These snippets are the wreckage of post exhibition aftermath. Assumed to be a time of feelings of great achievement, I find these times to be when one comes, smack, face to face with all the things which have previously been propelled into the works they have been making. At this point, tragedy ,initially which was applied into paper, has no secondary outlet, and becomes ready and waiting to emerge into the real world.
Gagged, fed words that aren’t mine, face twisted into shape of acceptable smile, pushed into an arena with hedonistic revelers who won’t accept anything else. Pigeon holed for merely trying to save my mind from incorporation into an impersonal body, paranoid from being forced-fed the views of 1000 people at once. Trying to find a place the background from which to project such words, not to prove that I am not just one other social networking attention seeking sprite, but to prove that all others aren’t merely attention seekers and are also internally screaming at the simultaneous demolition of the mind, the social, and the environment. Spin on that.
Sat in Chain cafe (do you want me to lie? i am sucker also)in Sheffield, 24,8,10
Will there become a point when all of us are anti-capitalist thinkers, writing books about the destructions the system is causing? All of us doing this whilst still getting our weekly shop from Tesco/Asda, loading up our cars at BP/Shell, watching the news/sport on SKY TV and occasionally treating ourselves to a Macdonalds/KFC?
It is a system which allows all of us to openly hate it. It can do this because as much as we believe we are anti-capitalist, our actions are very pro-capitalist.
This is why most, perhaps not in a conscious attempt, don’t even attempt to hate it, leaving the others to become as much self-loathing of themselves as it.
On train to Barnsley, 24,8,10
The works I create, the entirety (paintings right through to the rantings), is all that makes me a human adult, and I am deluded when I try to do, or even become, other, more socially relaxed and cooperatively festive things. Once an heavy and climatic phase of my work is done and dusted: trying to immerse myself in a part of me which has been massively under-invested in, to the extent that it is impossible to locate within, is always going to lead to depression and behaviour which is massively anti what I regard as good behaviour – as my good intentions turn in on themselves in despairing confusion about why they were even there in the first place.
The reason why these crashes are more likely after a big exhibition is because the energy intensive, money absorbing requirements of intense labour put into ones work, force you to temporarily take up a less broader and less deeper perspective on life, making one prone to be convinced by all that signals relaxation, enjoyment and pleasure in the veil that calls itself truth, which drapes itself over everything: “I really need these things after a spell of (socially acceptable) hard work!”. However, to be tempted in to mental arenas in which I have made no ‘proper’ investment in, no matter whether they are acknowledged through fabricated truth or not, makes me feel lost and massively unsure of myself.
I tried this last year after a very intensive spell of making work and it resulted in some of the most tragic nights out, (seemingly unavoidable social occasions for anyone looking for a quick fix of hope) where all that I hold as qualities came crashing in on itself.
With this in mind, seen as the right just to discover oneself (something which society owes all compulsive, genuinely hard working, artists) is denied, coming up with new ideas and rantings, promptly, isnt just an important self made request; it makes up the only path which doesnt veer into a swamp of wayward and wasted chunks of the year.
In Cafe in Sheffield
You can’t look out of the window without feeling the cynical presence of the eyes of others seeing you as “somebody trying to be seen as a thinker” rather than somebody who is actually thinking!
But there again, maybe I am sat in a café with a book because I have come to associate cafés with intellectualism, as I am certain that my ‘reading sessions’ in cafés all appear as ‘constructive sessions’ in comparison with reading the very same thing in a pub or in my bedroom. Maybe I have bought into the coffee culture also? Which is why when a mother brings her screaming child into the café the noise it makes somehow doesn’t seem as nauseating as it would do on a bus or in a queue in a downmarket shop.
This is why I always have to put my own life in the centre of a critique on capitalist culture, because I know with certainty that I have just as many fetishes within the system as all those business men, running for the trains in Leeds train station and all those ‘jeggings’ wearing teens climbing the steps towards the Meadowhall shopping centre.
