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Have you seen Tim Cockburn?

This is a work of his, titled ‘Home’.

Home by Tim Cockburn

There is not much I want to say about ‘Home’.

One picture, two scenes. Or one scene, two pictures.

Joining and adjoining anyway.

Both together reveal the story. Without the other, ‘anyone’s guess’?

Will he get to sleep with her or be made to spend the night in the spare bedroom? Or on the living room couch?…

The bedroom – a woman reading a book, part of her night-time ritual, she reads a chapter each night, she makes herself  do it, ‘for where is the time otherwise?’ or she gives herself to quarter-to-ten having retired to bed at half-past-nine for she is a creature of habit and an early riser is part of her relentless routine.

Or she reads until her eyes can no longer focus on the page, her mind drifting in-and-out of consciousness, the book flopping in her hands before she falls into sleep, the light left on, again…

But that never happens for usually her husband alongside her is reading his paper and whenever he espies his wife’s head beginning to nod he will always reach over and switch off her lamp and place the book on her bedstead.

Or her husband is asleep alongside her but asleep with the quote marks as an aura of ‘are you still reading?’ pervades the near-silence.

She has heard something – a creak on the landing but in any case such attempts at quiet on his part are in vain as she heard him minutes earlier in a drunken awkwardness of attempting to open the front-door, or was it the back as more discreet from the eyes of ‘neighbours’…The husband perhaps knows this too as a ritual of a Friday or Saturday night or rather Saturday or Sunday morning…but feels obliged to pretend considerate quiet anyway, as he had creaking his way slowly up the stairs minutes previous.

The pet dog is expectant too, but its enthusiasm for this (approaching) master tempered as it knows this ritual too and that its other(reproaching) master won’t be sharing it.

Or if not a ritual he saw the light on from their bedroom as far back as ten minutes earlier when walking home from his drunken night-on-the-town, his inebriation dulling his sense of time but not space, the window’s glow both reprimanding him and beckoning him home.

But I would know not that without sight of the landing. The wife’s wary doorward glance may have been a mother’s as she heard a creaking floorboard as a sneaking child passes by kitchen-bound… or it was the sound of her husband approaching her bedroom but who had just popped out to the bathroom, they having been mid-row, as much why the husband made his nocturnal visit to give himself composure and or new line of verbal attack, or rather defence.

And with just a view of the landing I would not even know if the husband was, as it were, coming or going. He could be sneaking out rather than in. A secret highland dancer. Or had been given permission by his wife to go out and make a night of it she having retired early for the night and so not wanting to disturb her. Or his wife was a fanatic not about nocturnal silence but household cleanliness, never to allow footwear upon her carpeted and uncarpeted floors that had ever trod outside.

I would not even know if the man is a husband!

But seeing both bedroom and landing together it is then clear that he is not just a husband but one returning home and late or at least beyond the hour he is expected. And that their West Highland Terrier is indeed right to temper its enthusiasm with some wariness.

But as I wrote at the start this is but a cursory look.

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Tiny Furniture: Art Imitating Art

Lena Dunham is all about these days.

There is Girls which she writes, directs and acts in. She likely does other things in it too.

By way of familiarising myself with her and some back-story I watched a 2010 film she also wrote, directed and acted in, Tiny Furniture.

Like Girls it is documenting her life as lived. In this case as lived in 2010 in New York, just come out of a relationship of three years, recently graduated college and wanting to be an artist and needing jobs in the meantime to support that. Familiar enough tropes right? Okay I just wanted to write tropes in a blog post and promise not to do it again!

She is also living with her sister and mother whilst doing that.

And her sister is a poet. And her mother an artist photographer.

But her sister really is her sister, Grace Dunham. And Grace Dunham really is a poet.

And their mother really is their mother, Laurie Simmons. And Laurie Simmons really is an artist photographer.

And the film is so named Tiny Furniture because the mum photographs tiny furniture. And she does so in real life.

The family parallels do end there though. Her husband, their father, is the artist Carroll Dunham and he is not featured in the film. Or if he is I did not see him, though I would not know him if I did see him! Hmmm. Anyway.

