Wednesday, 28 November 2012

The Discerning Eye show at The Mall Gallery

(Above: Oscar and Chantal Joffe) I was really pleased Chantal Joffe selected me for this Discerning Eye show at The Mall Gallery. I even got a mention in City AM magazine - Their journalist Naomi Mdudu wrote: "The exhibition features exciting pieces from artists including Harry Pye, whose poignant block-colour paintings beautifully capture everyday hope and despair."
(Above: The award winning Simeon)
(Above: Six of the best)
(Above: Micheal)
(Above: Me and my masterpieces)
(Above: With John Duffin)
(Above: Joffers n Rolph)
(Jasper tries to get Gordon to buy his paintings)
(Above: Georgia Hayes)
(Above: Mr George Grills and Mr C.R.Pye)

Wednesday, 21 November 2012

Friends of The Earth Comedy Night at The Hammersmith Apollo

Tomorrow night the place to be is The HAMMERSMITH APOLLO LONDON For a comedy night in aid of Friends of the Earth. Tickets from Eventim: 0844 249 1000 or Ticketmaster: 0844 844 0444 A proportion of booking fees will be donated to Friends of the Earth The line-up is a corker: Richard Herring, Ed Byrne, Stewart Lee, Vikki Stone, Josh Widdicombe, Danny Bhoy, Tiffany Stevenson, Francesca Martinez, Dan Antopolski and compere Charlie Baker.
All profits go to Friends of the Earth. So you don't just get an unmissable night out but also help us do right by the planet. The Apollo is 45 Queen Caroline Street Hammersmith, London W6 9QH 020 8563 3800
Support Friends of the Earth. They stand for: A beautiful world We depend on the planet, so let's keep it in good shape. A good life A healthy planet is one that works for people too . A positive relationship with the environment Acting together for the planet and everyone who lives on it.

