Wednesday, 4 February 2015

Interview with Mikey Georgeson (questions 61 - 80)

Singer,songwriter,artist and gentleman Mikey Georgeson has answered 100 Harry Pye questions...
(Coming soon)

Tuesday, 20 January 2015

Three Landscape Paintings

On Facebook artist friends are nominating each other to do a "Landscape Challenge." When Marguerite Horner asked me to pick three landscape paintings I initially thought of various paintings of nice trees, streams and clouds by Constable, and nice paintings of horses by Stubbs etc but they were all things I liked rather than loved. Here are three paintings whose width is greater than their height, that have always meant a lot to me. I appreciate none of my choices are "pure landscapes" because they all feature people in them but they'll have to do... 1) The Execution of Emperor Maximilian (1869)by Édouard Manet (You can see this painting at The National Gallery in London)
The National Gallery in Trafalgar Square has always been my favourite gallery. I love all the Piero della Francessca's they have there and I nearly picked his painting The Nativity. But in the end I decided on The Execution of Maximilian. I was surprised when I first saw this painting. I've looked at it many times over the years and it's never stopped being interesting to me. One of my art heroes Jean Dubuffet once said: "Art must make you laugh a little and make you a little afraid. Anything as long as it doesn't bore" I've selected this painting because it's so curious and unboring. 2) Guernica (1937) by Pablo Picasso (To see this in the flesh you'd have to go all the way to Museo Reina Sofia in Madrid)
Jim Davidson once quipped: "Picasso was a great painter but he didn't half know some ugly women." Most people I know don't actually think that Picasso was a 'great' painter and they see him as rather overrated. My friend Ed Ward's dad went to see the big blockbuster Matisse/Picasso at Tate Modern years ago and when he came out he said: "Huh, that Picasso fella liked painting black lines round everything didn't he?" At another exhibition of his work by friend Julian concluded "There was absolutely nothing I liked about that show." And there are many other people I've asked about Pablo over the years who've just responded by pulling a face but I really rate this painting. Guernica was his response to the fascists bombing Spain. I think the reason it's good is because it rings true. It seems from the heart. Some of the expressions on the faces are quite chilling. In my opinion, there is a touch of genius about this painting. It was made by someone who has really studied painting for many years and yet aspects of the painting have an almost child like simplicity to them. Was there ever a good war or a bad peace? 3) Coffee (1915) by Pierre Bonnard (You can see this painting at Tate Modern)
I don't love everything Bonnard painted but the ones I do love, I love a lot. He was a painter of feelings and I think the paintings the Tate owns of his are some of the best in their collection. There's a scene in the film Stardust Memories in which Woody Allen's character is listening to a Louis Armstrong song he's loved since he was a child and his girlfriend whose been eating a yogurt looks up and smiles at him and he realizes that this is actually one of the happiest moments of his entire existence. I think in our youth we believe big achievements and big events will make us happy but it's probably not the case. I went to see the Matisse show at Tate Modern about 6 times and every time I went I felt lifted. The colours in this painting do something to me in a similar way. I can't explain why I love the colous he uses. 100 years a go a Frenchman decided to make a painting of his wife drinking coffee and his dog sitting at the table. Probably a few seconds after this moment happened, someone else sat down and the dog moved away and everything changed. But little things mean a lot and so I'm glad Pierre captured that moment. Another reason I think it's a good painting is because it makes me want to make a painting myself.
(Above: "Have a Biscuit" painted by Harry Pye & Marcus Cope 2007)

Sunday, 11 January 2015

Picture consequences with Dom, Kes, Harry and Rose

(Above: Kes Richardson & Harry Pye in front of a new painting by Rose Wylie) The game Picture Consequences (a.k.a Exquisite corpse) is a fun way to spend an afternoon especially when you're in the company of esteemed artists Dom Kennedy, Kes Richardson, and Rose Wylie.
Above: One
Above: Two
Above: Three
Above: Four.
Kes Richardson has work in FOLD Gallery's final show at their Clerkenwell space. The Fin exhibition finishes this Sunday 25th January. Gallery open Weds - Sat, 12-6pm and Sun 12-5pm.

