Saturday, 30 March 2013

Important Dates For Your Diary

The photo above of Team Beswick & Pye's tribute to The Fab Four was taken by Deirdre Rusling in Glasgow. This egg and 100 others are part of The Lindt Big Egg Hunt, in support of Action for Children. The 101 decorated eggs have nearly completed their tour of Birmingham, Glasgow, Liverpool, London and Manchester. For your chance to own your favourite egg, bid in their online auction now! (There's only one week left to go). The Beatles egg is Lot number 82 For more info: For 4 days only The 100 Mothers exhibition will be part of The Other Art Fair at Ambika P3 (35 Marylebone Rd, NW1) The dates are Thursday 25th of April (5pm till 9pm, Friday 26th and Sat 27th (11am - 7pm) and Sunday 28th of April (11am - 6pm) Artists contributing to the show include: Hugh Mendes, Jessica Voorsanger, Flo Perry, Anj Smith, Kes Richardson, Daisy De Villeneuve, Geraldine Swayne, Guy Allot, Dinos Chapman, Chantal Joffe, Vic Reeves, Grayson Perry, Adam Dant, George Shaw, John Strutton, Richard Wathen, Beverley Daniels, David Shrigley, Peter Harris, Bob & Roberta Smith, Nicola Hicks, Sean O'Connor, Billy Childish, Olivia Plender, Chris Tosic, Lucy Pawlak, Marcus Cope, Michelle Sarah England, Sarah Sparkes, Chris Coombes,Kyle Hawkins, Neil Innes, Sandra Turnbull, Adrian R. Shaw, Catrin Huber, Helen Barff, Mari Sunna, Martin Dukes, August Kunapu, Lee Maelzer, Helen Barff, Eva Bensasson, Josie McCoy, Kay Harwood, Edith Flowers, Cian Quayle, Julian Wakeling, Ed Ward, Mat Humphrey, Francesca Sharkey, Isaac Quaye, Rowland Smith, Caroline List, Matthew Stradling, Mimei Thompson, Dan Kennedy-Martin, Horace Panter, Mark Wigan, and Gordon Beswick And, last but not least, The next issue of The Rebel magazine is an Elvis Presley special that will be launched at an Elvis art exhibition "I Love You Because" at The A Side B Side Gallery, 5-9 Amhurst Terrace London E8 2BT (the gallery is open Thurs till Sun 12 til 6) The private view and launch of Harry Pye's A to Z of Elvis E- Book and The Rebel will be on Thursday the 18th of July. (The show runs until the 11th of Aug. There are plans a foot to have an artist's talk on Sunday the 4th of August.) Artist's contributing to the Elvis exhibition include Rebecca Fontaine Wolf (whose painting is above)Chloe Mortimer, Bob London, Nicole Willis, Cathy Lomax, Emma Coleman, Chris Webster, Paul Hamilton, Rachael Robb, Robin Shaw, Sarah Doyle (Above "El-Buddah" by Sandra Turnbull 2013)

