Last Friday night I started to paint and threw my normal caution with acrylic paint to the winds of fate! I think I’ve always had a reluctance to use a lot of paint probably due to lean times in the past and some trepidation.
Anyway, I threw paint on plywood and started a crude face, added a body and some arms and suddenly I thought, this is mildly reminiscent of David Bowie! Ok I’m not going to claim a perfect or even partial likeness but there is, to me, an essence in an expressionistic way. The essence of his Berlin period with the arm gestures from the expressionists in the Brücke Museum.
After this revelation I added the eyes and started to wonder how this had bubbled up from the depths of my subconscious. Now, Bowie is never far away from my thoughts, there isn’t a week (sometimes a day) that goes by without some of his music adding a soundtrack to whatever I’m doing. I have admired him since I was a teenager; I first visited Berlin in 1988 primarily because of him, I have explored his references and discovered so many artists (Basquiat for one), writers, thinkers and cultural icons down the years due to his passions. His influence on me is immeasurable.
In November 2016 I went to Sotheby’s, London to see Bowie the Collector before the auction. It was very sad for me. I know auctions are about money and sales but to see so many rich people checking lots like carrion birds around the carcass upset me. If only the collection could have been offered as a loan to a gallery so that generations could be inspired, moved infected with enthusiasm . . .
The highlights of the show for me were the two Basquiat paintings, Frank Auerbach, Erich Heckel and Peter Lanyon.
My acrylic painting has the title: Electric Everything / Another Realm / Spangled Now with an additional line Memories of Berlin 1988 written on the reverse. It is my tiny tribute to a cultural titan.
Here are a few things that have caught my eyes, ears and sensitivities this week. It all goes into the artistic mix!
Auguries Of Innocence – William Blake
Elle Decoration October Issue
Ugly: The Aesthetics of Everything - Stephen Bayley
Low - David Bowie
Nocturnes & Impromtus – Chopin
Thursday Afternoon – Brian Eno
Angel Heart Original Soundtrack
Solo Piano – Philip Glass
Let England Shake – P J Harvey
Who Creates Venice Portraits of Artists - Elia Romanelli (Beautiful documentary, many thanks Stefano.)
Kes - Ken Loach
Dead Man – Jim Jarmusch
Billions (Season 2)
Sensitive Skin (Series One)
Solo Violin recital by Ali Moraly at the Trinity Apse
Salt Horse, Edinburgh
This Is Patti Smith Instagram
Fuller’s London Pride
Flesh and Spirit – Jean-Michel Basquiat
Replica classical statues in Edinburgh College of Art
THOUGHTS / QUOTATIONS
Rouse tempers, goad and lacerate, raise whirlwinds! – Kenneth Tynan
The thought of London in October
I was listening to this brilliant song from the 1981 album Tom Tom Club last night as I was painting the last hours of Thursday away.
What are words worth?
What are words worth? Words
Words in papers, words in books
Words on TV, words for crooks
Words of comfort, words of peace
Words to make the fighting cease
Words to tell you what to do
Words are working hard for you
Eat your words but don't go hungry
Words have always nearly hung me
- from Wordy Rappinghood by Tom Tom Club
It reminded me of my own love affair with words and the fact that I have always been fascinated by and write a lot of them in my paintings.
Diction, ekphrasis, epistrophe, haiku, meter, interjection, lyric, metaphor, monostich, neologism, onomatopoeia, phrase, present perfect, pun, rhythm, simile, stanza, vernacular, all beautiful in meaning and in sound. All intoxicating and so fecund.
I used to keep copious notes on scraps of paper and notebooks but when Twitter came along I started to use it as a word/phrase depository, writing and posting something everyday.
For over 6 years I have faithfully added a phrase, poem, scrap of a sentence or line that now amount to 19,450 words as of today!
The words are often deliberately vague and enigmatic. They are gleaned from my daily life, from overheard conversations, advertising sources, TV, film and music and other sources. I blend them, work on them so they become my words, obvious or vague and sometimes deeply personal. This has become a rich reservoir of ideas in which to fish!
I aim to do something with all these words, a separate project, an epic poem maybe!
Today’s words - He slow acId man, diSHINg out shards, now that thE cows have all come home. - https://twitter.com/busytinsnips