Friday, 21 December 2012

Where the Wild Roses Grow

Happy Christmas Eve-Eve-Eve-Eve! Ever since junior school I have approached Christmas with a slightly clinical approach, much like Jack Skellington in his festive laboratory. Hypothesis Miracle of the 34th street x The Snowman + decorating tree + paper snowflakes - current age = warm fuzzy festive feeling. Yeah um I'm still working on it... It's silly really because childhood has a sort of wildness to it which you can't pin down. A point beautifully illustrated in Tove Jansson's picture book 'A Dangerous Journey'. Whilst, I may have to accept that I will never hear Father Christmas's sleigh bells again (I ACTUALLY HEARD THEM DAMN IT!) a sense of childlike wonder is something to cultivate. It is a precious thing for seeing how exciting this place is.

Joseph Sterling, Comme des Garçons advertising campaign, Fall/Winter 1988-1989, Photo Jim Britt, Rachel Romero, 'Disinfectant Bath', image from 'Soviet Beauty Queens' zine, all images via Teenage blog. 

Thursday, 13 December 2012

Greedy (NSFW!)

I eat images like candy. I have absolutely no control of when to stop. I have always tried to justify this by saying I am searching for something 'special'. I have no idea what this 'special' thing is. I just want something that feels right...I guess? Well, hark the herald angels sing, on this morning's picture binge I found something special. His name is Asger Carlsen, he is six foot three with eyes like jewels and a mouth like a cupid's bow and he is taking me for cherry pie on Wednesday anddd ahh ohmygoodnessgraciousme his work is grotesque and nasty and PERFECT.  He complements so many of my other BFF's like Hans Bellmer, Vitto Acconci, Sarah Lucas, Gunter Bruss and Morton Bartlett. Carlsen's photo documentary style makes the work especially exciting, reminding me of the 'found' horror film footage of '[Rec]' and District 9'. The fakery of the work, how obviously manipulated, spliced and collaged these half framed flesh bags are, make his work even more lovely.And woop woop to the fact that It is not the actually genuinely vile peeping Tom model of photography, you know the cautionary tale genre, stark works by cis people, by able bodied body. Works that warn us when bodies deviate off the forest path. [Looking at you Charlie White! Looking at you Marc Quinn!] After all the body is the proto-type Judas, booo-hisss, liar liar pants on fire, it is absolutely, totally unreliable, and Carlsen totally gets this. Therefore, he is awesome. Our wedding is in the Spring. 

" I think is good for people to see things they don't believe or that gross them out. Seeing something you don't understand opens your mind up to new ways of understanding. Basically, I'm more interested in telling a good story than the truth. It’s like a lie you can get away with."

"[My work is] controlled confusion. I like to think that I can use photography for something other than its “original purpose” — like the way that painters can technically get away with blending very detailed work and casual strokes."

"My work is perhaps an expression of never having really belonged anywhere. I don’t want to sound “super special,” but growing up I never had a feeling of normality. In a way this is an outlet for that feeling."

Wednesday, 5 December 2012

A Smile and a Ribbon

Because of a silly monster that chomps on my brain (no wants to with you at lunch dysphoria, seriously, didn't you get my note in class? Jeez) my relationship with my gender and my body is a big tangled mess 99% of the time. Nonetheless,  I wholeheartedly identify as a girl, okay not with my body, no, no, never my body. But certainly my lived experiences of It, and the culture that surrounds It. The superstitions, elaborate costumes and 90's high school films. I mean, the fantasy construction of gender has far more influence than anything 'real'. Especially as 'real' comes down to bodies and biology and messy gross things which prove to be infinitely more unreliable than a life spent lip-synching to Clueless. So yes, I have dysphoria, and I am a girl, and that's okay.

Japanese magazine advert, from 50 watts, Harry Clark The Fairy Tales of Perrault, from 50 watts, Ginger Snaps, Phil Kirkland. ‘Moving from Youth to Adulthood’, from TeenageRafael Barradas, Poisoned Flowers, from 50 watts, The Company of Wolves

Saturday, 24 November 2012

Safe and Sound

"That it gets dark at noon or w/e is of less consequence when you think about winter as a Laplandian fairytale (Lapland is like Narnia but without all the stuff) instead of something brutalist and immovable and boring."
-Kate Carraway, The Girls' Guide to Winter, Vice

Sky blue toes, wet nose: A little mood board dedicated to finding beauty in ugly November. 

Francesco Clemente, Map of What is Effortless, Jannis Kounellis, Mary McIntyre, Laura Ford, Rookie,  Eleanor Hardwick, Field Studies, Rookie

Monday, 19 November 2012

Scary Monsters, Super Creeps

"And now," cried Max, "let the wild rumpus start!"

Representations of death have a kind of energy that is totally at odds with actual Bad Things which are generally quiet and limp and involves a lot of waiting around in hospitals. I think anything that scares us is infused with a kind of electrical pull, not the actual event, but the ghost of the actual thing, the reconstruction of it. 