Sunday, 24 March 2013

Q & A with Bruce Thomas

Between the years 1977 and 1986 Elvis Costello & The Attractions knocked out more classic albums than any other British band I can think of. I loved pretty much everything they did from Pump It Up up to I Want You. The contribution Bruce Thomas brought to The Attractions is enormous. In my opinion his performances on songs such Beaten To The Punch, Chelsea, New Lace Sleeves, Shabby Doll, and Shipbuilding, put him up there with the best bass players of all time. He features on a few other Costello albums from more recent times (most notably Brutal Youth) and over the years he's done sessions with various other greats such as Paul McCartney, Billy Bragg, The Pretenders etc but these days his time seems to be taken up writing celebrated, best selling books about the legendary Bruce Lee. Anyone wanting to know about life on the road should get a copy of his very amusing book "The Big Wheel". The Rebel:How well did you know Barney Bubbles? Do you like many of the sleeves he designed? "I knew Barney very well and counted him as a friend. I’d already known Barney for many years before his involvement with Stiff Records. He designed an album cover for one of my earlier bands, Quiver — and modeled his cover for us after the style of a Grateful Dead album sleeve … think ‘inlaid wood, stained glass and floral motifs’. It was later, in the punk/new-wave period, that he began using references from the Constructivists and the likes of Miro and Picasso — as seen in his black, white and red sleeves for Ian Dury or the cover of Imperial Bedroom. I love every piece of work Barney did and he is rightly regarded as perhaps the pre-eminent record cover designer of his era and as both an icon and an inspiration to others. Barney was a lovely man, warm and open and with no side to him. Perhaps he was a bit too open and sensitive — as no-one realized until it was too late that he was subject to bad bouts of depression. He’d have been amused by this blog, though — The Rebel — “the Shapist school of art — all the shapes are different colours”. The Rebel: Various name photographers like David Bailey took snaps of The Attractions - who impressed you the most or flattered you the most? Bruce: "I got the impression at David Bailey’s session that it was very much “business as usual” for him. He sat each of us down in turn in front of the camera and made a snap assessment of us — he took one look at me and decided “mad professor”. I enjoyed our sessions with Keith Morris, more for him as a person than as a photographer — he was another friend who died early, an ironman triathlete and extreme-depth diver who never came up one day. My favourite photographer was Brian Griffin — I think of him and Barney as very much the graphic and photographic equivalents of each other. Brian is a very inventive photographer who did some pioneering shots of business executives for the broadsheets which were some of the best newspaper photographs of their day. His photographs of the Attractions that I really like were taken at a house in Los Angeles and are a pastiche of Hockney’s swimming pool paintings. Brian came up with one of the best comments about creativity I’ve ever heard. I can’t remember the exact figures involved, but you’ll get the idea. Somebody once remarked at a photo shoot: “A thousand pounds for a single photograph! How long did it take you to do that?” Without missing a beat, Brian replied, “Thirty-five years and one five-hundredth of a second.” The Rebel: If the money was right would you reform The Attractions and do a tour in which you play an album in its entirety? (Both Suede and The Cure recently performed each of their albums back to back over different nights) Bruce: "You should be aware that I’m the only one not in that line-up any more, and that Pete, Steve and EC are working happily together with a replacement bass player — presumably someone of a more malleable nature than his predecessor. So no reformation is ever going to come about under my initiative — or under any other circumstances I can foresee." The Rebel: I thought Nick Lowe's last album was really charming do you hold him in high regard either as a person or producer or singer songwriter or bass player? Bruce: "I hold Nick in very high regard as a person and all-round good bloke, as a producer, as a singer and as a songwriter — so four out of five isn’t bad! Nick himself once took Steve Nieve to one side and gently explained to him that his Rachmaninov-like flourishes might not be appropriate for the particular track we were recording. “There are two types of keyboard part,” said Nick, “there are creative keyboards, and there are functional keyboards. What we need is functional.” I think Nick himself would agree that his bass playing never ventured too far from the functional. He was a great catalyst that allowed the band to function in the studio — and came up with many good ideas. He was one of those blokes you could pass an hour or three with bantering about anything, in a very English way. We used to converse in mock Shakespearian — “We must get this bass part right, for even now York’s escutcheons are a-flutter over Richmond’s gates”. We used to say that when we were older one of us would end up wheeling the other along the seafront at Bognor Regis. It hasn’t happened yet, though." (Above: Harry Pye meets The Jesus of Cool in Chelsea School of Art) The Rebel: How much fun were the sessions you did for The Madness album? Bruce: "I did pretty much all of my stuff as overdubs to existing tracks in one or two days — rather than take part in the actual creative process. Madness themselves were going through something of a split at the time but despite that their sessions were very easy going and I got on well with them and even did a couple of TV shows with them. I think at the time they were trying to shake off their cheeky chappie image and make a more mature Roxy Music-type album. I should imagine that, like the Attractions, Madness was fun to be a part of in the glory days." The Rebel: I always had a soft spot for the Steve Nieve song Sad about Girls. Did you have high hopes when The Attractions recorded the Mad about the Wrong Boy album? Bruce: "To be honest, I had no hopes for it at all! In general I don’t think albums of this type have ever worked successfully — except maybe that lot who used to back Bob Dylan, who did quite well for themselves as I recall. All in all though, I’d rather we hadn’t done it — that’s how I felt at the time and I haven’t changed my mind since. Steve’s song is the one redeeming feature." The Rebel:As a bass player would you consider working with cheeky young pups (with no money but lots of dreams and drive) or are you more holding out for legends and international stars? Bruce: "Giving some thought to the possibilities of treading the boards in a manner that wouldn’t rid me of any last remnants of dignity, surprisingly there are a few possibilities. As you say, a band of talented young pups who might embrace me for my great wisdom is one. A chill-out band actually holds some real appeal — or a cool R-and-B band along the lines of Mitchell Froom’s Latin Playboys project of some years ago. A singer-songwriter. Something fun like Status Quo or an Abba tribute band? A band of arty Teutonic babes in nighties playing angle grinders and cement mixers? Though, as you rightly suspect, I wouldn’t refuse a call from Eric Clapton. But at the moment my “play-along with” music of choice isn’t the Cream Reunion DVD but Miles Davis. I think John Paul Jones hit it about right when he took the gig with Seasick Steve — I’d make a good job of something like that." The Rebel: Where would you like to be in 10 years time? Bruce: "Not wheeling Nick Lowe along the seafront at Bognor! Maybe on a beach lounger in the Seychelles — or doing something so interesting and rewarding it would appeal more — hopefully something that’s as much of a surprise to me as it is to everyone else. But whatever the case, it will be with my mental and physical faculties still relatively intact." The Rebel:What's your fave Elvis Presley song and why? Bruce: "My immediate reaction is All Shook Up — and having then looked through the list of all 758 songs that he recorded, I’m not going to change my mind — not even my “Suspicious Mind” or my “You Were Always On My Mind”. All Shook Up has got the best and most effortless groove of any track he ever recorded. But the clincher for me is the lyric — where the usual songs of the day would have said, “There’s only one cure for this heart of mine”, Presley sings, “There’s only one cure for this body of mine, that’s to have that girl and a love so fine.” The Rebel: What's the best thing about being Bruce Thomas? Bruce: "Once you come to any conclusion about yourself … you’re finished!"

