Art does sometimes need to engage, it never needs to dumb down, but it does need to engage a little more…

 

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A #365ArtDrop18 piece on Brick Lane, East London, November 2018

Some times it is good to get out beyond an art gallery, some of those galleries can be very unfriendly places, not all of them, but so many of them are rather unfriendly unwelcoming places, one of the things the #365ArtDrop18 piece is about is the people who choose to take the pieces that have been left hanging on the street, it is part of the point of the piece that people take them and enjoy being part of it all, it is about engagement, about the enjoyment both for me as an artist and hopefully for the people who choose to take the paintings. The hashtag on the back of the 365 pieces that will eventually make up the year-long #365ArtDrop18 is very important, as are the photos and the tales that other people post on their social media feeds and such. The paintings are all on material found on the street, things that people have thrown away, unwanted pieces of wood, old frames and canvases, things that were heading for landfill or were just going to be left there to rot (and when something is thrown out them leaves will grow, although others choose to see other things painted, I mostly paint leaves).

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A #365ArtDrop18 piece found, Brick Lane, East London, November 2018

Yesterday, 36 pieces, mostly painted on wood from a smashed up piece of wooded furniture pulled from a Hackney skip, were left hanging around the streets of East London (it isn’t about one piece a day, more about 365 over the whole year). of those 36 paintings left out yesterday we’ve heard of pieces being taken by people from Baltimore, from Rome, London, Manchester, from Jordan and France, we don’t hear about the fate of all the pieces of course, I guess some of them might end up in landfill anyway, we do get some great stories and some excellent photos from people though, a big part of this, the second year-long 365 art drop piece, is the engagement and the people.

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The latest #365ArtDrop18 paintings, November 2018

I love art galleries, they can be wonderful places, but they can also so often be aloof unfriendly, elitist attitudes, unwelcoming places, sometimes almost arrogantly so, art does sometimes need to engage, it never needs to dumb down, but it does need to engage a little more

 

 

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Columbia Road, A Cross For A Red Queen, three poppies, more art drops…

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The six week Cultivate Columbia Road takeover was, on the whole rather successful,  lots of engagement in the gallery, lots of interesting people, lots of good artists, four shows curated, lots of positive engagement, good conversation, sales (a piece of art sold is always a welcome thing, once a piece is finished it really is good to get it out of here, make space for the next ones). Columbia Road was good, the gallery, an old greengrocer’s shop that still had the old till and some of the fittings was good, the engagement with the locals was good, we thought it would all be about te flower market crowds on the Sundays but really it was about the locals who avoided Sundays,the real East End people, the Somalia family who lived around the corner and had never been in an art gallery before, the people who engaged with Emma Harvey’s Riot Grrrl paintings, the people who reacted to the stars in the window. Every space and place we take Cultivate to is different, different people, different feels, different crowds, really enjoyed the six week of the Columbia Road takeover, I like it when a show reaches beyond the art crowd, really must write in more depth about the takeover on the Cultivate website, thanks everyone.

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A #365ArtDrop18 piece left hanging in Hackney and now in Germany…

meanwhile the #365ArtDrop18 piece goes on, a year-long on-going piece of work in 365 parts, 365 paintings on found recycled material picked up off the street. Material found, cleaned up, painted on and them left hanging back out on the street for people to take should they wish to. It isn’t about a piece a day, the piece is about 365 paintings left out on the streets over the whole year. I see a piece left hanging under a railway bridge in Hackney last week ended up in Germany.

Yesterday at the studio, work in progress, yesterday being Sunday September 11th 2018, a larger canvas still being worked on… it seemed to be a fitting thing to be doing this on this of all weeks, indulging in something I love doing and being able to do so…

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Next stop, the first ever Christmas version the Art Car Boot Fair, it happens on December 9th down by new Port Street and the gallery district of Vauxhall, here in London, more details here

Meanwhile a bit of gardening and some leaf growth around a cross, a piece painted a couple of weeks back, a piece that for a reason I shall keep to myself is called “A Cross For A Red Queen”, a piece on canvas, 70cm x 50cm, acrylic, brickwork, spray paint, gloss varnish. a slight revisit to the crosses of the summer and that Kensal Green Cemetery show that happen quite some time ago now….

