Retrospective: Richard Bolam at 50 – First venues confirmed & more wanted!

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Before the silly season commences, I thought I had better update my adoring fans about the progress on my forthcoming Bolam Retrospective year 2014/15.

After a short period of little activity, I will soon be ramping up towards the official launch of the Retrospective year on 24th April 2014, my 50th birthday. Expect a PR storm starting in January 2014.

Please save the date in April as I have some venues confirmed although details will no doubt change before we get there. One thing is certain, no other date will be my 50th birthday, so please mark 24th April 2014 in your calendars and expect a variety of showbiz goodies, including exhibitions, competitions, prizes and fun, fun, fun.

Confirmed so far is a double-header launch event with an early evening opening at Access Space, followed by an after-party at The Rutland Arms (across the road). They will be free events and all are welcome. At Access Space, I am planning to show a generative, screen-based work that will remix past work into a new, constantly changing contemplation on 40 years in the wilderness. It will be child-friendly but, like all my work, primarily aimed at an adult audience.

At The Rutland Arms, I will be showing framed collages, created from past work and spoiled prints. These are yet to be made so watch out for the timelapse “making of” videos.

I also have confirmation to show work at The Closed Shop pub in Walkley, Sheffield and at Red Tape Studios on Leadmill Road. Dates for these two venues are yet to be confirmed but they will be later in the year.

My project has no funding whatsoever, apart from my own rather shallow pockets, but If you have a venue or opportunity and would like to show some of my work, please get in touch.

Email: richard[at]

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.

To Whom It May Concern – a word from your sponsor

Here is the piece of work I contributed to Bloc Projects’ 10th birthday fundraiser.

Bloc Assembly is an occasional event, each with a common theme or medium. I was involved in Bloc Assembly #1 Live Art and Bloc Assembly #11 Last Requests, and a number of artists who had previously been involved were invited to submit a postcard-sized work for a blind sale, with the proceeds going to support Bloc Projects.

Bloc Assembly #13: Birthday

I like group shows and there are always a few pleasant surprises. All the works were priced at £10 regardless of their intrinsic value. The one I bought is by Hondartza Fraga, and I think I got a bargain, although I was tempted by others too.

Like most small arts organisations these days, Bloc Projects is short of funding and needs everything it can get. I recently signed up to be an Associate Member for £15 per year. I told them that’s not enough. I prefer Access Space’s model where you can sign up for either £1, £3 or £10 per month (or any other amount, actually), but Bloc expressed a concern that membership does not give enough value. I disagree, for some people it’s about getting something but for most its about giving something back. Also, what about the 10 years of free shows? So far.

A few pounds a month, or a year, needs lots of people to contribute to make a difference. You can sign up to be an Associate Member of Bloc Projects here, and a Friend of Access Space here, or a Friend of community radio station Sheffield Live! here.

To hell with Cameron’s “Big Society”. Contrary to Thatcher’s denial, we already have a society, and a society that does not require it be branded or sloganised in order to establish its credibility.

I say put your money where your mouth is, and my mouth says “Happy birthday Bloc (and here’s a tenner).”