Here are some of Laurie Simmons’ photographs of tiny furniture.

Laurie Simmons Long House

Long House (Downstairs Kitchen) 2004

TV Room Laurie Simmons

Long House (TV Room), 2004

Red Bathroom Laurie Simmons

Long House (Red Bathroom/ Blue Figure), 2004

Show Me The Monet

Show Me The Monet - BBC Website ImageI have planned to blog about Show Me The Monet for a while.

Show Me The Monet is an arts program from the BBC where artists submit their works to a panel of critics with the potential to have their work exhibited and sold at an Art Gallery.

You may not have heard of it outside of the UK and even if in the UK you may not have as it was a program hidden away in the schedules of daytime telly.

Anyway having finally got around to writing about it I discover this sorry message on the show’s production website.

Show Me The Manet - off air message

What a pity.

Even if I did not enjoy the art being presented by the hopeful artists or care very much for the critics who they must first impress I would still watch this show purely because of the opportunity it presents for, in the main amateur, artists to show their works and get a wider audience. Even if the critics say no to the works we the audience may well say yes to them. Other opportunities may arise for them and their art because of all the TV Eyes upon it.

Sure for artists themselves there may be more effective routes in what is in effect a large-entry competition with a pyramid prize structure – a kind of X-Factor for Painters, Photographers and Sculptors.

Show Me The Monet - various clipsThe title of the show is an obvious pun on French Impressionist painter Claude Monet. In some parts of our country the show may be referred to as Show Us the Manet, phonetically punning after another French Impressionist (if more proto) painter Edward Manet – I just had to crow-bar this joke in!

With the decommissioning of the show the website itself has also given up the ghost. But there is still program information to be found on the BBC channel that broadcast it BBC 2.

The show’s Gary Barlow, Louis Walsh and Tulisa were Roy Bolton, David Lee and Charlotte Mullins. Their backgrounds as you might expect were in art history and criticism – Roy Bolton also is a dealer.

The Dermot O’Leary of the show (okay that’s enough over-working of the X-Factor comparison), the presenter was Chris Hollins whose background is in, well, presenting.

The show did manage 2 series and 25 episodes in total displaying therefore many works in the process.

And the real interest of the show was the artists and their art.

Katy Sullivan displays 'Disneyland'The image above is of former GP Katy Sullivan, with a portrait of her daughter titled ‘Disneyland’, standing expectantly before the judges at the Walker Art Gallery in Liverpool, England. Incidentally the judges are referred as ‘the hanging committee’ – hopefully not as in ‘hanging them out to dry’!

As well as presenting their art to the judging panel they have to explain a little about it and put a price-tag on it, being asked how much they think their art is worth. What an impossible question to answer I would have thought.

They were very impressed with Katy Sullivan’s work and could not believe it was only her fifth ever oil-painting. Katy Sullivan has her own website with includes a portfolio which presents a better image of this work.

Disneyland portrait by Katy Sullivan

They voted it through to the Show Me The Monet Exhibition. It was also selected for the Holburne Portrait Prize courtesy of  the Holbourne Museum in Bath, England where it won the People’s Choice Award.

I am not going to detail all the art featured as there is a great deal of it and it is better viewed on the BBC 2 program website itself. But I will display a few more to give you an idea of the type and standard of work featured.

Rebecca Fontaine-Wolf - JuneThis next is titled June by a London based artist Rebecca Fontaine-Wolf. It passed muster with the judges but remained unsold not meeting her guide price of £1800. One great thing about the web is that most artists will have if not their own website then their work hosted elsewhere to be seen alongside their other works providing further context. It can also provide an opportunity to see what the subsequent fate of a featured work on this show was.

Rebecca Fontaine-Wolf with worksFontaine-Wolf has her own website and you can see her here stood before June and other of her work. Her work can be seen in higher resolution on her site too. And it transpires that ‘June’ was subsequently exhibited at the Royal College of Art’s Henry Moore Gallery.

