Fukushima, the Greenbelt Festival and performance art

At this years Greenbelt Festival I’m privileged to have been asked to be involved with a performance piece by Kaya Hanasaki, a performance artist who is a resident of Fukushima, Japan. She’s been over in the UK as a part of a respite programme by another artist, Kaori Homma. The idea is to get artists to spend some time away from Fukushima for so respite from both the stress and the very real physical danger.

It’s been a year and a half since the nuclear accident at Fukushima occurred, and now that the incident has to some extent faded from the media spotlight the people who live there have now somehow got to get on with their lives.

It turns out that the situation is not good at all, and that they’re still not sure what exactly to do with the power stations.

The group of artists based around Project Fukushima have started to hold a festival that “will let the entire world know about Fukushima as it is now, and as it will be in the future. We are determined to turn Fukushima into a positive word.” It’s well worth digging into their website and finding out about what’s going on over there, both within the festival and in Fukushima at large, as I suspect that the implications of Japan’s attempts to find a future that somehow deals with the implications of nuclear fuel and a strong desire to do without it are worked out, will have an influence upon all of us.

I’ve seen some video footage of Kaya’s performance, and it is at once very moving, emotional and loaded with imagery and symbolism. It’s certain to be a Greenbelt highlight, and I’m involved in trying to live stream the performance back to Japan. This could be tricky as the event is on Saturday at 2pm, so getting anything to stream smoothly when everyone is hammering the wifi will be a bit of a task, but we’ll see how we get on.

See you in the Hub on Saturday 25th August at 2pm.

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How I (Nearly) Made It as an Artist (or “What Not To Do”)

Back in 2001, I had what was essentially a major solo show at The Custard Factory, a large space in Birmingham, the UK‘s second city. I’ve not talked about that show on this blog, and it’s high time.

I was going through my storage unit the other day where I archive a lot of my old work. It brought back memories of this show.

It was a big deal for me. It was everything I’d ever wanted – a show that I could use to build my audience, credibility and client list.

I’d been invited up there by a friend of a friend, and it was a great opportunity, so I grasped it with both hands. Showing at the Custard Factory was and still is a big deal. It’s one of those big spaces that you can hire if you have enough money. And for that time I did. It was a gamble.

At that time, I had a studio space in South London that was sub-let to me by another artist friend. I went into full overdrive mode for 6 months, and pretty much took over the space making 12 works two metres high that were to form the centrepiece of the show, as well as other smaller works, plus I had built up a pretty good inventory of older works that I could put in. I could never understand so many artists that I knew who had so much talent, but wouldn’t put the hours in. It took me years just to get to the point where I had a studio space, and I wasn’t going to waste a second of it.

To my mind I just had to have the biggest show possible and sell all of the work, which would get the ball rolling – I could re-invest the money from the sales to bankroll further shows, and so the snowball would start. I knew that I wasn’t great at meeting people and charming them when it counted. The idea of schmoozing at Private Views is not something that comes naturally to me. I’ve got better at it over the years, but back then it was a relief to know that I was being invited up to do a show and that someone else was going to take care of all that side of it for me.

I didn’t realise that in order to get going, you had to keep going. One show doth not make an artist. You have to keep doing more shows like that over and over, repeatedly lining them up, doing other things. You probably need to start smaller and build up to it. I wanted to take the shortcut to the fairy tale gallery dealer coming in out of nowhere unexpectedly and throwing his money around, and of course it wasn’t going to happen. Looking back I can’t believe how naive I was.

Not only that, but the guy who I was relying on to get people to the show had a genuine series of misfortunes that meant that very few people came to the opening night. The magazine he had invited to cover the show went under the day before. Several people he’d lined up to come along were no-shows. I could blame him for it all, but that wouldn’t be fair. I could see that a most of it wasn’t his fault, and to be fair it was just as much about me trying to put all my eggs in one basket. I don’t hold a grudge and we’re still friends to this day.

Instead of being lined up to do the next one, I came back tired, un-sold and broke. The last thing I wanted was to put myself through the same experience all over again.

The (as I saw it) failure of the show knocked me for six and I don’t think I’ve ever recovered. I didn’t know it then, but I was pretty much at the beck and call of severe forms of anxiety, that came from what I now know to be Emotional Disregulation.

