I was delighted that Barry Thompson was up for answering some questions for my blog. Help me make Barry more famous by spreading the word about him and has amazing drawings.
Harry: Is all art useless? (David Hockney said art is the opposite of design for this reason.)
Barry: "All art is not useless, but some of it is. I suspect Morris and Burne-Jones (Wilde’s contemporaries) would of strongly disagreed with this sentiment, and I tend to sit their side of the fence. I assume Hockney meant that it couldn’t be used as a tool or eat your dinner off of it? But then again wasn’t it Man Ray or Duchamp that said that they wanted to use a Rembrandt as an ironing board? I can’t remember. Anyway the point is it still has a function in society. Beauty has a power beyond us, Morris knew this, so did Keats. Am I saying all art should aspire to a condition of beauty? Not necessarily, but it seems to me that most good art does. There is a good quote by John Ruskin; ‘the greatest thing a human soul does in this world is to see something and tell what it saw in a plain way. Hundreds of people can talk for one who can think, but thousands can think for one who can see. To see clearly is poetry, prophecy and religion, all in one.’
(Above image Blackbird by Barry Thompson)
How hard do you work and is your work getting better?
"I don’t work too hard, I can only do about 6-7 hours in the studio, I used to be able to do more, it’s a bit frustrating. I’m always thinking about the work though even when I’m not in the studio I mean. I don’t know if the work is getting better, I hope it is. It’s a continual process of saying the same thing but trying to say it in a different way every time. At the moment I want less, stripped down, clarification, an essence, with simpler compositions, still within the realms of realism, still relying on the craft I have developed, but its not easy, as any artist will tell you. In fact it seems to get harder the longer you keep at it! I think its always been like this though if I’m honest."
(above image: Songthrush)
Who do you see as a kindred spirit in the art world?
"I find no kindred spirits in the current art world; all of mine are dead and long gone. I dislike most contemporary art. There are a few that occasionally do something that inspires, but I increasingly have to look back to my student days for that kind of thing I find. When I first saw George Shaw’s work it was like looking in a mirror. I quite like Martin Creed. Jeremy Deller does some good things, but I feel he’s more of a social commentator than an artist. Or maybe that’s what an artist is? Hmm…Actually Hockney can still pull a punch, I mean where does that guy find his energy?
(Above image: The Crossing)
Are you looking for gallery representation or are you happy to do everything yourself?
A gallery would be good yes. I’ve shown with two galleries. I got taken on straight out of the MA so I was lucky. That was ten years ago now. I’m absolutely useless at networking and self-promotion, what ever that means, I don’t even have a website, yet. So yes representation is very desirable, to deal with that side of things, I find it hard to cope with anything else other than the business of making work in the studio. Galleries are extremely hard to come by now though.
(Above: Francis Macdonald of Teenage Fanclub Below: Harry Pye)
At 5pm on Friday 21st Feb there's a new show opening at David Risley's gallery in Copenhagen:
It features: Art by Musicians such as Alan Vega (Suicide), Daniel Johnston, Jad Fair (Half Japanese), Cosey Fanni Tutti (Throbbing Gristle), Bjorn Copeland (Black Dice), Tori Kudo (Maher Shalal Hash Baz), Are Mokkelbost (Killl), T.S Hoegh, Harry Pye and Francis Macdonald (Teenage Fanclub), Knud Odde (Sort Sol), Jeffrey Lewis, Geraldine Swayne (Faust), Jimmy Cauty (KLF), Franz Beckerlee (Gasolin), Troels Trier, Mick Barr (Octis, Ocrilim etc), Tommy Grace (Django Django), Zven Balslev, Ross Sinclair (Soup Dragons), Kasper Eistrup (Kashmir). And it features Music by Artists : Gutter Records - a record store in the gallery selling records of music by artists. (Robert Crumb, Raymond Pettibon, Mike Kelley, Martin Creed, Joseph Beuys, Big Bottom, Billy Childish, Soup Dragons, Lucky Dragons, Charlie Woolley, The Cortinas, Basquiat, Red Krayola w/ Art & Language).
The show will be open and dynamic with events, live music, record nights, talks, films, etc.
The artwork will be by people who started as, or are primarily known as musicians.
The music will be by those primarily known as or who were originally artists.
The title of the show is: "This is our Music // This is our Art." Macdonald and Pye will be represented by drawings and a video for their track "Sympathy For Jean Luc Godard"
(Above: Harry Pye & Francis Macdonald by Julian Wakeling)HOT NEWS: Another M&P track called "Cork In The Ocean" will be aired tomorrow sometime between noon and one thirty on Resonance FM. PLUS
There will be a feature on Francis & Harry in The Feb Issue of Art & Music (available free from The Saatchi Gallery, London).