Its been a while. How have you been? How have I been? On that, I'm not so sure.
A lot has happened, both in the larger world and in my own personal one. I now have a Fine Art degree. I now own a lot of synthesisers and other studio equipment and my vinyl/CD collection is now prestigious to say the least. I am now settled down with a lovely woman in a lovely home and its fair to say, much of the anger and angst of earlier years has dissipated like an early morning fog. So, in many respects I am in a better place. My trepidations on the state of the world and those inhabiting it are still present. I still worry about politics both here in the UK and in the world. I still allow the occasional conspiracy theory to draw me in and I still wear my inate cynicism like a protective cloak. Its often wrapped tightly around me nowadays.
But things are better, for me at least.
Back to that Art degree. It was an eye opener. I had no preconceptions on what it would entail let alone what I would gain from it. So, it came as a great surprise when I realised part way through that I disliked the 'Art World'. All the pretentiousness and arty farty emperors new clothes abounded. Don't get me wrong. I love art but not the art machine that is the art world. Perhaps it was just the university I attended but I was underwhelmed by the teaching which was hard as there was next to none. The tutors trotted out the same old lines such as "which artists do you follow" and the words "identity, juxtaposition and contemporaneous" filled the air with non existent meaning, clogging up the arteries of creativity. Everyone was trying to be an artist rather than just being an artist. The distinction was subtle enough to elude the majority, even the tutors. But it wasn't all bad. There were some good artists with good ideas but they like me were on to a losing battle in that environment. I learnt a lot though. Not about art but about people. I graduated with a 2.1 and promptly downed my brushes, mainly from having been exposed to too much intellectual art wank over several years. I needed some time to reset my compass.
Almost a year later, I picked up the brushes again and here is the result:
As usual, one of my eternal interests - Star Wars provide the impetus and the subject matter. These three Shoretroopers are the latest addition to the Star Wars universe and will be seen in Rogue One. I should also mention that in the last year or so I have become a Stormtrooper of Star Wars fame. I troop in armour as part of the worldwide 501st costuming group with the UK Garrison. Its a charitable pursuit and a lot of fun.
So this brings me to my main point. A sort of epiphany if you will and I have my good friend Robert to thank for this. His insight is often brilliant (I hope he is not listening). He was mightily impressed by this particular painting and pointed out that my work often reflects the authoritarian or even totalitarian aspects of society. True - the historical connotations of Stormtroopers coupled with the Imperial and Empire dominating aspects of Star Wars are undeniable. After mulling this over, I realised it should not come as a great surprise as I have rebelled against authority since I was a child. I rebelled against my teachers, the teaching system, my mother and my work. I am sure a psychologist would have a lot to say on the matter. However, coupled with that streak of rebellion and perhaps even due to it, was a yearning for freedom. I now realise that the idea of freedom balances my anarchic anti-establishment tendencies. In response, I have produced works based on travel and the open road. Perhaps I have found a balance: the Ying and the Yang. If I have, I find that truly bizarre and breathtakingly ironic.
But then I have always thought the universe was founded on irony...