It’s fairly normal to have ups and downs in life – highs and lows are part of what happens, even the low lows. However, in Emotional Disregulation those highs and lows are magnified out of all proportion. Very innocent and innocuous comments made by people off hand, for example, can land and hit heavily with the sufferer. Lasting depression, uncontrollable ruminations and worries stagger on for days often from very trivial matters. Anxiety spirals are an issue of their own that follows on, but the simplest thing can be a trigger. When a genuine catastrophe occurs, the anxiety goes off the register, sometimes leading to total emotional shutdown. Even very small distractions render me totally un-able to concentrate. It’s one of the reasons why I like working on my own. No-one else is there, and the work is more likely to get done if I have some peace and quiet. Emotional Disregulation or Hypersensitivity is often linked with Borderline Personality Disorder. Thankfully I’ve never had that diagnosis, at least.

The show that I had wanted for so long, that I had put far too much faith in, invested a lot of time and energy in not only affected me deeply (as it would) but the hypersensitivity that has been a constant feature of much of my life magnified my sense of failure a hundred fold. I can remember driving a hire van back down the motorway with the contents of that show in the back. I thought I hadn’t screwed it all down properly and every time I hit the brake I could hear this clattering sound. I thought that by the time I got back to London, my work would just be a pile of wood fit only for the scrapheap. (It wasn’t)

Since then, I’ve gone from the boy who wouldn’t miss a day in the studio to the man who can’t get it together. Work is slow, almost to the point of imperceptibility at times. There’s a part of me that still can’t get over that show, even though I’ve had shows since.


Maybe writing this post will be cathartic. I certainly look back with the thought that through social media tools like Twitter and Facebook, that side of generating interest in your artwork has become a lot easier in recent years – it certainly eases the sting out of social interaction, and leads to the real-life connections in a way that’s a bit smoother and that I can cope with better. This makes organising things like private views much simpler and easier to do.
Somewhere, somehow though, I’m not done yet. I’m still going, even though at times progress is so slow it almost appears non-existent. Even though right now, I don’t know how or when, I’m still going. Just be patient.


Publicity shot for the show at The Custard Factory

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Greenbelt 2011: Final Round-up.

So finally the dust has settled on Greenbelt 2011 (almost). Si Smith let me have one of these “Where The Wild Things Are” figures as a nice little gift for helping out with the Visual Arts team. I suspect if anyone needs a gift it would be him, though. He was BUSY.


The Hub is a part of the Visual Arts programme that I often have the least amount of time to devote to – mostly because there’s just so much of it. It’s the hands-on part of Greenbelt where you can get in and make stuff – printmaking, mask-making, that kind of stuff. Thoroughly worth a visit.

The second night of Pecha Kucha presentations was fantastic. Both nights were as good, but by the second night, the whole thing found it’s rhythm, and there was some fantastic talks. I decided to take a different approach to recording these. Instead of having a “grab what I can” mentality, I recorded all the sound to the talks, and have uploaded them online. I’m also getting the images into a Flickr set, so you can entertain yourself as the nights draw in by having your own Pecha Kucha moment at home. They are actually astonishingly good, and this was definitely a festival highlight for me. They were all brilliant.

Here’s Steve Lawson‘s musings on music and the state it’s in:

Slides used during the talk


And Simone Lia‘s illustrations and thoughts on carrots, sausages and parables:



Negotiating rights for all the images is going to take time though, so for now here are the audios of the rest of the presentations, and I’ll let you know when we get the accompanying photos sorted out.

Illustrator Brent Clarke talks about what happens to you after you spend your teenage years with a horror poster above your bed:

Anaesthetist Helen Morant talks about… well, the art of being an anaesthetist, which on paper may sound dull, but was both hilarious and interesting – one of the best in fact.

And lastly Dan Thompson, who was utterly brilliant – Social Artist, creator of the #riotcleanup hashtag, and who I have had the good fortune to work with before.

