Sunday, 16 September 2018

Collage: The Spectacle - now available to purchase! The art of buying art.

I've opened a shop. Feel free to browse. More items will be added, of course, but for now there are three recent paper collages.

'Support living artists' is a popular mantra (among artists, usually living ones), which is easy to say and not so easy for most to act upon. Buying art is a kind of luxury, for sure, yet to own an original piece is something special, isn't it? 

Artists wrestle with the question of pricing, unless they're very professional in having agents/gallery support. You may have noticed that art in galleries tends to be on the expensive side. That's because most gallery owners take a hefty cut. I prefer to sell direct, thus avoiding having to charge more in order to pay someone else. 

The Spectacle contains text by Guy Debord, hence the title. It combines both paper collage and print techniques. 

Thanks for looking in and TTFN

Wednesday, 22 August 2018

Art & politics & the internet

RTomens, 2018

                                             art post theory blogthoughts

>?>??>Wolfgang Tillmans' latest book asks What Is Different?
Good title.
Answers? It's in my basket.
Today I saw images of a page from the book & was put off by the sight of a Trump protester.

I watched the video posted below this morning & found the conversation between self-confessed Leftist Sean O'Hagan and Tillmans quite interesting. Which is why I put the book in my basket.
Not that I'm very interested in politics.

Art is not the subject of the discussion >>>>>
Is art ever a subject of worthwhile discussion on YouTube? Oh look, a lecture aimed at simpletons! Not that one. We (I) may ponder the significance of any questions, by which I mean, if we have them do we not also already have answers in our heads which await confirmation? Other than asking Google how we Brits should spell 'apologise', as I did this morning because my job demanded it, the 'answers' to political/philosophical/theoretical questions are as likely to be self-formulated as they are proven 'facts'.
(By the way, even the spelling of 'apologise' has no hard factual answer. On one site the question created a big row between Canadians who wish to remain faithful to the Empire by using an 's' instead of a 'z' & so on. Me, I'm an 's' supporter.)

           What is different today? 
Everything & nothing. Nothing in the 'corrupt' world of politics is fundamentally new except a president's ability to use Twitter. Let's not lower the tone by asking if society (UK) is 'better' or 'worse' today, although that's what Tillmans and O'Hagan get into. To his credit, Tillmans attempts to offer a relative argument for progress compared to decades ago, but Lefty O'Hagan (wasn't there a boxer of that name? If not, there should have been) is having none of it, naturally, he has his own agenda and ready-made answers. 

                                The internet the internet the internet 
That the answer & question. Tillmans cites a cognitive scientist's study of users which says many in America are only 'one person away from complete social isolation'. As many as that? I wish there was someone between me and complete social isolation. 'The internet', says Tillmans, 'gives the most remote fringe idea always a potential crowd of co-believers'. How true! You (the aspiring artist) have read all about How To Attract A Million Page Visits On Your Art Blog and How To Be A Successful Artist On Instagram, haven't you? You have. They didn't help. 

                                                           Remote fringe art zine idea
Only recently I had the 'lunatic idea' that people would want to buy my art zine. It has yet to attract a 'crowd' of co-believers'. More people believe the moon trip was fake than will buy an art zine, but hey, that's the crazy internet-inspired fake belief world we live in, eh?

                                                      Village idiot voice
Trump is in the White House and unchecked on the internet. Lunatic fringe politics succeeded. Hurrah for demockracy! Tillmans & O'Hagan mention the 'village idiot' (the lunatics have taken over the asylum), once not taken seriously, now capable of gathering followers & being important. He used to rant down the local pub/bar & be laughed at. Now he has followers. The internet is so enabling, isn't it? Any political fantasist can find his/her far out, far-Right/Left views supported. Credibility-by-numbers.

                                                           Para-universal art fantasy
On the parallel universe called the internet even artists can elevate themselves to a position (self-appointed) of importance. Look at me sat here talking as if anyone is listening. Only blog stats can threaten the art blogger's self-esteem...but here's a tip: ignore them! There's no long game on the internet but I'm playing it by carrying on regardless. I've come across blog corpses once run by supposed Top Art Bloggers. It's too much like hard work; writing & posting art. So hit Instagram...much more gratifying - post pics & watch your Followers grow in number!

                  Would you vote for art?
Well would you? Politics is complicated. Art is more complicated. People have voted out of anger, frustration, defiance & ideological enthusiasm, none of which count for anything in the art vote. Except the latter, which might drive the liberal central art supporter who, like the liberal central literature supporter will advocate 'the arts' as a nice idea overall therefore unhesitatingly vote art. Meanwhile, for others, there are problems. They belong to the lunatic fringes but unlike at major political party conferences cannot be found at the equivalent Frieze Art Fair or biennales, from which they are not banned but naturally excluded. Instead, they must seek solace from micro-gatherings in digital village halls where they rant against landscapes in saturated colours, soft porn digitally rendered figuration & popular collage on Etsy. The next meeting is tomorrow night at 8pm. See you there.