I thought I should finish with a work where the judges voted No but which I would have voted Yes just to remind too of the subjective personal nature of art. However, on the website at least, all the work featured was either unanimously yes or at least majority yes. There were certainly works that were declined so clearly the website has spared those artist’s blushes being repeated.

So in this spirit of positivity to finish on a work the panel were unanimous about. This one is titled ‘Between ‘me’ and ‘you’ (1) – History Series’ by another London based artist Laura Jacobs. Her guide price was for £2000 and it sold close to it at £1750.

Show Me The Monet proved that not all daytime TV is created equally. And reminds that there is much artistic talent ever to be discovered.

Laura Jacobs - Between me an dyou

A Sculpture

Foundry Statue Morrisons CloseThis above sculpture may or may not be particularly noteworthy to you.

But the location may be. It is for me. For it is situated on a traffic roundabout, and not even a particularly busy traffic roundabout rather one that is mostly passed by shoppers on their way to and from a grocery supermarket, or to get their vehicles filled up with petrol or diesel, or even washed.

Sculpture MorrisonsOn the other hand perhaps it is a good way of this sculpture getting attention to itself as likely most shoppers are creatures of habit and will be passing by this roundabout and thus sculpture on a regular and frequent basis. At some point their curiosity must get the better of them, even the most resolutely art-unimpressed of them, to wander over from their parked vehicles and take a look at it? Certainly this was the case with me.

I thought it fitting to take round about pictures of this roundabout sculpture! Here’s another one.

Morrison's Supermarket Sculpture I took these photos on 12.12.12 but I am making no significance of that – am not going to tag this post so and attract ‘those types’ to my blog! – but you can see it was a frosty winter-day and it gave an added other-worldly dimension to the setting I felt.

At first I tried to get pictures without traffic but traffic proved to be quite persistent in that regard – who would have thought in the middle of the day outside a supermarket carpark! – and in the end relented thinking the pictures are more realistic with the presence of a constant stream of traffic. Though perhaps the presence of a strange man at that time of the day taking photographs of said sculpture triggered their interest and attention much more than the sculpture would have otherwise done!

Sculpture Morrisons Car WashI did not just want to photograph and share it with you though, I wanted to find out more details about it and its creator/s hopefully by way of a plaque – but as I closed up on it there was  no plaque to be discovered – a sculpture with no name and no sculptor giving their name to it, this only piqued my interest more.

Morrisons Sculpture Close Up

I could see that it was representing a foundry with an industrial type bucket pouring molten steel – its usual industrial process diverted from railway switches and crossings instead suspended in time and motion. So perhaps this was the site of a previous industry on this now retail space?

I say retail space as the plan is to extend into a retail park – currently though it is just that supermarket and a drive-by fast food chain (Okay McDonalds, which aside I learn is the third busiest branch in the UK – we are but a smallish town of thirty or so thousand so what does that say about our health!) but there is an area of land nearby fenced off with hoarding waiting for new tenants and it is named the Foundry Retail Park.

This would be my next move to check out their business site and see if they had any further details as to this work.

What I should add is that this supermarket – admire how I am steadfastly not naming it remaining commercially pure despite it being quite clear from the photographs to any of you familiar with it or indeed not familiar with it seeing as the name appears in a few of the photos! – only opened last year, 2011, and the sculpture followed shortly after.

The developers of this land are known as Carillon-Richardson (two separate companies in a business marriage) but the details they provide are sketchy – literally! – including plans and work-in-progress photos of the supermarket build but which then terminate unfinished in July 2011.

Carillon Richardson Bathgate Development Aerial Shot

I then discovered a website for a graphic design consultancy To The Point who are responsible for the branding for this retail park and in a blog post of September 27 they detail that the site is indeed built upon the site of an old foundry – Balbardie Steel Foundry.

This foundry having many owners the latter being  Balfour Beatty and was closed in 2009 according to the website of the Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland which includes 72 digital images of the site including this!

RCAHMS digital photography View of sculpture alongside public path of line of dismantled railway with back view of foundry buildings from south. DP053459 Copyright RCAHMS

RCAHMS digital photography View of sculpture alongside public path of line of dismantled railway with back view of foundry buildings from south. DP053459 Copyright RCAHMS

The sculpture had a previous life, but was this life its first life?

