Richard Bolam at 60: T-minus 3,180 #BolamProspective #bolamat60 #bolamat50+1

Launch event postcard v3

Like much of my work, that title is half a joke and half deadly serious. I achieved much in the run-up to, and the year of Richard Bolam at 50, but there was so much more that I either failed to achieve, postponed, or simply did not complete. This is due to a number of life factors, not least more than a little mismanagement.

However, after much thought, I have decided to just continue the project and tag each subsequent year as #bolamat50+1, #bolamat50+2 etc, until I get to #bolamat60 (if I make it) and just see what happens on the way.

Partly inspired by Eduardo Paolozzi, Robert Rauschenberg & Jamie Reid (amongst many others), and referencing the Principia Discordia, Newton’s Principia Mathematica and the post-punk zine scene, I decided to assimilate some of the old material into a new publication (or publications) with a working title of “Principia Bolamatica”. This is a composite of leftover scraps from the “Stained by Dead Inkjets” sessions and scans from my notebooks and scrapbooks.

Principia mathematica page 2

Principia Bolamatica page x of x

I was introduced to the the Principia Discordia when I read Robert Anton Wilson’s book “Cosmic Trigger: The Final Secret of the Illuminati” when I was a teenager. Cosmic Trigger (volume 1 as it is now) is a load of new-age hokum and conspiracy theory bullshit, but is fascinating as a jumping off point for various weird shit that I have subsequently found interesting at times. The Principia Discordia is the gospel of a pseudo-religion called Discordianism. I am not a believer but I am drawn to the playfulness and non-literal interpretation of things like this, along with the cut-ups technique used by other artists I admire such as William Burroughs and David Bowie.

But that’s another story…

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Principia_Discordia
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cosmic_Trigger_I:_The_Final_Secret_of_the_Illuminati
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Philosophi%C3%A6_Naturalis_Principia_Mathematica

I have established an online backbone for this phase of the project as a group of WordPress blogs that will contain various media, but it is an ongoing project with no manifesto attached to it other than trying to finish the Richard Bolam at 50 project in a way that I am satisfied with it. As I have written before, the only element I consider a major failure is not getting the 12 issues of “Catalogue” finished within the Richard Bolam at 50 year but, although it’s too late to meet that deadline, I will be completing them over the next year or two. Issue two will be out soon.

The Principia Bolamatica will be hosted, one page at a time, on BolamABC and published bit by bit as one or more PDFs, but also look out for Bolam000, Bolam101, Bolam123, BolamA2Z, Bolam365, Bolam24/7, Bolam360, Bolam5x5, BolamXXX and BolamXYZ.

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Each of these blog sites will be used to host appropriate elements of various projects, some of which I have planned and some not. I will probably move over to bolamprospective.wordpress.com as a main site but richardbolamat50.wordpress.com will remain live and I might add more content if that is the appropriate place for it.

Stand by…

 

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EXHIBITION EXTENDED! – “Stained by Dead Inkjets” REBOOT at the Rutland Arms, Sheffield, UK until 9th July.

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Just imagine how amazing my unique art will look in your beautiful home.

“Stained by Dead Inkjets” (excerpt) will be on show at Cupola Gallery until 28th June, and the main show at the Rutland Arms, Sheffield, UK will be rebooted on Wednesday 24th June with a fresh selection from the 33 collages, and extended until 9th July.

All the works are for sale at £49.99 each.

Photo: Getty Images

“HyperScape X” and “Stained by Dead Inkjets” exhibitions end on 5th June 2014

The two shows will be coming to an end soon, so please get down to see the generative artwork “HyperScape X” at Access Space, Sheffield, UK.

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Also showing is an exhibition of new collages, called “Stained by Dead Inkjets” at The Rutland Arms, Sheffield, UK. The collages are for sale at £49.99 each.

