Friday, 1 October 2010
rebel, with or without.
When I was a kid the gym smelled awful with rusty steel plates and rotten carpets, now it's slick and clean with personal trainers, house music and a juice lounge.
Back in the day I lived in a part of town with burnt out cars and dogfights. Now I don't but I still have a fear that when I put my card in the ATM it'll once again reject me and say 'insufficient funds'.
One day in the gym back in the grimy Midlands of UK, when i was 18, my bro, an enormous wolf, got into a row with another bodybuilder who, full of steroids, went home, got his shotgun and pushed it straight into the wolfs chest later that day. The wolf didn't flinch and the other guy couldn't pull the trigger. He left town the next day.
I don't think I'm gonna see any of that action in the spin class any time soon.
From there through the usual pile of emails, the management of my life, and on to the studio where the sun is shining, the radio is on, tuned to BBC1extra, DJ Ras Kwame.
I paint from noon until whenever and check my email now and again and try to keep track of progress on some pretty wild ideas for upcoming art projects. Guns, punk rockers, raves in the wilderness and meteors colliding with the city.
II wander across to the next building, in this sheltered industrial area, where there is a cafe, amongst many floors of expensive furniture warehouse stores. I'm usually covered in paint, dressed in tattered old overalls and when I enter the lift, any passengers fall silent.
At dinner recently my friends were telling me about their kid and what a wonderful life he enjoys. The kid is 5, he likes to paint so he spends much time scrawling away, then he'll eat and take a nap, then he'll play with the girl next door and run around in the park and, if he has time, will finish the day off with some video games and a good story book.
I said that was a typical day for me too.
I met a guy at my exhibition called Stefan Sagmeister. He's a very accomplished graphic designer from NYC and much in demand. I bought his book after meeting him, it's awesome. His work is wonderfully creative and contains much human/social commentary. Every 7th year he takes the whole year off and travels without any real plan to see where it takes him. He feels it re-energises and re-inspires his work.
Some years ago I did something similar after reading Kurt Vonnegut's 'Cat's Cradle', a future shock book that has interesting fictions about connectivity. I thought about people that had impacted my life, plotted them on a map of the world. I bought a round the world ticket, swept a girl off her feet to join my adventure and traveled from continent to continent, photographing people that I had connected with over many years. This documenting resulted in a huge book of portrait photographs and interviews. It was just a fun private project, no-ones ever seen it. But it was an inspiring trip and I have a wonderful book that catalogues that time of my life. I repeated the experiment 2 years ago with a few additions and subtractions.