Portrait of the artist as a young man (stained by dead inkjets) #bolamat50

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Okay, here’s something I didn’t expect to come out of the “Stained by Dead Inkjets” sessions. These are some contact prints I made using inkjet prints of scanned ID photos from when I was 19 or 20 years old, and graphic images I made 20 years later.

I can’t remember why I printed these, and it doesn’t matter, but I was really struck by the cross-printing between the images. These diptychs will not be part of the show in the Rutland Arms because they feel like they are something else entirely. Four out of six pairs are really successful and I might issue them as a limited edition set of prints. After all, who wouldn’t want my boyish good looks on their wall, especially the distorted and mangled mug-shot of an insecure teenager as a reminder of the dehumanisation of conformity and the inevitability of corruption, age and death? Price on application.

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I am almost up to my quorum of 23 collages for the “Stained by Dead Inkjets” exhibition, and I will be showing between 12 and 14 of them, depending on how it looks. The exhibition will be at the Rutland Arms, Sheffield, UK from 24th April until 5th June 2014. Stay tuned…

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Stained by Dead Inkjets – Collage #6 (title tbc)

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Portrait of the Artist as a Failed Painter (2012) – 20×20 at Access Space, Sheffield, UK

It’s a long time since I painted. Probably 30 years. I did quite a lot in my youth, using oils, acrylics and also oil pastels. In fact, I’ve worked in most media, including video, audio, performance, sculpture, print, drawing and works on paper. Oh yes, and a whole bunch of digital stuff. My entry for the 2009 Access Space 20×20 exhibition was created on computer, printed on paper, stitched together and glued onto the 20 inch square board. It was a photomontage so couldn’t really be produced any other way. The effect was great but the object itself was unsatisfyingly bland. This time, I wanted to make something a bit more “real”. The design was again created on computer, but I decided to paint it onto the board to give it some texture and to add a bit more humour.

Easily said.

I had a brilliant idea (I like to think) of actually painting the monochrome design onto a glow-in-the-dark background. However, the spray paint I ordered just did not go on like I hoped (and yes I did follow the instructions), and was far too expensive for another coat. So, I abandoned the glow-paint, but on my second attempt the black acrylic paint I bought peeled off once I started taping over it, and the masking tape did not give a perfect enough edge either.

I should have known better, of course. If you want a high-quality finish there is no substitute for high-quality materials and a lot of experience of exactly how each medium behaves. All I had was a “brilliant” idea, a wing and a prayer. I’m not really a painter, and now I have the photographic evidence to prove it.

Portrait of the Artist as a Failed Painter (2012)

So, I decided to abandon paint for a more recycled approach, but I still wanted to avoid the print-and-stick approach. Stay tuned for details of the finished work, but in the meantime you can see it for real, along with a great many more 20x20s, at Access Space, Sheffield, UK. The exhibition is free and runs from 15 September – 17 November, with an opening preview event on Friday 14th September.

Access Space is a free, open-access digital media and arts lab in Sheffield, UK, and I am both a regular participant and official “Contributor” to their activities. You can also sign up to their Friends scheme here, to donate a small amount regularly.
access-space.org