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.

Tuesday 2 December 2014

More Mikey

Have you heard Mikey Georgeson & The Civilised Scene's CD "Blood & Brambles" Featuring fab 11 tracks: Curtains of Zagra, Sometimes,Blackberries, Turn For The Worse, My Heart Bleeds, Level Is Complete, My Heroine, I See What You Did There, Youre Telling Me, Briony, Secrets of Zagra - the album is absolute corker!

Tuesday 4 November 2014

Žižek, Freud and The Marx Brothers

I've always been a big fan of both Woody Allen and The Marx Brothers. Woody pays tribute to The Marx Bros in several of his films including "Hannah & Her Sisters" and "Everyone Says I Love You." Woody's most celebrated film Anne Hall begins with a mention of Groucho...
"(An)important joke for me is one that's, uh, usually attributed to Groucho Marx but I think it appears originally in Freud's Wit and its Relation to the Unconscious. And it goes like this – I'm paraphrasing: Uh... "I would never wanna belong to any club that would have someone like me for a member." That's the key joke of my adult life in terms of my relationships with women." Groucho's joke doesn't actually appear in a Marx Brothers movie. Arthur Marx explained that his Dad was asked to join the Friars club and did so only to please an old pal (the actor Georgie Jessell.) Groucho was asked why he wasn't coming to the club and initially made jokes about not liking shaking hands and having his back slapped. It was only when they pleaded with him to visit the club that he wrote a letter featuring the now famous line. Groucho mentions the story in his autobiography but he gives the club a different name so as not to offend anyone.
I've never read Freud's Wit and it's Relation to the Unconscious but I have read a few books about the Marx Brothers and I can imagine Mr Freud would be interested if he knew how the act grew from a desire to please their mother and I'm sure he'd have something to say about Groucho's cigar. Recently I saw a clip of Marxist philosopher and cultural critic Slavoj Žižek explaining Freud's idea of the ID, the Ego and The Super Ego by talking about Groucho, Chico and Harpo. At first I enjoyed what he was saying as it seemed amusing but as he continued it irritated me slightly. I asked a friend who has studied Freud for his views. Like me he began enjoying playing along... "So Harpo would be the ID as he's an animal, unable to reflect, he's driven by desires like a child. Groucho is more intelligent and cynical. Whilst Harpo chases women like a dog chases cats he wouldn't know what to do with them whereas Groucho would. And whilst Groucho plays the authority figures like The Head Master or Famous Explorer, Harpo is mute and needs Chico to explain his actions..." When I asked about Harpo playing the harp my friend suggested that it could be likened to a bird singing but before too long we had to accept the comparison doesn't really work at all - and what about the 4th Marx brother - how come Zeppo doesn't get a mention?
If I'm going to claim Žižek isn't quite on the money I guess I should explain what I think Freud actually meant and what it was I think The Marx Brothers were actually displaying...
Freud studied the human mind and believed he had discovered mental structures and the forces that flowed between them. Freud believed these structures and forces control all human behavior - people don't have free will or choice - behavior is the result of unseen, unlearned and unconscious processes. He suggested there were 3 structures: The Id, The Ego and The Super Ego. The Id is the earliest and most basic component of personality. At birth the baby is only an Id. A Baby has wants and needs but can't express them in words, in Freud's system anything it can't verbalizes unconscious. When the Id wants something it wants it immediately - it works on the Pleasure Principle: "Whatever gives pleasure is good", and since it cannot consciously express itself the Id generates an image of the object it desires. But it cannot satisfy it's needs itself, the Id is completely unconscious and needs the ego to deal with reality. The Ego is Freud's second structure - it operates on the reality principle: "What is real is good". Together the ego and Id form an yin/yang relationship The Id generates a psychic energy called libido and creates and image of what it wants. The ego regulates the energy and searches for something that will satisfy the ID. Although the two process compliment each other it's not a perfect match - The ego can't always find what the Id wants so it tries different substitutes (in the same way a mother can't always stop her baby crying with a dummy.) As it learns right from wrong, the ego creates a third mental component - "a super ego". Like The Id, The Super Ego can't distinguish "imagined" from "real" and consequently it punishes you equally for a bad idea or for a bad action. Composed of the conscious (what you should not do)and the Ego ideal (what you should do) the super ego is in direct opposition to the Id (what you want to do). The conflict produced by the fighting caused between the Id and super ego caused is called anxiety. For Freud, human behaviour is a function of the ego mediating between the forces of ID and the super ego