Emile Nolde, Mask Still III, 1911, Matthias Grünewald – Temptation of St. Anthony, Edvard Munch, The Dead Mother and Child, Anonymous, 1520, Hugo Simberg, The Garden of Death, Diomedes Devoured by His Horses, Gustave Moreau, Danse Macabre, Rob Harrison

Saturday, 17 November 2012

Doll Hospital

"The doll hospital in Paris
is piled high with disembodied limbs
Henry Launay has repaired over thirty thousand dolls.
They're sick, they're broken and I give them new life."
-Joe Dunthorne

Cindy Sherman, Mask Over Doll, Hans Bellmer, Morton Bartlett, Tim Walker, Vogue Italia 2012

Thursday, 15 November 2012


I have sorted out my MA applications so actually have free time again to make art. Hazzah! So yes am going to try and post more actual art and less inspiration posts from now on :)))

These are a couple of paintings I did this week. These works are partly an extension of the 'My Cat' works, in terms of looking at ambiguity, repetition and childhood. I might paint one for each day of the week, depending on how I get on. The painting are a tribute to this image which I am obsessed with but sadly can't track down the author (anyone know who it's by?)

I'm not sure if the monkey piece below is quite finished yet. What do you think? I think it needs more patterns and colour and and lumpy bits. Though I like that he is basically just a huge grinning breast right now, haha. The red panda piece ended as a super sexual fertility god, all orifices and appendages and spilling out body, and is my favourite thing I've made this month, I love it so much :3

I like to think of the days of the week animals as early valentine's cards. I have been thinking about love and relationships a great deal, not in a romantic sense exactly. But rather the narcissism and upside-down-ness and obsession of it all; the wild 'Heavenly Creatures' self-destructive kind. I think love requires two fantasy identities: one for yourself and one for your lover. Maybe that's why it can't last, because a dream world can only go on for so long before it gets ugly and rotten and just plain weird.

Speaking of art and repetition and obsession Arabelle wrote the most amazing article on my all time favourite artist Yayoi Kusama, with lots of interesting links and cool videos. I think it is one of my favourite Rookie articles, it so good and accessible too! Please please read it!

I particularly loved this quote:

"How remarkable, to deal with your bad juju in a way that makes everyone feel better, and makes the world around you more beautiful."

What a wonderful quote, artists like Yayoi Kusama and super talented bloggers like Arabelle make gloomy November days less terrible.

Wednesday, 14 November 2012

Flesh is the Death of Fantasy

"Paint can be like mud or faeces, and it can be delicate as makeup; it can adorn or besmirch, beautify or degrade."
-Adrian Searle

I don't want to have a body. I don't need a body and my teeth feel so funny in their pie hole. There are red eczema stains on my spinal cord (ickick) but I am happy, I am happy and I hope you are too. Today I am thinking about performance art after this article I read by Adrian Searle. The top image is particularly exciting to me, I like the idea of painting your face to hide the decay of being a body. I nearly typed 'hide the decay of being a boy' but I guess that works too, in my case at least. 

Zsuzsanna Ujj With a Throne (1986), Helena Almeida's Inhabited Painting (1975), Yves Klein, Anthropometries series 1960, Leigh Bowery, Urs Luthi, I'll be your mirror, Helena Almeida, Untitled

Monday, 12 November 2012

Cautious Optimism

I'm terrified of getting Sick again. Sick gets a capital letter because the Sick that I Sicked was Big. How big? *THIS BIG* Big enough to mount on fancy wood and hang above your fireplace. But I am no longer Sick I am well...well (does that get a capital letter too?) Why is well like the well that the girl from the Ring fell? Riddles and bad poetry make me so happy! Happy is weird, well is peculiar. But I am going to approach it with cautious optimism. (A phrase stolen from a Series of Unfortunate Events perhaps not the best sign). Well for now I am here and I am well and that is enough right now.

Will Barnet, Silent Seasons - Winter, 1968, Adolph Gottlieb. Pictograph, ca. 1941-1946, Linoleum Cut paper, Hubble Telescope Image of the carina Nebula, 2010, NASA, Andy Goldsworthy, Red leaf patch, Cumbria, November 1983, Capella Delle Brunate by David Tremlett and Sol Lewitt, La Morra, Barolo, Italy.

Tuesday, 6 November 2012

Intimate Immensity

"I have nothing to wear tomorrow 
will I live long enough
to grow up
and momma's in the bedroom 
with the door closed."

-Audre Lorde, Hanging Fire

I am in a peculiar position this year, one foot in my home town one foot in the 'ART WORLD'. I hate that expression! It sounds so stupid, like you are transported to a magical psychedelic faerie world the moment you get you acceptance letter from CSM. I honestly don't know if being in this place makes me have more INSIGHT (another stupid word) or whatever. Though I did write this essay on the subject, a piece of writing which is very dear to me. I just know that my friends can't find work and that makes me sad, and that the faces of dead teenagers (do they count as old boys if they didn't go to posh school?) makes me sadder. 

Found this on tumblr (if anyone knows the original source please tell me!) Richard Ross, The “Wall of Shame,” at Miami-Dade Regional Juvenile Detention Center, Miami, Florida: mug shots of kids that were released from the center and killed by gunshot wounds. “Expired” here indicates “deceased.”,  Roy Lichestein, Why Brad Darling, Jasper Johns, Numbers in Color 1958-9, Junya Watanabe, Elizabeth Catlett, Wonder Showzen gif, Robert Longo, Intimate Immensity, Chuck Close, Emma, Emory Douglas, 1972