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.

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We all wish the magic of Christmas could start earlier. And now it does. #bolamat50 #SheffZineFest

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Brand loyalty: Dan Sumption, one of my most regular customers.

To quote this advert for Disneyland Paris from the end of last year, “We all wish the magic of Christmas could start earlier”.

I am sure many parents would disagree, but Disney are not really talking about magic any more than Marks and Spencer are talking about magic and sparkle. Or any more than Sainsbury’s are talking about sharing or any more than John Lewis are talking about real love.

What they really mean is that they wish the income stream of Christmas could start earlier.

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High Street X. The same stuff I normally sell, but with added Christmas “magic”.

Anyway, I say if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em and here are a few photos of me, starting the magic of Christmas earlier at the Sheffield Zine Fest on 14th March. I was accompanied by my sister, Catherine, as a Christmas fairy (or Merchandising Operative) and my wife, Stella, as an Elf (or Fulfilment Centre Manager).

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Fulfilment Centre Manager and Merchandising Operative.

Some people were clearly non-plussed by the costumes and would not even make eye contact. However, I did get some customers who took it to the next level by revisiting their traumatised childhoods at the hands of shopping-centre Santas.

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Stuart Faulkner and the crew from Footprints Co-Operative Print getting favours from Santa.

Big thanks go to Chella Quint and Bettie Walker for organising the Sheffield Zine Fest.
https://sheffieldzinefest.wordpress.com/
https://twitter.com/sheffzinefest

Sheffield Zine Fest 2015 at Electric Works, Sheffield, UK, Saturday 14th March – FREE ENTRY

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Please come along to the Sheffield Zine Fest 2015 at Electric Works, Sheffield, UK on 14th March 11am – 6pm and see me, amongst many others.

Facebook community page: http://www.facebook.com/SheffieldZineFest
Facebook event page: https://www.facebook.com/events/875306059157462/, invite everyone you know!
Twitter: @sheffzinefest
Website: sheffieldzinefest.wordpress.com

100 reams of A4 paper needed for an artwork commemorating the 16 million dead of the First World War #Casualty1418 #WW1 #EndlessWar

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Photo: Sage Ross (Creative Commons).

“The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing” – Edmund Burke (1729 – 1726).

Casualty 14-18” is an artwork that commemorates the 16 million people of all nationalities killed in the First World War. It is an unfunded project and currently only exists online.
http://casualty1418.net

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Each day, from 28th June 2014 to 11th November 2018, a series of 30 A4-sized images are published online, representing the average number of 10,200 deaths per day for the duration of the war. Each sheet is unique and represents 340 humanoid figures, created by a generative computer program.

Access Space, Sheffield, UK has sponsored the work in-kind by hosting a physical installation from 17th April to 14th May 2015 (dates tbc). For this version of the work, I need 100 reams of A4 paper to create a temporary monument:- 94 for the 16 million of the First World War and the remaining six for the approximately one million killed in the recent “War on Terror” in Afghanistan, Iraq, Sudan, Syria, Pakistan, Yemen and other countries as a symbol of the principal of Endless War.

“Casualty 14-18” is an unapologetically anti-political, anti-war work of art. I thought it up in 2001 and in 2014 I decided to make it happen because of the 100-year anniversary of the First World War, regardless of funding. However, a physical installation involves at least some cost. The paper does not need to be unused, it can be recycled or unused printed matter, but it does need to be A4 in size and uncreased.

If you know of a printer, office or any other organization that has 50,000 sheets of uncreased A4 paper surplus to requirements, either free or at a small cost, please get in touch.

Why I will not be walking out of Paul Thomas Anderson’s “Inherent Vice” – The Aesthetics of Boredom

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The reason is simple, I will not be walking in. I have been bored on many occasions and boredom has a particular aesthetic, a sort of endless falling but without the adrenalin rush of potential sudden death, and it’s an experience that I value as part of my extensive canon.

However, I’ve ticked that box more than once and life is only getting shorter.

I skimmed an article in The Guardian which suggests that people are walking out in droves, not necessarily out of boredom, possibly confusion and frustration. Again, these are experiences with which I am already truly blessed.

I had arranged to see it tonight with my wife and a friend, in order to pop our Sheffield Curzon cherries, but I have decided to meet them afterwards.

Many years ago, my girlfriend of the time was really into theatre and went to see most productions in nearby Sheffield and Rotherham. I like theatre but not to the same degree and was much more choosy about what I wanted to see. However, she used to work on me and try to persuade me to see things that I really didn’t want to. After a particularly tedious production of “A Winter’s Tale” at the Sheffield Lyceum in 2000-and-something, I said “No more fucking Shakespeare!”.

I am not a fan, although I have seen a few good productions, including an excellent “Richard III” with Kenneth Branagh at The Crucible in Sheffield. I also saw “The Tempest” with Derek Jacobi which has a fantastic opening, but the play (not the production) is a dud.

I have also seen contemporary theatre companies who use boredom as an effect, but it only works once, and after that first fall down the well of despair, boredom is just boring.

Back in the world of film, I have cut Paul Thomas Anderson a lot of slack because I liked “Magnolia” (1999) so much, but “The Master” (2012) was very long and boring, and it is not rescued by either the immense screen presence of Philip Seymour Hoffman or the startling transformation from over-fed pretty boy to lean Icarus that was Joaquin Phoenix.

I am afraid I have lost patience with sitting through boring films no matter how critically acclaimed, worthy or artistic they might be. I have stopped watching plenty of films at home, but the last film I actually walked out of was an art film by Yinka Shonibare. As I get older, I value my time more and more and I would rather be in The Rutland Arms drinking Duff.

However, I think it is time to put PTA on the naughty step with Woody Allen (for “Crimes and Misdemeanors”(1989)) and Jane Campion (for “Holy Smoke” (1999)) until he has learned his lesson.

Beyond the naughty step, there is also a ditch of pooh, but that is reserved for Lars Von Trier and Gaspar Noé.

Less is more, but more is better – The Eye and the Sky (Retrospective Redux) on #BolamTV #bolamat50 #timelapse #video

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Who needs Minions when you have Bolams?

Here is a body of work from 2008 that I made with one of my very rare commissions. It was funded by the (now defunct) Seagate Creative Fund which was a funding scheme aimed at digital media producers that use Seagate products as a promotional activity for the company.
http://seagate.com

I was and am one of those and I proposed to make a single two-minute, timelapse video of multiple shots of the sun moving through a space. However, the process was very stimulating and I ended up making six experimental videos from the material I captured.

I would be the first to admit that they are all quite subtle pleasures and, if you are prepared to watch them all, they require a degree of patience in order to get the pay-off. But I was, and still am, pleased with the results.

The first one, which was the subject of the commission, is “The Eye and the Sky” and was an attempt at capturing three synchronised views of a space with the sun moving through it. At the time, the first floor of the HUBS (Hallam Union Building of Sheffield) was called “The Eye” and I had noticed the striking shadow created by the skylight.
http://www.hallamstudentsunion.com/

The equipment used included some obsolete Macintosh blue-and-white G3s, donated by Lovebytes digital arts organization.
http://lovebytes.org.uk/

The other five videos were experiments that I made using some of the same a material that was leftover from the main shoot. They are all appealing in a minimalist way, and we all know that less is more, but why do less when more is better?

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/

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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)