The tyranny of the blank page (with timelapse camera)

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My timelapse set-up for capturing the making of “Stained by Dead inkjets”

It’s a scary prospect to embark upon a project where you are committed to a deadline, but without knowing the outcome, and documenting it at the same time.

Any failures are immediately apparent to the rest of the world. But also the successes. I’ve done this kind of thing before and know that something will happen in the process, but not sure exactly what.

I decided to make new, A3-sized paper collages from old test prints and spoiled prints, but a lot of that material is A4, which left me with a compositional challenge if the works were not going to look like something plonked in the middle of a larger sheet.

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Work in progress

Also, a lot of the earlier work was very minimal and hard-edged digital graphics, but I wanted this work to be much more organic and dense. I always try to consider the audience and the venue, and these works are going to be shown in a traditionally decorated pub. Minimalism works well in a blank space, but on the busy walls of a public house, something more human and playful seems appropriate.

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“Stained by Dead Inkjets” #1 (title tbc)

When I was younger, I suffered greatly from the tyranny of the blank page. You know that paralysis when you can’t start because you are terrified of imminent failure. It’s not originally my wisdom, but I employ the strategy of spoiling the work in the first place. Many painters will smear a blank canvas with a random wash of paint to solve the problem, and I have found that this technique works for me. In the videos, you can seem me playing around with various simple techniques to distress the original material in order to spoil the canvas and break to paralysis.

The other strategy I employ is just starting. It’s no true to say I don’t think about what I’m going to do, but I believe in just doing something and being open to the opportunities presented by happy accidents.

When I write, I don’t plan, I just start writing. I write in fragments, and eventually, one fragment seems to go with another and so on until a thread appears. Once a logical thread appears, some of the fragments don’t seem to belong and so they get thrown away and might end up in something else. It’s the same with this work, after the first three collages appear to be finished, I have a visual theme emerging. I want the show to be a coherent whole, and these first “finished” works seem to have set the tone. It might all change before we get to the 24th of April, but it’s a good start.

There is a Vimeo album of the making of videos here:

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Stained by Dead Inkjets / Tabula Rasa

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What’s it going to be then, eh? The tyranny of the blank canvas.

Some people never learn. After a partial failure with the New Bank of X Get Rich Rich Quick Scheme (see here), and the enforced postponement of No Glove Lost, I immediately decided to initiate two new projects for the Retrospective.

Well, they are new and old at the same time, and both are remixes of old work into new work.

From 24 April to 5 June, I will be showing some collages made from test prints and spoiled inkjet prints. So the work is not made, but it being made.

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Old, semi-generative printed work.

I am also programming a new generative work to show at Access Space over the same period. This will be using a library of existing images, some of which will appear in the collages. It’s a complementary double-header art clash.

As I go along, I have decided to timelapse capture the making of the collages. See below for the first four segments, showing me reviewing the old stuff and experimenting, in an attempt to establish what Paolozzi would have called a “vocabulary” for the work so that it has a coherence as a show.

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A “vocabulary” begins to appear.

The work is explicitly influenced by the work of Paolozzi, Robert Rauschenberg and Peter Schmidt.

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“Art Without Boundaries 1950 – 1970” (The World of Art Library) Gerald Woods, Philip Thompson & John Williams (Editors)

Showing artwork in pubs is notoriously difficult for a number of reasons. The Rutland Arms is a great pub, but there is hardly a square foot of wall that is not interrupted by a window, a wall-light or screw holes.

My strategy for dealing with such an informal space is to make all the work the same size, mounted in identical frames and mounted at the same height throughout. Hopefully, this will give the work a visual coherence.

All the works will be A3 in size although I haven’t decided on the mounting and framing yet. Stay tuned to BolamTV for regular updates…

New Bank of X Official Bank Note Launch – Bloc Spring Fete 25th May, Sheffield, UK

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Printing money, how hard can it be? Pretty hard, actually, but not impossible and the process has given me a new respect for the world of banking. I remember seeing a tv programme many years ago about the design and technicalities of bank note printing. It’s a very complex affair with many details included for security rather than design reasons.

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New Bank of X One-X bank note, obverse.

A bank note is intrinsically worthless, but is a mode of exchange. You can meet me at the Bloc Spring Fete at Bloc Studios, Sheffield, UK on 25th May 2013 3-9pm (Facebook event here) and negotiate an exchange. The notes can be bought for other currencies, bartered for, or paid for in-kind. Each one is serialised and unique and there is a limited edition, although there will be other denominations issued in the future.

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New Bank of X One-X bank note, reverse.

I will publish a more exhaustive discussion about the graphic design and physical specifications of the note on my sister blogsite Black Daffodil Press at some point in the near future, and there is a Retrospective flyer with the design here. In the meantime, come along to Bloc Studios fundraising event for music, food, drinks and fun, and you can plant your seeds in my hedge.
http://blocprojects.co.uk/

Sheffield Zine Fest 2013 – stop us and buy one or more

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I’m not really part of the zine scene. Or am I? I don’t really think of myself as a filmmaker, but I make films, so I guess I’m a filmmaker. For many years I was reluctant to call myself an artist, but I make art, so I guess I’m an artist. And now I made a zine, so I guess I’m a zinester, and Black Daffodil Press is a distro?

Either way, it doesn’t matter. What does matter is that I will be selling my wares at Sheffield Zine Fest 2013 as Black Daffodil Press and you should come and see me and the other stalls at the first outing of this event at Electric Works, across the road from Sheffield rail station.
http://sheffieldzinefest.wordpress.com/
http://electric-works.net/
http://blackdaffodilpress.wordpress.com/

There was a one-off Sheffield Zine Fair in 2011 but it doesn’t seem to have continued so Chella Quint and Bettie Walker have organised Sheffield Zine Fest 2013.
http://chellaquint.wordpress.com/
http://manufacturinghearts.blogspot.co.uk/

Anyway, I will be there selling my “World X- A Speculative History” book, and the first two packs of my Retrospective flyers.

I will also have a couple of things from other artists, a newspaper / artzine by James Price, and maybe a few bits and bobs from veteran art-zinester M. A. Longbottom (more about him soon).
http://jamesmprice.wordpress.com/2013/02/28/stop-me-and-buy-one/
http://platform58.tumblr.com/

If you can’t make it to the zine fest, “World X” is on sale at The Old Sweet Shop and Rare & Racy, both in Sheffield, UK, and I will be opening an online shop with various publications and merch before long.
http://www.theoldsweetshopsheffield.co.uk/
http://rareandracy.co.uk/

Here are a few additional google-randomised links that I have nothing to do with. I’ll add more links to this post and also on Black Daffodil Press as and when.

An online zine resource.
http://spillthezines.blogspot.co.uk/

DIY Cultures Fair, Shorditch London, UK, 7th April 2013.
http://diycultures.tumblr.com/