Psychoanalysis is the analysis of the mind, the goal is to indentify how your inner structures relate to each other - this is not something you can do yourself (unless you're Freud) you would need someone to be there and guide you through the process - you lay on a coach, and say anything that comes into your mind, no guidance is given so this is free association, you're free to say whatever is in your conscious this is thought to give voice to the unconscious Id and a portion of the ego which is unconscious - but it's a difficult process the ego wants to avoid anxiety so it puts up resistance. The analyst analyses the defences of the ego and helps guide you to underlying truths - the primarily painful experiences from your childhood. Freud believed all current problems were based in childhood. Patients were required to see Freud for an hour a day, every day, 6 days a week for a year or more weekly hour long session for as many years as needed.
Rather than seeing him as a wild child my take on Harpo was that he was kind old man who would clown around to make young people laugh. I like the way he would take on those much bigger than himself - Harpo's message to me was more "don't let people wind you up, enjoy yourself while you can". In Animal Crackers (1930)Harpo plays the part of The Professor. He appears wearing a top hat and cape. He shoots at a clock and some statues as though he were a hunter and they were animals - was he sending up huntsman or just being silly? Chico (who got his name because he used to chase the chicks) plays an incredibly long piano solo to an unimpressed crowd of people including Groucho. Feeling bored Groucho asks when he asks when the song will end, Chico boasts he once kept it up for three days. In Horse Feathers (1932)all the brothers perform a version of "Everyone Says I Love You". When Groucho and Chico perform the song it's played for laughs but when Harpo performs the song on his harp he does so to seranade a women in a window above, and it's a very beautiful moment. In Duck Soup (1933) Harpo plays the part of a spy called Pinky. In the film's most famous scene he ingeniously mirrors every single move that Groucho makes.
I love the fact that fast talking Groucho can still make us laugh in a silent scene. Zizek says that Chico represents Ego as he's "calculating, egotistical and rational" whilst Harpo's mix of childlike innocence and violence/corruption perfectly sums up The Id. Groucho's "nervous hyper activeness" makes him the Super Ego. But what about Zeppo who appears in the first 5 films as the romantic lead? And what's rational about the way Chico pretends to be Italian? Maybe Zizek would answer my questions in the style of Groucho as say "These are my opinions. And if you don't like them, I've got others"? . "In Freud's view, jokes (the verbal and interpersonal form of humor) happened when the conscious allowed the expression of thoughts that society usually suppressed or forbade. The superego allowed the ego to generate humor. A benevolent superego allowed a light and comforting type of humor, while a harsh superego created a biting and sarcastic type of humor. A very harsh superego suppressed humor altogether. Freud’s humor theory, like most of his ideas, was based on a dynamic among id, ego, and super-ego. The commanding superego would impede the ego from seeking pleasure for the id, or to momentarily adapt itself to the demands of reality, a mature coping method. Moreover, Freud followed Herbert Spencer's ideas of energy being conserved, bottled up, and then released like so much steam venting to avoid an explosion. Freud was imagining psychic or emotional energy, and this idea is now thought of as the relief theory of laughter". I'm sure there are many other essays, lectures and books about comedy out there somewhere. I wouldn't go as far as Groucho who famously said "Whatever it is I'm against it" but I do think there is more wit and warmth in the scene in Hannah and Her Sisters where Woody goes to see Duck Soup at the cinema. Having tried joining various religions and attempting suicide when Woody sees the four Marx Brothers he has a change of heart:"I got hooked on the film and I started to feel - how can you think about killing yourself - isn't it so stupid? look at all the people up there on the screen. They are really funny and what is the worst is true -there's no God - you only go round once and that's it - well don't you want to be part of the experience? I decided I should stop ruining my life searching for answers I'm never going to get and just enjoy it while it lasts!"

