Channeling the chronomancer



Greetings. As we try to channel our inner chronomancer, the significance of these devices and means of communication acutely rings true. In the midst of everything, I’m just getting on with my diary writing/drawing, seemingly obsolete but also perhaps an important time to be recording thoughts and observations. Fathoming the unravelling repercussions and predicaments triggers a knee-jerk reaction into the foetal position, and the over-load of analytical elements and angles factored in diffuse any potential succinct message, but broadly amount to The Mess Age. It is not unique of course, and like other times and places, transformations will result and continue. As I’ve not posthumously written here about the wonderful Monochromatic Minds: Line of Revelation exhibition that took place not long before everything changed, I’ll include some reflections in this instalment. I will also touch on other bits and bobs. Onwards..


Monochromatic Minds – Jennifer Lauren Gallery – Candid Arts Centre, London, UK. 25th Feb – 4th March, 2020

As anticipated, this celebration of black and white art works within the field of Outsider/Self Taught/Neuve Invention/Visionary art did not disappoint. The majority of artists’ names who’s work was included, alone, made for a very exciting cumulative concoction. The actual works aligned well to that aura. The space was also very well suited. The majority of works in the show could easily command your attention for an indefinite amount of time individually. Imagine a room full of that. The show was on for a mere week or so but felt alive while it was on the entire time with a variety of events taking place within the programme. There were art workshops and artist talks delivered by artists from around the globe. Below are some photos that should help contextualise things if you couldn’t be there and care to absorb an attempt at documenting my experience. 

There’s Jennie, the star of the show!


Vibrant (even in black and white) works by Liz Parkinson, myself alongside, being observed carefully (I think).


A wall of Ted Gordon, Liz Parkinson, myself, Harald Stoffers, and Dan Miller work among others..


Nick Blinko‘s corner


Chris Neate on the left, a mesmerising piece by Cathy Ward centrepiece, two fascinating works by Evelyne Postic above and below a commanding work by Margot.


Beautiful works by Rashidi on the left, and Gerard Sendrey top right.



A haunting Agatha Wojciechowsky piece cut off at the left side, and a magnificent Judith McNicol.


Poignant works by Albert.


I spotted the octopus in the room, in this joyful Leslie Thompson piece (detail).


Jennifer Lauren Gallery commissioned several artists in the show to draw/paint on chairs acquired from second hand shops, which also function as actual chairs that people could sit in during the exhibition if they need a rest. Though I don’t think I saw anyone sit in any. This one is by Kate Bradbury.


People at the opening watching the short documentary film. The film highlights 5 of the 61 artists in the show, including myself (on screen), Cathy Ward, Terence Wilde, Valerie Potter, and Jan Arden.


Liz Parkinson was in town speaking on the bush fires in Australia, her drawings, authoritarian neighbours, and having her works purchased by Jean Dubuffet.. from the series of artist talks.


A somewhat absurd image capturing me doing my artist talk whilst I’m also on screen in the documentary playing on a loop behind, facing the same direction. My drawings are documentation, the documentary documents me documenting, the photo documents the documenting of the documenting, and so on. Could it get more meta? Photo by Andrew Hood.

If you’d like to check out the short documentary I mentioned above, you can do so here.


Diary drawing and Deviations…

I’m working on the first A4 size diary drawing since 2016. There are several reasons why the format changed and I haven’t returned to A4, though was intending to. Anyhow, the time arrived. After I’d finished drawing in it a few days ago, I realised that I could see that day in the drawing. The reason being, I changed both the nib on the pen and its ink at the same time before starting that day. Usually these occurrences don’t coincide. The result being a distinction that is visible on the page. I took a photo so as to see what a day of drawing looks like when it’s not at the very beginning (as that is the other time/place where it is easily discernible, on day one). There are other contrasts on the page where the text takes on different shades and textures, for other reasons, but this one highlights a single day of drawing at this stage. Of course, after working on it again the following day, it won’t be visible anymore. Hence the significance of photographing it when I did. You might assume the lockdown is driving me to such pedantic measures. I’ll let you assume!

The current diary page, with one day’s entry visible.

Last month, I had an email exchange with the the good people over at Deviation Street and they included some of that in their lockdown series of posts. You can find that post here.


I feel like there was something else I wanted to include, but if it was significant I’ll get it in next time. I’ve incrementally been returning to this post for weeks now, so who knows anymore. Stay smart, and until the next time…


Worldly Wandering and White Sticks





The Beginning of the end…

The year is almost out. Some are concerned about a potential Annunaki takeover. Others are exploring the possibility of living on Mars, or at least casting a reality tv show there. Back on Earth, the Circus Terminal are moving ever onwards having launched another installment of their touring exhibition. December 1st saw the opening at the Sangdee Gallery in Chiang Mai, Thailand. The exhibition features works by 54 artists from 17 countries, yours truly ever present. The exhibition goes on until the 10th so if anyone is in the vicinity, stop by and have a peruse. Here is a random curious image from the opening:

In other news, the openings of the Outside In National & Jean Dubuffet exhibitions on at Pallant House Gallery in Chichester, UK, were a marvel. Both are on until February 3rd, 2013. If you are anywhere near there, it’s worth spending an afternoon there! I was surprised to see a shift in my perspective of Jean Dubuffet, and to see all those works next to each other/together. I’ve seen some of those images reproduced in books or on the internet quite a lot over the last few years but it really is a different thing seeing them in real, and all together like that especially. I thought it was very well curated. Prior to seeing the show, I was very interested in Dubuffet as a character and his involvement with the Art Brut movement. He is quite responsible for us seeing a lot of incredible artists that most likely would have been lost in time otherwise, but there is the question of whether he was manipulating them also. With Dubuffet’s own work, I find it interesting how as he described his approach in making work in a more primitive/childish way, though he had had art training/intellectual/technical background. I’d seen that before but actually upon seeing the show, I felt this wasn’t the case.The seemingly abstract paintings of a tea cup and of a bed for example, I’d seen the images a lot of times before but it wasn’t until the show that I could see/comprehend the imagery. I don’t think it’s primitive at all! I think it’s really difficult to transform those figurative images the way he did, into the stylized representations we see. I think his training was probably necessary in that process, to achieve those images. So the idea that his approach became more primitive/child-like, I don’t see that. I think it was Picasso who said (to paraphrase): ‘It took just a few years to learn how to paint like a professional, it takes a lifetime to learn how to paint like a child’ or to ‘unlearn’ I guess he means. Whilst this is what I think Dubuffet was having a go at, traits of professionalism certainly seep through in my opinion. In any case, I thought it all looked pretty fantastic. The Outside In show certainly contains some true gems. A little painting I did for the Jean Dubuffet people is also displayed. Oh, and it was a surprise upon first view to see myself being quoted in the wall text! (click on image to read):

 Earlier today I received some very sad and shocking news about the violent assault of Douglas (aka Professor Whitestick). He is now in critical condition, in an induced coma. The attacker has been caught and taken in. Let’s hope Professor Whitestick can pull through. Here is a review he wrote on his blog of the workshop that David Johnson and I recently conducted at the Royal Academy, London, UK. On the Royal Academy website, you can hear the improvised music I recorded on the day, with Douglas on thumb-piano somewhere in there.

I’m kind of lost for words now, but every now and then a little octopus appreciation should be encouraged, so I’ll leave you with these delightful videos:


  • Bread Trail

  • Echoes