When you’re self employed

How many times a year can you reasonably decide you’re so tired that you need to nap?

I don’t mean deserve a nap, I mean the-walls-are-trembling-jelly-and-there’s-lemon-juice-in-your-eyes NEED a nap.

Like accidentally die in a house fire you started sort of tired.

My FIND YOUR OWN MONEY full timer four-year anniversary was yesterday (pop the champagne- I’ve not yet signed on) and I’ve taken 3 at-work naps in that time. I know because my guilt-meter is sensitive. The most recent ended about 39 minutes ago and I feel filthy for it.

The other two times I thought I was coming down with something and was only right once, which is awful because the justification and mild self pity smooths out all the wrinkles.

I don’t know why I feel bad, because I remember the build up to each show like the pain of an injury. I’ve suffered some serious stress related accelerated ageing to my eyes and hands and it totally matters to me. The line is usually ‘I don’t know where my next salary will come from, but I love every second of my job’ which is funny only when I sit back and consider the toll my face is taking for all this love. FUCK.

Maybe it’s all this being alone for 11 hours of the day nonsense. Maybe I need a fresh deadline. Maybe I need my fear back. Maybe I should check my bank acco- okay, I’m awake.

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The book is better than the movie

My most recent House of Horror commission.
Leaving this one open to guesses.
Hint: the movie was terrible. The book, far better.

cabin

Really excited about the next one; someone’s new home in East Sussex, 3 miles away from allegedly-stuffed-to-the-gills-with-ghosts Rye.

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New print coming February 5th

Etching

Signed!

“I’m Coming Back Tomorrow To Look For More”
etching
limited edition of 25
64.5cm x 70cm (inc bigfatborder) – available from @blackratprojects on February 5th after you’ve all been paid and feel financially irresponsible again.

Many thanks to Ian, Jan and Callum at Goldmark Atelier for the wonderful work. THEY SMELL SO GOOD.

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There’s a big White Bastard At The Door

bastard-lr

bastard2-lr

gouache on illustration board
10″ x 12″
available

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2015 commission diary

backatwork

I’m back at my desk and firming up my early 2015 diary, so if there’s some work you would like to discuss, please get in touch and I’ll see where I can fit you in!

I’m holding off on posting any upcoming 2015 news until I can share more than a vague date. Things are in the works, though so watch this space.

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One for fellow artists

My previous post led to a sudden off-topic schpeel. I couldn’t decide if it was worth posting; feeling like some things are important to say but not knowing if I was saying them.

A quick cut, copy and paste, for those who might ever mull over the same things and should find a shred of solace knowing that one other person out there has chewed on the same questions;

On exhibiting in unknown territory;

Being so far away, I’m aware that I regard the art ‘scene’ in America as a whole, not something with various factions dictated by tiers, geography and focus, like any other- which I only do due to the sheer scale of what appears to be going on. Consideration of sub-divisions might make my head turn in on itself. There’s too much information for me to hold on to.

Nevertheless, it’s a daunting and exciting thing to be invited to be a part of it given that I have nothing but first email impressions and an online presence to base any career decisions on. And I’m aware that any gallery has only my online content to go on, so it’s flattering when they decide I’m worth bothering with. It’s therefore always a relief and pleasure to watch shows unfold from my tucked-away e-vantage point.

…even while I type I know that this is the sort of content that would send my collector-eyes rolling and mind wandering because my vaguely explained feelings towards exhibiting internationally are, I’m aware, not interesting- but the longer I do this I realise that we artists don’t talk enough. Part of that could be because people tend to shout more when they’re unhappy- and a brief exchange with artist Allison Sommers on twitter last year made me realise that it doesn’t need to be that way and we can change that simply by singing the praises of galleries that we like.

There’s a fear that a frank appraisal of galleries and your experience could backfire, but the market has seemed to change in a way that has afforded artists the opportunity to not just sit back and ponder, but do real business independently while they consider their next move, making that ‘move’ less pressing and more of a fun endeavour. And a million years ago, before twitter or any other means to fire a “psst, what are they like?” message to a fellow artist, I passed up opportunities purely because I didn’t feel that I had a grasp of what a gallery’s focus, roster or indeed premises might be like. There was this underlying fear that one wrong-step could just end everything I’d worked for and it was not borne of being neurotic either;

Indeed, this seed was planted by the hear-say from people who knew more than I did. Without going into specifics, the threat-driven advice turned out to be more than wrong: from a gallery that is no-more waspishly warning me of one that is now flourishing. It was advice that wasn’t sought out and surprised me in its nastiness, but at the time I couldn’t see why anyone would be motivated to slam a smaller operation and thought that they were looking out for me. Maybe they thought they were.

