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 is the meaning 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 , 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.... 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,  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 or pop stars on their wall .
Art like mine is only appreciated by other artists perhaps , some even  come up and say I have a leg in the wrong place in an abstract ?   or some other bizarre comment ..those who are  outside that decoration for income bracket are what I call regional dismissives..they hate everything as a matter of superiority ,   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 


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  .

A lot of people are frightened of me over my work..which I find quite childish  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

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 who always spent my wages before I could get them  but I loved the work ..just a few . as I say.. too many 

7

Did you go to Art school ?

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 thats its so organized  ..  and 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 ..

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 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 killed 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 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 .I am not seeking perfect painting or drawing,  just a peace of mind 

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, 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 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  . 

12

People say they dont understand your work

A

Ahh 'people'  thats 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 isnt going anywhere I feel as if it isnt 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

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 

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 thats 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 honest person in my life , myself included .That may not be the case as I have met some that maybe  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 .. Self good and self image of being good.. ie in 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 dont understand most of the music thats 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 .

The art that is supposed to represent life now but based on whats been done before .. odd... I try to avoid all those pitfalls. 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.   People move on so its just about making a mark I think.

 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 ... 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. 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 the 60s was about surreal energy of colour, dreams and fantasy, new young trying to get away from Victorians and the war as all the young were dead .. 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 .  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 ..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 is partly accidental ..I am no great fan of his but liked his attitude to Art in general  ..I believe he means, as mine 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... illness has taken part of my memory so I have  to refresh a lot of meaning to words and my feelings are also affected ..I hardly ever have an idea or design that is finished as the image I started with.