In gallery – at work
I feel more in control of my wits and my senses when I am by myself. This has never ceased to be a concern – that I cannot truly be who I am around others, and that all self dislike re-emerges in these situations only – but maybe it is only a concern under a system which tells us to be sociable whilst increasingly capitalising the social – profiteering on human contact (if you find socialising hard, in this dictatorship of individualism, where we are all forced to compete with each other, you can give out your money and do it ‘safely’ in cyber-space).
Under a system where socialising is less about ‘proving yourself’ all the time and more about the enjoyment of being around other people – which, although this ruling system proclaims it endorses and enhances, through it’s purchasable items, actually delivers the opposite – I feel that socialising wouldn’t be such a problem and such a fright as to feel an urge to lock my self in my comfort-box (a room filled with ways to forget everything) if this was the case. Communism would not have to mean being forced to be an easy-going socialite! And socialising under Capitalism is schizophrenic.
“I believe in Capitalism”
It is hard to explain the motives behind my work without dragging the explanation into an intensely political and, sometimes, personal debate. My works are the tip of the ice-berg of my thoughts, and they take time to emerge in my mind; resulting in a feeling of great relief. My doodles have no choice but to become murals, as I try to match the size of my concerns. The act of creating for the sake of creating used to be enough to de-throne my looming concerns, but over the last few years, my work has taken a much more direct and polarised stance; as the act of creating, by itself, ceased to be enough.
The work for this show represents what I see as a realisation, and finale, of all my sketches and writings, from the past 10 years, becoming more direct and solid as I reached the decade’s end.
“I believe in Capitalism” is almost a showcase of what I have become during the past 10 years. The large drawing piece is explicit in how direct it is, as it organises and crystallises the ‘budding’ of my thoughts and ideas from the past decade.
The title quote was taken from an interview with a banker on the BBC during this recession. Its usage is ironic. However, there remains a suspicion that my inner drives still do believe in Capitalism. Thissuspicion is consistent throughout the book Going nowhere, writing letters to nobody, which forms part of this piece of work. Nevertheless this accumulation of drawings and writings, which go far in explaining my becoming during the past decade, also leads to a conclusion of an apparent massive dissatisfaction with my life, and society as such, under this system and an urgent desire for a massive societal change; in doing this the book has become a manifesto of my life so far.
The School desk, the chair and the book, face the drawing as if it was a teacher’s blackboard. This suggests, an education system which rears a society’s children for the benefit of the growth of Capitalism, but it also suggests the possibility of re-learning; being educated to perceive the world differently; which, judging on humanity’s predicament in the early parts of the 21st century, may be essential for forthcoming generations.
On the drawing
My drawings require me to undergo shifts of manual labour; seemingly endless daily repetition. I could be almost undertaking a factory duty, and sometimes I feel like I am using a production method which rivals, in scale of input, that of the mass produce of the system I am trying to stand up to. For this task, the sturdy, bog-standard, office-like nature of the ordinary biro seems fitting.
The landscape of “I believe in Capitalism” shows the insanity of proceeding with a system which is only sustainable in the kind of dream-like world actually fabricated by the system to keep the masses as “Glazed-eyed passive citizens”. The conglomerate of the richest cities’ skyscrapers looks for this very world. Reaching into the sky, its searchlight looks out for a place that doesn’t exist, whilst destroying the only thing we humans currently do have: a life on this planet. Directly below the skyscrapers, The Alpha Forest - a habitat of rampant materialist individualism of a million voices all trying to be heard like a million trees all vying for sunlight - blocks out any alternative, making the citizens willfully accept that “this is the only way”. Below The Alpha forest, the advancing consequences of this all-consuming system become more and more tragic, until we finally find the doom-laden waves which carry the Easter Island heads, reminding us of the tragedies that befell their island when its inhabitants outstripped the island’s resources, resulting in conflict and a deserted island. Are we recreating the Easter Island Catastrophe but on a global scale?
“Make it short and sharp!!……….snappy and to the point!!…………………..”
Artworks central to the battle to retain what I think is me, amidst the mental barrage of mass persuasion, whilst trying to swim upstream against the tide of society.
The tide of society 23 August – 19 September preview Monday 23 August 6- 9m
FourThirtyThree, 49 Mowbray Street, Sheffield, S3 8EN