Being the father of two small children I had occasion to spend quite a lot of time in Messy Space. This was an area set aside with a shed-load of toys, painting stations and the like. Much like the ballponds you see in leisure centres, I often think that these areas look a bit like one of Brueghel’s paintings of Hell. Decapitated heads, people being thrust into boiling cauldrons of oil, that sort of thing. Much has been made of the fact that you’re no longer able to leave your children in spaces monitored by qualified childcare people (as you have in previous years). It’s been a step that was highly controversial, as parents now don’t get any time to themselves at GB, BUT..

…when it was explained to me that it was just too expensive to run the old way, then naturally I’m happier that the festival continues, even if the child care facilities are somewhat reduced.

It was fun though. The kids would have spent every minute of the festival in Messy Space if we hadn’t attempted to drag them away from time to time.


I was also able to grab a few quick words with Willie Williams. He brought his fantastic installation “Lumia Domestica” to Greenbelt. It’s basically a light piece: Various coloured lights shone through cut glass objects, which then cast beautiful dancing coloured shadows on the wall/ceiling etc. He had a room to himself to install them in, and used the space well. The result was an incredibly calming room, almost meditative, almost (dare I say it) Chill-Out. You can find the work online on his website, but it’s worth having a look to see when he’s next showing it, as online video doesn’t really do it justice.

I was incredibly nervous as you can probably tell by the camera shake. Not at all his fault – he’s a lovely man, very funny and charming. But I suppose it’s easy to allow yourself to be intimidated by the size of his oeuvre, lets just say that.

Finally wrapping up the Visual Arts for me, I videoed the Photo Flash Swap. Basically people brought printed photos they had taken along this year’s theme. The photos were then hung for the duration of the festival, and at the end of the weekend, you could rush to grab whichever one you liked (provided you’d supplied one of course). The ensuing scrummage can be viewed here:

Greenbelt Photo Flash Swap 2011 from Michael Radcliffe on Vimeo.

This left me free to enjoy Foy Vance‘s surprise gig in the Performance Cafe – a triumphant end to a great Greenbelt. Roll on next year.

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Reasons to be Greenbelt Part. 3

So I’ve been at Greenbelt once again, the annual festival that takes place on Cheltenham racecourse once a year. It’s always a joy to take part.

This year has been busier than ever. Once again I’ve been helping set up the Visual Arts, and producing various bits of social media along the way.

I arrived in the pouring rain – a flash downpour that drenched me in about 10 seconds flat the minute I stepped off the bus. In order to combat my damp spirits, I used the time before our venue was opened to record a quick Audioboo. I took the Ian Dury song “Reasons to be Cheerful Pt. 3” and turned it into “Reasons to Be Greenbelt Pt. 3”. Just opening up the programme and randomly fitting in various things from it was an easy gag (it kind of writes itself) but it was a lot of fun finding a quiet space and tapping out the rhythm myself. have a listen.

Reasons to be Greenbelt Pt. 3 #gb11 (mp3)

Thursday & Friday were quickly spent building one of the gallery spaces called “Angels of the North” – a lovely little show curated by Carla Moss.

As always, it’s a privilege to get to know the artists, and this year I quickly made friends with Phill Hopkins. His work is a mixture of sculpture and frame charcoal drawings. I was really struck by the deft-ness of the drawings, and their impact is heightened by the subject matter.

In the room next to the Angels of the North show is The Methodist Art Collection. It’s pretty huge and there are some amazing works in there, including Roualt and Craigie Aitchison. I helped hang the collection some 18 years ago when it was first rescued from a basement by Meryl Doney – the Methodists didn’t quite know what a treasure trove they were sitting on (“Is this stuff of any interest?”), and Meryl being Meryl was good enough not to go “Err… not really…” and run off with them. (Well, I would have…!)

The Methodists have started collecting works again now anyway, and the collection is burgeoning. Here’s a chat I had with one of the trustees:

Friday Night, the show was finally up and open, and after consuming much wine with Grace, Derek and Simon I went back to my tent feeling palpably knackered:

Last night we ran a thing called Pecha Kucha. I’ve never heard of it before, but it’s one of those simple ideas that works really well. It’s essentially a form of presentation. You can show 20 slides (with no text), but you’ve only got 20 seconds to speak in front of each one. And someone else is changing the slides for you, so there’s no cheating. Quite a task for some people! The format is astonishingly clever, and each talk was spellbinding. I manage to grab a couple of them live. Not great quality but good enough for you to follow:

So here I am on Sunday morning. There’s another Pecha Kucha tonight, and I might get some more. Tonight’s feature @solobassteve and @artistsmakersDan was the guy responsible for setting up the #riotcleanup hashtag in the wake of the national riots that happened recently, so that promises to be a corker.

