And a very happy New Year to everyone . A busy time planned for 2012 with two museum solo exhibitions and a London solo gallery exhibition plus possible performances later in the year of ‘Painting Music’ . First off will be an appearance in a new French documentary – ‘Ballade pour une Reine ‘ on the Tv channel Arte , dates to be confirmed but possibly January .
A very happy Christmas to everyone – I hope that next year will be better than the one before ……..
A wonderful response from everyone – friends, supporters and collectors of my work, for my 60th birthday . I have had countless e mails, text , Facebook greetings from all around the world and they have all meant a great deal to me . I will single out AD Chivers video song that he made and in fact I was woken up to by wife bringing me the laptop to bed ! I wasn’t expecting that . And also one of my longest and close friends, Peter Gabriel , who composed a song to the tune of ‘Old Man River’ – in this case ‘Ole Man Deanie’ . I’m afraid the words are a bit personal and rude to publish here . Others got their own back after years of abuse from me – including many ‘hair’ or lack of hair jokes . All in all a great day – at this stage in my life, I’m not so interested in acquiring more ‘stuff’ – our house is full anyway , but personal messages mean more than trinkets . Well that’s a relief then , I can hear some friends say ……
last day of still being classed as ‘not old’ .
When I was in Venice last weekend at the Biennale I managed to see about 30 minutes of ‘The Clock’ – if you ever get the chance to see this then do . I loved the way the brain wanted to make a narrative out of a non narrative film – but you were literally carried along by the simple movement of time , waiting for the next sequence featuring a watch , clock or verbal mention of time . I really liked the more suble sequences – there was one involving a girl in chuch with many lit candles . It was only later I remembered that candles used to be an ancient timepiece . And another involving a mortuary and ‘the time of death’ . Clever stuff and a piece of work that any artist would be proud of making in their lifetime .
Just had confirmation of a ’60th’birthday solo exhibition at the Williamson Art Gallery and Museum in Birkenhead , Merseyside.This will be held from the 28th Jan to 26th Feb 2012 . I will exhibit a number of works made in the last decade plus some very recent and also a number of very new paintings prior to my ‘Faster, Higher, Stronger ‘ exhibitions next year .
Working on ideas for a 2 and half feet painted egg !. Its for a big charity event in London next year – a sort of Easter egg hunt with hundreds of eggs and hundreds of artists. A few years ago it was a life size fiberglass cow -the things I get involved with …
Next outing for a number of new works will be at the Pan Art Fair in Amsterdam from 20th to 27th Nov . This will be with Galerie Frans Jacobs , stand 100 .
The exhibition on ‘identity’ is still continuing at Galerie Maubert in Paris . I shall be over there next week for a few interviews and of course to see the show . It will be a hectic day return from Brighton at the crack of dawn . Meanwhile, I’m roughly two thirds the way into the ‘Faster, Higher, stronger’ exhibitions for next year . Possibly the longest time I have worked on exhibitions – they are coming along , quite pleased with several of them .
Had a wonderful time in Maastricht , the rain kept away and the performance was really good . It was a beautiful setting – in a very attractive square with the stage and screen at one end , right next to the Basilica where my exhibition also was . I have posted a number of photos onto Youtube . Soon there will be a short video clip from the film .
Next up on the ‘Painting Music’ mini tour is in Maastricht on September 11th . It will be outdoors again so I hope we are not unlucky twice with the weather. Also I believe it is seated with cafes down the sides in one of Maastricht old squares and its free. The main screen will be one of those uber projections used when they show such things as daylight football matches . So clarity and colour should be excellent . I’m changing several of the images for this one .There are a number of short clips being posted on Youtube and other sites but the main documentary will be ready soonish .
Great reactions from the performances so far . Aachen we had over 600 in the converted church and I loved the way the images played off the structure of the building . Heerlen was completely different – huge ‘rock and roll’ stage in a massive piazza. The screen was equally big so we installed another on the stage . Alas a thunder and lightning downpour spoilt the evening quite a bit making it difficult to paint and for David equally hard to play – cold and rain , but thats nothing compared to the audience who braved it out . Compliments to them . i’m posting updates on Facebook and Youtube have a number of clips from other peoples films . There is an official documentary being made .
Preparing for the performance/installations with David Rhodes in Germany and Holland – it seems to get bigger every time . Quite a production now with a great crew . In the meanwhile I will be exhibiting at a number of shows coming including Galerie Maubert in Paris (20, Rue saint Gilles) and this will be a group exhibition on the theme of identity starting in September. I will have up to 9 works in the exhibition . More details to follow along with other shows.
No entries of late as its been 24/7 in the studio . Very early morning starts and hardly a day off but sometimes you just have to flow with the current. Firstly, rehearsals are starting soon for the Performance /Installations in Aachen, Germany on Aug 24th at 8pm Aula Carolina, which is a converted chuch in the centre of Aaachen. This is part of the ‘Across the Borders’ Festival, directed by Rick Takvorian . We then go onto Heerlen on Aug 27th at 10 pm -outside the main theatre . As its outside we have to wait until darkness . This is part of the ‘Cultura Nouva’ Festival . And finally its Maastricht on Sept 11th – outside again in one of the old squares in the centre. All events are free .
