Wednesday, 15 June 2022

Peace Paintings

Back in July, my son kindly bought me three canvases for my birthday, so I have been producing some peace paintings on them with an aim to exhibit and sell them somewhere such as the Nobel Peace Center.

They follow on from the Photoshop juxtapositions, so the above is from a photo I took in Ekebergparken, but the golden tree at the top is from South Common, and our Cathedral is visible on the horizon.
The doves are based on my Grandad's prize winning racing pigeons, which were sort of similar to German Beauty Homers (if you're a pigeon breeder) as far as I know, but they really were a rare breed, so don't actually know.

One is a white dove, the other is a melanistic dove, and both have been fixed with kintsugi, to follow the theme that peace repaired with gold is more beautiful.

As part of And Our Heroes Have Misplaced Their Map, I have taken a Syrian girl from a photo from Aleppo, and placed her in Ekebergparken. She is not screaming, nor is the sky screaming, as Edvard Munch painted it. 


The second is from a bike ride to Holton-Cum-Beckering, of Lincolnshire fields, and Lincolnshire sky. The sky has no military ruining it. Only doves.

The woman is an Afghan refugee from a photograph where she is sewing facemasks during the current global pandemic. She is sewing with a golden thread.

The third painting is a field of white poppies - Papaver Somniferum - grown in fields in Lincolnshire for the pharmaceutical industry, juxtaposed with Lincolnshire skies being inhabited by two Syrian boys feeding a flock of doves. 

Tuesday, 14 June 2022

The Best Thing

 The Best Thing is a sculpture constructed from found objects.

It consists of plastic picnic or canteen cutlery assembled into the form of a hand, and glued together with kintsugi. It was originally conceived during lockdown 2020, and alongside the Nobel Peace Center's #fixthefood campaign.

As UK households, especially single parents, are facing stark choices due to lack of adequate income.

Helen Dearnley The Best Thing 2020

"The Best Thing" refers to the phrase "The best thing since sliced bread" - food banks are obviously not the best thing since sliced bread, in a wealthy country, even though some would say they are. 

Helen Dearnley The Best Thing 2020

Helen Dearnley The Best Thing 2020

Close up of kintsugi - the concept being that the best thing to fix the cost of living crisis is gold - money, and welfare, preferably decent wages - prosperity, not austerity.

Helen Dearnley The Best Thing 2020

So, this is a completed sculpture that now requires an exhibition and / or auction, where it can be sold for a considerable amount of money.

Or minted as an NFT?

Lost Dreams

I've taken the opportunity to use the Business Revival Grant to make some video art for Lost Dreams tracks. 

I have Adobe Creative Suite to use until it expires in August, and at the rate of commissions and the ongoing cultural assault on #ExcludedUK artists, it's unlikely I'll be able to afford to renew it when it expires. So this means that I need to make use of it while I have it.

Lost Dreams needed some videos for potential exhibition, either as standalone artwork, or for imagery if I ever perform the tracks at a music festival, for instance.

Recently, two new tracks were produced from found audio that sounds very similar to the existing sound art tracks: Elvis Clones and The Blackbird Of Chernobyl.

"Elvis Clones" is based on a small clip of an American DJ talking about Elvis Clones. 

For the associated video, my son has taught me how to use modded Minecraft to make Elvis Clones...

In April, I became mayor of Memphis, apparently, and some diabolical researchers transformed a Minecraft mansion into Graceland populated by Elvis Clones.

All the Elvis Clones are programmed to repeat quotes the the DJ was making in jest.

Concept video stills from Elvis Clones 

In modded Minecraft, there are various persons that you can delegate tasks to, so all of the building work is done for you, along with the welfare of the inhabitants, who live alongside the Elvis Clones within the world.

For instance, there is a plague doctor, who apparently cures illnesses musically with a potato and carrot!
All of these random occurrences form part of the new videos, which are uploaded to Youtube, but are currently not visible to the public.

The Blackbird Of Chernobyl has a different creative process, where I have layered digital footage produced with programming, to match the found sounds.

Image stills from the concept video art the Blackbird of Chernobyl

The Blackbird Of Chernobyl is also the title of a game due for release soon, but this is not related to that.

Wednesday, 26 January 2022

New business branding and NFTs!

Rebranding - use of Photoshop has enabled some rebranding.

Like many other artists, I've made good use of the Business Revival Grant funding to mint some NFTs before my current Creative Cloud subscription runs out in June this year. 

Where my work has not generated an income elsewhere, it gets minted on what is described as the most environmentally friendly carbon neutral blockchain, Voicehq.

