Monday, 30 November 2015

Cyber Monday / Financial Abuse

Today is Cyber Monday. Today, like Friday, in theory I could get a very good deal on a new iMac, but I can't. 
This is because since 2013 I have unwillingly become an unpaid carer for my son, who is suffering from depression.
This is the other reason why I refuse to work for free, and why people working in the arts that do want me to work for free go off to whisper about their unpaid "opportunities" in a corner, and now know that if they even try as much as to paint a clown smile on their "opportunity", they know I can see right through it.

I can't even contemplate purchasing a new iMac, as we're currently awaiting a reconsideration of my son's ESA assessment.

Employment And Support Allowance is meant to be available to help people that can't work. My son can't work. He has a doctor's note to prove this. Yet we were "advised" to apply for JSA.
The letter refusing his ESA payments is dated the day of Granny's funeral.

Last week was a bad week for my son. He became very ill and said he wanted to die. Although he never tells me this - he rang Mum (who is busy enough - she has all of Granny's stuff to sort out, is grieving - again - and has largely been left to do it all on her own.) 

And while we're fighting to get my son the help and support he needs, we can't help her either.

Two weeks ago I applied for two jobs that I didn't get, and finished an illustration competition project.

I could get an Apple Imac for £425 but I'd have to use my overdraft, and I need to keep that for the time being in case the decision goes the wrong way and I'm forced into abject financial abuse by the DWP - AGAIN!

I mean, I'm glad the abuse regarding Tax Credits was reversed, but I'm under attack from all sides now, and still there are those that will say that cuts will happen elsewhere. But there is lots of money for war and poppyganda in the castle that I will be forced to avoid.

Monday, 16 November 2015

Je suis vraiment désolé

Last week I had some time off due to another funeral. (Granny)

I then attended a meeting at BGU with St. Hugh's Foundation for the Arts and met up with representatives of 1215Today, with mention of upcoming projects for next year that I hope to be involved with, either as an artist, an illustrator or with the LAN as a group that has had the Magna Carta at the core since its inception.

Then I went to bed on Friday night to spot murmurings on social media about Paris, and watched the news unfold that seemed so familiar for Oslo a few years ago, only this time it was at a gig, it was music fans, and other terrorist attacks around the city aimed at innocent people just out enjoying the culture of the city.
Je suis vraiment désolé.
The merch stand guy Nick Alexander was killed, (my sister's married name is Alexander) the band Eagles of Death Metal had no idea what had happened to all the band and crew.

On Saturday, the Cathedral said there would be a service for Paris for Evensong, so heavy hearted, I went up to the Cathedral and lit a candle for the victims and their families. 

I wasn't sure how appropriate it would be, but as I'm currently hoping to win a trip to Oslo, I took a selfie outside the Cathedral and posted it to Instagram.

I've never done Instagram or selfies before the competition by Visit Oslo, but this seemed somehow a poignant thing to do as an artist. It could be crass. I went alone, I wasn't with anyone, and others posted photos of flowers at the Nobel Peace Centre, and French embassies around the world, so there was only myself to document the moment.
It could be regarded as vain or selfish, narcissistic perhaps, that's how I think if Instagram anyway, but if I win the competition to see A-ha perform live at the Nobel Peace Centre, it would be the perfect way to create something - the Onochord Bicycle Bell Choir should've accompanied bicycle piano player Davide Martello playing Imagine outside Bataclan theatre where the tragedy happened.

I really think it's important more than ever to create work for peace.
In thoughts are all the places affected by disruption and terrorism, including Beirut, Baghdad, Syria, and others #PrayForWorld

All I could think about was that:
Muslims would've been at Friday prayers, so it wasn't them, that world leaders would be provoked into retaliating like braindead numpties, and in the dark echoes of Anders Breivik, the terrorists should be arrested, put on trial and jailed, not killed - two wrongs don't make a right.
Something Andrew Graham Dixon said in his lecture at the University of Lincoln about the church destroying art and thoughts about iconoclasts - the destruction of culture, the writings of Borges, Guy Debord, and Baudrillard.