Tuesday, 20 November 2012

The Art of Gilson Lavis

I was really pleased that I went to Ladywell (in South London) tonight and got a glimpse of Gilson Lavis and his exhibition of portraits. Gilson Lavis is famous for his amazing skills as a drummer. Squeeze have always been one of my favourite bands and his vital contribution to their greatest records and legendary shows is enormous. When Squeeze split he continued to collaborate with Jools Holland and he plays a big part in both the "Later" TV series and Jools Holland's big band orchestra. Lavis makes black and white portraits of both the musicians he's worked with and the people he admires. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder - my opinion is that this sincere work, all painted in acrylic, demonstrate a lot of skill and a lot of love. I chatted to him very briefly at his private view. I asked him about Roland Gift and Amy Winehouse and what they were like to work with. He heaped praise on them both and talked a little about his aim of making work that looked good from a distant as well as close up. He said he had no desire to work in colour - he likes the smokey, retro look he's made his trade make. I asked him why there were no paintings of the legendary Rico Rodriguez in his show and he promised it was on its way.
Gilson is a self taught artist. He started drawing by copying Marvel Mags. His drumming career and other lifestyle choices were getting in the way, so Gilson stopped painting or sketching for 40 years. Starting again only 4 years ago, he has sold many originals and prints of his distinctive work. Here is a list of SOME of the artists Gilson has played drums for... Adele - Alanis Morissette - Alison Moyet - Allen Toussaint - Amy Winehouse - Annie Lennox - Arthur Connely - Badly Drawn Boy - Bailey Rae - Barry White - BB King - Belinda Carlisle - Betty Wright - Beverley Knight - BJ Cole - Blind Boys of Alabama - Bob Geldof - Bobby Whitlock - Bonnie Tyler - Bono - Boy George - Brian Eno - Bruce Forsyth - Bryan Ferry - Bryn Terfel - Buddy Greco - Buddy Guy - Cee Lo Green - Cerys Matthews - Chaka Khan - Charlie Watts - Charlotte Church - Chas 'n' Dave - Cher - Chris Barber - Chris Difford - Chrissie Hynde - Chuck Berry - Courtney Pine - Craig David - Cyndi Lauper - Dave Edmunds - David Gilmour - David Gray - David McAlmont - David Rotheray - David Sanborn - Desre - Dick Dale - Dionne Warwick - Donovan - Dr John - Duffy - Eddi Reader - Eddie Floyd - Edwin Starr - Eliza Carthy - Eric Bibb - Eric Clapton - Five - Florance and the machine - Gabrielle - Gary Brooker - George Benson - George Hamilton IV - George Harrison - George Melly - Georgie Fame - Glen Tilbrook - Huey Morgan - Hugh Cornwall - Ian Hunter - Imelda May - India Arie - Irma Thomas - Jay Kay - Jeff Beck - Jimmy Cliff - Jimmy Scott - Jimmy Somerville - Joe Brown - Joe Strummer - John Cale - Johnny Dankworth - Julian Joseph - Julio Iglesias - Kate Nash - Kate Rusby - Katie Melua - Kelly Jones - Kirsty MacColl - KT Tunstall - Kylie Minogue - Larry McCray - Lemmy - Leo Sayer - Lily Allen - Lionel Richie - Lisa Stansfield - Lonnie Donegan - Lulu - Macy Gray - Manfred Mann - Marc Almond - Mavis Staples - Mick Hucknall - Neil Sedaka - Nick Cave - Noel Galagher - Norah Jones - Paloma Faith - Paolo Nutini - Paul Carrack - Paul Heaton - Paul McCartney - Paul Rogers - Paul Weller - Paul Young - Peter Blake - Peter Gabriel - Pops Staples - Prince Buster - Rachard Hawle - Raul Midon - Ray Davies - Rico Rodriguez - Robert Palmer - Robert Plant - Robin Gibb - Roger Daltrey - Roisin Murphy - Roland Gift - Ronnie Wood - Roy Wood - Sam Moore - Sandie Shaw - Seasick Steve - Shaggy - Shane MacGowan - Shaun Ryder - Sheryl Crow - Shingai Shoniwa - Simon Le Bon - Slash - Smokey Robinson - Solomon Burke - Squeeze - Steve Earl - Steve White - Steve Winwood - Sting - Suggs - Taj Mahal - The Corrs - Tom Jones - Tommy Cooper - Toots Hibbert - Ute Lemper - Van Morrison - Vic Reeves & Bob Mortimer - Vinnie Jones - Gilson's "Black Thoughts White Memories" runs until the 25th of November at The Misty Moon Gallery, Ladywell Tavern 80 Ladywell Rd Se13. The gallery is open mid afternoon till late. For more info:

