Writers

Some years back, I was in a book shop in Edinburgh. There I spied a box of postcards containing the '100 Greatest Writers' or some such nonsense. I bought it as the photos were lovely, took out the ones I liked and dotted them about (a bookshelf, the fridge, one of Hunter S. Thompson next to my bed that I kiss every night. Only kidding. I didn't put one on the fridge), and forgot about the box.

Over a year ago I was pottering around my studio and I found the box with the remaining postcards in. A lightbulb appeared above my beautiful head. The majority of my work this year has been delving into the minds of people I respect. Having been an avid reader since I learned how to do it, it stood to reason that I'd put a series together exploring what makes the minds of the men and women who have given me, and so many others, so much.

I looked through the set and was surprised that some of my personal favourite writers weren't included. Irvine Welsh, for example, and JG Ballard. So I set about sourcing photos of the missing and added them to the existing postcards.

Franz Kafka

Franz Kafka

Hunter S Thompson

Hunter S Thompson

I spent the next year collating ephemera that was relevant and the series is finally finished. There will inevitably a few more to add to the stable, but the 25 I have made have taken near on 18 months to complete, on and off.

Some will be for sale via Saatchi Art (when I can be arsed updating it) and I will most likely make some postcards of them for any bookshops who may be interested. further down the line, don't be surprised if you see them pasted up outside libraries and bookshops up and down the country.

The entire series is on my website under 'Recent Work'

And no, JK fuckin' Rowling isn't included. So grow up.

Trump and the KKK

Increasingly more these days, I find my work is becoming more political. I wouldn't say I'm a political artist, but it stands to reason in this tumultuous day and age politics will seep into my work. I'm happy with that.

It also stands to reason that when the world gives you someone as fuckin' ridiculous as Donald Trump, it is your duty as an artist to draw attention to what a hideous, dangerous, and demonic man he is.

So after the recent events in Charlottesville, I felt compelled to make up yet another collage of this arse-nugget. I don't think I have used one person so much in my collage work as I have Trump which, when you think about it, is tragic. Nevertheless, given what occurred that day, and the subsequent comments from the President of the Free World, I went ahead and started cutting. Here is what I did:

The True Republican

The True Republican

A lot of my work this year has been delving into what motivates people - what goes on in their heads, so to speak. This is nothing ground-breaking - we know the man is a horrible racist. But this post is about sourcing materials for the collage.

Your bread and butter as a collage artist is your paper stock. My studio is full of old magazines, pornos, National Geographic magazines, photographs - name it and I'll have it. Getting a photo of Trump is easy. Not since Princess Diana or Dave Benson Phillips has one person been photographed so much. His official White House portrait was in a newspaper in my local coffee shop so I snaffled it, took it home and cut it out. I decided to focus on the upper part of his ball-sack, orange face, and the sinister gaze he possessed. It is worth noting how truly chilling the look in his eyes is, and on his official portrait. He holds the stance of a dictator, and I think a lot should be read into that.

Sourcing images of the KKK was a lot more difficult. I raided my filing cabinets and had nothing. I knew I wouldn't. I am of a pretty hard constitution, but refuse to have anything so vile in my house. So I went on eBay and found, rather easily I might add, some old photos of 'The Klan'. I reluctantly bought them, but felt a sense of unease in doing so. Would this look bad on some file the government have on me? Would the person selling them think I was some white supremacist? Or, worse, would he himself be a fascist and think I was part of his brotherhood? The shit you put yourself as an artist.

The photos arrived and I found the one that was perfect. It fitted, and the spikes of their ridiculous hoods made some sort of medieval crown almost. The fact all of the Klansmen are looking directly at the camera, as is Trump, was the icing on the cake, and got my message across.

As I cut them out, my mind wandered somewhat as it does. You start thinking. I looked at these people, and truly, truly hated them. I'd never met them, nor would I (hopefully, given the age of the photograph, many of them will be dead now), but you don't have to step in dog-shit to know it stinks, do you?

Once the hatred subsided, I got to a sense of fear. Although these inbred hicks probably aren't around anymore, the Klan does still exist. And I find something truly chilling about a group of people meeting up through a common, shared hatred of their fellow man, and donning ridiculous robes in a cowardly showing of unity.

What scares me more is their influence. They are in the senate, their British counterparts (although under a different name, and without this comical get-up) are all over parliament and in our pubs, and, worst of all, they have an honorary grand wizard leading the worlds largest superpower.

Anyway, if my collage didn't get the message across, here's the now legendary performance of 'Klu Klux Klan' by the incredible Steel Pulse.