See you there.

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Storage, Back Catalogues and Saints

I spent most of last Friday sorting through the storage space where I keep a lot of my artwork. I’m on an economy drive and need to downsize my storage costs for the New Year. Start as you mean to go on and all that.

It sure was an interesting day. It seems I’ve kept EVERYTHING. There are paintings and drawings right back from my days as an art student into teenage stuff I did at home at that time. I’m really glad I had the foresight to hang on to a lot of it. It’s been a trip down memory lane, and an unexpected re-evaluation the things I’ve made over the years. Some of the works were things that I’d almost forgotten about, but I was also pleasantly surprised by how good almost all of it is.

One piece that got my attention was the one in the photo above. It’s pretty huge – about 2 metres tall (I didn’t have my tape measure with me). It’s called “NOT St. Jerome” – a dreadful title. Something to do vague notions of me trying to create more positive images of good people engaged with life, as a kick against plaster saints in ivory towers. Or something.

The image is from a photo I took of someone who I was working with at the time. A really lovely guy called Sammy – someone who deserved to be known as a saint. It’s got no details of his face, but anyone familiar with him would recognise his silhouette in an instant. It pulled me up a bit, I have to admit. I hadn’t seen Sammy for years, but the news came through on Facebook through mutual friends that he passed away last year. It was quite a shock. He wasn’t much older than me, and had gone into a diabetic coma.

I thought about donating the piece to his family as I was tidying. I have no idea where they live, never met them before, much less have any idea whether their place is big enough for them to have the painting on a wall, or even if it would be appropriate.

The piece once had pride of place in a major show I had at the Custard Factory in Birmingham back in 2001 (I think). I may blog more about this show one day. It was an audacious attempt at a solo show, filling the space entirely with my work and mine alone. No small feat, if you know the space.

I remember one guy stood in front of this piece for a good 20 minutes, looking the work up and down, yammering away on his mobile phone – I misread the signs and missed an opportunity. I really thought he was going to buy it, but he didn’t in the end. In these situations, we tell ourselves that maybe the sale wasn’t meant to be for a reason.

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Greenbelt 2010 so far…

OK, so here I am. In the first of what will probably be quite sporadic posts, I thought I’d update you on what I’ve been doing at the Greenbelt Festival this year.

After arriving on site at about lunchtime yesterday, I built some plinths for some video projectors, and built a shed. As the band Shed 7 are playing, we thought about painting a big “7” on it. Plus all the other shed jokes you can think of. The shed will have a photograph in it covering one of the walls. Here’s us building sheds:

Today I have mostly been hanging up paintings by Bobby Baker. She’s an interesting one – she’s a performance artist mostly, but this show is all about drawings that she made when she went through a long period of mental illness. I interviewed her here, and it’s a fascinating interview:

Last thing I had to angle all the video projectors for Shaeron Caton-Rose‘s installation, which I also filmed. At the time of writing this, I haven’t filmed anything of the completed work, but I will go back and have a natter with her later. I’m palpably knackered after the set up, so I need a little time off now. An artist’s work is never done.

Lastly I was quite chuffed to open the programme and find a picture of my work had made it onto page 25, opposite an interesting essay by Mark Vernon called “the art of unknowing”. I’m flattered to be i such august company.

More news to follow as it happens…

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Back from the Framers

I’ve just got this piece back from the framers.

I’m immensely happy with the way this has turned out. The framing was done by GX gallery in Camberwell, South London. I found them quite by accident – I’d gone to King’s College Hospital for a Physiotherapy appointment, and arrived a little bit early. While wandering around to pass the time, I happened upon them. They were very helpful, and Richard gave me some good advice while I was trying to decide on a frame. Their building is amazing as well – it’s an old converted bakery, with loads of underground space, as well as some of the old features that have been preserved for character.