Wednesday 29 October 2014

Beswick and Pye's Film & Comedy Night 6/11/2014

On the first Thursday of November Team Beswick and Pye are having their very own film and comedy night. Come to: Westland Place studios (5 minutes walk from Old Street Tube) between 6.30pm and 9.30pm and enjoy Free Stand-Up comedy provided by Sinead Wheeler, Luke Oliver and Erin Swanson plus screenings of "Rio", "Harry's Haircut", "Jolie Laide" AND we will also be showing work by genius film maker Andrew Clarke and artist/legend Peter Harris.
Platform 39 offers an exciting programme of Adobe creative short courses, photography, artist led workshops, exhibitions and events at Westland Place Studios - one of the oldest established artists studios in Hoxton. A hive of creativity; Westland Place Studios are home to an eclectic mix of painters, printmakers, sculptors, illustrators, ceramicists and designers. The Platform 39 project space presents a varied programme of visual art practice spanning contemporary fine art, design and social practice art. Westland Place Studios, 3-11 Westland Place N1 7LP

Friday 24 October 2014

"The Four Tates" painting by Harry Pye with Marcus Cope

This poster of The Four Tates painting is currently on display in Pimlico Tube Station. The painting was designed by Harry Pye and painted by Pye with lots of help from Marcus Cope. The painting was made for a competition to design an image for the Tate Staff Hand Book. Every single person who works at either Tate Modern, Tate Liverpool, Tate Britain, or Tate St Ives will receive a free copy of the book. Thanks to Laura Wright, (the CEO of Tate Enterprises) Pye & Cope were able to celebrated being announced as the winners last week with a nice bottle of champagne.
Above: "Cheers" says Harry
Above: "Cheers" says Marcus.
The man responsible for getting the poster of The Four Tates in the tube station is hard working Ben Moore (See photo above). Mr Moore has also curated an accompanying exhibition at The Framer's Gallery of Windmill Street. The exhibition is called "The Art Below Group Show" and it runs until the end of October. Artists featured in the show include: Victoria Perry, Nadia Lee Knight, Will Tuck, and Nadine Talalla.

Interview with Mikey Georgeson Part 3

Part 3 of "Mikey Georgeson answers 100 Harry Pye questions"
(Photo above taken by Andrew Petrie)
(Cartoon below from Martin Pickles Dot Com)

Saturday 18 October 2014

PART TWO of Mikey Georgeson interview

Mikey Georgeson answers 100 of Harry Pye's questions Part Two...
(Photo above taken by Mr Andrew Petrie. See more:

Wednesday 8 October 2014

Cathal Smyth at Wilton's Music Hall

Cathal Smyth (the artist formally known as Chas Smash from Madness) has just released his first solo album A Comfortable Man. Tonight and Tomorrow he's performing the album in it's entirety backed by The Joe Duddell Ensemble at The Wilton Music Hall near Cable St (nearest tube Aldgate East).
Curator MC Llamas has rounded up 50 artists (including friends of The Rebel such as Hugh Mendes, Kiera Bennett, and Hannah Bays) to make work in response to Cathal's new songs. Last night there was an opening/launch party type thing and I was lucky enough to see the exhibition and see him perform his new material. I was very impressed indeed. It would be an understatement to say there was a lot of love in the room for Cathal. Each song got a great reception.
It was all good but there's one song called "Are The Children Happy?" which is an absolute killer. Obviously Madness had several songs over the years such as Yesterday's Men and One Better Day that tugged at the heart strings but this one particular song is much more powerful.
Doors open tonight at 7.30pm and tickets are £35 Some of the artworks are being sold in aid of a Hepatitis C charity If you go along expecting Baggy Trousers and Night Boat To Cairo you're in for a shock - these songs are very honest, open and touching - they came from his heart and will go to yours. His singing and songwriting skills have never been better. I think this album deserves to do very well.