Sonic

So I thought I’d play with the idea of collage and sound, after seeing a fantastic collage by David Michael Reyes, on instagram (see here for the post.)

All in all, I think it needs to be animated somehow, but this is just the first stage, so we’ll see how it goes from here.

 

 

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Digital Experiments

“Burn it all down (to see what grows)” 2017

I love my photoshop, but I normally stick to my handcut cut and paste for collage work, knowing that using the digital renders me indecisive. There is never one piece created         (if there is, it’s really just the tip of the iceberg, that needs digging into). There are so many variations possible, that why have one, when you can mutate them for hours on end. With the 4 separate collage pieces I had, and the 20 odd pictures I created, these are my 2 favourites (I still can’t decide).

 

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To the Sea

I travelled to Puerto Rico this last summer, and ever since I have been obsessed with waking up and looking at the sea out of the window. Especially as that sea reflected the green of the lush jungle of the islands under the dappled grey of the sky, dusting listy across the sea. The colours are unusual for your typical seascape,  but nice to play with, and create mood with, while experimenting with dripping paint, and collage, across the canvas.img_6294

4ft by 6ft, acylic, ink, text on canvaspr-1

18″ by 24″, acrylic and ink on aluminum

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18″ by 24″, acrylic and ink on aluminum

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24″ by 24″ acrylic, ink and collage on wood

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18″ by 24″ collage, beads on card

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On Psychogeography

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Manhattan, fabric on wood, 18″ by 24″, 2014

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Iceland, fabric on card, 18″ by 24″, 2015

When I first moved to NYC, I looked for a map. In London there’s the A to Z a handy small map book you can take everywhere. But that doesn’t exist in NYC, people just asking others which way is X street- tourists and natives alike. I really liked this approach to navigation and along with Italo Calvino’s Invisible Cities, it made me think of other individual approaches to map making.

Something I had been introduced to long ago was psychogeography, a concept of a map reflecting the pyschology of the city, created by an individual’s response to the city. No one’s two maps are the same, and built of the places we, as individuals, place importance on, rather than equally giving billing to every street/area on the map.

The term originates with Guy Debord, part of the situationist art movement, in 1955 and can be defined as “the study of the precise laws and specific effects of the geographical environment, consciously organized or not, on the emotions and behavior of individuals.”

It’s an idea that embraces drifting- the dérive-  exploring the city through a sense of wonder. In “Theory of the Dérive” 1958- Debord essentially created the manual of how to drift, “In a dérive one or more persons during a certain period drop their usual motives for movement and action, their relations, their work and leisure activities, and let themselves be drawn by the attractions of the terrain and the encounters they find there… But the dérive includes both this letting go and its necessary contradiction: the domination of psychogeographical variations by the knowledge and calculation of their possibilities.“**

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Guy Debord’s map of Paris “Psychogeographic guide of Paris: edited by the Bauhaus Imaginiste Printed in Dermark  by Permild & Rosengreen – Discourse on the passions of love: psychogeographic descents of drifting and localisation of ambient unities” ***

The film Robinson in Space, was one really great example of pyschogeography in London, filmed by Patrick Keiller, it’s rambleurs journey of all the places Robinson loved in London.

However, I was more inspired by the idea of individual’s maps, and the idea that these maps can also change over time. Personally, I have moved back and forth between London and Los Angeles -incredibly different cities in terms of culture, people, architecture, urban planning- and the ping ponging between the two, would always inform how I saw the other- both as a memory ( i.e a memory of L.A while in London) and as a physical space ( going back to L.A after having grown in London), the other becoming idealized and more foreign the longer I was away. L.A became a city within one of Marco Polo’s travels in Calvino’s Invisible Cities, described by hazy memories, often which looking back were probably more fallible than not.****

The maps I created are of cities I have lived in, or visited, some with an immediate response, some with a response of many years of overlapping memories, some as a time capsuled response to a particular year.

