So I recently started painting again after a long hiatus….
This time I’m doing paintings of brain scans. I often wonder what it’s like for people to follow my paintings. My work has taken so many twists and turns over the years, that there isn’t always a continuous thread, or a recognisable style. I quite like it that way.
It would be boring for everyone for me to just decide at the start of my “artistic career” (awful concept alert: “Artistic Career” I hate that idea. You’re either an artist or you aren’t, from the moment you popped into the world. But I’m hoping you get the drift of what I mean) that I was going to have this or that signature style and spend the rest of my life putting finishing touches to it. And anyway, no-one is One Thing their whole life. You change and respond to your environment as you develop and grow. You’re life’s work as an artist should reflect that. The day you stop doing that you’re dead.
So anyway. Brain scans. I wonder how many art college tutors up and down the land roll their eyes and go “Not brain scans again!” every time a wide-eyed student brings their latest offering to a crit. Probably quite a few.
But this is my starting point. I haven’t a clue where I’m going with brain scans. And that is sometimes the best way. Recently a friend of mine on Facebook posted the legend “Well THAT time spent pondering was a complete waste of time, wasn’t it?” I was horrified. I believe that nothing is a waste of time. Life is all about the dead-ends and finding the limitations of what you’re good at and not good at. If at first you don’t succeed, etc.
Anyway where was I? Brain scans! There we are.
So I’m painting on an old discarded piece of shuttering ply that I found on the estate where I live. I got the image of the brain scan off the internet. It will (eventually) show the part of the brain that lights up when you experience fear. An emotion that I’m more familiar with than most.
I’m sure that many of you out there are wondering “Why doesn’t he use scans of his own brain?” (I’m sure you are. Oh yes). Well, I can’t afford it for one thing. I’ve never understood why some artists put themselves into huge amounts of debt for no good reason. Like most artists, I live below the poverty line. Literally. And this artists isn’t going to get himself massively in hock. To some extent that is what the work is about. I’m all for reducing the costs of production. Nothing wrong with good art made cheaply. Why run a scanner with all that that involves ecologically when there’s already someone brain scan sitting out there on the internet waiting to be used.
A stranger’s brain scans. The fear of strangers is something I experience regularly. I’ve also used colours that one associates with African Masks. Not really African Masks, but the sort of african masks associated with Tinga Tinga Tales. A sanitised version of African-ness cleaned up and made safe for the children. Discuss.
I like the idea of painting something that is quite scientific and cold, but imbuing it with an emotion and pathos in the way that it’s painted. It’s not there yet, I’m just blocking in the colour at the moment. In fact even the ideas in it are a bit half-baked.