Saturday, 9 April 2016

Q & A with Derek Boshier

Derek Boshier first made his name in the early 1960s for work such as "Special K." He appeared in the much loved Ken Russell documentary "Pop Goes the Easel", designed Bowie's "Lodger" album, made films, sculpture, political banners and has had exhibitions all over the world. Paul Gorman has put together a brilliant book, "Derek Boshier: Rethink / Re-entry" (published by Thames & Hudson) which is a delight from start to finish.
The Rebel: How do you feel when you heard The Royal College of Art wanted to give you an Honorary Fellowship - did your heart swell with pride? Derek Boshier: "Yes of course pleased as it is a great honour and my time at the Royal College of Art was a marvellous time for me both for the development of my art AND life. Not for nothing as it is said has it just been voted for the second year running , best art college in the world."
Can you remember being at The Royal College in 1960 and meeting R. B. Kitaj for the first time? "I remember the Royal College of Art of 1959-62 very well . I knew Kitaj , but don’t recall first meeting .He used talk a lot about the Quakers and their movement, so I and other students thought he was Quaker. He might have been at the time as he wasn’t Jewish."
I'm a fan of all of Paul Gorman's books. Was he good to work with and do you think he did a good job editing Re-Think/Re-Entry? "Yes you are right about all of Paul Gorman’s books.He is an excellent writer and editor and since the book a very good friend. He did a great job in editing my book."
When I get friends to flick through your book the chicks with dicks paintings always seem to go down well. Do you have a favourite? "No favorite really , for my take I am interested in different bodies of my work and their interconnection. Glad people like , as you mentioned “ chicks with dicks “ . All my work has always come out of Popular Culture from the Pop Art work until now . I never like being referred to ( soley ) as a Pop Artist , although it's journalistically convenient."
Were you shocked by David Bowie's death? How would you describe your relationship with him? "I was surprised by David Bowie’s death , especially as a few weeks before his death he sent me an e-mail saying how much he liked my Thames and Hudson book, amongst other things. I didn’t reply as I thought I’d wait until I got a small package together to send later . Then he died. He was a good friend, a very interesting creative person, always good to be with . always interesting dialogue, I remember two occasion in particular in Paris, when he came to my opening and also when we went to see the Stanley Spencer murals in the Burghlcleare Chapel near Newbury. Discussions always lively."
Are there days when you think all contemporary British Art is bullshit? "Today's art world work is 80% crap, but then , so was 80 % PopArt , Abstract Expressionism , Surrealism etc ,etc."
Which countries haven't you visited? Is there anywhere you long to explore? "I have travelled In India (Spending a year there 1962-63, living in Calcutta and travelling while on a British Council / Indian Government scholarship ). Visited Japan , Russia, Hungary , Poland , Israel, Morocco Spain Mexico Germany , Italy and Canada. Would love to go to so many places . where ? Cuba as I have a work in a museum collection there, Columbia and Tibet amongst others."
What do you think was the best thing Ken Russell ever did? "I liked his documentary “Elgar “ about the British Classical music composer. Black and White film. I had a cameo part in his film “Dante’s Inferno “ playing the part of the Pre -Raphaelite painter Millais."
When students start a degree course they are often given a list of books to buy such as Berger's ways of seeing and Gombrich's History of art. Are there any books you often recommend to young art students? "I have suggested John Berger’s “ Ways of Seeing “ several times. And non -art books ,including “ The Intellectual Devotional “ ( revive Your Mind , Complete Your Education and Roam Confidently with the Cultured Class ) by David S. Kidder & Noah D Oppenheim Publihed by Rodale Press . I take it with me most times when i travel . It is a tricky thing telling students to read art magazine , as they often tend to see the contents it as acceptance of the new academicism ( currently Conceptualism ). It depends on the student as to what they take from the magazines. I think it tends to be different from what I recall when at the Royal College of Art . The library had a very good art ,architecture and design magazines ,as good as any other art collage at the time . We would avidly read each new magazine , spending long times in the library. THEN .. put the gathered information from our mind into the trash , as we THEN knew what we wanted to avoid. Theory of course is very important, but used in the right way . not as a conformity , but a challenge, to expand or to challenge. I talked to an artist in Los Angeles recently who said she had given up teaching as so often she read an essay or looked at studio work and said to herself “ ………..page 16 and page 70 of last months Art Forum “ or some other art magazine. Actually probably the same as it has always been ? Not fashionable at the moment would be Susan Sontag ’s quote “ Theory in art is the death of creativity."
If you could own any painting from history to own and hang on your living room wall, what would you pick? Difficult but would love ,Picasso’s “ Guernica’s" or Bruegel’s " Hunters in the Snow"
Find out more about Derek's work by visiting http://www.derekboshier.com/

