Friday, 21 July 2017

Cut-Up: Industry Diva Payment

caught the word virus as William Burroughs might have said -
for a change from all those images I worked with some words yesterday
& the above is the result

Thursday, 20 July 2017

Arts magazine: Timglaset #6

Timglaset #6 is now available. Loose leaf special edition containing some outstanding work by various artists. Limited copies available. Order from here

Doppelganger problems: me, me, me, me , me - me * me - the artist, criminal, photographer

that's the trouble with artists - they're all me, me, me! self-obsessed! not all, I know but I know a few - you know the type, thinking they're on this planet a the sole object of attention & adoration from everyone else because they're:

me, me, me - someone spoke of doppelganger's in the office yesterday; my cue to tell my doppelganger stories, which were greatly enhanced by recent events...

"You're out, then." said the copper, accompanied by another, standing in front of me in Market Square, Aylesbury, 1978.
"How long have you been out?"
"I'm on my lunch break."
They both smile that who-are-you-kidding? smile. It took me about 15mins to convince them that I wasn't an ex-con & even then, as they got back in their car, I don't think they believed me. and coppers are supposed to be good at recognising faces, aren't they? so my criminal double must look at lot like me. I wonder if he still does.

20 years later I'm walking down our Camden street one night when a car stops on the other side of the road & out bundle three men, one of them stepping smartly in my direction - I freeze - he gets to within a few yards having pulled out his ID & said "Police!" before stopping - "Sorry, we thought you were someone else." They get back in the car. I walk on, heart pounding. had my criminal double from Aylesbury moved to London?

Last week on holiday in Llandudno, Wales, whilst standing around wondering which direction to go a couple of women drinking outside a bar nearby approach - one says with a smile "Did you used to be a photographer?"
I laugh. "No."
She looks at me intently, laughs, says something about how I look like a photographer they knew & goes away.
The next day, in the West Beach cafe, one of the workers comes up to our table and asks me: "Are you Paul's father?"
I crack some feeble joke about disowning him, then try to convey how weird this is for me after the previous day's event & she says "Oh, you just look like you could be his father".

So there you have it. Actual incidents where I've been mistaken for a criminal & a photographer, along with someone's idea that I might be a boy's father!

Look, I'm me, OK?

Tuesday, 18 July 2017

Mixed media print/digital

RTomens, 2017

RTomens, 2017

mixed media
top one's a print. lower one isn't.

by the way, watched a film about Billy Childish last night & whilst I admire & support his attitude towards art as an 'outsider', self-publisher & musician, what he paints doesn't do anything for me. I read some Stuckists (he used to be one) moaning about art once & thought them painfully conservative in their reactionary stance against...well, everything except 'brut' representational painting, as I recall. Billy's stuck on van Gogh. fair enough. we all have key inspirational figures. one week mine might be Sigmar Polke, the next Dieter Roth...or Paolozzi...or Jamie Reid & so on. like Childish I also write, but actually, no longer poetry or straight fiction, preferring to manipulate text, other people's. I've never learnt to play an instrument, though. except the recorder. at junior school. in the 70s someone tried to teach me the basics on a guitar so I could be in a Punk band. I gave up after one lesson. I was a no-chord wonder...

Monday, 17 July 2017

Art print: The Devil Is Here In The City

RTomens, 2017
...'the devil is here in the city'...almost 30 years after this seminal Gary Clail/On-U Sound tune the lyrics still resonate - unfortunately - well, what could change? can the trough the thieves have their snouts in be moved in our uber capitalist society? who would dare do it?

I didn't have the track Two Thieves And A Liar in mind when I created the piece above but thought of it afterwards - a perfect fit. I had in mind, yes, the gentrification (social cleansing), the corporate pillaging...the evolution of London to its current status as mega tourist magnet (still! 'holiday in other people's misery', eh Johnny?), financial 'centre' (on the edge of a post-Brexit nervous breakdown) & as discussed with a gallery worker at the Mostyn last week, no place for artists wanting to show their work unless they can afford it (I don't think he fully appreciated the plight of two 'unknowns' from London sobbing about that over their cream teas in the North Wales resort!). still - you know what? sod it! it's good to be back all the same, here in my gallery without walls. thanks for dropping by. over to Gary...

