If at first you don’t succeed, extend the deadline. #bolamat50+1

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I have very mixed feelings after the end of my 50th retrospective year. As I have already said, some aspects were highly successful and some were dismal failures, and I left a lot of things that I planned to do unfinished.

So, if you don’t achieve everything that you wanted to achieve in only one year, what do you do? Easy, take ten years and claim that’s what you intended to do all along.

With hindsight (and brutal honesty) I never really expected to achieve everything I wanted within the one year when I was 50 years old. Counter-intuitively, the anti-climax was not at the end, but at the beginning. Having already spent nearly two years preparing, I suffered an energy dip after the launch event and didn’t attack the project as I had intended during the year itself.

A few months after the end of the project, it seems obvious what to do next. Instead of finishing the project after the 50th year, I will just continue. After all, I am still “at 50”. Or more accurately, “at 50s”.

There has been so much spin off from the project I have decided to just continue the project until I am 60 (if I make it) as there is more than enough existing material and new stuff to fill the next nine-and-a-half years.

I knew I would not do everything I had planned but the only thing I consider to be a real failure is not making the 12 issues of “Catalogue,” which was the most important publication of the entire project. It’s too late for me to get that done on time so I am still going to publish the whole 12 issues (plus one) over the next year (or so).

Stand by, there is much more to come…

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Last Exit to Bolam – Retrospective Grand Finale exhibitions and closing event

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The end of my Bolam at 50 year approaches. I will be 51 on the 24th of April 2015 and, as a celebratory finale, I am showing some art at Access Space and the Rutland Arms, across the road from each other in Sheffield, like I did for the launch.

At Access Space, I am showing an exhibit entitled “Casualty”, which is a small collection of war-themed work, including an installation version of Casualty 14-18 which a commemoration of the approximately 16 million people killed in the First World War. The exhibition is open from 21st April to 22nd May.

Confirmed opening times so far:
Tuesday 21st April 3pm – 7pm
Wednesday 22nd April 4pm – 6pm
Thursday 23rd April 4pm – 8pm
Friday 24th April – closed
Saturday 25th April – closed
Sunday 26th April – closed
Monday 27th April – closed
More times to be confirmed.

There is also an online version:
http://casualty1418.net

At the Rutland Arms, there is a wall-based exhibition of the covers from my monthly HYPE! Bolam Celebrity Magazine. The Exhibition is running from 15th April to at least the 22nd May. Free entry during normal pub opening times.

There will also be a closing event on 23rd of April, starting at Access Space from 17.30 to 20.00, and then moving over to the Rutland Arms for the rest of the evening. There will be goodie bags for the first 50 lucky guests.

Stillness – An exhibition of new work by Sean Williams, Rita Kaisen, Richard Stott, Helen Stokes, Janie Moore, Iris Harris, and Andy Cropper. At Bloc studios, Sheffield.

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This blog site is primarily for promoting my own work, but here is a forthcoming show that I am really looking forward to. I know three of the exhibiting artists and am familiar with their work. I can’t speak for the other four, but Andy Cropper, Rita Kaisen and Sean Williams are all exceptional artists (and you can buy their work).

Interestingly, I do no think of any of these three people I know as particularly “still”, so it will be interesting to see what they come up with.

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“Lies About Nothing”, 2014 Sean Wiliams

Sean’s work is in the “photorealistic” stable, although I don’t know if he would use that word. This image is a painting, not a photograph. Much of the work I’ve seen before is definitely pointillism, but this has a distinct filmic fuzziness. His work is very often of bland scenes such as domestic building sites or neglected corners of suburban landscapes, but the quality of the painting gives them a serene calmness that is at odds with the detailing. I strongly recommend you see them in the flesh.
http://swseanwilliams.wordpress.com/

Rita Kaisen stillness small

A page from “Life”, 2014 Rita Kaisen.

Rita’s work has a number of distinct styles, all excellent including a stylised realism, surrealism and expressionism. But the stand-out work for me is her surrealistic graphic novel style. This image (not in the show) is from a work-in-progress called “Life”, and I wish I could draw like this. I am a major fan of her cross-hatching. It reminds me a little of Ian Miller but not as as obsessive or phantasmagorical.
http://ritakaisen.blogspot.co.uk/

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I’ve written about Andy’s work before and I have a huge respect for his range, from the almost jarringly photorealistic, through bland street scenes that have a tiny touch of the naive, breathtaking portraits and graphic design too. However, he has warned me that the work in this show will be very different.
http://www.artbyandyonline.com/

I don’t know the other four artists or their work, but I will tomorrow.