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London, paint and sequins on organza, 29″ by 29″, 2016img_7103

Los Angeles, paint and sequins on canvas, 18″ by 24″, 2016img_7105

London II, paint, fabric, sequins, beads on wood, 24″ by 24″, 2014

 

For more basic info on psychogeography see here

For a great article of 2 British psychogeographers /writers- Ian Sinclair and Will Self see here

For another interesting set of psychogeographic skyscapes from Tokyo check out this

For a smell map of NYC see here

 

*Introduction to a Critique of Urban Geography, 1955 by Guy Debord.

**Situationist International Anthology. Berkley: Bureau of Public Secrets, by Ken Knabb, 1995

***http://imaginarymuseum.org/LPG/Mapsitu1.htm

**** for an interesting read on the Science of Memory- look at Pieces of Light by Charles Fernyhough, which examines how we create memories, and how we remember them, often falsely.

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Kaleidoscope Hearts

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I’ve become a little obsessed with kaleidoscopes recently, I guess with the New Year upon us, the idea of seeing things through a new filter is interesting to me. And the idea that by rotating the way we perceive things- however minute the turn, we can change how we see them.

In this new political climate, especially, it seems important to figure out what we can twist and turn so that we are not just plunged into the darkness.

I started with this image of  Robert Longo’s- “Untitled (Throne Room)”,charcoal on paper,  2015-16, which was in the NYTimes recently with one of Jorie Graham’s poems and it touched me and inspired me to give kaleidoscope making a go.  If you don’t know of his work, he’s an artist working in charcoal to create photorealistic pictures and also recreations of other artists work, also in charcoal, which are just stunning to see.

The full article can be seen here

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And then I moved on to old paintings and collages of my own-

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For more on Robert Longo see his page on the gallery Metro Picture Galleries

There’s also a fantastic intro to his work in Kaleidoscope 

And here– from where the picture below was taken, which will surely be the inspiration for something else…

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Robert Longo, Untitled ( City of Glass), 2009, Charcoal on mounted paper.

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Houses for Homes

Playing with scissors…

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Lucky Cards: creating tarot collage

The last few months have been really busy with work, and although it’s finally started to slow down, it’s also been really great in terms of forcing me to make my own creative pieces as an outlet.

I got a little fixated on the Tarot cards. Niki De St Phalle’s  Tarot Garden in Italy that a good friend’s mother showed me years ago in Switzerland, when I was going through a really rough spot, has been a huge influence on me, and then 4 months ago I started reading Italo Calvino’s The Castle of Crossed Destinies, a kind of modern Cantonbury Tales, with stories illustrated by drawing tarot cards, and told without words. I also read Rachel Pollack’s The Tarot of Perfection, another collection of stories all inspired by the cards, and which talked more about the history of creating stories with tarot, including Calvino’s process when he wrote The Castle of Crossed Destinies. All of which induced these

10 wheel of fortune11.Justice8. strength copy15 the devil9 the hermit 5. hieroplant copy 7 chariot copy 0 The fool6. lovers copy  3 empress copy  1. Magician copy2. the high preistess copy 12the hangman 13 death 14 Temperance 17 the star 19 the sun copy20. Judgement16. the tower   18 Moon 21. the world

For more on Niki De St Phalle’s garden here

For more on Rachel Pollack see here

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For Storms and Hurricanes

“Do the times make the artist or does the artist make the times? Both at different times are correct—I guess. Some times got Shakespeare others got Pope, one period got Lady Murasaki and Sei Shonagon at the same time. What can you say about a period that got stuck with . . . me. I really wanted to be great but the times didn’t need it of me. The times demanded my failure. I wanted a nice apartment to hang my pictures in, a drawing room somewhere above the din, and found the war was going on in my brain. I hitchhiked up Olympus and it turned out to be a volcano. How can I know what’s politically correct? I didn’t have time to stop and think whether what I was doing was right; I had to make my history quick because there would be no future, merely a gossamer world blown about on the zeitgeist, till zeitgeist, the wind of the times, is blasted away by kamikaze, the wind of God.”*

