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I’m just a bad assed mother fucker who likes imagery

March 15, 2015


483I’m starting to think that being an artist is very much about a response to the profound agitation of life. I’ve noticed from my own experience that the greater my agitation, the more committed I become to pushing my work to the limits. Conversely when I experience the perfect calm (which isn’t very often) ( alright, never) I’m not driven to anything beyond residing in the benign state of contentment. Which is why I have never felt happiness is a goal in my life  and why I look to a more confrontational way of being through my engagement with life. I feel it’s about a search for interestingness, substance and meaning, something tangible to hold on to and believe in. To believe in as much as I can in the ephemeral and transitory nature of the organic state of being, something which is challenging to countenance in a society that cradles us from the intensity of self. That self being the most inexplicable miracle of being, which is  capable of extraordinary levels of freedom, despite the herding instincts.


I have consciously made the decision to open up my life to chance and circumstance and so that my art can be set free and I can find a way that feels right. In a way it’s been extraordinary and has brought great spiritual wealth to my life, but it has also been challenging and testing. Inside I realise that I have some way to go before I’m as free as what I imagine true freedom to be, something which I may never attain. I guess the biggest stumbling block is the harsh material realities that society imposes on us all and the pressures that come down to bear so hard that it’s hard to maintain a focus. I often despair at all the incoming debris and detritus of modern society that trips me up and fills my mind with notions that cloud my judgement and my only response is to try to dismiss it all as an irrelevance to my natural state of being.

I do in quieter moments wonder what drives me so desperately to keep on pushing, beyond the obvious reasons and I wonder why I feel so discontent with my achievements. To a certain extent it comes down to feeling that I have a point to prove to justify my life choices, particularly as I have been a little bit of a drop out in life. Secondly I took to art at an early age and found it to be a life affirming vocation a way of projecting myself into a representational format that was clearly tangible. And then there is my history of personal loss and grief, which I do believe blew my life apart, fundamentally changing my perspective to such an extent that my life lost continuity. But it was the subsequent retreat and loss of belief when I saw just how fragile life is and how shocking it is when a life is taken unexpectedly. The murder of my sister Wendy at the tender age of 31 (over 20 years ago) cast the darkest shadow over my life and filled me with an anger that is still there under the surface, it left me with a brutal knowledge of how ugly life can be and how in a single day your life can be changed forever. Sometimes people comment about the anger which surfaces in my writing 🙂 but it’s part of who I am and I feel it. In fact this anger is my energy (as Jonny Rotten once sang) and I use it as a driving force to push myself and fuel my determination. With the sudden death of my second sister Amanda aged 42 I never took life for granted again and learned to appreciate each day as though it was my last. But the hole it left in my life filled me with a determination to mark our existence and so that it wouldn’t feel like the life we shared would fade into absolute obscurity. Because of this I was no longer satisfied by tokenism and realised that through my work I could reach a true meaning beyond the accreditation of society. This is why I can’t get no satisfaction as Mick would say, because what I’m searching for is something profound and meaningful, what I would consider real art to be and not a jolly offering to raise a smile. It’s a tall order but one which I gratefully accept as my opportunity to affirm my identity as a man who grew up with a good family that is no more.


There are a lot of platitudes flying around in this world, simplistic motivational sayings and quotes, but our reality is stark and ever-present, we are brought into the moment by our experience and cannot detach ourselves from it. From my experience there are no quick fixes, beyond keeping on keeping on, because half the time we are not truly aware of ourselves anyway, something which you uncover through the exploration of art. So art for me is a profound exploration of all my aspects of being and through it I offer an insight through my personal vision. What I offer is of course interpreted by individuals with their own set of experiences and may or may not resonate and my definition and practice of art is a personal journey of discovery. All I can ever offer through my work is an opinion based on my own limited experience and though I write about it with passion and conviction these are just the fleeting moments and thoughts of being.


My life experience really left me with one course of action and that was a search for truths and so that I could have something to hold onto and believe in. In this respect my art is a serious endeavour, which is why I refuse to compromise the one thing that I truly hold, my integrity.


I do find that living a life immersed in British middle class society to be quite a repressed existence. It is almost like living in a cocoon in which you are protected from the raw realities of life. Obviously art is quite central to my existence and I struggle with the western notions of art and the conceit by which the west grabs and frames artistic expressions from around the world. I feel that it is quite a limited outlook and perception which tries to impose an arrogant narrative as it appropriates all in its path.

When I try to express myself I feel constrained by my conditioning within the system and the frustration makes me feel like I just want to explode and blow away all the detritus. I remember feeling like this at college too and I have always fought to try to set myself free, something which I’m getting closer too.

I really tire of all the academic rhetoric and the pomp and ceremony that surround art, the wishy-washy liberal attitudes that in effect make art a toothless dinosaur. It gets to the point where as an artist you feel like you are treading on eggshells, incapable of expressing yourself without fear of some petty reprisal or bland judgement from all the pigeon holers out there. The fear of offending the decency in our liberal society, the society which covers up and pretends that everything is just so fucking wonderful. Yet underneath the truth lurks in the shadows and it isn’t so pretty perfect, because the truth is we live in a society of pretence. Politicians lie and the establishment hierarchy hold onto their power and inherited wealth while we exist in our subordination, held in fear and silenced.

As an artist it is all too easy to get locked into the detailed minutiae of the art world, which is in fact the beautiful trap because once inside you are lost to the real world and real issues that I believe art should address. Once inside the art world you become complicit with the apparatus and in a sense sacrificing your identity and artistic contribution. I feel this is why you get the occasional mavericks, a bit like what I am 🙂 who just can’t stomach being part of this collective, because the search for truth lies outside of any smug back slapping organisations. You see to express yourself freely, I feel you must exist with enough freedom to make it truly authentic and not allow yourself to be held back by others or your perception of the perception of others. I know that sometimes I deliberately provoke reactions that alienate me and I do this both deliberately and subconsciously in order to create my own space, so that I feel detached enough to feel free. Free to say and do what the fuck I like to express myself until I feel empty of my truth and all the baggage of society, cutting through the hypocrisy that thinly veneers the smug conceit of ordered and controlled lives. And so that is why art needs to agitate us, because then it stands a chance of awakening us out of our dormant slumber, with a kick in the ass.

Making art is a beautiful experience and a great privilege but it is also a huge responsibility and one that I don’t take lightly.

 ❤ ❤ ❤



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