Political art, anyone?
Some say artists should be Political today - our times demand it! Right. Nobody's demands make a difference to me in that respect. They are free to demand whatever they like & welcome to it. If tomorrow I make art relating to food banks or Trump, so be it. I shall do so of my own accord. The agendarists will always try to lasso individuals in the hope of riding them until they are tame enough to be lead in the 'right direction'.

Meanwhile, Art Workers of the World, Unite. You have nothing to lose but your internet connection!

Tuesday, 14 August 2018

Art Zine: Out of Nowhere - Buy It Here!

After weeks of planning and assembling an all-star cast of 15 artists from around the world I'm proud to present the art zine, Out of Nowhere. It is A4 size and contains 48 full-colour pages plus inserts that will make each copy unique. It is assembled with precise care and attention to create those small imperfections which reveal its handmade qualities, but rest assured, the images are clear. As for those images, they consist of vispo/concrete poetry, fotographie, collage, digital art, prints, mixed media pieces and other mutations including cut-ups and assembled prose...

...the artists are: Sacha Archer, Michael Augustin, Franco Ballabeni, Richard Biddle, Johannes S. H. Bjerg, Meikel Church, Dai Coelacanth, Dav Crabes, Federico Federici, J.D. Howse, Ian Liddle, James Robert Moore, Jane Pearrett, Paul Tone, Chris Wells and myself...

...cost is £7 plus £2.75 postage (worldwide)

Monday, 13 August 2018

Out of Nowhere - Art Zine

First assembly of my art zine, Out of Nowhere, completed today. Each issue will be unique due to inserts and print.
Various contributors, featuring collages, 
fotos, prints, vispo and more. 
Watch this space for sales details.

Monday, 30 July 2018

Vispo/Collage: This Living

This Living, RTomens, 2018

This life, eh? Mustn't grumble, as the relativist (?) always says. And they'd be right, in one sense. Wrong in another. Because although, unless you live in bombed-out ruins or beg on the streets someone is always worse off than you, that approach can be flipped to say 'someone's always better off than me!', which they are, unless you're a handsome young professional footballer living in a Mediterranean which case, nobody's better off than you.

I could moan about the circumstances which helped create this vispo collage, which relate to awaiting a new printer, therefore being forced to (re)create an old piece via digital wizardry because an art addict must do something, but I won't, partly because I'm pleased with the results but mostly because to place too much importance on the absence of such technology would make me sound like a spoilt brat.

The absence of a printer is also a setback to finishing off the look of the art zine, but that can wait. Nobody's holding their breath. News of purchasing details (no, don't run away!) will appear here as soon as the first copies are assembled. 

Meanwhile, I'm off to tidy up The Cave. The devil will find work for idle hands...TTFN!

Monday, 23 July 2018

Clod Magazine / Process! festival / the Working Class artist!

We went to Process! on Sunday. It was:
 'a two day festival celebrating independent media & making, bringing together established & emerging designers, artists, activists & publishers to explore, interrogate & share approaches to creative & collaborative process. In the context of high speed media & access to infinite information, how do we create time, space & approaches that can enable us to process the social & political climate & create new media and outputs?'
@Somerset House (see how modern I am by using '@'?
Celebrating what? Independent media and 'making'? Is 'making' a thing now? A viable definition of activity?
"What do you do?"
"I make."
Reckon I'll be using that from now on, instead of 'make art' which, let's face it, is a poncy claim made by poncy people, unlike me, who is a WORKING CLASS ARTIST therefore unponcy, of course. I spotted a badge among many others on a stall which just said 'Working Class Artist' - hey! I almost bought it. I might have worn it specially for our next visit to Tate Modern's members' cafe, except we're no longer members because last time we were there I stood on a table and shouted "WERE ANY OF YOU CUNTS BORN IN A COUNCIL HOUSE?!". I get larey after a few wine gums. So we're banned.

Lots of issue-based zines at the festival. A lot of people have issues, don't they? Body issues, political issues, gender issues, race issues. Plus the obligatory comic strip zines. In short, nothing to interest me. The primary reason we went was to meet the 'makers' of Clod magazine. ...

...splendid fellows they are too. LJ was beside herself, not having been as excited at meeting a 'maker' since she starred in Ultravox videos in the 80s. She'll kill me for saying that. It's not true. That she was excited, I mean. She was in some Ultravox videos, though. She proceeded to tell them (Clod-makers, not Ultravox) how much fun she had reading the magazine in bed, at which point I confessed to all that it really was the most fun she's had in bed for years.

A life without Clod is no life at all so I urge you to start believing in Clod by going to their site and buying all available back issues. It really is the funniest look at everyday British life you'll find in zine form. Or any other form, actually. We had a good chuckle over a Clod back issue and spin-offs at the pub on the way home. You must have a good laugh sometimes...before you meet your maker... 

Tuesday, 10 July 2018

Art Zine Submissions

I'm assembling an art zine. The deadline for submissions to the first issue is July 31st. It will be A4-size. Handmade. Photos, collage, vispo, mixed media or whatever else you do will be considered. All contributors will be sent a copy. Previously unshown work is preferred. Send files to: rtomens(at)

Tuesday, 26 June 2018

The Artist As A Mad Man / Joy Division

Charity shops are mad person magnets, right? That's not why I like them. I am not mad. Honest. But...