There are no words, just keep on rocking, Paris. Guitars not guns!

Friday, 6 November 2015

Onochord proposal

As mentioned in my last post, the Onochord proposal is a project I'm seeking funding for, and there's a competition being run by Visit Oslo to win a trip to Oslo, with front row tickets to see A-ha perform at the Nobel Peace Prize giving ceremony coming up in December.

This would be an ideal opportunity to not only see A-ha, which is an opportunity I'll never turn down(!) but Magne exhibited work at the Nobel Peace Centre before, and it might give me the chance to find a way for the Onochord project to happen!

It involves uploading a selfie to Instagram. I don't normally do selfies, or Instagram - I've never fathomed the purpose of it unless you're a complete narcissist - which I'm not!! 

Wish me luck!! 

Tuesday, 27 October 2015

I am not Ai Wei Wei

I'd like to take a break to explain why I stopped producing fine art work.

When I was at University, not only did I have less of a student loan than many students now, but I also received a regular small grant to cover materials costs and the expenses of producing work.

Since I graduated, I've applied every now and then for funding and not been successful.
Not wanting to allow a lack of funding to prevent me from creating work, I carried on regardless, but the disparity between the concept I had in mind for the work and the available non-existent budget, meant that I was producing far lower quality work than I would really prefer.

I thought about this this morning as I cleaned the kitchen.
Some artists have incorporated cleaning as a work of art itself.
Other artists have second jobs that have informed their practice in some way or another - they've somehow used knowledge or skills from those jobs or materials as part of the jobs to produce work. 

But I still think that compromises their work!
After all, Van Gogh never worked in the cafe in Arles other than to paint it.
He didn't get a job as a barista to pay the rent and buy canvases; that isn't realistic.

Anyway, I had a concept for a project last year - the Onochord Bicycle Bell project. It was run initially as a test cycle ride back in 2014, but I had hoped to run it as a larger cycling art project.

Realistically, this is a social art project. However, it was included as part of a larger funding application - can you guess what happened to this??

Instead, the Jason Bradbury illustration, which has been supported by workshops, was successfully exhibited at the Engine Shed last Thursday as part of Future Fest.
At the event, Jason came over and had a look at the work, said we'd get a photo with it when he's in his Back To The Future gear, and later on we found some time to do that. 
Jason really liked the illustration, and it received a lot of positive feedback from visitors.
I also took the opportunity to have a look around at the various technology at Future Fest - there was the Oculus Rift again, and when I tested it out, they had zombies. 
Lincoln Tech Hub were doing 3D scanning, and there was @lindastrands the robot, taking pics of people and tweeting them.

I am prevented from being able to produce a lot of work because the funding would've allowed me to purchase a new imac - my current old mac has obsolete software and will no longer update, so its use is limited.
The guys at Lincoln Tech Hub will tell you that 3D printing has a cost, so it's not as if you can come up with an idea and just 3D print it (although that's supposed to be what engineers do).
I did think of making a Back To The Future Jason Bradbury in his DeLorean comic figurine - of the kind that is often marketed at comic cons, and having a few 3D printed to sell, but would still require a production budget.
Oh, and btw, the IP for that is mine.

I've been thinking about this, and thinking about the Onochord project, as the
Nobel Peace Prize was announced, and I'm preparing another trip to Oslo in April. 
I'm really hoping to be able to make this a work-related trip - I've made a suggestion for that.... a discussion to include some of my older work perhaps, but I came up with an even better idea.

If Lincoln won't allow me to produce the Onochord project, then I'm taking it somewhere where I hope it will be appreciated! 

There is a part of me that doesn't want to let them win. 
The naysayers. Those that know that if they ignore my work, don't bother to fund it (knowing that they could), I won't be able to produce it, and that suits them fine, because they'd prefer it if I just curl up and die so that students can get the opportunities for free.... or something.

