Interview

Interview
1
Do you like your work?
A
Not really , maybe for an hour or two, 
it moves away from my thoughts that inspired it, but it seems to me that there is no such thing as good or bad art as its in the hands of the critics  so I try to combine all styles as to not be of any one genre .  

I dream a lot of the images but am deeply disappointed that they are not paintable when I wake up .
2
What are the meanings in the ambiguous images that are strangely disturbing?
A
They relate to love and loss I believe  , in any situation ..but not in a sentimental way more like a document.  There are no limits to thought, unless you are afraid of something, then your mind hides it
3
Why are there so many sexual images?
A
Its not actually sexual in the way you think , its a body unclothed or in a state of arousal or fear mostly and perhaps threatened because of that.. as the nature of naked contact is feared by some people to the point of violence .... In a life class the body isn't representational of any emotion as there is no threat,     in my pictures it is always present. .

A lot of them are concerning the anxiety  we all suffer from.. everyday fears ..like poverty,  morals, etiquette,  failure etc. Men cannot go where women can go in art , The world has everything in boxes with a law on it.. and its real meaning takes a judge to determine ...if he is of sound mind that is ..   exactly the same through all history of art ...The public are only capable of reading the label and are very critical .and self righteous . Its why surrealism exists. 

4

Do people like your work?
A
I dont know,  I doubt it, and I dont look for it  the public  are followers not doers in general ..they want entertaining ..I sell a lot when I exhibit but not through a gallery when I am not there .so maybe a few out there 
I suspect the people that look at it are not  artistic or are those that say 'I know what I like' ...or buy for profit ...I dont really know, as no one talks sensibly about it ..they just want flowers, landscapes, pop stars or some  ingenious pattern on their wall to match curtains  . Abstraction means pattern to some people, not to me.
Art like mine is only appreciated by other artists perhaps , some people even  come up and say I have a leg in the wrong place... in an abstract ?..   or some other bizarre comment. I have seen in a magazine the breasts pixilated on a picasso ..you cant please some people ...those who are  outside that decoration for income bracket are what I catcall regional dismissives..they hate everything as a matter of superiority or beliefs founded on past lives, not even their own ?...  but the odd one is talkative before they drink too much at an opening.

I have no income as they are not to people's taste as I have said, so I cant afford to exhibit much,  and when I do have some money I email galleries and they never reply .They are just a business these days..  above themselves, they are  nothing without us and we are nothing without them , a shame the way it works 


5
Will you continue to paint ?
A
Not sure... I am trying to make a film in 16mm about failure or madness,  not sure as yet  . I have built a darkroom so we will find out .

A lot of people are frightened of me over my work..which I find quite childish of them .  There are perhaps two kinds of art,  one for happiness one for sadness , but it also makes me think I will stop painting and make my film..somehow I prefer a book to a film .its possible to go over and over a line whereas a film passes by quickly . Some films I have never been able to find again.. I used to frequent the cinema clubs when young looking at foreign films , they were morally so much better . but they have disappeared ,  the internet is at least a source .

6

Who are your influences ? 

A

at the age of 72  too many to mention 

but mainly people I have worked with ,   firstly Victoria Kiff , who's work I found in an adjoining gallery in Hastings Arts Forum, so honestly real and  so clever also ... she took me by storm   I met her when showing my first exhibition there , then Sidney Nolan when framing his work for Stephen Jones the framer when I was young, he was insular,  sort of far away  .. Bruce McLean from my framing business in Chelsea , a nice bloke for a change    Peter Fagan.. a sculptor  I worked for in the 60s while at art college ,  who always spent my wages before I could get them  but I loved the work ..just a few . as I say.. too many 

7

You did go to Art school then ?

A

Yes foundation 1st year at 20..but too old ..they were all so young so then dropped out before the end to go to Morocco ..it changed my life though,  just one year of studying art and looking at my mind and what it was capable of .. but to someone that just wants money ..I am not sure they will  understand art or artists ..its personal 

8

Why are your paintings not for sale ?