Rene Ricard- Art Forum Nov 1982

Reading a magazine last week, I came across an artist I had never heard of. Probably because he’s most famous as a art critic rather than an artist. Self described as a poet and movie star* Rene Ricard joined Warhol’s factory with small parts in “Chelsea Girls” and “Kitchen”, after pouring over one Warhol’s flower paintings at the ICA in Boston. As he tells it, “To support myself as a kid, I was a model at art schools around Boston. When I stopped working at 2 P.M., I’d walk up Newbury Steet, which is where the art galleries were. One day, I was at a gallery run by a friend and she said, “Rene, there’s something you’ve got to see over at the Institute of Contemporary Art.” I walked in, and there was a painting by Andy Warhol, the flower painting. It was orange, yellow, fuchsia, red, and green, and it looked enormous. Paintings weren’t that big at that time — this was ’64 — and, while looking at it, I evolved a theory about it. Andy had made a painting that was essentially flawless, but it was an actual painting. So he had this green background, and orange, yellow, fuchsia spots which were kind of pushing forward — they looked like they popped. I had never seen anything like it. I was in a trance. The guard tapped me on the shoulder and said, “Excuse me, but the gallery’s been closed half an hour.” I completely planned out my life looking at that painting. **

As an art critic and essayist he was instrumental in the starting the careers of Julian Schnabel, Keith Haring and Jean-Michel Basquiat.  “As a critic, he only wrote a bare handful of pieces, but they were major events.”****

His life was decadent and self- destructive, happily squandering away a $10,000 gallery advance in a day at the Russian Tea Room and on Jean-Paul Gaultier underwear, which he washed, and left drying in the sun where it was stolen. By nightfall he was penniless and at a homeless shelter. ***

“Just as his life could vacillate between glory and squalor, his poems- which he eventually took to painting over his own or others’ canvases- are all heart-break and defiance, ruined love and declarations of an independence he insisted on even when he sat at the best tables.”****

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“I’ve seen beautiful things. I’ve been around so many years; how did I get to be so old. I’m pretty beat, and scarred like a whale from a million harpoons, but I’m still in the swim, y’all, I’m still out there. Oh I’ve seen so many waves. You ride it and when it crests you keep your balance or you get washed up. So I keep in the swim, go with the current, try to keep a sense of where I can land, sometimes swimming against the tide when I feel it’s getting too far out until one day I’ll drown or get stranded on the beach.”*

* from a biography in Art Forum

https://artforum.com/inprint/issue=198209&id=35549

** From Interview Magazine

http://www.interviewmagazine.com/culture/factory-workers-warholites-remember-rene-ricard/#_

*** from the Brooklyn Rail Memoriam by Raymond Foye

http://www.brooklynrail.org/2014/12/criticspage/rene-ricard-dec14

**** New York Times Magazine, Dec 28th, by Luc Sante

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/02/07/arts/rene-ricard-art-arbiter-with-wildean-wit-dies-at-67.html?_r=0

For more there’s a really great interview/conversation with him here:

http://artoridiocy.blogspot.com/2014/04/rene-ricard.html

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The Battle of New Orleans

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Word Play

I just discovered Kate Tempest. And even though rap isn’t normally my style of, I’m kind of in love with her lyrics. Her bluntess. And frankly the skill of those rhymes.

I also discovered the video for Give from her band The Sound of Rum,  and I love the text… so here you are. You’re welcome.

More you ask?

Well, start here-

with The Brand New Ancients, performed at Battersea Art Center, which won the Ted Hughes Innovation in Poetry Award, and then you’re on your own.

Videos from:

http://katetempest.co.uk

Foe more info on Kate Tempest

see http://www.theguardian.com/books/2014/oct/04/kate-tempest-rapping-changed-my-life

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kate_Tempest

See

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