Icons

Religion's mad, innit?

Such a profound statement that, but what more would you expect from someone with a mind as evolved as mine. 'Is this a post about Religion?' you may ask. Or, 'This prick hasn't updated  his blog in nearly ten months, how dare he come over all Proust.'  I couldn't blame you.

Greater and stupider men than myself have pondered the existence of a higher being, and I'm not going to join them. It's a daft conversation if you ask me. Some people believe, others don't. It's when one or the other starts forcing what they believe on the chaps in the other camp that the pie and chips hit the floor.

Have I just sorted the problem of how to achieve World Peace? I think I have.

Nah, this is about iconography. Being Greek, all houses have walls that are chock full of religious icons of some Saint or other. Some God, or whatever. They have their own sense of beauty, and are there to keep the home owner safe and watch them incase he or she does something stupid. Yes, Greeks are petrified of God, so much so that the Orthodox church has a say in the countries politics far more than any other state that I know of. They should fuck off out of it, if you ask me, but that's another story/rant.

I like icons. They remind me of when I was a nipper in Greece and give me a pang of nostalgia, but I don't have any real affinity with organised religion as such so feel a hypocrite sticking them up in my house.

I solved this problem by doing an illustration of Brian Wilson in the form of a Hellenic icon. For me, he is an icon, and the orchestral arrangements on Pet Sounds are as close to Heaven as anything I've ever heard. So perhaps religion is what you want to make of it. You believe in your way and I'll believe in mine. If you believe some fella who stands in the park with a teapot under his arm shouting at pigeons for not voting is the Messiah, I'm not one to argue. Just let me see beauty where I see it, and let's all have a hug.

So, if like me, you like the idea of having something spiritual hanging up but find the prospect of a moody, bearded man staring at you while you eat crisps on the sofa unappealing, buy one of my Brian Wilson giclee prints. Get in touch. They may help you find inner peace.

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Solo Show - 'Turn and Face The Strange

I've gone and got myself a solo show, which is nice. I say 'I' got it, it wasn't me. It was a lovely lady in Canada. That's where the show is, see.

They even designed me a poster, which was good of them.

They even designed me a poster, which was good of them.

The show comprises of a series of minimalist collages exploring how people deal with the surreal situations they find themselves in. It's quite relevant to today, I think. Imagine ten years ago telling someone the leader of the free world would be a bloated reality TV star, or that The UK would leave the EU at arguably its most unstable time since the war. Comprehend what you'd think if a few years back someone would tell you that 1% of the global population has more wealth than the other 99% combined, or the British Government is being propped up by creationist terrorists. How would you react if you saw a live debate in parliament where a bunch of slags voted to indiscriminately bomb a country, killing children, as a solution to combatting home-grown terrorists? Yes. It is a truly horrific and bizarre time to be alive.

I am interested to see how people react; be it apathy, anger, proactivity, acceptance, or protest. For me, a giant floating red ball is about as easy to imagine as Trump pulling out of the Paris Climate Agreement, or a bomb going off at a concert attended by kids is as unfathomable to me as a massive geometric triangle that obscures everything. Do we fight against it, or accept it as part of modern living? Working around it so as not to cause a fuss?



The show is on at The Green Room at eBar until July 8th. 

Like Me As You Do exhibit at The Scandinavian Collage Museum

Scandinavia is ace. They make beautifully dark drama, have the best work to life balance on the planet and their furniture is sharper than one of Cary Grant's ties. Very much the opposite to the UK, where we have Hollyoaks, Orwellian working conditions and DFS.

It's also home to The Scandinavian Collage Museum, which is in Norway. Their latest exhibit, 'Like Me as You Do' features work from collage artists all over the globe. I'm one of them. Imagine that?

The piece I submitted is below, and can be viewed in the flesh at the museum until 26th March. If anyone's interested in buying it afterwards, fire me a message.

 

They do a little interview on all the featured artists to delve into their warped, fantastical minds.  Here's mine transcribed:

Who are you?

An illustrator, collage artist, whose work occasionally pops up around town. I have a genuine desire to put a message across whilst also making people have a giggle at the absurdity of life. We live in a truly hideous time, economically, politically and socially, and I feel art is a perfect medium to make people take stock of that. If I can be part of that in a little way then I'll have achieved something in this life.

What work do you most enjoy doing?

I fell into collage a year or so ago. I have always illustrated and printed, and found that collage worked well with my silkscreen prints. I soon realised that collage was an incredibly effective medium to create work that I want to put across. As for a style, I enjoy minimalist work as well as more complicated surrealist stuff, depending what the project is. The Pop Art movement, as well as the Punk ethos, are a continued influence.

What's your favourite collage artist or work?

The Dada artist Hannah Hoch, I feel, made collage an actual art form rather than something people did as a past time. I can look at her work for hours and always see something new. Peter Blake, Eduardo Paolozzi and Richard Hamilton took the way of working with collage to a higher level. Peter Blake in particular is a different gravy. His work is consistently stunning, and he mixes media better than anyone out there.

Away from collage, I am fascinated by the Atelier Popular movement. These were a bunch of students who thought 'fuck this' and used their gift to drive forward social change whilst creating posters that are cooler than Steve McQueen's fridge.

What memorable responses have you had from your work?

Like all artists, I enjoy hearing from people who dig my work. When you get that it says that person is on your wavelength and, as such, validates what you do. I equally love offending people with my work. Similarly to the first point, whoever doesn't get it to the point of being openly offended deserves to feel like that and my art has worked again.