The frame is pretty hefty, which is exactly what I wanted. I wanted something clean, smooth and imposing to contrast with the free-flowing nature of the painting (I’m all about the contrasts). I’ve called it “Bound To Fail”, to connect it directly to Bruce Nauman‘s work “Henry Moore: Bound To Fail”

I’ll also be putting this work in the Urban Art Fair, which I’m exhibiting at on Saturday and Sunday this weekend. (Provided I get my car back from the garage. Long and annoying story). The other work I’m putting in is this one:

Called “Globus Cruciger”, it’s acrylic paint on paper, and it’s also a work that I’m very proud of. I’ve blogged about doing this before – it’s a football that I found abandoned on our estate. I did think about bouncing the actual football on the face of this painting 3,253 times – one bounce for every day that I’ve lived here. I liked the idea it could have a narrative to it, as well as a therapuetic side, and I was curious to see what effect it would have on the paper and the paint. However, I think I like the painting too much. If you click on the image and look at it a bit bigger, you’ll see that I’ve really put a lot of work in on the fine detail of the painting.

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Empty Shops and YBAs

I seem to have got myself involved in a rather exciting project this week. On Wednesday I’ll be going to do some work on a project called “Seven Days in Seven Dials” for the Empty Shops Network. Although I’ve already blogged about the basics of Empty Shops elsewhere, I thought there was another connection worth exploring.

Waaay back in the early 90s, about the time that I was leaving college, Damien Hirst and a few other were organising art shows in derelict spaces. Fresh out of Goldsmiths College, they were doing what the Empty Shops Network are doing now – taking a derelict space, and turning it into an art space with the support of the landlord, for little or no money as a means of showing off the space. Bringing life and excitement to an otherwise run-down area. Creating space for artists to show. The most well-known and well documented of these was a show known as Freeze.

Of course, as a young, newly graduated artist, this was music to my ears. Find an empty space, do it up yourself and bypass the need to find a gallery to represent you – galleries being a notoriously closed system that’s hard to break into.

BUT. What I kind of glossed over at the time, was that it was gallerists who were invited to Freeze. A lot of the talk was of democratizing the possibilities of arts exhibition spaces, and a part of me was excited that I could bypass my anxieties about meeting gallerists, by just doing it myself. However, I didn’t realise that if I was truly going to follow the plan, I would still have to talk to gallerists at some point. They weren’t just going to walk into my tarted-up space without any kind of connection just because the lights were now on and the space looked pretty. Of course, with a wide circle of friends, I could always guarantee a rent-a-crowd of mates, but most of them were as poor as me, and weren’t likely to buy anything.

But there was a further problem. Putting a derelict space to good use is all very noble, but what are the long term benefits? Did I really care about the area I was exhibiting in, and the people who lived there? Let me put it this way – was it fair of me to go in, put on a show, take the money and run? Wasn’t this a hit-and-run? A cultural form of rape, pillage and plunder?

Clearly I wanted and needed to be paid for what I was doing. That’s not an issue. But could it be possible to genuinely do some good as well?

It’s now some 20 years since the Freeze show, and most of the artists that were involved it are now mega-rich former YBAs, (What do you call a Middle-Aged former YBA? An MBA?)

But what of the idea of exhibiting in derelict spaces? I’m very proud to be involved with “Seven Days in Seven Dials” this week. I’ll be working with them all day Wednesday. Here’s a brilliant example of artists giving something rather than taking away. Working with unemployed people on work experience at some of the major institutions around London (Create KX, Design Council, English National Opera, Exhibition Road, The Hospital Club, National Portrait Gallery, the Royal Opera House, Somerset House and the V&A Museum), it gives them a chance to build their own picture of the area, and a voice to be heard. They’ll be creating psychogeography-style podcast audio tours around the area, as well as taking photos and creating art for an empty unused shop space.

Today has been the first day of activity, and I’m already excited by hearing that the first team of seven people have been sent out to do their stuff around and about. Lloyd Davis has also shot a few photos and uploaded them to Flickr.

The thing will develop and grow over the next 7 days culminating in a show which will run from Saturday 10 July until Friday 23 July 2010. You can go in right now though, and look at it all before then.

