Tuesday, 22 May 2018

"Come And Stay With Me" (a.k.a. "Vincent van Gogh on his way to work")

Above: Come and Stay With Me by Harry Pye May 2018. Every artist is influenced by other artists. Sometimes it's surprising who inspired who. In Vincent van Gogh's later years he became very interested in Japanese prints that depicted plum orchards or celebrated the arrival of blossom. He was amused by the way Japanese artists gave the impression that making their work was "as simple as breathing" and as straightforward as butting up a shirt in the morning. Vincent's versions of these prints tended to feature more thrusting brush stokes and he'd swap some colours around so pink might become orange, he'd also paint black outlines round trees. On the first of May 1888 Vincent wrote a letter to his brother Theo to thank him for sending him some money (on this occasion he'd received a 50 franc note). In the letter he mentions he has discovered this new house that is yellow on the outside, white on the inside, and has a red brick floor. About 4 weeks later, Vincent writes to his brother again and this time he asks if Theo would mind contacting his friend Paul Gauguin? He says let Gauguin know that the yellow house has 2 bed rooms and he adds "You know that I have always thought it idiotic the way painters live alone. you always lose by being isolated." Paul Gauguin was based in Brittany at this point. Gauguin was a friend of Theo's who Vincent had got to meet in Paris. They got on ok but P.G. had found V.v.G a bit intense. There was also a bit of a problem in that P.G. was an atheist and VvG was the type of chap who believed every single word of the bible was true.
Vincent started to go on walks to a place called Tarascon and, my understanding is that he began to get a bit obsessed with the idea that if Paul Gauguin did come and stay with him in the yellow house all his problems would be solved he wouldn't have to worry about money any more and Gauguin would encourage his work and give him advice and support.
I think Vincent was happy fantasising about a best possible scenario of the two artists being under the same roof. Throughout the Summer Van Gogh started making paintings that were intended to decorate Gauguin's bedroom. He writes to another friend that he's excited about a dozen or so paintings he's made of Sunflowers that feature a yellow that will blaze forth on various backgrounds.
By September the Yellow house has been done up to Vincent's satisfaction and he paints his bedroom and then he does a self portrait which again he intends to give to Gauguin as a present.
A short time later Vincent writes in one letter that he is out of money lives on just bread and that he drinks 23 cups of coffee a day. I think when Vincent tells Paul that he paints he does so as though he's a sleep walker I think Gauguin gets cold feet about the whole idea of living with him and it dawns on him that there might be trouble ahead. However, Theo van Gogh manages to sell one of Gauguin's paintings for him and, knowing that his brother isn't the easiest person to live with, he promises Paul that if he does go and stay with Vincent he will actually pay him 150 francs a month. Vincent felt bad that he was financially dependant on his brother but dreamed that one day his paintings would be highly thought of: "I cannot help it that my paintings don't sell. Nevertheless the time will come when people see that they are worth more than the price of paint" Many, many years after his death Francis Bacon made a series of works inspired by Van Gogh's image of a painter on the way to work.
Bacon said he loved the way Vincent lied to get to the truth. But Gauguin couldn't see the quality that Bacon saw. Gauguin believed Van Gogh should use his imagination rather than exaggerate what he saw in front of him. To put it in a nutshell - he wanted van Gogh to be more like him. The whole idea of Vincent painting himself on the way to work and deluding himself that Gauguin will be the expediter of his dreams is something I find very interesting. "Life is a comedy to those who think and a tragedy to those who feel." In my painting my intention isn't to make fun of Vincent - what I'm doing is presenting him as I see him which is like a child whose head is full of dreams and whose happiness is based on wishful thinking and delusion. In my collage/painting I was trying to capture that joyful, optimistic, childlike sunshiney feeling we get - it's the high we experience just before everything downhill.
Here is a song called "Come And Stay with Me" sung by Francis Macdonald. I wrote the words and Francis composed and performed the music.The track appears on our album Bonjour.
The painting "Come And Stay With Me" will feature in a group show ("Push The Boat Out") which takes place in the last week of July at The Art Academy, 155 Walworth Road, London, SE17 1RS

Tuesday, 15 May 2018

Rutlemania returns to the U.K.