A

They are and I need to sell .We all have to sell or starve ...but not here as it looks too commercial  ..like Ebay, not against ebay,  just that its so organized  ..and web sites are not art . its like buying from a photograph when you receive it its rubbish or unlike the picture you wanted ,  paintings have to be more about the artist than the image ...its a short life and nothing means much after we are dead except to a few .. then its just auctionable to the many 

 I must admit that as a framer for many galleries in London over the years it seems that they have changed how and why galleries began  ....Many desert artists leaving them stranded and pressure them.with ridiculous deadlines . The flood of artists these days is a strange factor ..many people looking to say something .

Once a gallery was a wealthy supporter of artists but now they see it as a way to  get an income off them...they never buy work from them,  just sell for a cover charge...  so I choose very carefully where I show and sell my work..I am tired of business men .  I am becoming  confused as to why I paint,  once it was for intrigue then for money . now for privacy 

9

Why have you decided to sell on here now ?

A

I need the money and am human, say one thing, and do another ..every day is different .

10

do you consider your work existentialist ?

A
a good word, a complex word perhaps
I am not keen on labels as they are like morals, easy to change. but part of me likes it . I have always been a more.. perhaps, a futilist,  if anything.. as it seems that we destroy so much , an ant hill that took hundreds of ants many weeks of work bulldozed without a thought.. and will kill and eat an animal's child for a sophisticated meal  not hunger...killing is almost natural to us ,  there are so many things that are degrading about a moral life , religion itself has and still is killing millions .

I liked the word abstract but its for my own personal use .I understand it .  I see present life as pointless and abstract art made sense to me to give me a path when younger , a way out of normalization .. A majority of the public seek images of reality, they understand little of life In a metaphorical way or dont want to in an ignoble way.  I paint realism for them not myself, its a way to talk artistically ...but complicated..

I am not seeking perfect painting or drawing,  just a peace of mind . I will never achieve what I want I realize now . its a carrot on a stick 

It appears to me that we are sexually driven only ...primitive like any of our rival species, not at all a special being as we suppose  , violence ,religion, intelligence  and wealth are just a route, none of which are of any importance in the end result of the Earth's survival time ..the strongest always win    so its up to them .

I am just an old painter and can only paint what I have seen as my own interpretation while looking into a mirror 

11

Do you like the Net?

A

It began as a free world but now no one is in control of their sites as its policed by governments.. and they are not known for any appreciation of anything but money or power  

Freedom is based on someone else's idea of what it means, not what I call freedom , but what is freedom? .. Their morals are religious based it seems, not mine .. there is no room for atheists or immorality online it upsets their blood pressure as they must always be in charge..Power again, the clan mentality  ..the weak always take the reins when in a group..  just  like school .. some people never grow up ..but I use it and they close me down occasionally.. I am not sure why ...they bug my laptop , 3rd one now ,  bug my websites ,   then they buy my most expensive paintings  ?  .. must have upset someone  who likes me.  I am just a painter looking at life and troubles and dont give a damn about my life.

'There must be more than this'......but there isnt 

12

People say they dont understand your work

A

Ahh 'people' ?   that's because they have not seen it before maybe ..when I first saw Bacon's  it was strange.. but his images are of his mind in a state of looking so we look at what his mind is doing .We may not understand the work but we start to understand his mind. the same with most well known artists I think if its new to them it takes time ...that is if they are worth analyzing ..who knows ? maybe my mind isn't going anywhere I feel as if it isn't and am still looking for something but dont know what to measure all these images by... Love and Death I guess .  I saw a watch once that was once owned by a soldier in the war   all I saw was a watch , not the death and destruction it had seen.

I refuse to explain the meanings in my pictures as most relate to people I know and they are private .  

13

Do you want to be successful ?

A

When I started to paint it was because I wanted some paintings to hang on my wall.   As I was a framer I presumed everyone bought paintings...When  I started to exhibit I realized that most people just look ... It was the investors that bought paintings mainly by  names ..It has sort of  put me off.. as I know I have no name ... the answer is no , but I am on a stage and will have to deal with an audience when I get off .