Saturday, 9 March 2013

Uliana Apatina at St Mark's Church in South London

Yesterday was the opening of Uliana Apatina's show in The Crypt of St Mark's Church in South London. The show is called "That Side Where Real Is". Getting in was a bit like doing an assault course but once I had climbed through all the ropes and wires she had put up, I witnessed an impressive series of interactive installations. You can find out more about Uliana's work by going here: The Crypt is directly opposite Oval Tube. You can make an appointment to see the show any time that is comfortable for you including evenings and weekends, please, contact the artist directly: or 07944401310 Here's the press release... 'That Side Where Real Is' - a series of physically constructed, site-specific, inter-connected installations challenging our perception of space and the idea of the space as such built from ephemeral materials or materials that become ephemeral when being constructed into the space. Components of 'That Side Where Real Is': Cracking [Room1] Transparent Invisibility [Room2] Suspended Dreams to Eat the Time [Room3] There Is No One In Here [Room4] Vertical Immersion [Room5] All How It Was [Open Room] Black Penetration Into and Through Horizontal Dimension [Corridor] Red Gloss One String [Entry Hall] The exhibition's title, 'That Side Where Real Is' refers both to the visual challenges conveyed through the materials used and the way they trick the mind by disorienting the body, making it to squeeze in-between something that seems to be impossible to enter, perceive something that human eyes cannot simply see unless they are positioned at certain angles or fixed at the points of the space where the light is reflected. Emotionally and intellectually challenging chameleonic geometry that constantly changes into hallucinational spaces while your body is moving. It is a division between physical and abstract, rational and intuitive – with a big question mark on which of them is real. A peculiarity of the site is echoed in here – being in an underground crypt, empty and dark, with the whole universe of life happening on the upper layer inside the building of the church itself; and, then, beyond the point of the church – in a real life on the streets. Due to the very nature of the crypt 'That Side Where Real Is' deals with a notion of a death/life duality. All components of the installation are process-based constructions - having been built by the artist in a process of inhabiting the site and creating the artwork directly there without a preliminary plan or scaled model.

