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Part of the series of texture studies I’ve been carrying out around Mawsley

Making art is not easy.

There we go, a nice glib throwaway line to be getting into right from the off. Instantly I hear the voices in my head of comparisons with other jobs and the difficulties they face. But I’m not trying to do them.

I’m trying to make art that has a sense of validity to it, that conveys messages and points, using image in place of words. By nature artists tend to be highly self-critical and, to lesser and greater extents, a writhing ball of self-doubt. What I’ve struggled with over the recent weeks is the return of my depression and anxiety. Two completed works have now been shelved because the question “Do I think it’s good enough?” does even get a run out, I start from the premise that everything I am doing is shit.

Fortunately, if you labour with bi-polar too, you will appreciate the notion that you can carry a sense that the down period will not last. Eventually I saw sense and went back to the doctor – more medications.

The positives that I am taking from this is that I have managed to amass enough research to kick start my project again and that a ‘back to basics’ approach to project development means I will have structure, something I let slip. I’ve also managed to collect a reasonable number of studies to build upon and work with. Now I just need to produce the work I’d planned to complete eight weeks ago.

A blog post that isn’t humorous or pithy but one for everyone blighted by the same ailment – hang in there, the tunnel ends, the black dog walks away for a while again.


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I think it’s fair to say that the last seven weeks have been pretty unproductive.

I adore books but the research pile I’ve amassed have sat there in the corner of the bedroom gathering a veneer of dead skin.

I can make excuses, I’m good at excuses.

But the sketchbook came out today, research was done and loud music was back on the agenda. It feels good.

Little prompts


Since summer hit I’ve been more than a bit lazy. I’ve produced nothing of note in the last five weeks and today really rammed that home.

By accident, we discovered Discovering Hannah at Seale-Hayne, a collection of street art and some work by local artists (including the very affable Geoff Powell).

Suddenly my head was jolted back to the project I’d been starting to plan before my head was turned by a magazine wanting feature articles. I do enjoy writing but if they aren’t going to pay me for honest work then they can find someone else – I don’t do jobs for free, even if that is what is expected from every creative!

As much as I love Devon, it’s time to get home and get the sketchbooks out. It’s time for research and production.

And for those who enjoy discovering art in Devon:


Wonderful, lovely surprise. Thoroughly recommended.

Naked Opinion


I’m one of those people who loathe sex scenes in films, believing them to be nothing more than soft porn and titillation. I am struggling to think of any genuine use of nudity other than in Equus.

Likewise, I struggle when it comes to art, especially photography. I adore form and line, and how they blend in the physical form, but why all the images of (opens inverted commas) models?

Why not the true human shape? Why not alternatives to traditional beauty?

I ploughed through a book on ‘photographing the nude’ yesterday. Sad, soft porn the lot of it.

There’s voyeurism. Then there’s nothing more than leching.

Moving On

ImageI was recently asked to place some work into an artist run pop-up store, Made In Northamptonshire…which was nice.

My initial thoughts were to use the bulk of the build-up work towards my recent Spirited project – but then, during the exhibition, I received a large number of positive comments about my layering work using lone trees from around the Northamptonshire countryside.

The progress on producing this has been slow due to the wait for a supplies order from the States from which I’ve learnt two important things: Firstly, carry a decent stock of supplies in excess of current requirements and, secondly, check where the vendor is located when buying on Amazon late at night!



The living could be far too easy, but I’ve a chasm of time and so I want to use it.

I’ve always felt that the weakest link in my practise is my drawing. Consequently I’ve bought books, downloaded PDFs and even got an instructional video.

I’m worried I could fritter this opportunity unless I stick to setting out time everyday to learn and repeat. And repeat again.


p20130623-143842One of my favourite memories from childhood was the journey from the bottom to the top of the Greyfriars multi-storey car park in my Mum’s little Hillman Avenger. She would make the wheels squeal as we went round and round the corkscrew entrance, higher and higher. We would laugh naturally and everything in the world was good.

p20130623-151834I’ve no idea if this impacted upon my later interpretations of car parks, I doubt it considering the imagery I make in relation to them…but I’m fascinated by the places. Not all car parks, just the multistory. Something to do with hidden levels being uncovered? The undiscovered stair wells? The bleak landscape populated by empty, lifeless vessels?

I feel a new project coming on.

Hang ’em high

With just paperwork left to finish off, and a display card to make, it’s done. Tomorrow I’ll be sweeping the floor to lay out the sleeping bag and the feathers all ready for the opening of the show.

I’d not seen the completed image in one piece until it was placed onto the wall, I’d attached all of the segments face down with Gorilla tape. And it works, it is everything I’d planned it to be and for that I was happy.

The scale of the piece works perfectly, the image conveying the hauntological nature perfectly. It also carries off the balance I wanted to achieve between aesthetic and artistic value, it speaks powerfully of the topic and is certainly the single best piece of work I have produced to date. I’m a very proud bloke.

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