Saturday, 3 November 2012

Q & A with Elena Garcia de la Fuente

I've been a fan of the hard working Elena Garcia de la Fuente for many years. Her charming paintings demonstrate great skill. Judge for yourself by finding "Elena GF" on Facebook, visiting her or popping along to her Open Studios at Wimbledon Art Studios (SW17 0BB) from 22-25 November. I was delighted when she agreed to answer some questions for me...
THE REBEL: There's a painting on your old website I really like called Lizard Island (2004). How did the painting come about? Do you work from photos or do a drawing first? Did you consider painting it in oils first? Elena: 'Lizard Island' was my wedding present for my good friends Ana and Juan. They went there in their honeymoon and were fascinated with the place. When Ana showed me the pictures I thought painting it would make a really good present because they could always remember their idillic honeymoon. I work from photos but to start of I have to draw the outlines in the canvas. I never considered painting it in oils because I painted in the kitchen and I didn't want to make the house smelly. THE REBEL: "Tell me about your interest in Julio Romero de Torres? What attracts you to his work? Do you think he should be better known outside of Spain? "Wow, where did you find about that work? It's ancient! Those would be my first portraits! I did them for a show in the fair 'Viva Espana' in 2003 in London. This was my first exhibition in London after a three year break of not doing any painting. After so long without painting I started doing portraits because it was what I had closest to me. I had seen an exhibition the Spanish symbolist painter Julio Romero de Torres (1874-1930) in Madrid. He portrayed the dark haired women of Andalucia. For some reason the exhibition stayed with me. I was drawn by the women's nostalgia, eroticism and power of suggestion. I decided to reinterpret this Spanish legacy by painting their faces and focusing on the potential of colour, it's spatial qualities and temporal qualities. I think there is a lot of Spanish art that should be better known outside Spain, not only Romero de Torres." THE REBEL: Are British people held in high regard in Madrid and Malaga? Do you think Spanish people living in such places tend to only see certain negative types of holiday makers and football fans? Elena: "Are you sure you want me to answer this question? I'm afraid the English people do not have the best reputation in the holiday places like Marbella where I come from. It's unfortunate." THE REBEL: Are there artists in your family? Did your family encourage you to be an artist? Elena: "I have an eldest sister that is an artist too, although she has been devoting herself to teaching art in the last years. Other than that there are no other close relatives in the arts but I guess there is a sense of sensibility and appreciation for art within the family. My parents always encouraged me to do what made me happy. I chose to be an artist and they support me 100%. They are my greatest fans of course. They just worry like any other parent about the struggles.
THE REBEL: Were your art school days happy ones? What were the most positive aspects of the courses you did? Elena: "During University in Madrid I wasn't happy with the teachers, I lost all motivation and by the 4th year I hardly stepped the university. I just did the minimum possible to get through... not really me.... At the time it was very different from UK system. I learned much about techniques but the teachers were almost as if they discouraged you from being artists. That's why I asked for an Erasmus exchanged programme and did my last year at Leeds Metropolitan University. I respected the teachers there and they prepared you to get you out there after finishing university. After that I came to London, quit painting and did an MA in Contemporary Art. It was a very priviledge course to do. I learned a lot about art theory since the 60s to date. It also gave me the opportunity to get to know other side of art such as art fairs, auction houses, gallery work. After the course I felt like I knew better the world I wanted to belong to and acquired a global vision. This last course also opened doors for me to work at two very important galleries in London as a Gallery Assistant. After all that, I realised that job wasn't working for me and by the end of 2002 I was painting again. THE REBEL: Who were you early artistic heroes? At what age did you become interested? Were there certain exhibitions you remember having a big impact on you? "I've always been into art and realised I wanted to do it as a job at the age of 14. My heroes were Monet and Van Gogh. The first exhibition I remember going to or making an impact was at 17, it was Sorolla (1863 – 1923) a Valencian painter of portrait and landscapes. Also had the chance to see lots of Goya, Velazquez and Picasso whilst in Madrid. In 1996 when I was being more experimental I discovered the work of the American Abstract Expressionist Robert Motherwell. Whilst in Leeds I came across David Hockney. Later on, his show at the National Portrait Gallery really impacted me. I still think a lot about his portraits. On my first visit to London in 1998 I still remember being overwhelmed with Bacon at the Hayward and Freud at the Tate Britain. I got to see Sensation at the Royal Academy too and that was an eye opener into contemporary art, there was nothing like that in Spain at all... and if there was, I didn't come across it." THE REBEL: Tell me about the group "Spanish Artists in London" Elena: "Spanish Artist in London is a multidisciplinary group of artist that got together to organise exhibitions and work in a group to achieve things that we could not do alone. We have themed exhibitions and we organise everything from start to finish. We have exhibitions in London and there have been some in Spain too. Being part of these group allows me to be more creative and step outside of the commissioned works. The most memorable exhibition for me was 'Muerto de Amor' a homage to Spanish poet Lorca. It was an incredible experience, two of the artists in the group came with the idea and organized not only an exhibition, but nights of poetry, a play and workshops for children. It was a really amazing and inspiring show."
THE REBEL: Do you draw and paint every day? Elena: "I try to draw or paint everyday although there are times when I do lots of admin, marketing, etc, all that goes along with the job of being an independent artist." THE REBEL: Which of your paintings are you most proud of (and why?) Elena: "I'm proud of three paintings which are a summery of the last 10 years of my career in London. They are just great quality work!
1) My latest painting, Courtfield Road (2012), where I paint a family in their communal gardens. It's an idea that evolves from Lizard Island that you ask me in your first question. I paint people's memories and include the families inside the landscape. They appear in several places in the same painting, like remembering all the different things that they have done there. The details and quality of this painting are amazing! 2) The second one is the portrait of Jim Chanos (2009). This guy paid £7400 to have his portrait done and all the money went to The Princes Trust... Even though I didn't get a penny, the fact that someone paid so much money to have their portrait done by me really motivated me to make something worth that much money. I think I achieve that! I just wish I knew more people that could pay that much! Fortunately for my clients, I'm much more affordable!
3) Last of all is Romance Sonambulo, (2010). To step out of my comfort zone of portraits and ladscapes and come up with somenthing inspired on Lorca was really challenging. But I managed to connect with one of the poems, 'Romance Sonámbulo', part of the 'Romancero Gitano'. I wanted to make a design that would be like painted poetry, so I chose the imagery of the Alhambra, its lattices, carved walls and mosaics, as my inspiration. A lattice is an architectural decorative element consisting of criss-crossed framework used to close windows and balconies. It prevents you from being seen but allows to see. The lattice is a symbol of the love stories in Lorca's work in which the lovers are separated often by balconies and windows. The design of this painting's lattice at first looks like abstract forms but on closer inspection it is possible to read the poem of the 'Romance Sonámbulo'. The design of the walls and the mosaics refer to the imagery and symbols of the poem, such as the pirate ship, the waves, the moon and the stars. It's an amazing piece! Would only let it go for a lot of money!
Elena's next exhibition is the Wimbledon Art Studios (Nov 22 - 25)