Thursday, 7 March 2013

The Other Art Fair 2013 featuring The 100 Mothers Show

Ryan Stainer's Other Art Fair is London’s leading artist-led fair. It connects art lovers of all tastes and experience directly with the most talented emerging artists before they are signed. From the 25th to the 28th of April you can buy direct from 100 of the best unrepresented artists. All artists chosen by their selection committee of experts (Yinka Shonibare, Mila Askarova, Laura McLean-Ferris) The address is: "AMBIKA P3" 35 Marylebone Road, London NW1. Works are on sale from as little as fifty quid. If all that wasn't already reason enough to go to the fair - it's just been announced that, as an added bonus, visitors to T.O.A.F will now also get to see 100 Mother paintings. This collection of paintings of artist's mums was put together by Harry Pye with help from Mat Humphrey, Jasper Joffe, Emma Ridgway and also vital support from Eilidh Crumlish, Edward Ward, Gordon Beswick, and Elizabeth Haarala. The paintings have been exhibited at Chester Uni, The Oh Art Gallery at The Oxford House, The North Edinburgh Arts Centre, The Sartorial Gallery in Notting Hill, and The Festival of Firsts in The Wirral. Mat Humphrey: "For me, the notion of painting my mother was very difficult, and also extremely rewarding. It forced me to sit down and think harder and more specifically about her than at any other time in my life. It also made me look harder at her face than perhaps I had before. I photographed her many different times, with the portrait in mind, and spent time watching her different expressions. I saw how the years had affected her skin and the way it creased and folded as different emotions took shape in the muscles around her eyes and mouth. I waited until I felt like I had captured some of the glint in her eyes that betrayed her impish humour. The colours I used were emotionally triggered. I used browns for her skin tones, as it felt right. Earthy and permanent. I gave her eyes a turquoise that belied the power, not the true colour of her gaze, and I gave her iconic gold radiations, as she is my creator, not god. I found it hard to end the painting. I didn’t want an end. It takes no psychologist to work out why. She was moved when she saw the result, and I was relieved at that. It felt like an honest and emotional thing to do, and I believe that everyone, whether they consider themselves to be an artist or not, should paint a picture of their mother." Rowland Smith:"The portrait is a picture of my mum at a party with my dad from the time before they were married and long before I was born. It’s copied from a small black and white picture which I had to enlarge to fill the canvas. My mum likes it because it is not a present day portrait. My mum compares herself unfavourably to A Grotesque Old Woman by Quinten Massys. I disagree and so do most other people who meet her but I guess mum is comparing herself now to the young woman she once was. This brings me back to the questions that were going round in my mind while I painted, making me think about who ‘my mum’ is. Is the young woman in the photo my mum or is my mum the woman who brought me up? Did she have any idea that she would be my mother when the photo was taken? What was she thinking of back then? What were the things that were important to her? It made me more aware of my mum being a person independent of me, with a past and a future, how much more of life she has seen.” Sean O'Connor:"I made this painting whilst I was studying at Chelsea college of art and design. I think that I was supposed to be using my time more constructively rather than painting a picture of my dear mother Barbara. The painting depicts my mother, naked in a mountain landscape with her cat Nelson (1991-2006) draped around her neck, scarf like, for warmth and security. Babs is painted without clothes to show her vulnerability, the mountains ( perhaps her homeland Snowdonia ) are there to enhance this feeling. My mother is a dangerously committed smoker, so I painted Nelson, her companion and confidant, taking a drag to help Babs shoulder the harmful effects of nicotine addiction. I am very fond of this painting and I felt that the portrait did her justice as a caring, loving , sensitive lady, that gives more time to others than she does to herself. When I showed Mum the painting I don’t think she really liked it, firstly it is not in a painterly style that she favours and secondly she would rather have seen herself clothed and minus the fag. My Dad liked it though and I think he knew what my intentions were, he was proud to see it in print and showed the exhibition publication to friends and family members." (Please note: It costs £6 for a ticket to see The Other Art Fair although obviously Mum artists and their mums can get in free. The 100 paintings in the collection are not available to buy individually. A list of the artists in the collection whose work is being displayed will be online soon.) Geraldine Swayne: Bula Chakravarty Agbo: Bula: "She taught me how to read, she taught me how to write. On sunny days we sat in the shade on the veranda cutting green beans and pealing tangerines; two for you, one for me. We watched dragonfly's hover above bright pink zinnias and chased butterflies into the marrigold borders. "Oh look Ma! there's that baby elephant again; Is it going to work with her Ma?" I would ask as they walked past our home every morning. Looking back now I knew it was Ma who taught me grace and beauty, good manners and gentility. And Oh! Girls don't climb windows, or else they might turn into boys! She still shares her wisdom with me, even now...but it's mostly over the phone. As she's in Assam and I in London. How I miss my Ma." < The Other Art Fair's p.v is Thursday 25th 5pm till 9pm, on Friday the 26th and Saturday the 27th it's open 11am till 7pm, on Sunday the 28th it's open 11am until 6pm)

Saturday, 2 March 2013

Fun at FOLD Gallery

Last night I went to Fold Gallery, 15 Clerkenwell Close, EC1R 0AA and had a fine time. It was the private view of a group show called... The 6 excellent artists in the show are: Chris Baker (who is the chap with specs in the photo above),Dominic Kennedy, Ellen Stanford, Gabriel Hartley, Kes Richardson, Neal Tait, Ross Taylor. The gallery is open Wed to Saturday 12 till 6pm. Mudlark runs until Saturday the 30th of March. (Above: Kes Richardson proudly poses with his housemates). (Above: Gav Toye in front of a painting by Ellen Stanford). (Above: My friend Jake.) (Will Danniels fights his way through a sea of art fans) (Tracey and Francesca ponder the meanings of one of Kes's masterpieces.) (Young Julian) Time Out says of the exhibition... "Painters with different aesthetics but similar approaches are brought together in this show. Chris Baker, Gabriel Hartley, and Ellen Stanford are among the artists in this show, who seem to prioritise the spontaneous over the laboured."