Sunday, 3 April 2016

Q & A with Franko B

"Franko B poses questions, challenges the liberty and judgement of everyone and interrogates the observer on the sense and value of the human body" Letizia Moritti, (Mayor of Milan)
The Rebel Magazine: Are you happy and healthy at the moment? Frank B: "I think so. As much as I'm aware yes .."
What is your current project? "I'm working on a theme of death and romance in the 21 first century, especially on childhood in distress. [ conflicts / lack of care and love and rights etc etc .]"
I was interested by Thinking of You - did being naked in front of people on a swing make you feel liberated? "Yes. Thinking of You come about because I really wanted to work with the British contemporary composer Helen Ottaway. She originally allowed me to use one of her compositions for a video of my performance at London's Beaconsfield Gallery. I became more aware of Helen Ottaway's music and loved it because it was romantic but in a British cool way - emotional but not hysterical. Years later I contacted her and told her that I would like her to write a piece for Thinking Of You but that I wanted it for electric pianola. This came about because I went to a wedding by two good friends of mine in a a pub and I heard this piano playing in the room where we all were sitting but I could not see the pianist so I got up and, as if by magic, I saw this pianist playing some old Beethoven by itself .. And this gave me the idea to be on a swing naked with a pianola playing. So we did this eventually and I bought a pianola for a bit of money and did the premier in Glasgow at Nikki Milican live art event. I loved it and people loved it but I felt that without the pianist playing it diverged the attention of the piece and changed it. Thinking of You was about the missing player. Then we altered the piece so Helen Ottaway could play it herself. I'm Thinking of You was about the moment I encounter the eyes of a person gazing into my eyes and vice versa."
Are you concerned with abuses of human rights going in Saudi Arabia? "I'm concerned with all humans right abuse here in the so called democratic first world west also ..." Who is your favourite Italian from all of history? "Primo Levi"
Do you worry about money/pensions/tax bills? "I don't worry about pensions no. What is the point .. life is short - but I can get stressed about not having enough to take care bills like rents and other necessary utilities." Would you like to be represented by any of the big galleries like Victoria Miro or Larry Gagosian - or are you happy as you are? "I'm striving to be free and independent and be able to make the work I believe in. this is my strategies , as long I can do this in a dignified way this is what I wish."
Do you enjoy teaching and being a guest lecturer -is it rewarding? "Yes. it is rewarding in a way that is helping me in develop as a human being." What do you think of the current art scene in London - what was the last good show you saw? "I don't really care for this.."
What kind of music do you listen to most? "Steve Reich, Patti Smith and Satie"
What animals do you most relate to? "Dogs."
https://www.facebook.com/artistfrankobhttp://franko-b-news.blogspot.co.uk http://www.franko-b.com https://twitter.com/Franko_B_artist http://www.bris.ac.uk/theatrecollection/liveart/liveart_FrankoB.html

Friday, 1 April 2016

Piper's Son Live in Dalston

The second LP by Piper's Son, 'Who Started This?', will be released 8th April by Vacilando '68 Recordings, on gatefold vinyl LP and download. To celebrate, last night the band and friends played a special gig at Servant Jazz Quarters in Dalston. I love Piper's Son. Their engaging and exciting songs are full of wit, charm and invention. They sound fresh. They sparkle. The title track of the new album sounds like Captain Beefheart jamming with The Fun Boy 3. What's not to like?
Above: Thom Driver and his Piper's Son chums
Above: Mr Peter Harris and Mr Victor Bock.
Above: Matt Calderwood
Above: Mysterious London-based outfit Clothes Horse were a brilliant support act and went down very well with the crowd. www.soundcloud.com/clothes-horse
Above: "Cheers"
Above: Piper's Son in fine form
Above: Mesut and Roger
In advance of its physical release, 'Who Started This?' is downloadable now at: www.pipersson.bandcamp.com

