December 24, 2005


A girl called Mary.


December 22, 2005


Chuffed to find we are included in Billy Mernit's "Holiday Stocking for Home Alones" with the kind of praise that is impossible not to quote:

And finally, for a shot of some serious spirituality, visit the world of artist Natalie d'Arbeloff, whose beautiful, one-of-a-kind handmade books seem to possess the kind of innocent, child-like Power of Wonder (as in these pages from her Book of Revelation, Gabriel and The Creation) that say "holy days" to me with a lot more clarity than most of what you'd find being hawked out at the mall.

Serious spirituality in comic strip form - that's what we aim for in 2006

You funny, me spiritual..


December 20, 2005


Suggest a New Year's resolution?


December 14-15, 2005


(See this page for possible book covers).

Wondering if God prefers...


December 12, 2005


(I took these pictures during the workshops and have put them through various Photoshop filters).

That's the question I asked last week before starting practical workshops with groups of 16-18 year-olds at a boy's school. Out of all the possible paths you could follow, all the techniques, the influences, the pressures, how to narrow down what really belongs to you, how to find your own voice?

I was there as a visiting artist, invited to share my particular point of view and set the students some creative tasks. Having looked at their sketchbooks - bulging A3 volumes filled with wonderful drawings, writings, collages, photos, ideas, research - I was very impressed with the broad scope of the art and design course they were engaged in. A few had chosen to go on to art school, others would be entering university or the job market (this was a private school with a high academic level).

While showing some examples of work (via this website, a computer and projection screen) I talked about my own tortuous journey towards finding an answer to the above question. When I'm asked to formulate my thoughts for the benefit of others, sometimes I gain insights which would otherwise remain dormant. What I realised in the middle of my talk to this privileged teenage audience was that my question was a privileged question, irrelevant to the real world.

What does "I want to be an artist" mean today? In general it means "I want to be famous". Without fame, or at least financial security, your art must take a back seat while you explore other ways to make a living, teaching being the traditional one. In order to be a full-time practicing visual artist (in the way that doctors, lawyers and plumbers are full-time professionals) you have to be adopted by A-list galleries, institutions, collectors, critics. If you don't have this backing, you can still earn a living by adapting your talents and skills to remunerative areas such as illustration, design, advertising, animation etc.

My question belongs in the era of the passionately committed (Van Gogh, for instance) ignored by the art establishment and the marketplace but refusing to compromise, risking everything to persist in the struggle to develop his own voice. Art seen as a religious vocation, leaving the world behind to enter a kind of self-made monastery. To a contemporary artist or wannabe artist this looks like insanity, masochism- why suffer for your art when you can have your cake and eat it? Discuss.


December 6, 2005


Read this terrific review on Reading Matters of the book you are all ordering. And thanks, everyone, for being so considerate about postage.


December 5, 2005


Full of Joy I hie me to the post office to mail a batch of orders to their near and far-flung destinations. The sun is shining and I am going to be rich and famous beyond anyone's wildest dreams. Er, not. When the book packages are weighed (some containing as many as 5 copies!!) I have to ask the clerk to repeat the amount he says the postage will cost. How can this be, I say, it's more than I'm charging for the Joy? He looks at me sideways and commands me to decide as there's a long queue of people waiting. I am trapped in foolishness and meekly request the stated amount of stamps. The books are mailed to all who have ordered up to date.

I know, I should have worked it out before making my rash offer of paying the postage and I am now squirming with abject embarassment whilst eating my words. But folks, I am now going to have to say that postage is extra. I paid £3.15 (about $5.48) for each single copy sent to USA. Europe was £1.99. UK £1.75. Sorry about this, mea culpa and all that, but I know you understand. I need to go on a business management course.

Very busy teaching for the next couple of days so will be incommunicado.


December 3, 2005


No flood of responses to my Special Offer (only 7, sorry 22, so far). Why isn't there a queue of hysterical fans all around the block, begging for their signed copies? And I fell flat on my hands and knees when running for a bus today, bruised all over.

Intaglio from circuit board.However, the following good things have occured:

The British Library has asked if they can include my website in their web archive.

God Interview Number 9 will be published in February 2006 in a religious education textbook for Catholic schools in Australia (yes, it astonishes me too).

A print of mine appears on qarrtsiluni .

So I'm not entirely rejected, forgotten and ignored by the world. Just enough to be an irritant. So I've decided - not, not exactly decided but am considering another option. Will announce if and when ready to be announced.

UPDATE Dec. 4: Terry Freedman asked a good question in a comment on the previous post. I'm copying it here with my reply:

"... Why sell your book so cheaply?"

The answer is: frustration. The publishers of this book (it wasn't self-published; I got a contract for it and all) did almost nothing to promote it. As a result, it's out there but nearly invisible. When people actually get their hands on it, they're enthused but first they need to know it exists. Having neither the means, the energy or the connections to organize a proper publicity campaign, I bought 100 copies of my own book from the publisher and thought I'd try a modest attempt at salesmanship from my blog.