Wednesday, 7 January 2015

P.V. of Angels show on 22nd Jan

The image below is called "Angel of Death" and it was painted by Rowland Smith and Harry Pye on New Year's Eve you can see it in the flesh if you come to an angels themed show curated by Ben Moore...
Don't miss out...
The p.v is Thursday 22nd January 2015 from 6pm to 9pm. The Candid Arts Trust, 3 Torrens Street, London, EC1V 1NQ RSVP by 20th January Email: Exhibiting Artists include: Miles Baker, Daniel Barter, Rob De Bank, Robert Baldwin, Angelica Cayzer, M.C. Ilamas, Joseph Ijoyemi, Kaire Kairek, Chloe Karayiannis, Hayden Kays, Lucy Rose Kerr, Ayse Kucuk, Philip Levine, Listen 04, Sarah Maple , Ben Moore , Victoria Perry , Lou Patrou, Harry Pye, Lisa Cody-Rapport, Solveig Skogseide, Bran Symondson, Barry Thompson, James Vaulkhard, Johan Wahlstrom, Art Wars, Ewa Wil
The image above ("Working Class Hero 2") is by Barry Thompson who is one of the show's contributors.

Wednesday, 24 December 2014

House of Fairy Tales event in Victoria Park

Come to The House of Fairy Tales "Make It Market" in Victoria Park on Sunday 28th of Dec (10am till 7pm) and buy art stuff made by Mel Cole, Tracey Williams, and Paul Hamilton!
There will also be the chance to buy framed collages made by Team Beswick & Pye (£60 each or 2 for £100)
Established by the artists Deborah Curtis and Gavin Turk, the House of Fairy Tales is a child-centred, artist-led project which draws on an extensive team of artists, performers, writers, educationalists, designers, musicians, film makers, dreamers and philosophers to create magical parallel worlds where learning is play and play is directed learning. Operating across a number of formats from workshops, publishing, advocacy and education packs, the House of Fairy Tales is about making education inclusive, inventive and fun.
Victoria Park Rd London E3 5SN House Of Fairy Tales: Artists Gavin Turk and Deborah Curtis’ magical House Of Fairy Tales are set to present the planet’s first ever ‘Make It Market’ at Winterville throughout December. Situated in the Kid’s Quarter, it will showcase a range of artists and bespoke creations and feature special stalls that have traveled through time and space from all over the known universe. KEY INFORMATION Age Limit: People of all ages are welcome into the town of Winterville, but we ask that children 12 or under are accompanied and kept an eye on inside. Safety: Winterville is a fenced event and will patrolled by friendly, professional event security staff for your peace of mind. Baby Facilities: There will be baby changing friendly toilets positioned throughout the site. Please ask one of our staff for directions. Buggies: Victoria Park is relatively flat, plus with our extra ground protection across site you will be fine in most areas. Food & Drink: You are welcome to bring your kid’s favourite food and drinks into Winterville, but remember there are also lots of stalls and stands on-site with kid-friendly snacks, meals and drinks. ABOUT HOUSE OF FAIRY TALES Established by the artists Deborah Curtis and Gavin Turk, the House of Fairy Tales is a child-centred, artist-led project which draws on an extensive team of artists, performers, writers, educationalists, designers, musicians, film makers, dreamers and philosophers to create magical parallel worlds where learning is play and play is directed learning. Operating across a number of formats from workshops, publishing, advocacy and education packs, the House of Fairy Tales is about making education inclusive, inventive and fun. News Just In: We can now confirm there will be some "Harry Pye Masks" on sale at the weekend for a mere £2 a go