And still no details of its provenance. By the way if you like photographs of derelict industrial spaces (as I do!) then there are many colour and black-and-white photographs to feast yourselves upon in this collection including another of this sculpture but that is just it, it keeps being referred to generically as a ‘sculpture’.

I did discover that the steelworks itself was originally opened in 1907 so spanned a full-century before being laid-to-rest (business actually relocated to nearby Queensferry) and there is much detail of its history and main industries undertaken, but no reference to the sculpture. The mystery remains. But in these Internet times there can be no mysteries, can there?!

Keech Furnace Technologies

KFC Foundry Website Images

Well the web did allow me to establish that a South African company Keech Furnace Technology had this listed as one of their previous works as Balbardie Steel Foundry Germiston. Known by their abbreviation, KFT specialise in the design, production and service of electric arc furnaces. They were founded in 1978 so could they have undertaken this sculpture? If so there is no detail on their website.

Credit to the supermarket whose sculpture this sits in front of, okay I relent, Morrisons!, who have commissioned a number of statues situated in front of their other stores such as the two featured below. The first for a Tyneside store, the second a Leyland store.

Jarrow Crusade by Graham Ibbeson

Jarrow Crusade by Graham Ibbeson

Leyland Motors Sculpture

Leyland Motors Sculpture by Stephen Charnock

They though both have information, about their work and their creators.

The sculpture the star of this post remains though a mystery, to me and it seems to the Internet.

To you?

Foundry Sculpture Bathgate

David McCue…Trumping Donald on Canvas

Donald Trump Red Money

Warning: Not for those of a sensitive disposition. This post contains many images of Donald Trump.

Each year Single Malt Whiskey distillers Glenfiddich host a Spirit of Scotland Awards. It has a number of categories including for music, screen, art and writing.

Glenfiddich 2012 Spirit of Scotland

For the 2012 awards there were some controversy. Not for the music award which went to Gaelic folk-singer Julie Fowlis, or for screen which award went to actor Kelly MacDonald, not for art, awarded to the owner of Edinburgh Arts hub Summerhall, Robert McDowell, or for writing where the author Ewan Morrison took the award.

It was for the prime award itself, the Top Scot, which was won by Michael Forbes. You may not have heard of him but ask Donald Trump about him, mmm on second thoughts do not do that. Beyond the expletives and the bluster you will not be enlightened much.

Michael Forbes viewing Michael Forbes

Michael Forbes viewing Michael Forbes

If you don’t know who Michael Forbes is then the Glenfiddich web page detailing these awards describes him thus:

a farmer from near Balmedie in Aberdeenshire,

who became known after his refusal to sell his home

to billionaire Donald Trump for a luxury golf course development.

So you can at least understand Donald Trump taking a personal, very personal affront at this award.

He had previously described Michael Forbes as ‘living like a pig’ and his land as ‘a slum’.

Michael Forbes on land, photo courtesy of the BBC

Michael Forbes on his land, photo courtesy of the BBC

There had been considered Compulsory Purchase Orders (a UK legal statute that allows public authorities to buy land that they believe is in the public interest such as for roads and housing developments without consent of the owners) to remove his and others homes so as not to spoil the view for those visiting this golf course development (titled almost inevitably Trump International Golf Links), a sort of class-cleansing. Apparently Trump thinks golfing holidays for the wealthy are in the public interest!

His response then to the award and Glenfiddich came in the form of a tweet on December 5 ‘We are getting rid of Glenfiddich garbage alcohol from Trump properties’!

Only problem with this is that the Top Scot Award is not chosen by a behind-closed-doors select committee of Glenfiddich staff but by public vote! The Scottish public sided with feisty Farmer Michael Forbes over belligerent bully business-man Donald Trump. As we also saw with the 2012 US Presidential Election in a democracy the people will not always vote the way of wise Donald!