Above: Fans of the Rutles go crazy for Ron Nasty, Barry Wom & their pals.
Last Wednesday I ventured to Highbury Corner N.5 to see what's left of The Rutles play The Garage - I had a totally fantastic, "Ten out of Ten" evening and left with a spring in my step. Highlights of the night included Barry Wom's paper tearing and some amazing guitar playing by "Rutling" Ken Thornton.
It was surprisingly moving to be part of the sell out crowd go wild in the aisles as we sung along to firm faves from the pre-Fabs such as Cheese and Onions.
If you haven't seen them. Don't panic as there are a few dates on this tour left...
Friday the 18th of May: Leeds, Saturday 19th of May: Godalming, Monday 21st May: Wolverhampton, Tuesday May 22nd: Cambridge, Wednesday 23rd May: Hull,Friday 25th May: Newcastle upon Tyne,Saturday 26th: Glasgow, Wednesday 30th May: Morcombe, Thursday 31st May:Carlisle, Friday 1st June: Liverpool, Saturday 2nd June: Hertford, Saturday June 16th: Caernarfon. For more info: Tickets
Meanwhile, both albums by The Rutles are well worth buying...
The first album features; I Must be In Love, Ouch, Living in Hope, Let's Be Natural, and Cheese & Onions.
The fantastic follow up features; Questionnaire, Now She's Left You, Easy Listening, and Eine Kleine Middle Klasse Musik

Saturday, 5 May 2018

Secret 7" 2018 in aid of the mental health charity Mind

Secret 7'' takes seven iconic tracks and presses each one 100 times to 7” vinyl. Hundreds of the world’s leading artists and creatives then create unique sleeve artwork for each record. All 700 records will go on display in an free exhibition at The Jetty in Greenwich Peninsula from 8th June 2018, at the end of which (24th June) they all go on sale for the uniform price of £50. The catch? The identity of the sleeve designer remains a closely guarded secret until it’s in the buyers hands. Therein lies the secret. All profits from the sale will go to mental health charity Mind. The tracks for 2018 are: The Clash - I’m Not Down Eurythmics - I Saved The World Today Jeff Buckley - Lover, You Should’ve Come Over Jimi Hendrix - Castles Made of Sand London Grammar - Help Manic Street Preachers - No Surface All Feeling Primal Scream - Damaged
Among the 700 artwork contributors for 2018 are: Sir Anish Kapoor, Sir Paul Smith, Jake & Dinos Chapman, Jeremy Deller, Ragnar Kjartansson, Polly Morgan, Paul Simonon, Pennie Smith, Es Devlin, Rana Begum, Stuart Semple, Mark Mothersbaugh, Sarah Maple, Modern Toss, Rob Ryan, Jean Jullien, StormStudio, The Designers Republic™, Malcolm Garrett, Barnbrook, Iain Forsyth & Jane Pollard, Harry Pye, Sandra Turnbull, Andy Vella and many many more: https://secret-7.com/page/our-contributors
With unrivalled panoramic views of the River Thames, The Jetty is the ideal setting for the new summertime show, providing a unique backdrop for guests to enjoy the exhibition this year. They'll be food, drinks and events served up along with all the artwork.
Secret 7" 2018 is made possible with the support of Sony Music, Greenwich Peninsula and Squarespace. Visit www.secret-7.com for full details.
The address of the venue is: The Jetty, Greenwich Peninsula, London SE10 0FL. The Jetty is a short walk from North Greenwich tube station on the Jubilee line. Alternatively the Thames Clippers River Bus to North Greenwich Pier or the Emirate Air Line cable cars will drop you right by the show with added excitement.
Times & Dates: Open from 11am until 7:30pm on the following days; Friday 8th of June, Saturday 9th of June, Sunday 10th of June, Monday 11th of June, Tuesday 12th of June, Wednesday 13th of June, Thursday 14th of June, Friday 15th of June, Sat 16th of June, Sunday 17th of June, Monday 18th of June, Tuesday 19th June, Wednesday 20st June, Thursday 21st June, Friday 22nd June, Saturday 23rd June. And then finally on sale day: Sunday 25th of June it's open 10am until 2pm.

