I just got the most fabulous email from Susan Pacillo in Anchorage, Alaska. She and Linny Pacillo started a truly inspiring campaign called the parking fairies. I’d mentioned this in a previous blog, and that Linny had sadly died in 2006. There is now a car park in Anchorage that is named for her.
Susan very firmly informed me that she was still alive and kicking – you could wait a long time to have the chance to use the wonderful Mark Twain quote that “Reports of my death have been greatly exaggerated”. She’s working on an article about the parking campaign and hopefully will send me a link to it.
The parking fairies are a wonderful combination of humour, direct action and disrespect for authoritarians. Conclusively proves you shouldn’t judge a state by it’s governor. I felt very welcomed in Alaska, the defiant humour felt very London. Loose concentrations of intelligent, marginalised people always make for the best jokes.
There’s a funny thing. So now both of the granite statues have turned out to be made of cardboard. Say goodbye to Stalins panopticon empire and Henry Ford’s slash and burn capitalism.
I guess this moment is an opportunity. Hopefully we wont be stupid enough to start listening to the boys with the uniforms with all their talk about renewal and virility. I hope even more that we won’t get took in by the boys with beards either because soon they will soon be telling us it’s all our fault for being bad.
As we do seem to be heading for the brown creek I guess that people will stop buying art as well. No change there, most people I know never did anyway. This ‘crisis of markets’ is good because it gets working artists off the hook. Maybe art and marketing will finally fall out of bed with each other and even better the rest of us wont have to watch then flirting anymore. I no longer feel even slightly that I have to make stuff to please other people or the media.
The trouble is I’m experiencing a somewhat traumatic de leveraging restructure myself in the studio. Have been prevaricating. What prevaricating really means for me is trying to do too much rather than too little. Too many parallel ideas and projects that are started and abandoned before they draw breath.
I had a really interesting conversation with my friend Alan about this.
We were thinking about the importance of lines, and linear structure in pictures. We both value the kind of sharpness that comes from a well placed drawn mark that counterbalances the smeared, flowing field made by a brush. Most of what we see is lit by smeared fields of light and dark. Shadows and highlights have no edges, really. Our bodies are thinly contained liquid marks, bags of water that slosh and sag as much as they stride and pose. That means brushes are the best kit for recording it all, however much I find them irritatingly fluffy sometimes. But I value incisive looking and drawing so much in others – Giacometti, Moore (Bobby and Henry) Goya, Whistlers London etchings. In the middle of these fluid fields of tone there has to be bones. That’s what makes Goya’s aquatints such a revelation. There has to be lines. I need those tiny fragile marks to record the fact that I was here and I was looking. Soft and hard, intrusive and receptive. All very I Ching.
That’s enough writing. I’m going back to the playpen.