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“A Cross For A Red Queen” – canvas, 70cm x 50cm, acrylic, brickwork, spray paint, gloss varnish

I Saw It First, I Want It Worse, halfway through the Columbia Road takeover, different hats and…

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Wearing several hats this week, most of them have paint on, I try not to get paint on anything other than the thing I’m actually painting. My curating hat is being worn quite a bit at the moment with the Cultivate Columbia Road takeover and a six week residency that we;re currently in the middle of, a residency at East London’s Shipton Street Gallery that runs until the end of October. There’s been two shows at the space so far, both documented on the Organ webpages and the busy Cultivate website – there’s plenty of words and images and thoughts on the other artists and their art over there on those pages, we’ve had some exciting art on the walls as well as impressive performance and installation, Emma Harvey‘s Riot Grrrl painting are looking good on the wall right now alongside Jessica Scott‘s pieces and James Bell’s slice of luxury. I rather like wearing my curator’s hat, there’s as much of a buzz to be had in showing other people’s art or discovering new exciting artists as their is in showing my own work. we must be getting close to curating something like two-hundred shows or events now, exhibitions and such that have featured the work of well over a thousand artists by now – it can sometimes be tense, stressful, frustrating, and Joshua Compston‘s thing about feeling like an aircraft carrier that people just land on, use for a bit until they’ve got what they want and then fly off without so much as a thank you does ring true – wouldn’t it be wonderful if artists actually worked together and supported each other just a little more, putting on art shows can be a thankless task. Putting on art shows can be brilliant as well though, especially when a show works and people are engaged, when people come in and react to the art or the artists tat we’ve invited to be part of it all. Hang on, stop, today isn’t the day to go into it all…

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Hang on, stop, today isn’t the day to go into it all, the second Columbia Road takeover show is happening right now, a show called I Saw it First, I Want it Worse (yes that show title did come from a Seven Year Bitch lyric), the current show along with the first one and the art and the other artists involved is all documented on the Cultivate pages and the Organ pages. here’s a taste or two of my art and the fresh stargrowth and the leaves and the the new layers and the notions of the Cheap Art Manifesto and the daily paintings and the beautiful old till and such – the gallery was once a greengrocers shop called Sylvester’s, back in the 60’s, I’m having lots of interesting conversations with people who lived in the area back then who can remember it, that might be something to revisit in the space later in the year… For now then, a taste of what I’ve been doing with my art in the space so far, there’s more to come before it all ends on October 29th, I do love painting, I much prefer my painting hat… Oh and by the way, just updated the on-line shop again, do please have a look, I’m going to need to buy a new hat before the cold weather kicks in…

The 2018 Hundred Pieced Piece, a piece of work in one hundred parts, one hundred paintings painted together for the Art Car Boot Fair…

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THE 2018 HUNDRED PIECED PIECE – The 2018 Art Car Boot fair is almost upon us and tradition now almost demands the annual Hundred Pieced Piece, a now annual piece of work in one hundred parts, a hundred paintings on recycled cardboard all painted together, all painted at the same time, each piece on sale at just £1 per painting on the day of the fair. The day this year being Sunday September 16th and the place being Granary Square, Kings Cross. The piece is about many things, about leaves growing on the things we waste, fresh layers of growth on the things we mindlessly throw out, about recycling, about the notions of art for all, that art can be fun, original paintings can be for everyone, the notions of the cheap art manifesto, the idea that anyone can get involved in collecting and enjoying art, that art is not just for the privileged few, that art isn’t a business (a curator, a curator who is also an artist, a rather boring artist, said to me recently that he thought art was just another business, that it was nothing more than that, how depressing, what a soulless thing for an artist to say). I like the idea that these pieces are affordable to (almost) everyone, that these pieces might be the first piece of original art that a youngster might buy, that it might spark an idea, a smile, that the painting might make someone smile when they look at it, art needs to have a soul, it doesn’t always have to come with a massive price tag. I enjoy painting these pieces for the Art Car Boot Fair, I love be part of the Art Car Boot Fair,I think this is the fifth time I’ve painted a Hundred piece for the fair now. Here then are the hundred leaves (or whatever you wish to see) for the 2018 Art Car Boot Fair, see you in Kings Cross, bring your coins, the Art Car Boot Fair is always one of the best days of the year, art is everyone.

 

 

If you ever catch me saying something like that, please please please take me out back and have me shot, what a depressing way to talk about your art…

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Love that photos up there, more about it and the end here, but first, did a fellow artist really just tell me that art was “just a business”? Really? Did he really just say that? Really!? How depressing, do artists really think like that? Is “building a business” the only reason to put on an art show? “I’m building a business here” he said, really? Is art “just a business? If you ever catch me saying something like that, please please please take me out back and have me shot, what a depressing way to talk about your art and the shows you put on. I need to get that thought out of my mind. Of course you need to think about the reality of paying bills and eating and the rest but “just”? Really? It wasn’t Hamish by the way, I’m just getting to know Hamish, we were both invited to share the gallery walls by the people over at no format, no one mentioned business, they just extended the invite and offered the space, I didn’t know of Hamish Macaulay or his art until we were both invited to make use of the walls on no format gallery last week, looking forward to seeing what he’s been doing in there later today and them maybe reacting to it in some way. nice to actually some together with a gallery and another artist, makes for a refreshing change, Mr. “art Business” back there really didn’t get that notion, I guess now, thinking about it, his art kind of  reflects his attitude. I wonder when the ideas distilled through punk rock forty-odd years ago will ever filter down to the art world? Is it really just a business?