...the girl in Mind on Kentish Town High Street looked at me as if I was mad, not just a sane person commenting on the fact that I was playing Joy Division only yesterday and it was a funny coincidence that She's Lost Control was on when I went into the shop....

...nothing. Not even a smile. Instead, a look that said "Are you another mad person?" in the subtlest of signalling via her pierced physiognomy because: a) she's used to mad people b) she cannot display outright disapproval verbally and most importantly c) it is a mental health charity....

...not that I've noticed a higher quota of mad folk in there than any other charity shop. The reason being, I suppose, that they aren't about to pay money into a charity from which they benefit...or are they?

Besides, I don't like the term 'mad' even though I sometimes aim it at those who through no fault of their own (other than people damaged from alcohol/drug abuse...some of whom happen to be my friends) have mental health issues. Hold on, if that's the right definition we should all be recipients of charitable help from Mind, probably.

Daily life provokes mental health issues. Yes, when you get that bill you can't afford or watch someone jump that queue you're in or sit in the office thinking you really could have had an interesting career as a writer/artist/filmmaker if you'd tried harder or the times you look at your partner and wonder who the hell they really are and why you sometimes want to kill them when you might be better off catching fish on a remote Scottish island or thumbing your way around the know, having adventures...instead of being a domesticated, routine-bound worker ant in the capitalist colony...

...worry or think about your life too much and you will go mad...or make radical changes and do something interesting but the odds are long on that one. If I didn't make art it's possible that I'd go mad. People who say that kind of thing risk mockery from non-artists because they don't see why what the artist does is so special..."I mean, it ain't Picasso, is it?" No, it ain't. It's more important because it's what an 'unknown' individual is creating and getting little applause for and certainly not much (if any) money, never mind fame.

It's probably 'mad' to carry on but since I make art for myself and hopefully a few appreciative viewers it feels worthwhile. For now. Meanwhile, back to where I started, it would be mad not to recognise the greatness of Joy Division, wouldn't it? 

Monday, 25 June 2018

Three Vispo/Concrete Poetic (huh?) pieces/ Spiritual idiots as Art(ists)-lovers

"But you must be spiritual," a friend says to LJ. Because she's an artist, he means. The same day, an FB friend posts that he's had to unfollow a few people because they insist on posting 'spiritual' memes. Unfollow? I'd unfriend them, but that's me and that's why I follow so few people on Facebook. Not because they post 'spiritual' memes, but because they're either total bores of have OCD which manifests itself right there. Piss off.

This Spiritual Artist crap has gone on long enough, as long as the you-must-be-able-to-draw shit and all the other antiquated plain wrong artist myths. people crave spirituality these days like they crave religion - "Please give my life meaning because otherwise it's a totally insignificant life I'm leading here when all I do is listen to shit music and watch awful films along with the dregs of humanity called 'celebrities' on TV - help me, Lord! I need to believe!" Try doing something interesting you wankers.

I've never looked at a piece of art and seen or felt anything 'spiritual'. I'm not 'religious'. I won't kneel before any icons or ever visit the church of John Coltrane because it's backed by God-botherers, obviously. Now, about Coltrane, A Love Supreme may be fueled by his spirituality so, well, whatever gets the job done but it's never caused me to feel anything but pleasure, although not as much pleasure as I get from the music he made before he got religion. I'm assuming he got religion late, though I don't know and don't care...

...retards relishing the romanticised notion of the artist as 'seer' probably still think we all dream of a garret in Paris (I wouldn't mind) wherein we starve and suffer mental turmoil over paintings which usually fail to express what we feel in the very depths of our tortured souls. It can only be non-artists who believe any of this crap, surely. But hold on, there are plenty of dabblers of also want to believe, or even do believe, that their paintings of storm clouds over mountains express something 'spiritual'. Of course. And plenty more who, when not painting portraits of friends which reveal the very nature of their souls, commune with nature, sitting under trees (having hugged them) in order spiritual. Yes, my friend, it takes all sorts.

Let's aim lower. In fact, higher. Let's keep it at ground level, devoid of 'spiritual' crap and stuffed instead with shit, snot, glue, vomit, boredom, emptiness, anger, joy (if you must)...anything but pseudo-spirituality. Let's render visions of total aesthetics, even. Draw a straight line. Draw a crooked line. Better still, get the computer to do it. Be minimal. Be maximal. Be totally abstract. Even Be Yourself, whatever that means. We're all our own people, it's just that some folk suck up too much from others to form anything like a true Self. Fuck originality. You'll lose. No, you'll make yet another novelty idea. You might get into Frieze! Go ahead. Make something good or bad. Make something because for as long as you don't some arsehole is filling the world with shit you hate. It's your duty. If you don't make something They will, all of them...look...filling the world with kitsch digital art, landscapes, sunset photos, street art, Goth art, soft porn blah blah. You know the saying: If You're Not Part Of The Solution You're Part Of The Problem.