14

Do you have a gallery that shows your work 

No.. they cherry pick from schools ..not my scene at my age  ..but never say never ..maybe there is one that's got its feet firmly on the ground somewhere .. galleries are different from when I worked in one .. it was cool then,  now its like do this do that...

I have been dealing with gallery framing all of my life. They do what they do for a percentage and believe that they are honest . I haven't met one truly honest person in my life , myself included .That may not be the case as I have met some that may be  and I cannot look past everyone's eyes. My doubts have been  proved right many times . the human being is all about competing to win not to lose. even charity is corrupt I see .. self good and self image of being good..but someone benefits also so maybe ,  religion, the worst of them all ...  looking for the weak mind .. its vulnerability is always there somewhere .

15

What do you see as a future ?

A

I cant see that..do you mean tomorrow ? there are not many left from my generation,  so its plain to see that this work is not on a level that a new generation will want or can be bothered to look at .. just as I don't understand most of the music that's played now... even less classical music which I find a little contrived with so many people playing in unison and interpreting someone 's work from so many years ago ...its just emotive and probably wrongly played  but  perhaps it comes from early influences in our lives. a love of something we heard in the womb .. I can warm to single instrument  but not full orchestral .I purposefully listen all day to it to find something that means something  but apart from a few from my past . it doesnt work for me . It makes me think that art is the same , but I am warming to some classical as its a relief from disc jockeys and their happy happy songs and anecdotes from  inane private lives ..

The art that is supposed to represent life now but based on whats been done before is odd... I try to avoid all those pitfalls but impossible almost . Group shows also are a mess of minds,   Its difficult as I am as guilty as the next of painting without thinking at times, doing what's bad for me.  I think I am very much a man of my time...always looking back, comparing.. not something I like much, but its that way .  

Many artists are just colourists as they cannot draw, or dont try to, so it separates the types into graphics or fine art but then into two sub groups those that can illustrate with colour and those that can draw but cannot illustrate .and the reverse.  It would be interesting to know the percentages of those groups. I cant draw in a repro-photographic way so I interpret an image by stylizing .I dont see colour as warm and cold like some describe it.. it just looks like two opposite to each other to me, the sky and the earth colours .

  People move on when painting so its just about making a mark while we are here  I think..  like cavemen did .

 I do know that a dead man's art [or woman's] is saleable so I suppose it will sell in an auction one day  .  Art is not important to my life . its only  important if it represents something important in that time of painting it... and there are so many painters these days  .. why?

16

They say you are interested in the occult

A

Religion ,Magic ,Theosophy,   whatever you want to call it. its power . one cannot turn a blind eye to a whole population .. we are all just water and every other part of the Earth. We all have a mind focused on domination reproduction and survival . the occult is part of those basic drives ...  blinkers are for horses 

My friendship with Gallery owner and Potter Vresh Kanikanian has stirred up many troubles for me from people who are paranoid about power  . Religion is power and Magic is just hope or control over others, perhaps selfishness  also.

All I am is ..  interested  .

 

Conclusion

much of my early years in the the 60s was about surreal energy of colour,  dreams and fantasy,  the new young trying to get away from Victorians and the war  .. as all the young were dead ..but I was held back by the class system . But it attracted me, the sophistication in it. As I lived close to Cambridge I rubbed shoulders with a world apart from mine   Art played a big part in that world . I was more like an observer then,  young and just wandering through looking for something. I dont know what.. I didnt know then or now.. its an open book but unreadable . I was cynical as many people were deceitful but I have softened or hardened, unsure of one or other and so now just work for myself.   My work is more for me than for another..its surreal in a way that is hard to describe,  its about losing someone.. or loving them and seeing others use and abuse through feelings that dont compare to mine.. Sometimes it looks like madness,  though in a controlled way.
I use the colours loosely not like the masters of art and realistic painters. I simply dont care about perfect realism and I am too tired to learn to paint ..  its my fascination with the psychedelia within the mind ,  semi delusional almost ..my dreams are beyond my mind and they are the basis of my work but cannot get close to the spiritual sense that they show me.