If you want to keep up with things online and can’t get there in person, then best way is to follow the #7days7dials hashtag. If you search that hashtag out on Twitter, you’ll find all the people involved (including me) doing their thing and there are plenty of interesting people to follow.

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Richard Gilbert and The Stations of the Cross

The fourteen Stations of The Cross are a motif that have occupied many an artist over the years. There’s something about the variety of interpretations that often has a profound impact. Perhaps its the serial nature of them that forces you to go on a mini-pilgrimage, as much as the sometimes random juxtapositions that artists come out with. My particular favourites are the Eric Gill ones in Westminster Cathedral, as well as the ones round the corner in STMW where my studio is housed.

Richard Gilbert is showing 14 sculptural heads at the Wallspace in London, here in the UK. I had the good fortune, not only to go and see it on Tuesday night this week, but I was also lucky enough to be able to meet the artist, ask him a bit about his work, and get it all on Qik. My phone kept seizing up unfortunately, so the videos are a little bit random at the top and tail, but you get a good sense of what Richard is passionate about, and it does capture the great vibe of walking around the works.

All the works are for sale, but Richard seemed curiously cavalier about that side of it: For him it appears to be more about the exhibiting and showing of the work, as well as the enjoyment and experience of the viewer. The show is on until Easter (appropriately enough) so make sure you catch it before it comes down.

Richard Gilbert Part One:

Richard Gilbert Part Two:

…and walking round the show, where you get much more of a sense of the beauty of the works. However, there’s no substitute for actually going and seeing them in the flesh!

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Damien Hirst at The Wallace Collection

Today, I finally managed to get to The Wallace Collection in the heart of London to see Damien Hirst‘s latest show, “No Love Lost”

The show marks a departure for Hirst, as he attempts to paint using oil paints by his own hand, rather than the style that has made him famous – usually executed by a trained army of technicians. As such I had high hopes for this show, as I was interested to see where Damien, a sculptor in the broadest sense, could take my discipline (“painting”).

Sadly I have to say I was distinctly unimpressed. I don’t say “unimpressed” in the throwaway sense, I mean that i was waiting for something about his paintings to impress something upon me. Nothing did.

I was not impressed by his draughtsmanship. There was nothing about the trees in particular that suggested any degree of mastery, the lemons looked flat and impact-less, and the best-rendered objects (the skulls) had no impact on me at all.

I was not impressed by any conceptual thinking. There is clearly some attempt at memento mori going on here, and the recurring motifs of his previous work suggest a man reflecting on the vanity of his career. But that’s about it. Not enough to sustain a body of work, not even for a whole show. There’s more than a nod to the work of Francis Bacon here, but to what end?

I’m not impressed by his technical ability. Some of the priming underneath the paint on one or two of the canvases has clearly cracked and curled in away that strikes me as too inept to be intentional.

I wasn’t scared by them, I wasn’t intimidated by them, I wasn’t amused by them… nothing.

My feeling is that they’re not good enough to show yet. Given Hirst another 5-10 years of painting, and then they might be good, but for me the only work worth looking at was the one labeled No. 2 Title: “Small Skull With Lemon and Ashtray.” You could quite conceivably walk in, look at that painting and walk straight out again. It would tell you all you need to know about this show, without you having to be disappointed by the rest of it.

Many years ago, the artist Gary Hume had a pop at Hirst’s inability to understand a few home truths about his work. With a wink and a smile, he said something along the lines of “Well, he’s not a painter, so he wouldn’t understand!” On the strength of this show, I’d have to say that Hume is right.

I have to confess to being a bit of a fan of Hirst’s work, and I really wanted to like this show, but I didn’t. I’m happy, though, for him to continue working like this in anticipation that he’s going to get better at it. Here’s hoping.

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So here I am!

Greetings if you are joining me for the first time. I have now officially moved my website here from my old blog.

It’s been quite an effort of will to build this site, involving many hours of squinting at code that I barely understand, but here we are.

I feel like there should be more of a fanfare or something, but if you have stuck with me thus far, then thank you so much, and I look forward to you sharing the rest of the journey with me here. Just remember to change your feed readers so they point here, instead of the old place.

If you have no idea what a “feed reader” is, then a) don’t worry and b) google it.