Is that what they want? To destroy my career? By not funding my proposals?

I do wish I could have a career in the arts still. 
I feel that my potential has been wasted, neglected, and I don't wish to give any more to those financial abusers, the tax credits cutting vendetta.

If I was Ai Wei Wei, I could announce that Company X had refused me materials and offers of said materials would come in, but I'm not Ai Wei Wei.

I've also had to take a break due to my eldest son's diagnosis with depression.
Becoming an unpaid carer was not the career I had in mind at all.

Teenagers these days are obsessed with YouTube and Minecraft.
"You should do Minecraft!" they say. In the words of a villager

I made a Minecraft skin then created this.

I've set up a Youtube channel. I don't know what I'll do with it yet.
I don't think I can compete with the 'rockstar' status of gamers such as PewDiePie or Markiplier, but at some stage I'm considering a number of options.
I used to upload animation work, but I don't know if I have the time or resources to create animations any more. Another is to upload expertise and tutorials, but I don't know why audiences don't just go to University like I did? 
Currently I'm thinking of relaunching my graphic novel Kickstarter, but either way, I still require a new iMac and funding to produce new work, whatever that may be. And I'm not Ai Wei Wei.

Saturday, 22 August 2015


Since the digital workshops, I've been running several after schools comics workshops whilst finishing the Ayscoughfee proposal.

The Ayscoughfee proposal was finished and sent, however, the response has been negative. This is why I haven't done any fine art work for a while.

Sometimes people that have studied fine art attempt to make me laugh by suggesting my work is fine art, when I haven't produced any fine art work for over a year now, and all my proposals keep getting rejected. 

The LAN has been invited to create murals for the Rainforest Ward at Lincoln County Hospital. At this stage, it might be tempting to include this project in this blog as a fine art commission, although I'm not sure. Especially as I've largely been sketching characters from 1980s anime cartoon Mysterious Cities Of Gold, and as such am appropriating imagery.

Thursday, 26 March 2015

LAN/Onlincolnshire fully funded workshops

I've been very busy organising the LAN/Onlincolnshire workshops as part of a Knowledge Transfer Partnership at the UoL - hence the Digital Conference.

Today was the last of these, for which I delivered my expertise as an illustrator about graphic novels and self-publishing

A very interesting article today, whilst uploading info, on Mark Leckey - interesting use of 3D printing half of his own body.

The Ayscoughfee proposal has been budgeted and finished to be looked into over Easter, and after the holidays, I'll finally get the chance to go into the Technology Hub and work out ideas. The trouble is that Malcolm has his own theories about some laser cut bird silhouettes to sell in the museum, and in my head I'm thinking more along the lines of Mark Leckey's experimental work, and am more inclined to develop bird characters based on the original collection, similar to the Birdman concept dolls, or something else, but I feel as though I've been discussing this for ages, and just want to actually get on with things and start working properly on this.

All information about the work I've been doing for the LAN is in the blog, with a link to my Illustration blog, so I've been busy!

It's been great to run these at The Collection in the gallery, as part of the current Viewpoints exhibition and discussion, with our live tweeting and contributions included in the LAN blog here.

Wednesday, 11 March 2015

Lincolnshire Digital Conference 2015

This week I've been budgeting the Ayscoughfee proposal for support from Onlincolnshire, organising some workshops for the LAN, and I was invited to attend the Lincolnshire Digital Conference 2015 at The Showroom.

As I'm due to make use of 3D printing technology for my work with Ayscoughfee at some point, it was good to see the latest uses for reproducing the head of a Terracotta Army figure.

Guest speaker Jason Bradbury also attended, with a slightly different talk to the one he presented at last years' alumni event, mainly that he first appeared on a screen mounted on a remote control robotic device, and presented most of his talk on a segway/hoverboard.

He's working on a DeLorean for the upcoming anniversary of Back To The Future this coming October.

Images in the LAN blog here

went to ask a question, accidentally did a selfie