Before Christmas I did an art fair that happened to be in Liverpool Cathedral. Aside from some great local artists, and plenty of people who liked my work and were interesting to engage with, there were lots of craft stalls which I can't really abide. As such, there was a lot of the craft crew who would stop by my stall and make their annoyance at my stuff felt. These are the same wankers who think a 'Keep Calm and Carry On' poster is edgy and looks good in their kitchen. One woman looked at my 'COCK' screen print and asked if I had permission to sell something so vulgar in a house of God. I told her that me selling a rude print would've been far from the worst think that had happened in the building.

What is your dream project?

I'm asked this a fair bit and I always give some daft answer like 'illustrating Jeremy Clarkson's execution' to hide the fact I don't actually know the answer. If I like the vibe of something I will undertake it. Without sounding sanctimonious, I take everything I do as a big project. To that end, I hope to keep on getting my work to as many people as possible and making them think, take action and laugh.

 

The exhibit runs from 25th January to 26th March.

Now is Not the Time for Generic Art

Like millions who are fortunate to own a TV, I watched the Trump inauguration yesterday. I didn't want to, knowing full well it would make the inside of my stomach lining shoot out of my arse, but my wife persuaded me. It was horrible, like watching a beloved pet drown, only with lots of plastic surgery and expensive coats.

Yesterday was a funny day. I woke up, fed my newborn son, got through some emails before taking him for a walk around the local garden centre. He liked it there. He's only two weeks old but has a sense of calm about him that can only come with being on this planet for less than a month. We then sat down together and watched a man who looks like a bad guy in a Disney Movie being effectively handed over the keys to the free world.

As this played out, I looked at my son as I heard the subtle diatribe coming from my television set, and a thought chilled my bones; there is a significant chance he would be eight years old before this maniac gives up his tenure as President. What world will this waste of skin leave for him to inherit? Indeed, will there be a world left? I exaggerate on the last point, but only slightly.

I got angry. My son could've been born into a time where the first President he remembers would have been Obama. A strong, hardworking man with ethics who, let's face it, wouldn't have had a sniff of even being in the Senate 40 years ago. I'm UK based, but watched eight years ago when he was sworn in. There was a palpable sense of hope and acknowledgement that the US had finally got it together and the world would be OK.

Yesterday's events were a different box of cheese altogether. It resembled something from an apocalyptic, dystopian novel that even Orwell or Ballard couldn't have imagined. A bloated man who looks like a condom full of satsumas preached soundbites behind bulletproof glass to a crowd of acolytes too thick to clap. Men in dark glasses stood visibly amongst the crowd looking menacing. There were lots of them.

He spoke a lot about 'God'. That seemed to get a reaction from the trailer trash women who yelped, getting wetter than Whitney Houston's last spliff as their new leader lied to them. There were a lot of cowboy hats in the crowd and camouflage jackets. Trump himself even looked bemused. His arrogant swagger seemed slightly subdued. His expression was that of a buffoon who had gone to far and now couldn't go back, like John Goodman in King Ralph. Obama looked broken, his wife angry. He must feel like Gandhi handing over the reigns to Pol Pot. All his work being irrevocably destroyed in months, and purely out of malice.

Make no mistake, this is the start of a regime. Times look dark, very dark. The leader of the biggest super power is now a man who openly mocks the disabled, is racist, and has absolutely no respect for women. He is a sex fiend with the IQ of a gibbon, and exhibits all the hallmarks of a Wall Street sociopath - like Patrick Bateman filled with butter. 

But in a sadistic way I am strangely optimistic. I have no illusions that these are difficult times, and there is a significant chance that by the time my son is being potty trained it will be in an Anderson Shelter. But I am an artist, and this is a beautiful time to be an artist. 

See, the world has lost its fucking mind. At home, we have Thatcher-Lite dismantling the NHS whilst isolating us from the Global Community when we need them most. Slags like Nigel Farage are celebrities, Hell bent on destroying the fabric of our society for personal gain. On top of all this, Gary Barlow is still alive.

However it is times like this that great art is created. Out of austerity and lack of hope comes some of the finest art this fetid rock has ever seen. It is now time for artists to earn their salt and prove their mettle.

This is not a time to produce generic art for front rooms. Quote posters and the like need to fuck off.

We have a gift, and therefore obligation, to use this arse gravy of a situation to kick against. When society is so dumbed down it is the job of the artist to inform them. When they are depressed it is down to the artist to make them smile. When they are angry the artist can help direct their hatred to the right channel. Artists have always been the alternative, truthful media. It is now more than ever that walls need to be painted, posters put up, prints made, 'zines distributed, albums recorded and plays written.

Perhaps if this happens (and I know it will) my son can grow up and have something to be proud of living through. He can look back and feel glad of the creativity and rebellion that came out of such trying times, and feel comfortable the world will be a richer and better place for it.

'Hate' Mr. Marbles Silkscreen Print and Paper Collage on Card  

'Hate'
Mr. Marbles
Silkscreen Print and Paper Collage on Card
 

First Blog Post

My first Blog Post is simply to tell you there is fuck all on my Blog as of yet. You probably know that already though, yeah?

I've been told I need to write one though. I'm not happy about it, but as a muse and confident told me, a Blog is a good way of connecting with your audience and keeping them posted on what you are doing. It also gets people to your site so it isn't as empty as a pool party thrown by Michael Barrymore. On the contrary, what we want here is a P. Diddy pool party - with lots of bling, a rowdy crowd and French Champagne - not a body floating in the shallow end, used condoms and the reek of poppers.

What to expect here is simple: art, news from Studio Marbles and the occasional rant. There'll probably be a lot of ranting to tell you the truth. There will be a lot of swearing here. Sorry about that, I'm from a broken home. If it offends you then fuck off somewhere else.

So that's my first Blog Post. There is fuck all on here at the moment, but there will be more soon. I fuckin' promise.