Wednesday, 2 May 2018

Introducing Ignacio Miranda

135 artists featured in "Inside Job" which took place on the 7th and 8th of April on Level 6 of Tate Modern and was visited by over 3,000 people. The Rebel Magazine has been chatting to some of the Tate staff who showed their artwork. Today it's the turn of Ignacio Miranda
Q) Where did you grow up and what kind of education did you receive? "I grew up in a small town just outside Bilbao, in Northern Spain. I made it all the way to Uni but I got restless and dropped out during my first year as I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do with my life! Because I was studying English at the time, I decided to come to London to practice the language as the perfect excuse for an adventure… And 24 years later, I am still here."
Q) How long have you been working at the Tate and what's the best show you've seen there? "Time flies at the speed of light. I have been working at Tate for almost 14 years now as a Visitor and Information Assistant and many great and not so great exhibitions have come and gone in that time. If you are sensitive to things, you can always pick up on something that can be inspirational or technically revealing, even if the themes or the visual content is not your thing. One that sticks out ( and it is a blatant and shameless source of inspiration for my painting at Inside Job ) is the Lichtenstein retrospective a few years ago. I was in heaven for over 3 months, as he is one of my art heroes. Being in the space surrounded by all those iconic works and much more was so uplifting, I think I cried inside when the show came to an end! I loved POP LIFE as an exhibition too, and all the little controversies that came with it. It was brimming with light and colour and cheekiness and clever stuff. I like art that gets people talking and it’s a bit provocative sometimes!"
Q) What can you tell me about the work that you exhibited in the Tate Modern show? "My painting for INSIDE JOB is called WE ROSE UP SLOWLY and as I mentioned earlier, it is directly inspired by one of pop art’s iconic images created by Roy Lichtenstein. I decided to create a brand new work for the exhibition rather than apply with something that was ready made. I had about 5 weeks to finish the large canvas and I enjoyed the deadline factor of it. In the original, we have your standard square jawed American hunk and pretty girl from the 1950s about to embrace in this dreamlike setting. What I did as a personal twist is remove the girl and swap her for another ginger hunk. I subverted the conventional expectation and added my own personal and visual experience as a gay man in the XXI century. The image is very pop and bright and looks like a fragment out of a comic book or graphic novel. I retained the original text which gives the piece its title. I had a lot of fun and it was a thrill to experience people’s reaction and feedback to it during the running of the exhibition. I love it that Tate has such emphasis on diversity and inclusion, I wanted to celebrate that support that I have felt all these years by including some boy on boy romance!"
Q) How can people find out more about your work - do you have a website or do Instagram? "I am currently in the process of creating a website for my creative output ( I think this is many artists’ Achilles heel, the working on the promotional side of things when you’d rather be creating!! ) but as it stands right now, Instagram is a bit my home for showcasing old and new stuff. I enjoy the immediacy of it and you can get to know me and my work a little bit better through it. My profile name there is iggstamatic."
Q) What's the best thing about working for the Tate? "The best thing about working at Tate is not just one thing but many. First and quite importantly, it gives me the flexibility to keep creating and making more of my art as I am now part time and the work-leisure-creative balance has been pretty much achieved nicely ( always room for improvement on this one, obviously ) . Also being exposed to all these new exhibitions and display changes, it is a luxury and privilege that we cannot really take for granted. I have my eyes peeled for anything all those artists may be able to give me in terms of technical knowledge and experience and all kinds of new tips that I could incorporate to my artistic practice at some point.The atmosphere at work is most of the time chilled and relaxed and we are really a big family and that is a great thing to remember. All families have their little moments obviously but I feel at home here so that says it all really."
"Inside Job": An exhibition of art by Tate Staff took place on Level 6 of the Blavatnik Building of Tate Modern, Bankside, London SE1 9TG