No gas fees, either, so all I need now is for someone to invest in my work!

That's where you all come in. 

That's why I share my work online - to source clients and buyers, not just for attention, or because I have some sort of strange need to share my work for free. It's not free.

The reserve price is quite high - that's because the less money I have in the bank, the more I need to recover in losses from people claiming to be artists grifting for arts orgs causing rejection fatigue.

Anyway, you can add yourself as a friend to my Discord server here, which I also hope will be useful :-) 

Where I use my artist's theme, or for specific sound art projects, this logo applies.

The following pricing applies for any commissioned work, and includes admin time. So if you're an arts org requesting artists to provide information, the example is not given to have the chance to "win" £100. 

It's not a lottery. My energy bill is not a lottery.

For ten minutes to fill out a survey, this works out at £6.60 for my admin time, which must be paid. If your budget is £100, that works out at approximately 15 artists paid this amount (others may have less experience).
For information, I received a Community Life Survey from the government. It took me approx ten minutes to fill out, and for this time, they have provided a £10 shopping voucher. This is more worthy of my time.

Friday, 21 January 2022

Sleep Piece For Yoko Ono


Sleep Piece is a new piece I have submitted to A Space Arts' Open Call for International Women's Day

It's part of Lost Dreams, and will be available for auction unframed.

The instructions are for Yoko Ono to repeat the experiment in Lost Dreams.

So, the outcome of my son's ESA assessment was that they have decided that he is no longer "eligible".
They have cut off all his income, and are forcing him to apply for the hated Universal Credit.
In my logical mind, it would make sense to continue to pay it until he has this in place, but they are evil.
So now my time is wasted making sure they don't fuck this up, and dealing with the fallout. 
I was hoping that by now, we would have a proper prime minister, and an end to this nightmare, but still it goes on.

I didn't get the Peace Painting funding. 
However, I do have a couple of commissions in the pipeline, and some positive feedback from a client last year, with some posters I illustrated due to appear around the city, which I hope will generate more commissions.

I'm still trying to recover some stolen income through NFTs. 
I'm not interested in criticism of NFTs, as it's a new thing for artists, as Jerry Saltz states, like any art form, there are bound to be bad NFTs, but I'd rather be the one earning any income from them than someone stealing my work to mint and the income once again going elsewhere. It's high time artists DO earn a living for digital art!

So if this may also become an NFT, to generate more income following the auction.

Monday, 20 December 2021

End of year reflections 2021

 As another year of the global pandemic comes to an end, with the UK in political turmoil, with a completely incompetent prime minister, and still no sign of any #ExcludedUK financial support, there's a strange mix of hope and underlying despair.

We ended the year with a funeral for Uncle Paul, a final farewell to a well respected chemistry teacher known to many in Peterborough, although we mainly remember him for constantly listening to opera and classical music, and his baritone choral singing will be missed at church services.

It was the first time many family had gathered together since the pandemic and lockdowns, and he had a good send off. I thought of Sophie Calle again.

Last year, I was very grateful for some welfare support that prevented us from dropping off a financial cliff edge into God knows where, but that's been withdrawn with nothing to replace it, certainly not wages.

Of course, the Business Revival Grant has meant I've been able to continue to work, with several other grant applications, despite the ongoing discrimination I face as both a single parent and carer - which arts orgs are still keen to evade any responsibility for. 

I suggest that if you're a funder of arts commissions, opportunities and open calls, and continue to reject applications by single parents or carers, and can't handle the guilt of your discrimination, then please do resign from your job!! 

I'm not responsible for your guilt, you must own it yourself. In the same way that the prime minister bears the responsibility for his poor leadership. 

I don't apply for arts applications as an artist to get rejection after rejection. I only apply to be accepted - every time I apply. So that rejection is completely on the rejector, not me. And I do take it personally, as I'm the one that has to bear the punishment of living on £54 a week instead.

I now invoice for my time taken to apply for these, whether or not they're successful, as that's admin time I could use better otherwise.

My youngest son, who was made destitute in 2019, and whose destitution has caused some of the severe debts that I still can't recover from, has now got a job, so that's a relief. 

I started to gain a few commissions, but still not enough to cover all the bills or clear debts.

My latest application is DYCP for Lost Dreams. I have been asked by musicians if I'm going to make it into a full album. I was only paid £50 to produce the EP, so I am hoping to make it into a performance art piece.

So for next year, I am trying to keep positive, which is hard to do under the current circumstances!

I am hoping that at least one grant application (preferably more than one!) is successful.

I am hoping to sell NFT artwork to earn a living.