By coincidence at the time of Trump’s Twitter Diatribe against Glenfiddich I was watching You’ve Been Trumped the 2011 British documentary directed by Anthony Baxter and described by IMDB thus

In this David and Goliath story for the 21st century,

a group of proud Scottish homeowners take on

celebrity tycoon Donald Trump as he buys up

one of Scotland’s last wilderness areas to build a golf resort.

It was released August of this year and broadcast by the BBC in November causing Trump to Tweet ‘No surprise that BBC is in a major scandal for shoddy journalism. Any network that air’s Anthony Baxter’s garbage has zero credibility’ – conflating a whole range of issues in typical Donald style!

You've Been Trumped Poster

But this post is not a review of the documentary (but you should see it!) but of an artist, David McCue, whose work was featured in the film and the film’s poster. He is a Scottish painter and was commissioned to host an art event detailing Trump’s golfing resort development and various residents resistance towards it. It was titled pithily Triumphant? The Art of the Deal and took place on the farmland of Top Scot Michael Forbes, in July 2010.

David McCue Triumphant ExhibitionIn addition to McCue’s oil paintings the event included a crazy-golf sculpture, selected written correspondence and other related artefacts.

Donald Trump Crazy Putting Golf Sculpture

Donald Trump Crazy Putting Golf Sculpture

The oil-paintings were of both Donald Trump and Michael Forbes and even had I no knowledge of the events inspiring them I think the context would be very apparent! I  find them very striking.

Michael Fobes by David McCueThis first oil painting ‘Local Hero’ makes reference to the 1983 film by Scottish director Bill Forsyth of the same name in which an American oil company seeks to buy up an entire Scottish village so as they can build a refinery without local opposition – very obvious parallels to real life! Burt Lancaster plays the Trump role (Hero or Villain – a rhetorical question!) of oil billionaire Felix Happer.

And I should add many of the locals are in favour of the project as with Aberdeenshire residents today, as it promises jobs and money after all. The resistance comes from a hermit, known only as Ben, living on a beach who also owns that beach, the Michael Forbes figure as it were, played by late Scots Actor Fulton Mackay.

And as with Donald Trump the Felix Happer character believes his great money can persuade everything only to be disillusioned of this notion.

Donald Trump New York Clown

On David McCue’s site though I could find no other work of his beyond this Triumphant Art of the Deal commission. Perhaps it was his first work but I would think it is doubtful that an unknown artist would get such a commission, but possible. I would have to explore further.

Googling did not reveal much about him at all contending as he does with a much more documented American businessman of the same name – perhaps an unintended irony!

There is a very brief article in the Aberdeen Voice which describes him as a ‘Glasgow artist’ and in an interview on his own website he describes Andy Warhol as an adult hero. But much of the rest of that interview is about the Trump project including possible future developments

It is possible that the art works may be recontextualised in the future

His words, not mine! He is meaning that this Donald Trump Golf Development story is not over yet.

But nothing much forthcoming about him or the rest of his works.

Intriguing!

Michael Forbes Local HeroDonald Trump - Trump StakesMichael Forbes No More Trump LiesDonald Trump Think Big and Kick Ass

Pablo Lobato – picturing celebrity

Bevan tried to change the nation
Sonny wants to turn the world, well he can tell you that
he tried
I could make a transformation as a rock & roll star

written by David Bowie

Having featured three illustrators recently from Europe (Italy, France and Spain) today I feature one from another continent, America, more specifically Argentina.

Michael Jackson by Pablo Lobato

Michael Jackson

Pablo Lobato is his name and he first came to my attention, as with last week’s featured Cristina Grossi, on the Chicquero blog in a post from June of this year titled Celebrities Illustrated. And it is his illustrations of celebrities that this post will be focusing on.

And he is one of us. A WordPress blogger that is!

His most recent post a striking illustration of Bob Marley. Bob Marley the Rihanna of his time – I shall just leave that there without further explanation!