Its all starting to come along , David Rhodes music sound great and live it should sound stunning , both inside the church and outside in these European towns . I just have make sure my bit is up to the same standard . Its certainly more complex than originally intended – hundreds of images – about 40/50 to be created each night , several projectors , a VJ editor and multi cameras . There are many visual cross references and colour coding throughout for those sturdy people who stay for the whole hour . It is intended to be something that you dip in and out of but who knows what the final result will be and it maybe more intriguing than we hoped for . Very experimental , which I think is healthy in this age of digital controlled technology . We are using thebest available but essentially this is something being worked out with our own hands in front of the audience .
May 26th ,
I now have confirmation of the ‘Painting Music’ performances/collaboration with David Rhodes (Peter Gabriels’ permanent guitarist) . Please see the News section for details . I have worked with David many times on my early film soundtracks and we have been invited to make these live events where I will be working on up to 50 small paintings -live- and these will be projected onto the walls , floors, ceilings , people etc of the venue and David will be playing live with haunting, atmospheric sounds/music . Difficult to perfectivly describe what we hope the effect will be but it is hoped that it will be like walking inside many of my paintings as I make them . The first is in a wonderful church in Aachen and then we take it outdoors to Heerlen and Maastricht . More details to follow but the first dates are in the news section .
Brighton Festival now in full swing, haven’t had a chance to see most things – only one or two including a great Thomas Tallis Installation’ at Fabrica and a French open air production centred around fire which was in our local park . Very lucky to live close to these things .
Preparations are firming up for the summers ‘Painting Music’ performances , two of which will now be in the open air . More details soon . Otherwise its head down into the paintings – more Olympia ones, the show is now taking shape and I’m really enjoying making these pictures . Six months ago I didn’t think I would utter those words.
Early summer feel here in Brighton , the beaches are packed already with some pale to pink looking English people and olive skinned ones from further afield .
I have just finished a new ‘Olympic’ large painting this morning and tomorrow I will see the return of the first framed ones . It’s strange, for a series that gave me so much grief when I first started them , that now they are storming ahead . I guess it’s all down to focusing and eliminating . I’m really enjoying this series now and soon the season starts up again after the winter break – next subject archery . I’m also starting to focus on the work for Aachen and have storyboarded the paintings for the live ‘performance’ that I will be doing with David Rhodes – who is presently on tour in Italy . I’m planning on a ‘painting’ a minute over the hour long performance – this will be seat of the pants stuff – the adrenalin will be in full flow along with the paints. More descriptions and final dates soon . Hope some of you can make it to one of the performances.
Tefaf – the Masstricht Art Fair was on top form as usual . I saw some incredible Egon Scheille drawings on sale there and a solo show of Mapplethorpe plus other outstanding works from the Egyptians and Etruscans to the contemporary . And I did well too, so a good trip . Went onto Aachen to look at venues for the forthcoming live performances (more later) and I was knocked out by the converted church that it will be held in . It will be an excellent space – white walls , pillars down the sides , a small stage where the alter would have been . Working on ideas for it right now .
Off back to the airport in the next day or so – this time to open up the house and studio in Italy after the long winter break and to have a few meetings .
A week or so on Facebook , someone I knew posted something about suffering life drawing when they were an art student . I remember those days all too well – frustrating , annoying , tiring – hours and hours spent in the life room trying to get the drawings right only to be told they weren’t. And then one day they clicked – I’m not saying it became easy but that hard work paid off .
When I left art college I decided to ‘keep my hand in ‘ as they say , and I attended evening classes every week – back to the life drawing . I remember a fascinating group of models at the Hammersmith classes in London . Once an unbelievable pretty French girl posed but for some reason she had an older chaperone next to her – couldn’t work that one out . And then another time an older ,very flamboyant guy with lavender hair posed in what I could only describe as theatrical poses . I only found out later that it was Quentin Crisp.
One evening someone asked me if I had a book on Hockney’s drawings . I said I did and I would bring it in next time and I wrote on the corner of my drawing ‘Hockney Book’ to remind me . A few years later , a curator came around to my studio in London and asked to look at all my drawings for an exhibition . He took away several which I didn’t really pay too much attention to . When I went to the opening of the show I saw that one my drawings had been credited as ‘life drawing by Hockney Book ‘ ! They were mortified when it was pointed out , I just thought it was hilarious .
I know I’m a bit late with using technology but i’m now trying to post onto Facebook new paintings – some staight after being finished . Its a form of road testing new ideas – I’m only trying out small works to begin with . Please check out Facebook under my name and I’m easy to spot as I have used the same painting as at the beginning of this web site .
Just heard that the Melbourne International Film Festival will be showing a very early short film of mine called ‘Any Special Peculiarities’ as part of their 60th anniversary . It runs from July 21st to August 7th . I think it was the first one I made with David Rhodes doing the soundtrack . This seems to be a year old old material resurfacing .
I have ,as a friend has just said, decided at last to join the ‘me’ generation by posting on Facebook . So, in between waiting for paint to dry, which I spend a lot of time doing, I will try and post news of shows and other events and also studio photos of new work. So if anyone would like regular updates join up on Facebook and even become one of my cyber friends . It does seem a quicker way to reach people and I would appreciate any comments about the work , exhibitions etc. It really does help at times .