There is a “private” view (free and open to everyone) on Thursday 9th January 19.00 – 21.00, and the show runs from 10th – 28th January, Wednesday to Saturday, 12.00 – 18.00 at Bloc Projects, 71 Eyre Lane, S1 4RB Sheffield, free entry.
http://www.blocprojects.co.uk/ (Bloc’s website is a bit out of date on 8/1/14)

Armistice Day 2014 – Casualty 14-18 #casualty1418 #WW1 #ArmisticeDay

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I have ambivalent feelings about wearing a poppy at this time of year. It’s not that I do not want to remember the dead, quite the opposite, and my work Casualty 14-18 is all about remembering the dead, but not just the British and Commonwealth dead and not in a way that might be associated with an establishment that still refuses to condemn war as political or commercial prudence.

I know some people wear a white poppy, although I also have mixed feelings about that.

However, ambiguity, ambivalence, conflict and contradiction are all potent effects in art, and the lack of resolution can be what keeps a work interesting, unlike much of the punchline-art that we see today.

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Today is Armistice Day 2014 and my project has four more years to run. Each day it publishes 30 generatively created pages of 340 figures, one figure for each of the estimated 16 million dead – men, women and children – of all nationalities killed during the First World War. That is an average of 10,200 casualties per day for the duration of the war.

This is day 107 of 1,568.

http://casualty1418.net

Casualty 14-18 ~ The making of a generative artwork by Richard Bolam – Part 11 #bolamat50 #casualty1418 #WW1

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My project started on the 28th June 2014 and Armistice Day of the same year will be 107 days into it out of 1,568 in total. That’s 1,091,400 lives lost so far (as a daily average) and there is still more than four years to go.

I have started to organise the Bash script a bit more by separating some of it into functions that can be passed parameters and called in a proper structured manner. The code is still very dirty and will probably remain so for while as I experiment with other variations.

This function is used to either colourise or remove a few individual figures from the blocks.

function UNITSTAMP {
#add/remove some individual figures

echo $MAXCOUNT
for e in $( gseq $MAXCOUNT )
do
echo $e”/”$MAXCOUNT
convert casualtytiled.png  -region 20×38+$[($[RANDOM % 20]) * 20]+$[($[RANDOM % 17]) * 38] -fill  “rgba($UNITSTAMPCOL)” -colorize $COLORIZ$
convert casualtytiled.png -transparent white casualtytiled.png
done
}

It’s hardly a huge program but what has become very apparent about Bash is how irregular the syntax is. I guess this is a product of open source development, the commands and structures do not comply to a reliably reproducible structure, and this is where other programming regimes such as Python really come into their own.

On the plus side, it is very convenient to be able to call a load of add-on commands and functions, as and when I need them.

However, in the future I might rewrite the software to use something more structured, such as PHP or Python, if they can do the graphic manipulations.

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To my eye, this has too many blanks.

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This is much more satisfying.

The blanks seem to work best when they are only occasional and only one or a small number on the same page. Here is the call from the main program loop.

#remove a few figures
if [ $[RANDOM % 10] -eq 0 ] ; then
MAXCOUNT=$[RANDOM % 5]
UNITSTAMPCOL=”255,255,255″
COLORIZE3=’100%’
echo ‘COLORIZE3 = ‘$COLORIZE3
UNITSTAMP
fi

I included this because it adds an element of mystery about the individuality of the highlighted or removed figures. A friend asked me what the blanks mean. My reply was – exactly, what do the blanks mean?

http://casualty1418.net

The 20 days of 20×20 Day 19 – 19th September 2014 @AccessSpace #20×202014

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Access Space’s annual 20×20 open art exhibition 2014 opens TODAY! 19th September 5.30 – 8pm and the show is open to the public from Saturday 20th. Access Space’s opening hours are Tuesday to Saturday 11am – 7pm. Free entry.

http://access-space.org