Anyways, here’s another short video of the Urban Art Fair I was at two weekends ago. it gives a good flavour and feel of the event.

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First Day at Urban Art 2009

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Free Art: O Sacred Head

This is a piece of work I finished recently. It’s called “O Sacred Head.”

I have put the work directly onto a scanner, and scanned it in order to offer it as a free piece of artwork for all my blog readers.

No trick – just right click and save, or click and hold if you’re a mac user.

I reckon it would make a good dekstop image, but you can do anything you like with it – print it out, put it on a business card, anything you like, just as long as you’re not making money directly from it.

Of course, if you want to buy the original in all it’s tangible glory, you’ll have to come along and to the Urban Art Fair tomorrow or Sunday, where I’ll be showing it (along with my other paintings), hung from the railings in the street.

It will be great to see you. 🙂

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Urban Art Fair 2009 on Saturday and Sunday

Well, it’s finally almost here. The Urban Art Fair is upon us on Saturday and Sunday this week. I’ve made all the work I have time to make, and it’s now out of my hands – just packing everything up ready now. Below are some examples of the work I’ve made, which will all be in the show.

I’m looking forward to it, and also praying for a sunny day. I’m especially looking forward to meeting my lovely blog readers. See you then.

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Arty House Party

So the show is over and been and done and dusted.

It was a definite hit on many levels, and I’m very pleased with how it went.

I gave out 50+ business cards. It was a good party and a fun time was had by all – some 120 people came. They did seem to like the work very much. “Junia” and “Baptism” were particularly commented on. The general feedback that Naz got from the event that it was great art of a high quality, and lots of interested noises – there’s been a real buzz about the whole event, and the idea of a party with art on the walls. A lot of those people would be willing to come to any other shows I’d want to organise, so if nothing else, it has been the best PR. There seemed to be much “We’ll talk. SOON!” from people. We’re going to leave the work there for a week or so.

There have been no sales – yet. Although this is not a gallery art show, and it’s a well known fact that most of the sales are done on the opening night and not after, I remain optimistic. It’s hard to get people to interested at a party – people need time to go away and think about it before they’ll commit to buying anything, which is fair enough. I shall take the favourable comments away and ruminate on them, whilst waiting for the phone to ring. And those people can still get in contact with me through Naz. Or e-mail me on giddy@f2s.com *ahem*

There were some conversations that might have lead somewhere, but something happens when I get put on the spot. My legs turn to jelly, my mind goes blank, and my ability to speak and function like a rational human being, much less the highly focused salesman that I need to be, goes out of the proverbial box-sash window. Like the American Democratic party, I seem to have a phenomenal capacity for snatching defeat from the jaws of victory. So it’s probably best that I didn’t get too involved in conversations at the party. I’m all ears now, though. Hehe.

I’ve never done a show in a house before, so I’m really not sure what expectations I should or shouldn’t have for such an event. I’d definitely do one again though, as I suspect that the impact is something that will become apparent afterwards. I’m sure my work will sit in people’s minds to ponder over. It does that.

In the meantime, you can watch the party in full swing on this video:


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Hanging art in a house

Would you allow two artists to take over your house? I wouldn’t. Primadonnas, artists, the lot of them. They don’t wipe their feet or wash their hands after they’ve been to the bathroom, and if they stay, they always leave a dirty tide mark around the bath. Beastly people.

My friend, the long-suffering Naz, however, allowed us to not only hang a show in his house, but allowed us to move all his furniture around to accommodate the work, and threw a big party to invite loads of his friends around to show the work – and helped us hang it! I think he’d wanted to do this for ages, and as he’s selling the place, it was a spur for him to get it sorted. Although, with perfect comic timing, the house sale fell through 2 days ago. Ah well, a perfect chance for me to say those immortal words: “…In the Current Climate™…”

If you feel that you would like a similar show in your house, and you have lots of rich, art-buying friends, then feel free to e-mail me on giddy@f2s.com I’m always up for it. You might want to watch the video below first, though, as it shows myself and fellow artist Joanne Vance hanging pieces of our work around his house, and some of the sorts of discussion and decisions that go into it. I hope it doesn’t put you off…

Another post will follow, to describe the aftermath of the event.


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