Sunday, 21 December 2014

Fanny Janssen interviews Harry Pye for LAISSEZ FAIRE

In October Fanny Janssen (pictured above)interviewed Harry Pye for the Art & Design magazine LAISSEZ FAIRE
The full feature can be found here: And the address of their site is: Here are a few highlights from when Harry met Fanny...
Janssen: When did you become seriously interested in painting and why? Pye: "Well...I can't remember not enjoying drawing and painting. My parents, friends and teachers encouraged me from quite an early age. I think it was fun and exciting to do and a way of making myself and other people happy. When I was a teenager I took everything seriously including painting. Then when I was 19 I did a print making degree and then I got interested in writing scripts and making fanzines and I didn't really get round to painting again until I was 31. Now I think art helps me find things out about myself. Some philosophers believe the secret to happiness is to find out what you're good at and then set yourself projects or targets that are difficult but not impossible. I think that if I didn't paint I don't think my life would have much meaning."
How would you describe your style? "I had a show about ten years ago and at the opening I spoke to a friend of a friend. I said - what do you think and he answered that he thought it was all "very Harry Pye". I think he was right. I think my style is "very Harry Pye". I've always been a fan of Pierre Bonnard who is described as being "a painter of feelings". I'm sure most people would say my work was just Pop Art - they're probably right. But It would be nice if one day I was described as being a painter of feelings too."
Part of your style seems reliant on and loyal to collaborations with other artists, how important do you feel these relationships are and have been in your work? "Well, there's a Country song by Willie Nelson called On The Road Again and he sings about how the life he knows is making music with my friends and touring. And I'm someone who is at their happiest when painting with his friends. I've had lows, health problems and failed at lots of things but I feel really lucky to be friends with Gordon Beswick, Rowland Smith, Marcus Cope, Billy Childish and all the other people I've painted with. I've also collaborated with Julian Wakeling, Dan Connor and Jasper Joffe - we haven't painted together but we've collaborated in lots of other ways on different projects. I like working alone as well though."
How did you feel by being called the master of Lo Fi British Art by Jessica Lack in the Guardian? That’s quite a large responsibility, did things change for you after that title? "Well I always loved the Do It Yourself attitude that sprang up in the late 1970s. And then later on I was always a fan of fanzines and comics like Viz. I remember when Vic Reeves used to put on shows at the Albany Empire in Deptford, like Frank Sidebottom before him, they were all done with no budget. So I guess I was influenced by people like that and continue on from them in some ways. I think if someone in a magazine or a newspaper says something nice about you it's wise to enjoy it but not take it very seriously and just carry on as you were." What’s the most important thing you have learnt about art and the art world from all your years involved in it? "Well, I love getting ideas, doing stuff, failing and trying again, collaborating and everything like that but I don't love the art world. In fact it's hard to think of anything great about the artworld really aside from the odd free drink. A friend from Scotland, who lived in London for a bit, once asked me - why is it not enough to be good? She wanted to know why she couldn't just work hard and then succeed. And she talked about how silly/depressing the London Art Scene was an concluded that in order to do well you had to put on enormous big boots and wade through loads of shit. She's probably right. Being good and working hard is not enough in the art world. You have to put up with a lot!" Who has been your biggest influence, (artist or non-artist), and why?
"I loved Peter Cook and Andy Warhol - they both had their own magazine, drew cartoons, made films, loved music etc. I think the Monty Python team had a big impact on me. Matisse and Picasso and loads of other obvious ones. Gilbert & George and Bruce McLean's earlier stuff I like a lot. Edwyn Collins and Jerry Dammers had so many great ideas and were impressive the way they started record labels. I'm influenced by all sorts of people that you probably wouldn't expect such as Jo Spence, Mexican Day of the Dead artists, Van Gogh, Harold Pinter, Bacon & Freud, friends like Christopher Owen. I can't pick just one person but I think about things Jean Dubuffet said a lot." Is there any painting of yours that you wouldn’t sell to anyone at any price? "Nope." You’re not just a painter, you write, edit, curate and you make music too, is there anything you regret doing? "I think with every project there's a moment where you find yourself thinking: I'm never doing this again. But then it seems funny and comes good in the end."
I have a few favourite paintings I want to pass by you: Come on in the waters lovely which I think was on display at the Sartorial Gallery for getting better p.v, the life drawing class which I think was the Matisse selection? Harry and his dad’s Christmas dinner, despite both seemingly being topless and both looking a bit like gilbert and george (my first assumption before I saw the title), your adaptation on Henri Rousseau’s tiger painting and the Thatcher painting with the elephant in the room. I could mention a few more but these are ones I would happily see over and over again. Do you have any comments to make on my selection? "I like all those. Nice that you picked some I did on my own, the swimming pool one seems to be a lot of people's favourites. The Elephant one was for a show about Margret Thatcher ay Gallery Different. It got featured in The Standard and on the BBC news. I painted that with Gordon Beswick in about 4 hours so it was very rushed."
Talking about elephants in the room, you are going to be part of elefest starting soon, can you tell us about your project for that? "I've curated a little show of Ugly/Beautiful art that will be part of the festival. I'm really looking forward to it. Lots of great artists like Rose Gibbs, Mel Cole, Sir Peter Blake and Gavin Nolan are included. I'll also be launching the latest issue of The Rebel Magaizne at the P.V."
And after Elefest, are there any further exciting plans or collaborations set that we can look forward to seeing?
"I'm making an album with a really talented singer songerwriter called Francis Macdonald. I've sent him tapes of me talking about Mondrian and other art heroes and I've e-mailed him poems and lyrics which he's turned into songs. We're both really happy with the results. I had a strange time recently - my Landlord dies and so I have to find somewhere new to live, my Grandmother died and then my father died. So I guess I've had a lot to think about and write about. Not all the songs on our album are sad though. I think there's lots of humourous stuff on there too. I'm also co curating a show with my friend Kes Richardson. We've got some really great artists such as Dom Kennedy, Rose Wylie, Peter Doig, Billy Childish, and Chantal Joffe involved in a transcription project. It's going to be great. I've also made a painting with Marcus Cope called The Four Tates. Our painting will be exhibited in Pimlico Tube and will feature on the cover of a staff handbook that every single person who works for the Tate will recieve a copy of.