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

1280px-15_reams_of_paper_stacked_on_the_floor

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

casualty1418-15_02_15-01

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.

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.

10904619_10152665083296288_8541274570066440417_o

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.

Sean williams stillness small

“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/

Rita Kaisen stillness small

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/

Screen shot 2015-01-08 at 14.12.03

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)

COMING SOON! Details of the next few events for #bolamat50

IMG_6212 IMG_6213

Please come and see my Black Daffodil Press / High Street X stall at the Sheffield Anarchist Book Fair on 12th July at The Workstation, Sheffield S1 2BX. The fair is open to the public 10am – 6pm FREE ENTRY. As well as book stalls, there will be screenings and workshops. #sheffbookfair @sheffbookfair

Screen shot 2014-07-03 at 22.46.51

Access Space 24-hour Digithon 19/20 July at Access Space, Sheffield S1 4RG. This is a 24-hour fundraising event for Access Space, a free, open access media, arts and technology hackspace in Sheffield, UK. Access Space is a charity and is short of funds, so please  come along and bring some cash. #digithonsheffield

I will be presenting something about my forthcoming Casualty 14-18 commemoration of the 16 million people who were killed in the First World War.

Screen shot 2014-06-28 at 17.23.51

Casualty 14-18 is an online, generative artwork that will commemorate all of the 16 million people who were killed in the First World War. The projects starts on 28th July 2014 and will continue until 11th November 2018. There are also proposals for physical exhibitions of the work. Offers invited.

http://casualty1418.net

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

Screen shot 2014-06-24 at 10.44.57

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.

Screen shot 2014-05-27 at 06.09.51

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.

Stained- visualisations with prices.007 Stained- visualisations with prices.008 Stained- visualisations with prices.011

#bolamat50 Phew! I made it.

IMG_6639

HyperScape I – single screen version (2003)

I have been saying “when I’m 50” for so long, it seemed like it was never going to happen. And then suddenly it’s been and gone.

I made it. #bolamis50

I have two shows running until 5th June 2014, “HyperScape X” at Access Space and “Stained by Dead Inkjets” at the Rutland Arms, conveniently located opposite each other on Brown Street, Sheffield, UK.

HyperScape X is a three-screen generative work that imperceptibly changes from one state to another. The images are made of composites from images I hand-drew in the late 1990s using the Macintosh software Aldus SuperPaint 3.5.

You can see it running in the background in this timelapse video of the opening evening.

There is also a small museum exhibit in the foyer made up of earlier HyperScape works and other work and artefacts contemporary with it.

IMG_6644

Artefacts from the 1990s.

“Stained by Dead Inkjets” is a series of 33 new paper collages made from old work and spoiled prints. Prints of some of the images used in HyperScape X also appear in these collages. 14 of them are on display at the Rutland Arms, and two of the collages are part of the “Process” show on at Cupola Contemporary Art in Hillsborough, Sheffield, UK until 24th May. All the collages are for sale at £49.99 each (including frame, carriage extra).

Stained- visualisations with prices.028

Stained by Dead Inkjets – collage #28 (title tbc)

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

Screen shot 2014-03-06 at 16.47.54

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.

Screen shot 2014-03-06 at 16.50.03

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…

IMG_6034

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”.

IMG_6038

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

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

IMG_6039

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)

IMG_5894

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.

IMG_5984

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.

IMG_5973_2

“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:

Free events this week at 35 Chapel Walk, Sheffield – organised by Access Space

access space 20x20.001

Taking down the 20×20 show at Access Space ready to show at 35 Chapel Walk.

This week, Access Space is taking last year’s 20×20 Exhibition to the gallery at 35 Chapel Walk, Sheffield. It will be open 10.30am – 5.30pm from Wed 5th though to Sat 8th Feb. Also, there will be free events each day.

IMG_5917

The relaxation station at 35 Chapel Walk

IMG_5921

#CHDK-enabled timelapse camera ready to shoot the installation of 20×20 at 35 Chapel Walk.

IMG_5926

35 Chapel Walk, already equipped with picture hangers.

On Wednesday between 1pm and 3pm they will be showing how to build computers and install ethical open source software.

Thursday sees a demonstration of 3D printing and a presentation about Refab Space, our DIY FabLab and hack space, by our resident technology guru and hardware hacker, John Moseley, 1pm-3pm

On Friday James Wallbank will talk about crowd-funding and the possibilities of successfully raising money for your project or enterprise through Kickstarter, 1pm-2pm.

Saturday sees our Grand Tea Party between 2pm and 4pm, and performer Paul Newman (not the pasta sauce person!) will be in the the gallery all day engaging people with what he calls “life gamification”.

All events are free and there is no need to book.