The drug culture was people looking for dreams . I had no interest in drugs, they interfered with what I wanted to do and places I needed to go but liked what they said about them ..its another world I looked for . I find almost everyone violent and mostly aggressive towards me unless they need something . Socially painting is for people who need to be alone to look at whats inside them .. most just want to eat and drink and be happy while denouncing others...stepping on heads to get to the top as they call it in Public School , and  the song goes 'put on a happy face'... surrealism is just a word after all.. its just painting.

I must add that Bacon said that much of his work was partly accidental ..I am no great fan of his but liked his attitude to Art in general  .My interest in painting has always been in the ethereal or hard factual, fairy tales and strange..  romantic, no, but romance yes .

I assume he means, as my work is,  mostly  'accidental'  and that these images form often in the paint on their own ..I watch as I paint something ordinary and it is often transformed into a figure or object , if I like it I follow it by defining it ..failing eyesight helps also as often images appear to me  in a blur on falling light...Accident and  illness have taken part of my memory so I have  to refresh a lot of meaning to words and my feelings are also affected .colder to some things warmer to others .

.I hardly ever have an idea or design that is finished as the image I started with.

The critic is supposedly intelligent, he or she considers art as also intelligent , but I think its just people using sticks and stones to shed emotions and possibly self achievement , as the critic also  . Intelligence is just a maze of words that changes little, except to fuel an individual's pursuit under the hood of freedom . Its a measure of how intelligent you are that is based on how much money you have , not how good you are at an interesting conversation. Hand skill isnt intelligence .

Is it that you are clever and able enough to make a nuclear bomb but then be as stupid as to let a stupid man have it  but then how do you know what stupidity is until it takes place ?..my father once said he knew a lot of very intelligent stupid people .he was a builder and he referred to architects ..  art is riddled with that dilemma .

The more capable an  artist of diverse thoughts the more they are appreciated and manipulated by the human response to the work, ie, the construction of computers, artificial intelligence  . we dont need them , we just want them to live longer .. .I am trapped in this situation so must use them .  we live we die ...  computers just prolong the agony .. Art is used to build a world of politics and power as well as simple expressive out pouring by a mind . Like a bomb it can do harm as well as good.

I believe art has become boring by being overworked .. like computers , so many people involved it comes to a standstill . its genius was always its originality and as music became swamped with dealers and producers the good music couldn't be found  and we all listened to producers not the  musicians  .critics , dealers . producers seem to believe they are better than the artist and artists are the victims , desperate to paint but restricted by the taste of galleries  who are the producers in art. .Galleries are stuck in their dreary world of white space syndrome where they exhibit huge works in sterility of no interest to anyone but themselves , they forget the many ...artists can still exist outside that space that they own.  

My paintings are idiosyncratic , they will mean different things to you than they mean to me , its your own life that will interpret them to you as my life has to me ..best not get too serious, they are just paintings 

Framing gives one a very good insight into what people know about painting. Most of the public do not understand art .. they usually say 'what a lovely frame '..in the main they cannot think above 'prints'... as its all they are used to .. paintings drawings are messy, textured and flat coloured often and its the mount and frame that streamlines the image and makes it 'clean', which is what most want ...giving it an edge to stop the eye from flowing out of the image and smartens it up to hang in some 'decorated' room .. its decor to most people not art.   .Real art isnt decor, its complexity often misread  and there are clues throughout the work that are dismissed as aberrations or poor colour sense .. the artist is alone most of the time in their work. The 'public' understand realism or illustration more than abstraction , even an artist struggles with abstraction.

Its a disturbing fact that most of the music or art that I feel most for has such an effect on the person that they commit suicide. There is a side to life that a few see,...something inside them finalizes their feelings of life .

'Beware the depths of the inner mind' I read once .