Nevertheless, I think that being told that simply working with the wrong person could lead to being iced-out by other galleries entirely was something that stayed with me at the back of my mind, which has led to much anxiety over something that passes as quickly as a month-long group show. Stupid, right? Fucking daft indeed.

I don’t network, I’m not a regular fixture anywhere other than the gym and on my sofa. I talk to people who seem nice online and that’s just about it. Any information you know seems to always err on the side of giggle-worthy gossip and stepping back, it’s always a bit Storm in a Teacup. Last year though I read a frustrated post by a gallery owner who was exhausted with watching artists make all the wrong moves for their career, despite trying to help them. You know, ignoring the advice of people who know, to their own detriment. And while I didn’t know exactly what was being alluded to, what with being in another country and part of a different scene and working mostly alone, there was a sentence that rankled me because it smacked of the sort of threat that aroused such baseless fear and anxiety in me as a young artist all those years ago;

“Galleries talk”

and all I could think was “Oh yeah? So do artists”

What it’s led me to think about more and more is the fact that Want is greater than Need when it comes to the back-end creating bit and without any enjoyment, shit just falls flat. There’s no better way for me to say that.

Thanks to the handful of artists who I’ve approached with questions ranging from shipping advice to how to fix a warped canvas, right down to their experience with various galleries. They always turn out to be non-scary, empathetic human beings with more or less the same fears and concerns as the next artist. I’ve also been knocked-on-my-arse shocked at how readily they share their knowledge too and how ready they are to laugh, because that’s important. Laura Keeble, Eelus, Arth Daniels, Julian Kimmings, Giles Walker and Beejoir, thank you for the top-quality chat and for making me feel less and less like a mouse sailing a milk bucket in the Indian Ocean.

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Platinum Blend opening at Modern Eden Gallery

Thank you very much to both Modern Eden Gallery and Stephanie Chefas for inviting me to be part of this great show. I loved the line-up and they have been a pleasure to work with.

It’s always exciting to show with a new raft of artists, especially if they’re people whose work you’ve admired from afar.

platinumblend
platinumblend3 platinumblend2 platinumblend1

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“They Said to Wait Here and That They’d Be Right Back”

oil and ink on canvas
18″ x 24″
buy

"They said to wait here and that they'd be right back" Candice Tripp
wait3
wait2
wait4

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Dates of Note

2015_storedates

Heads up! Anyone wanting goodies to arrive in time for Christmas (UK) please get your order in by the end of December 21st.

If we’re already talking via~the~email about a project, don’t worry- you’re wedged firmly in my diary. I’m not dropping my crayons and running off until the 29th, so I’ll be in touch.

My big cartel store will be closed from December 22nd – January 19th 2015.
I’m taking a holiday.

Thank you for all of your support! x

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House Commissions

house_commissions

We bought a house. For the last month we’ve been systematically gutting it as quickly as we can in an effort to remove every last trace of the generations of young adults who previously lived there. The great thing about students is that they neglect a formerly decent property to the point of making it nearly affordable to two self employed assholes.

The only downside is all the fixing-up that needs to be done.

We’ve been racing the calendar to get in before Christmas- no, before December 22nd, the day my mom arrives for Christmas. A nice relaxing Christmas, with me, Ideal Brown, two cats and a bucket in the garden to wee in. (it has a garden!)

There’s no bathroom or light or proper electricity, so I painted a version with all of those things. As things stand we have 6 days to make it liveable and move in.

So with that in mind, I’ve decided to cherry-pick some house commissions.

Send me a photo and I’ll see if I can do yours justice. New build 70’s bungalows are unlikely to pique my interest unless there’s a spectacular bit of urban legend attached to it.

If you want to talk about the nitty gritty, just drop me a line.

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