Thursday, 24 March 2016

SECRET 7 opens to the public on 8th April

Andy Vella, Babek Ganjei, Gavin Turk, Anish Kapoor, Bob & Roberta Smith, Paul Smith, Modern Toss, Nick Rhodes, Tatty Devine, and Harry Pye are just some of the artists who've designed a record sleeve for Secret 7 - which is now in it's 5th year. Secret 7” takes 7 tracks from 7 of the best-known musicians around and presses each one 100 times to 7” vinyl. We then invite creatives from around the world to interpret the tracks in their own style for every 7”. 700 sleeves are exhibited and then sold for £50 apiece. You don’t know who created the sleeve, or even which song it’s for, until you have parted with your cash - the secret lies within. - See more at: http://secret-7.com/about#discover Exhibition: 8 April – 1 May 2016, Tuesday to Sunday Sale: 2 May 2016, Bank Holiday Monday Sonos Studio, 21 Club Row, London, E2 7EY. www.secret-7.com
Secret 7” 2016 is in aid of Amnesty International UK.

Monday, 21 March 2016

Q & A with Ellis & Rose

Last Wednesday I had a great time in Bethnal Green watching rising comedy stars Ellis & Rose I laughed a lot more than I thought I would and came to the conclusion that these talented chaps deserve to do well. Find out more about the cheeky pair by visiting www.ellisandrose.com or reading the interview below:
The Rebel magazine: How long have the two of you been working together and putting on nights at Backyard Comedy Club?
Richard Rose: "We met at a party in March 2012, and decided that night (when drunk) to meet up again and attempt to write some sketches. We got together the next week and failed to write a single good sketch. Four years later, we have still failed to write a single good sketch." Gareth Ellis: "We've been running Brainwash Club at The Backyard for about a year and a half now. It isn't lucrative in any way. It will probably end soon."
What would be your dream line-up? Which comedy star would you most like to get? RR: "Dapper Laughs, Roy Chubby Brown, and the most objectionable Wayans Brother."
GE: "I'd like the Chuckle Brothers."
Do you drink before a show to steady your nerves? RR: "No. I drink before a show because I'm an alcoholic." GE: I find that battery acid really gets me going.
How do you cope with all the expenses living in London brings? RR: "I generally drink Prosecco over Champagne. We all have to make sacrifices."
GE: "Richard takes everything I earn. I eat dry bread for every meal."
Do Ellis & Rose love each other like brothers? Do you ever fight?
RR: Have you seen the film 'Dead Ringers', in which Jeremy Irons plays a pair of identical twins gynaecologists? Our relationship is like that. If one of us gets sick, the other falls apart. Also, we're gynaecologists.
GE: "Richard always talks about films no one has ever seen. I hate him when he does that."
Of the two of you - which has been the most lucky in love? RR: "We've both had a few relationships since we started this act, but they all crumbled to dust. Ellis & Rose has outlived all of my romantic partnerships. Make of that what you will." GE: "I'm the more lusty of the pair."
Of the two of you - which has the bigger lust for fame? RR: "If I get famous, I want it to be for something meaningful and impressive, like a mass shooting. Not pratting about on a stage with that goon. I want to be famous for my tragedy, not my comedy." GE: "I want to live in a cave."
What percentage of your material is un p.c.? RR: "We don't think of it in that way; we simply make jokes that we think are funny. The aim is always to be playful and fun, first and foremost. Sometimes we push things into slightly dubious territory, but there's nothing mean-spirited in what we do. Having said that, I do sometimes feel that changing the name of our act from Monty Python's Flying Abortion Clinic was a cowardly move." GE: 82%
Do you have stalkers / obsessive fans RR: "We genuinely did. At the fringe in 2013, there were two Scottish girls, who must have each been about 14, who came to our show every day for about a week. They must have seen us perform roughly ten times, and they would hang around us afterwards, asking very odd questions. At first it was quite sweet, but before long it got kind of creepy. I imagine at the fringe this year they'll turn up on the first day of our show wearing wedding dresses, with twigs and leaves in their hair, each clutching a burlap sack baby. One will have gone blind and the other deaf, and they'll have legally changed their names to Ellisina and Rosie. Ideally I would like to inspire that level of devotion in everyone who sees us perform."
GE: "They were our under-age groupies. Not sexy at all."
Do the two of you write together in an office with one of you typing up what the other says? RR: "We come up with stuff when pissing about together, then I go away and write a script, which he fails to learn and I lose all faith in. It's good to have a system." GE: "I say things and Richard steals them and makes them worse."
What are your favourite things (films, books, cities, artworks) RR: "I love horror films, short books, cheap drinks, salty food and pornography where the people spit on each other (what's this interview for btw?)"
GE: "I DJ on the side. Music is better than comedy. I went into the wrong thing."