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Last week “Eleven” was part of an installation under the trees in a wood as part of an outdoor show as part of the Leytonstone Arts Trail, it spent two weeks being explored by foxes and blackbirds, this week the piece, painted on eleven pieces of a broken bed will be heading for a white-walled gallery called no format gallery over in Deptford, the show, Unframed? opens this coming Thursday evening July 26th

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Fresh leaf growth, new layers, starz and that big silver wooden frame that someone dumped on the street in Hackney last week. And when a frame is thrown out then leaves will grow in that unwanted frame. This painting was concluded late last night, I expect it might be on show at no format gallery next week as part of the #Unframed? show ( I didn’t say my work would be unframed, we’re just thinking outside the frame). The painting is acrylic on wood in found frame, 90cm x 65cm.

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Here it Comes Again – acrylic on wood in found frame, 90cm x 65cm. (July 2018)

The week of Unframed? is upon us, Hamish is working on some larger format prints in the space today ahead of Thursday evening’s opening, I shall be going over to see what he’s done and do some work of my own later . meanwhile I shall be hanging some of my recent paintings on the gallery wall and at the same time finding new things to work with and paint on during the week. Expect the year-;long #365ArtDrop18 piece to carry on south of the river during this coming week. Keep an eye on the walls around the area during the week. The idea is to find material that had been thrown out, clean it up, painting on it, and then hanging it back out there on the streets for people to take should they wish to. This particular piece was left hanging on a wall near no format gallery last week

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A #365ArtDrop18 piece left hanging in Deptford…

The excellent photo at the top of the page just arrived from Belgium, a shot taken outside the Stella factory so it seems, a brilliant photo of one of the finders of a #365ArtDrop18 piece with the painting her and her partner found, love this photo. One of the important aspects of this year-long piece of work in 365 parts, 365 paintings on found recycled material, is the photos of the finders with their pieces and tales of where the paintings have got to. This one was painted on a found piece of wood picked up off the street here in Hackney, it was left hanging on a wall somewhere in Shoreditch, East London, earlier this year, and now it has turned up in Belgium, this kind of thing is exactly what I was hoping would happen to the paintings and the #365ArtDrop18 piece, keep sending those photos in or posting them on social media so we can find them and share them.  Art? Just a business? What a sad way to think about it…

Thinking aloud, recent paintings, the real ones, not the throwaway pop art things…

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Sean Worrall – “You Might Recall” – acrylic on found plywood, 70cm x 29cm (June 2018)

Busy clearing up, sorting out, making sense, making no sense. clearing out. The notion of a painting concluded every day goes on, day 543 today, a painting on a wooden cherry box, and this year’s art drops go on, about 120 so far this year, I expect there will be quite a few more this weekend – smaller paintings on found material, but this isn’t really what I really do as a painter/artist, Someone said to me the other day, another artist actually, that they thought the daily conclusions and the art drops were all I did, that they though I was all about mass producing leaf tags with spray paint, bits of pop art mass production on old bits of wood, that and leaving things on the street. No mostly I slowly paint bigger paintings, pieces that slowly evolve over the months,sometimes years that I then surround myself with while I run out of space….at the moment painting the series of star paintings is what I do, the rest of it, the art drops and such,all that stuff is just throwaway. Take no notice, I’m just thinking aloud… and not that i think anything I do is throwaway….

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Some of the more recent paintings

Found a piece of wood lying on the ground on Emma Street…

Found a piece of wood lying on the ground on Emma Street, here in Hackney, a piece of wood can’t be left, it can’t just go into landfill (maybe it still will in the end?). a piece of wood found and painted on….

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“Emma Street Again” (May 2018), Acrylic, brushwork, spraypaint, gloss varnish on wood, 51x12x2cm.

“Emma Street Again” (May 2018), fresh layers, new growth, a painting on a piece of wood found lying on Emma Street, Hackney, East London. For when a piece of wood is thrown out leaves and layers (and starz) will grow on it it. Acrylic, brushwork, spraypaint, gloss varnish on wood, 51cm x 12cm x 2cm.

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“Emma Street Again” (May 2018), Acrylic, brushwork, spraypaint, gloss varnish on wood, 51x12x2cm (detail)