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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)

Stained by Dead Inkjets – the soundtrack of my life

Stained by Dead Inkjets - collage #3 (title tbc)

Stained by Dead Inkjets – collage #3 (title tbc)

I know I’ve mentioned it before, but the title of the collection of collages I am making for this show is a paraphrase of a track by Throbbing Gristle (TG) on their album “Funeral in Berlin” (1981, Zensor). The original track is called “Stained by Dead Horses” and it sticks in my mind as one of those incredibly emotive phrases that seems to have a life of its own, far beyond the music itself. Other titles that stick in my mind are “Mission of Dead Souls”, “Maggot Death” and “You Don’t No”.

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“Funeral in Berlin” Throbbing Gristle (1981, Zensor)

Cover art by Val Denham, 1981.
http://www.valdenham.com/

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Similarly, TG’s name, as well as band names such as New Order, Joy Division and Theatre of Hate were extremely evocative, because they embodied such enigma.

My retrospective has already been fantastically productive, but one of the things I realised only very recently is that music has played a influential part in my creative development that I was only unconsciously aware of before. Although I do make music, I do not consider myself to be a musician. I use machines to do all the hard work. I just don’t have that particular talent.

What I do have though, is synesthesia. I wrote about this recently and, although I think I only have it mildly. By way of disambiguation, synesthesia is not a mystical state, it is a subtle neurological connection between the senses, and for me music and sound are strongly associated with visual image or impressions.

Strangely perfect. “Rebel Without a Brain” Theatre of Hate (1981, Burning Rome Records)

What I have come to realise is that, despite being only a mediocre sound artist, music and “organised sound” has been a fundamental influence on my work, even when it does not express itself audibly.

I’m not a fan of the minimalist “Untitled #1”, “Untitled #2”, “Untitled #3” titling strategy, and this is an opportunity to acknowledge my influences, even though the work is visual art rather than music.

As a result, I have decided to title all the “Stained by Dead Inkjets” collages after track names from albums or artists that have been influential to me. It’s a risky strategy. On one of the very few occasions when I have sold work, I lost a sale once I revealed the title because the buyer didn’t like it.

Stay tuned…

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:

The first 40 years in the wilderness are the hardest – Bolam Retrospective T-90

Bolam Retrospective postcard front

The next 40 years will be a piece of cake.

Today marks the beginning of my press campaign and it’s only 90 days to go until the beginning of my year-long Bolam Retrospective.

The launch event will be held at Access Space and The Rutland Arms, Sheffield UK on 24th April 2014.

At Access Space I will be showing a new version of some old work that was never exhibited fully. It will be a screen-based, generative work entitled “HyperScape X”, and there will also be a display of documentary material. The show will be on from 24th April to 5th of June 2014. Free entry during opening hours, Tuesday – Saturday 11am – 7pm.

At The Rutland Arms, I will be showing a series of collages made from old work and spoiled prints, remixed into new work for sale. The exhibition will be called “Stained by Dead Inkjets” and will be open during pub hours from 24th April to 5th June 2014.

The launch event will be at Access Space 5.30pm – 7.30pm and then across the road to the Rutland Arms 7.30pm – 11pm.

Other exhibitions and events are planned but no dates confirmed. Later in the year, I will be showing some work at The Closed Shop pub in Walkley and also some moving image work along with an education project at Red Tape Central.

Also, look out for the High Street X Roadshow which will be appearing at art, craft and book fairs throughout the year, and BolamTV.

The project has no external funding but is sponsored in-kind by various organisations and individuals. If you would like to sponsor, contribute or host an event, please get in touch. As I keep saying:

“Flaunt it now, because you can’t take it with you.”

Contact details
Website https://richardbolamat50.wordpress.com
Email richard@richardbolam.net
Twitter http://twitter.com/RBDigiMedia
Facebook http://www.facebook.com/RichardBolamArtist
#bolamat50

Sponsors (so far)
Access Space is an open-access media & arts lab in Sheffield, UK.
http://access-space.org/
The Rutland Arms, 86 Brown Street S1 2BS.
http://rutlandarmspeople.co.uk/
The Closed Shop, 52-54 Commonside S10 1GG.
http://www.theclosedshopsheffield.co.uk/
Red Tape Central is training centre for music technology, information technology and business administration at 50 Shoreham Street S1 4SP.
http://www.redtapecentral.org/