Wednesday, 17 January 2018

Art print/Vispo: FlâneuR / Walking In The City

FlâneuR, RTomens, 2018

To walk in the city is to be consumed by the city. It's often said in the negative sense that cities 'consume' people. The multitude of people, traffic, noise and buildings can all overwhelm and increase feelings of isolation and that ironic form of loneliness. 

Yet the flâneur represents the opposite idea; a wanderer, free from prescribed directions, simply exploring for the pleasures that the city's labyrinth provides. As cyclists, LJ and I have remarked on how much more than motorists we see, usually in relation to countryside trips, but the same applies to the urban environment. Walking naturally takes this idea further. 

The irony of the city and all it's architectural wonders is that most of its inhabitants walk without seeing them. Sucked at speed as if caught in the wake of the traffic we hurry through the streets. It takes a conscious effort not to get caught up in the pace of life in London and, presumably, most major cities. That said, tourists idly wandering in your path prove an irritant. 

The city is unknowable for the majority of it's inhabitants. Our tendency and that of many others, I suspect, is to do most of the walking on our patch (Camden). Yet even one borough would take many days to fully explore. Have we been down this street before? No? Then let's go look. Sure enough, London's architecture being as diverse as it is, a newly-discovered house will prove interesting. It may be an ivy-coated, drably-painted, cracked gothic mansion (by city standards), or a new spin on 60s modernism squashed between rows of Victorian houses. 

Occasionally, when the city becomes too much, I may dream of a quiet life in the country. Yet every time I do so I remind myself of all the as yet unknown pleasures the city streets can offer. That and the obvious benefits of the art galleries, music event etc. 

So, FlâneuR began like this...

...which I found pleasing enough. The idea of an 'R' travelling along blocks of colour. But then I imagined it travelling through the city and added the appropriate imagery by printing it as back and foreground in two colours. The first version may be likened to a country walk; the second, a more frantic urban version. 


Monday, 15 January 2018

A Successful Art Blog - How Not To Build One

Hello, good evening/afternoon/night (no, not 'goodnight'!). I'm an artist. I don't have super-clean teeth, perfect complexion or great success. Please stay with me. I don't think you need all those to succeed, but it certainly helps when promoting yourself because people like healthy-looking people. It seems. Mostly. Although Shane McGowan has a considerable fan base, doesn't he? Mark E. Smith too. Cults, the pair of them.

How does one become successful? Like most bloggers I sometimes, in my hour of desperation, read those blogger tips about how to attract a zillion readers in one hour. Also like most bloggers, I swear to do as I'm told, go away, work at it a bit and give up. You too? You're not alone. 

Creating a successful art blog almost seems contradictory, most artists being so wrapped up in their art-making as to have little time for blogging never mind building a zippy, handsome site then filling it with fascinating (written) content. Images we can get any and everywhere, right? But can that artist make themselves interesting/appealing? That's the hard part.

'Build it and they will come' some fool once said and it's become a kind of mantra for pro-plus positive thinkers, as if you building that thing is eventually bound to attract the right audience. Others would say 'Don't bother' but I'm not interested in the pro-negative types right now, or ever, actually, because the easiest thing in the world is not bothering due to an assumed air of superiority through inaction which guarantees no chance of failure because you didn't try, right?

Building the damned thing is only half the battle as described by blogger tips. Maybe a third. The rest is SEO optimisation, tagging, social networking, pinging etc. Successful art bloggers presumably all do the right thing. The blog part of an art site should be where you learn about the artist; get to know and probably quite like them (without going so far as to buy from them). I've not yet found a Successful Art Site run by an interesting/original-thinking/literary artist. If you think you have, do let me know. 

Apparent contradiction time: is it possible to create 'different' art, write in other than the plainest prose whilst expounding loved-up Positive Vibes, have no Great Advice to give and yet be successful? In other words, if you're a natural outsider (ie, inherently non-mainstream) that surely negates success, doesn't it? Of course. So as an outsider you have to accept that your place is outside. Idiotically, some of us still look at The Successful Ones in the hope of getting some tips (I said I do have moments/hours of desperation) if only by looking at how they go about things. All in vain. A donkey may as well go study a race horse in the hope of becoming one.

I've nothing against healthy/nice/ well-balanced people. After all, without them (or those who manage at least one of those attributes) societies might collapse into anarchic cesspits filled with psychotics; or, to be pro-anarchic, societies in which we all take care of each other with no State interference - take your pick. It's just that the most original/creative/interesting art frequently stems from the wayward, the outsiders, those with some darkness in their soul. Right? Of my cultural lights, off the top of my head, I cite Lee Perry, Sun Ra, William Burroughs, Mark E. Smith...each slightly deranged/ original-minded and rebellious (apply to whichever you think right).

Apologies for what might be stating the obvious to you. Yes, truly creative sparks fly from 'hot' minds, as opposed to luke-warm ones. Perhaps that fiery aspect is what most people shy away from, preferring to cosy up around a nice, comfortable glow. If you get my drift.

If you visit this site regularly, well done. I mean - thank you. Yes you. I built it for people like you. We may be few in number but so what? 

Here's something I made over the week-end. TTFN

RTomens, 2018

Friday, 12 January 2018

Constructivist vispo: Spatio-constructive x 3

Somebody emailed me last year and mentioned the apparent influence of  El Lissitzky on my work. To be honest, although I love what he did, he's rarely even in the back of my mind when I'm creating. But that's how it goes, some 'influences' being unconscious, I suppose. In the Spatio-constructive pieces above the influence is obvious and was there whilst I worked. I try not to be too imitative in any art I make but I would be kidding myself if that wasn't the case sometimes. No claims for originality shall pass my lips. You might have spotted several guiding lights shining, sometimes distantly, in what I do. The name for these three came from this book (pub 1975, written and in this copy signed by Andrei B. Nakov), a recent purchase...

}constructivist, vispo, digital art, collage, concrete poetry{

Wednesday, 10 January 2018

Concrete poetry: Erm (two versions)

Vispo/Concrete poetry - call it what you like. I no longer (never did) care about such distinctions. letters unbound. 'Erm' may be a common reaction to the art of ...erm...letter art, or 'word art'. After all, words is words an' art is art - right? Somewhere, someone right now is still trying to get their head 'round abstract art of the 20s, probably. So it goes...

Tuesday, 9 January 2018

Collage/Vispo: The 650 series

The So What? series...

Hung on a wall. It's not a real wall. It's a photo of a wall. It's not real art? It's a trio of visual images which do not exist in any world except the computer one. Just like most of your Facebook friends. 

}concrete poetry, Vispo, digital art, collage{

Thursday, 4 January 2018

Book: Artists' Video - An International Guide

Charity shop find today. Published in 1991. A comprehensive guide to artists' videos complete with selected filmography for each and stills. Alphabetically, I'm going through whilst seeking out any films on YouTube. Here's one I found by Max Almy...

Tuesday, 2 January 2018

Windows, RTomens, 2017

Here we are then, new me, new you? No, surely not, unless your old one was broke. 

We like to spend some evenings walking the streets looking into people's windows. No, not going up close, noses pressed against the pane, that would be too weird. Just nosing around, seeing how folks have decorated their rooms...some go antique 'classy' (lot of money 'round here), others modern minimalist, complete with those little spotlights in the ceiling. Then there are those with bare light bulbs, grubby sofas...they look depressing. I'm always pondering other people's lives...the mystery of what they do...

Monday, 1 January 2018

Artists wear Wranglers...

...with obligatory beret and beard beatnik style according to the media stereotype circa 1962. Advert altered by me.