Bob Marley

Bob Marley

But what you may also note about this post is its date – 6 November 2009. Regular readers (are there any of you?!) will know that November 6 is a special day but that is not what I am alluding too, rather that the last post was over three years ago. Is he no longer illustrating or more likely has he given up the ghost on WordPress blogging for lack of page views and user feedback?! (I am in no way projecting my experience upon him here!).

We may be able to discover as there are links on his blog to his Facebook, Flickr and Twitter accounts. And also ‘My Reps’ – a link to his management company website.

His Facebook page though does not link back to a professional portfolio business type page thingey rather a personal page where we/I learn that his TV likes include Modern Family and Music likes Lou Reed. Listed among the Other, being his other interests, are American Caricaturist Al Hirschfield and another American illustrator, cartoonist and author Bob Staake.

But this is getting me and more importantly you nowhere. I say you because for myself there is great pleasure to be found in getting lost, going astray, the best car journeys etc etc…but you are just a flitting reader of this blog-post and I have already likely trespassed too much upon your time…

So perhaps his Flickr page will be more illuminating. And yes his work is featured and recent – he is alive and illustrating! His work his grouped into Sets and we can see that his work has featured in The New Yorker and the 2009 Monterey Jazz Festival among others.

Flickr page

Flickr page

He has also done twelve pieces based on the Western Zodiac. I do not believe in Astrology but here is his Scorpio, my star-sign! Star as in astronomy not celebrity!

Scorpio

Scorpio

If you do believe in Astrology and want to see yours and the rest or if you just believe in his illustrations then please follow this link.

Finally I would expect no dead-ends from his management company, Anna Goodson Management, and I was not disappointed – is that two double negatives making a positive?!

Anna Goodson Management Website Home Page

Anna Goodson Management Website Home Page

On clicking the ‘Artists’ hyperlink we come to this striking representation of the Anna Goodson Management client-base, with intriguing glimpses of yet more illustrators that I hope to explore further at a later date.

Clients of Anna Goodson Management

Clients of Anna Goodson Management

And Pablo Lobato being referred to just by his first name here, Pablo. If you name your child Pablo do you predispose them – boy or girl! – to become an artist genius?! At least to place the name and idea and grand possibility of Piccasso into your heart and mind…

His client page includes a link to his own website but we are greeted with this message – moving on!

His website down

This client page provides a brief bio about him

Soon after finishing his studies, Pablo started working as a graphic designer for different magazines. This, however, only lasted five years, since total boredom drove him back to his first passion – illustrations. Today, Pablo has made quite a name for himself in Argentina where he lives and works.

And it provides a good number of his works. I won’t have to go Googling today.

As Lobato has a fascination with celebrity I could just have featured a dozen or so of his illustrations without comment but as if I can keep my words to myself! I could also have featured them without name too and set up this post as a competition to see how many of them you recognise and to which then you could submit your answers to me by Email with the first to submit all correct answers to receive a lovely celebrity themed prize from me. But I’m a bah humbug and I ain’t giving any prizes away!

Jay-Z

Jay-Z

Pablo Lovato Beyonce

Beyonce

One famous person illustrated was also illustrated and featured in my post about Jorge Arevalo – namely Amy Winehouse – the link is to his illustration by way of comparison.

Amy Winehouse

Amy Winehouse

He also features Heads of State such as Obama, Chavez and Merkel. Are Heads of State celebrities? Is Obama? Perhaps some of them aspire to and would be better leaders if they did not.

Kim Jong Un

Kim Jong Un

Not all of his work is celebrity-fixated. He does very good illustrations too of jazz-ensembles – not that Jazz and Celebrity cannot be synonymous but come on let’s be realistic here! – and you should check them out.

I have focused in the main on celebrities from music and the movies but he also illustrates sporting and fashion stars too.

Finally more of the population of Celebrity-Ville where only the famous and infamous are allowed.

Elton John

Elton John

Diane Keaton

Diane Keaton

Charlie Sheen

Charlie Sheen

Madonna

Madonna

Fame, (fame) what you like is in the limo
Fame, (fame) what you get is no tomorrow
Fame, (fame) what you need you have to borrow
Fame (fame)

written by David Bowie, John Lennon and Carlos Alomar