Thursday, 1 November 2012

Q & A with Harry Shearer

It's hard to imagine anyone who doesn't have a place in their heart for Harry Shearer. He portrayed heavy metal legend Derek Smalls in the 1984 Rockumentary "This is Spinal Tap" and he was Mark Shubb of The Folksman in the brilliant ("A Mighty Wind" 2003). And, he provides the voices of such much loved characters as Ned Flanders, Waylon Smithers, Otto Man, Rev Lovejoy, Principal Skinner and the excellent Mr Burns in The Simpsons.
(Above: Harry Shearer collage by Harry Pye) You can find out more about him and his many projects by visiting his site: Here is a brief e-mail interview I did with him last week... THE REBEL: "A Mighty Wind: The Album" is a splendid soundtrack to a splendid film. What inspired you to write your charming song "Loco Man"? Harry: "We were all mucking about with the styles popularized by the post-folk folk boom--i.e., the "folk" music that was concocted in the Brill Bldg after the Weavers et al scored some chart hits with versions of real or semi-real folk music. Harry Belafonte's take on calypso music was such a style ("Banana Boat Song", "Matilda", et al), and that's what really inspired "Loco Man". And you're the very first person to describe it as "charming", so thank you." THE REBEL: The album's executive producer (T-Bone Burnett) produced one of my favourite records (King of America by Elvis Costello). What was he like to work with? Did he come up with any interesting suggestions for arrangements or ways of recording? Harry: "The arrangements, AFAIK, were pretty much set by the time we went into the studio. But this question really should be directed to the album's producer, CJ Vanston, who had much more contact with T-Bone than, say, I did." THE REBEL: The way Jane Lynch and Parker Posey take it in turns to sing the lyrics of "Potato's In The Paddy Wagon" never fails to make me laugh. Do you actually have much fun making films like A Mighty Wind or is it mostly just lots of hard work and concentration? (especially if you have to play an instrument and learn lots of words etc) Harry: "The best kind of fun is intermixed with hard work and vice versa. That film, like "Tap", was enormous fun to be part of, and an awful lot of hard work. Improvisation is hard work disguised as fun."
THE REBEL: What Christmas presents would you give to the following people -Seymour Skinner, Mr Burns, Rev Lovejoy, Ned Flanders? Harry: "Skinner--an early retirement. Burns--a Keith Richards-style blood replacement. Lovejoy--a more attentive congregation. Ned--a copy of Christopher Hitchens' "God is Not Great".
THE REBEL: Have you read any books by Jean-Paul Sartre? Do you go along with his famous quote: “Every existing thing is born without reason, prolongs itself out of weakness, and dies by chance.” Harry: "Haven't read him, but I agree whole-heartedly, except for perhaps the second clause--that seems the result of a bit too much red wine with dinner." THE REBEL: Years ago I remember reading about a British comedian called David Baddiel say in an interview how he once had a one night stand with a comedy groupie who insisted on him repeating all his comedy catchphrases when they were in bed together. He found the experience very depressing. Have you ever found yourself in a similar situation? Harry: "Not in any way, shape or form. This is but one of a million excellent reasons not to base a career on catchphrases." THE REBEL: I seem to remember reading you've won big awards like Emmys and Grammys - how do you define success? What means the most to you? Harry: "I have never won either an Emmy or a Grammy. I've been nominated twice for Grammies, and once for an Emmy. So success definitely doesn't mean receiving awards. Success means being able to spend your productive time doing the projects you want to do in the way you want to do them. Period. All else is decoration." THE REBEL:Are you glad you have your birthday in December? As a child were you envious of the children whose birthday celebrations took place in the Summer holidays? Harry: "No, and yes. Hate my birthday. Anything anybody can do to help alleviate that, they're more than welcome to do."
(Above image: Nigel Tufnel, David St. Hubbins and Derek Smalls (on left) of Spinal Tap) THE REBEL: Are you a fan of Ade Edmonson's "Bad News Tour" or were you filled with rage that some British comedians were ripping off Spinal Tap? Harry: "We heard about it at the time, but I never saw nor heard it. So it wasn't rage I was filled with, just determination that we not be accused of ripping them off." THE REBEL: Do you have many ambitions left. Are there any famous film directors or comedy legends you'd like to work with? Harry: "Many. I have a musical comedy, which I co-wrote with my friend Tom Leopold, which takes a distinctly different approach (compared to the recent dour film) to the life of J. Edgar Hoover, and I ache to get that properly, you should pardon the expression, mounted. There are dozens of directors and comedy legends I'd love to work with, but to call them out would embarass them, and piss off the ones I don't mention." THE REBEL: Can good comedy and good Rock and Roll be politicaly correct? Or does a Rock singer or comedian have to be in the wrong in order to be funny/exciting? Harry: "Not "in the wrong", but not kowtowing to the current conventional wisdom is certainly useful, at least in attracting attention, and at most in being socially useful." THE REBEL: Which lesser known bands, singers, comics do you rate? Are there any young kids on the block who've impressed or inspired you lately? Harry: "I don't know if they're lesser known, but I'm a big fan of Armstrong and Miller's sketch comedy shows in Britain. I'm intrigued by Australia's Hungry Kids of Hungary, a band clearly influenced by Brian Wilson.I love Alice Russell."

