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.

Studio Marbles

Although very private, I thought it'd be nice to show you my studio. Where I work, think, drink, cry, shout and (sometimes) collapse in a state of existential dread. Whenever friends come around they always want to poke around there. I've deduced they're stealing from me but there is no evidence as of yet.

My studio is like Richard Hammond - not big and not clever. It's a better driver than Hammond, and, where it behind a wheel, wouldn't crash. Unlike the afore mentioned gobshite, my studio has a lot of character to it. Let's have a look at some of the things in there, shall we?

1. Desk

1. Desk

This came from my nan's and, in an aspect of melancholy straight out of a Hallmark movie, is the desk I used to practice drawing on as a nipper. It's teak, it's massive and can accommodate the nonsense that is my working area. Underneath is crammed full of books I have sourced from, in the main, charity shops. I'm pretty sure a family of possums has made a nest down there as well.

2. Chair

2. Chair

I used to have a well worn, teak dining room table chair that was thinner than Sienna Miller and equally as unstable. It hurt my arse, so I was happier than a Japanese chap in a camera shop when I saw this at a vintage fair. I feel like a Bond Villain when I sit in it, and love its hideous beauty. When my wife was pregnant, it was the only chair she felt comfortable sitting in.

3. Filing Cabinets

3. Filing Cabinets

BISLEY are the stilton cheese of filing cabinets. I picked the grey one up for about £70 at a vintage fair which was a bargain at the time. Exactly a week later I found the red one in a charity shop for £6. The red one looks better and is more stable. The grey one creaks like a Chelsea Pensioner and regularly falls over. The red one is crammed full of National Geographics, while I store cutouts and paper in the shite grey one. I stick postcards and hate mail on the side of the grey cabinet as a constant source of motivation.

4. Atticus

4. Atticus

A few months ago, I was in a position I had dreamed of since the day I started work - I got to tell my boss to stick his job up his hole. The story of that is for another Blog post, but it now means I work exclusively from my studio which I share with my four month old son, Atticus.

I'm exceptionally lucky on so many levels here. First off, Atticus isn't like most other babies. Specifically, he isn't an annoying prick. He's chilled, happy, rarely cries and is as laid back as they come. I am privileged to be able to spend every day with this phenomenal human being, and love having him in my work space. In between feeds, playtime and his daily walk, he sits and listens to music while I work. I regularly get him on my knee and let him arse about with the paper. He's incredible, and the only way he'd disappoint me is if he grew up and got a 'proper' job. Mark my words, this beautiful little chap will change the world one day.

5. Giant 'C'

5. Giant 'C'

I picked this up at a vintage fair with the intention of sourcing an 'U', 'T' and 'N' to complete the family. No joy, so it now sits on my floor. It originally came off a sign for a French Restaurant in France. I suppose that would just be a restaurant then, wouldn't it? Answers on a postcard.

If you do have any of the mentioned letters, get in touch. I'll swap you some art for them.

6. Tools

6. Tools

Some tools of the trade: metal ruler, cutting mat, graphic pencils and a surgeon's scalpel. How someone with no medical training can purchase one of these is of no concern to me. They cut clean and the paper never tears. As for glue, 'TOMBOW' - it's the Jack Nicholson of glue.

The glass tortoise is called Hector. I got him from Murano and I regularly talk to him when Atticus is sleeping and I'm bored. Hector has seen me in some right states and never judges me.

The Kafka piece is part of a new series I'm doing for a show. Pretend you didn't see it, OK?

7. Posters

7. Posters

Surround yourself with art - preferably my art so Atticus can eat. Here's some posters and prints I've got up in the studio.

I'm mad for Czech and Polish film posters, and they hang throughout my house. I love their surreal brilliance. The 'Casanova' poster designed by Marek Kosinski stares at me all day and motivates me to do better.

Top left is an Atelier Populaire print. The Mai '68 movement is a constant obsession. Aside from looking as cool as custard, they show that things can be done when people get off their arses. 

The Tom and Jerry one hangs above my lad's changing table and reminds him that the best cartoons are hand-drawn. The 'Billy Liar' poster is a slice of 60's Britain that I wish I'd have been around to see. The film is ace. I like it when he fantasises about machine gunning his family.

8. Greek Coffee

8. Greek Coffee

Greek coffee and Sertraline is the only way to start the day. A good day will see five of these bastards pass my lips. The occasional chest pain and regular blackouts are worth it.

9. Grandad

9. Grandad

As far as I know, my English Granddad wasn't a creative man at all. Nevertheless, he let me sit on his knee for hours drawing and colouring from as soon as I could hold a crayon. He was an incredible human and encouraged me all the way. He passed away when I was 7 and I think about him all the time. In this photo I seem to be repaying him for his kindness and support by bashing shite out of his knees with a hammer.

10. Window Sill Stuff

10. Window Sill Stuff

Couple of little nick-nacks that make my life that little bit better. Statue of 'Cosmo Kramer' from Seinfeld, and an old figurine of everyone's favourite wife-beater, Andy Capp. Seinfeld is arguably the greatest sitcom of all-time. The TV adaptation of Andy Capp, starring James Bolam, isn't.

On another note, look at the state of those windows. The window cleaner comes once a week and is clearly doing a shite job. I must fire him.

11. 78's

11. 78's

A little glimpse into the creative process here, kids. I got a load of 78's for free. They are unplayable so I use them to press collages. You can have that tip for free. The plant is as old as Bruce Forsyth and is clinging to life as desperately as him as well.

A glimpse of Studio Marbles (TM)

Studio Marbles - where the revolution begins and I earn just enough to pay the bills. Some artists have huge warehouses that are well lit by natural light and are paid for by their fathers. I have a tiny room full of records, hundreds of books and magazines and an adorable little chap. And I wouldn't have it any other way.