Wednesday, 5 July 2017

Art prints & text: Scream if you want to go faster! with Pop Art hot dogs

Hot Dogs, RTomens, 2017

"I won't go on anything that goes 'round 'n' 'round and up and down!" I told LJ as she tried to get me to go on things that went 'round 'n' 'round and up and down whilst we walked through the funfair on Sunday. the Giant Octopus? No! the Hurricane Jets? No! no, no, no! what a wimp I am - the dodgems (or 'bumper cars' as we always called them back in the day), however, were a joy. we had two goes.

loved Carters Steam fair - proper retro rides all the way & it felt like a thoroughly 'English' experience just because it was retro right down to the 50s & 60s music being played which, by the way, was mostly American due to the Anglo-American Pop marriage of the time - talking of which, Ken Russell's film, Pop Goes The Easel sprang to mind, featuring as it does British Pop Art stars of the day visiting a funfair...&, you might have noticed - & I might say, Pop Art's pretty influential in my work, some of it anyway...

Derek Boshier, Pauline Boty & Peter Blake

we can argue which side of the pond Pop Art started til the moo cows come home but you know Paolozzi and Hamilton were early birds, so too was Ray Johnson in the US, I suppose. American culture (pulp, film, comics, commerce) influenced the Brits but as usual the Americans did it bigger & in greater volume (well, it's a bigger country...& they're louder!)

So regarding these images, they're sort of a Pop art homage to the funfair & the artists of olde (including Sigmar Polke, as you can see, although I've treated them my own way, I like to think). all created from photos I took on the day..................

Scream if you want to go faster, RTomens, 2017

Chairoplane, RTomens, 2017
we even ate hot dogs, which I hadn't done since we used to emerge from Soho's Wag Club early Tuesday morning in the 80s full of beer (and Jazz) in need of food, any food, so hot dog vendors were a blessing. the ones we ate on Sunday were tasty too. 

hot dogs in Pop Art...

The Lines were Etched Deeply on the Map of her Face, James Rosenquist, 1962

Five Hot Dogs, Wayne Thiebaud, 1961

here's Ken Russell's film. well worth watching...

Tuesday, 4 July 2017

Art identity & proof of birth

Self-portrait, RTomens, 2017

***********if all property is theft, what is identity & what happens when it's stolen? OK, mine hasn't been stolen but my birth certificate's been lost by the passport office - not 'lost', 'misplaced', since she couldn't bring herself to use the l-word - I considered the options. she informed me they could issue a passport with just 'Robin' on it - eh? - thass what she said. then she said I could wait a couple of weeks, it might turn up. I said I'd wait, calmly placing the phone back and over the next few hours feeling a a creeping depression which, I presume, was caused by this news - that or the fact that I had to put all the shopping away that had been delivered & clean the, it must have been the birth certificate loss, I don't mind housework, despite the fact it gets in the way of me making art *****

***************'What is the self?' is a philosophical question I rarely ponder, even when proof of my birth disappears, which might cause me to wonder 'Was I ever born?' if not for the fact that I'm here to prove it - the trouble with the passport office is their questioning of my birth in the first place. *
the artist's identity is often called into question; if not her actual existence then the identity she forges for herself through her art, as some tend to do *

* I think, should anyone care to look through, my work would reveal an identity of sorts although 'reading' art is not, in my case anyway, akin to reading handwriting as some claim to be able to do. LJ and I discussed art identity this morning, or rather, the way some artists find a style and stick with it. neither of us do that, although we have preferred styles, you might say. It stirkes us as a trap & worse, sheer laziness. & even worse, what kind of artist gives up exploring, testing new techniques/styles etc? the kind that makes decent money from the one style, presumably. *

* perhaps your art is 'you'. If so, I have proof of my existence, if not my birth.

Monday, 3 July 2017

Self-underground art with Sun Ra

Pure Solar World, RTomens, 2017

..........stomach ache from eating fours squares of chocolate, one biscuit & a flat peach washed down with coffee - that's what did it - musta been - so I let the blinds down get in bed with Paul Youngquist's book on Sun Ra, read, lie flat & look at the radiant light around the blinds the sun hammering at them to come in, turn to face the wall but can't sleep for thinking about Sun Ra's description of his music as 'self-underground', considering it to be a good description of my art - if - if - well, you don't make the BIG EFFORT to even try to be 'overground' & all that entails (connecting, linking, liking, begging followers, begging other artists to follow you, sending work off to every site online that might be interested, Artstacking, Instagramming etc etc etc + trying to persuade gallery- owners that you're really worth a show - the holy grail!!!!)

so I'm self-underground like Sun Ra who, despite having a label El Saturn would mostly sell a few albums at concerts, hand-made sleeves, etc - he was, aside from being further advanced musically than everyone else (more or less) way ahead in the underground indie production stakes too

but now we know being 'indie' and self-everything is 'hip' now. and sadly, for all of us, we will not be as legendary as Sun Ra became in his life (and afterlife) and nobody will want to pay anywhere near as much for my prints as they do for those rare Sun Ra albums (boo-hoo).

still - we live! - we continue, as we must.
the picture above is created from a photo I took of Paul Youngquist's book placed on top of my Remington typewriter. thank you.