm not sure.
So the print will, when complete, show a vast panorama from the Disney castle in Anaheim to the Pacific Ocean at Malibu, taking in Downtown, Hollywood, Sunset, Beverly Hills and much more on the way, the whole being destroyed by diverse means. And despite this dreadful vision, I must point out that I quite like Los Angeles; the palm trees, the telegraph wires, the faded grandeur of Broadway, the voodoo chemist's shops, and the overall out-there eye-popping craziness.
1. London Views was a linocut I made in 2006 or thereabouts; it became variously an eponymous exhibition, the artwork for Thom Yorke's record 'The Eraser', a mural on the outside of the XL record label's offices and a really expensive jigsaw. More here.
2. Fleet Street Apocalypse was a large linocut done specifically to be printed on the last working press in London's Fleet Street, home for many centuries to a wide variety of printed periodicals and books. More here.
Anyway. That's enough blogging for now.
- 1st October 2010
Try as I do to maintain a disposition of indolence, it rarely works out. So whilst I was in San Francisco putting the show together I went for a few walks around the city, which seems to be a great place. Aside from the intricate wooden houses and the trams and the hipsters1 on bikes, I started noticing the pavement graffiti; the writing inscibed on wet concrete that subsequently becomes a solid part of the landscape. It was quite intellectual, some of it; "I heart Mozart" was one, and a quote from Baudelaire somewhere else. (actually on the side street opposite fifty24sf gallery,2 where the show is, if you're in the neighbourhood)
The next day I went to the best art supply shop I've ever seen, FLAX3 on Market Street. I wanted to do some pavement rubbings, and so I bought some kozo paper4 (Japanese, handmade from mulberry bark, very strong, very thin) and some graphite sticks. Then I went to a few San Francisco neighbourhoods to seek out interesting pavements. This wasn't as easy as I thought it might be, as a combination of gentrification and rebuilding after earthquakes has meant that a lot of pavements are quite new, and thus quite boring. But I did find some, particularly in Haight Ashbury, where I was almost run over whilst absorbed in a Hetch Hetchy5 manhole cover.
1. Hipsters: this seems to be a term of mild abuse in San Francisco. However, hipsterdom is still something I would aspire to if I were young and trendy enough.
2. fifty24sf galley: at the risk of going on and on about it, that's where the show OVER NORMAL is, until October 27th.
3. FLAX art store is really worth going to if you are ever in San Francisco and make marks of any kind. Their website is here.
4. Kozo paper: I used this before, to make the full-length London Views prints. I've written about it at probably unnecessary length here.
5. Hetch Hetchy? Sounds interesting? If you think so, try going here.
Anyway. That's enough blogging for now.
- 13th September 2010
Above: titles of works at OVER NORMAL...
If you manage to get to this show, there's a newspaper available that is a sort of attempt to explain what the exhibition is all about. I only printed 500 copies, which (now I've thought about it) is probably not quite enough. So if you aren't able to get one, here's a PDF to download. This PDF is about 7.5mb and will take around a minute to download at 114kb/s.
I will add more to this ridiculous attempt at a 'blog' when I can. As usual, don't wait up. Or hold your breath.