"Matisse at Christmas" (A new exhibition at Chateau Joffe)

Matisse at Christmas An art exhibition by Harry Pye and Jasper Joffe about the mystery of great art. "Matisse at Christmas" runs from December 8 to 21. The PV is on Thursday 6th December "I'm for truth no matter who tells it." - Malcolm X “To miraculously hold together contradictions and incompatibility is a good definition of art.” Frank Auerbach Harry Pye and Jasper Joffe are both artists/curators who have been friends for more than ten years. Together they’ve worked on such projects as The Free Art Fair, The Rebel magazine, and 100 Mothers. Ekow Eshun visited Joffe et Pye’s show last year and on BBC Radio 4 's Saturday Review said of their work: "Intense feelings about love, loneliness and fear, anxiety, desire, hope and ambition all come into play in these paintings. Very powerful I thought. What could have been fey, arch or game playing was actually very warm."
(ABOVE: Collage of Paul Hedge by Harry Pye 2012)
(ABOVE: Rumainian Blouse painted by Jasper Joffe 2012) Matisse at Christmas is no joke, although some of the work in it might make you smile. Matisse at Christmas is not just a transcription project but then again - Jasper and Harry feel they've learned a lot by making work for this show. The show includes art made by Jasper and Harry that was earnestly inspired by the great Henri Matisse. They have tried to make work with the same freshness, beauty, and skill as Matisse but they have added their own signatures and trademarks. Can you just make more work of an artist you like? Does anyone know what they’re looking at? Do you believe in Matisse at Christmas?
(ABOVE: Wall of Harry)
(ABOVE: Wall of Jasper) Matisse at Christmas December 8 to 21 (PV Thursday 6 December) Chateau Joffe Shoreditch London 7C Plough Yard London EC2A 3LP Tube: Liverpool Street T: 079571 36066 open Friday to Sunday 12 to 4pm and by appointment