An image that I should leave untitled, it was another outburst of maniacal distortions, not a chance to have a thought before hand, but I am always tempted as my mood changes and I see the effect the title might have on the viewer. Preferably at a live art show, its always the best to see them in person. This piece is 20 years old at least.
‘Entropy’, 24″ X 24″, oil on canvas, 2003. I also named it ‘Stuffed in a Box’, when I was feeling more confined spatially. And Change Machine. Entropy: Within a closed system, like a box, or the universe, entropy will increase. Entropy being the measurement of disorder. It is the second law of thermodynamics. All we can do is slow it down for ourselves locally by putting in energy, like painting pictures and such. I don’t know what you do. Maybe making shelter for everyone, something like that.
The background here is composed of a part of a branch of a tree in a drawing in the book called Entropy, The Art of Graham Houston….I tiled and squared it repeatedly until this appeared, something always appears.
We are all living inside a change machine, and the rate of change is increasing.
‘Self Pity’, 42″ X 42″, oil on canvas, 1995. This painting is lost in space somewhere. These are such a stark contrast to the Domesticated works where you could see I was no longer interested in impressing you with my painterly skills. In the distant past, all you would see is the painting and the title. Even the title I gave it should be irrelevant, your see what you see.
This is the original attempt to paint this emotional outburst. It is oils on wood. I gave this piece to a friend in 1987 or something like that. I always felt my head/brain were being squashed into odd shapes, still do, the medication just helps me sleep on a regular basis. The mania remains.
I had a small mirror to look at when I was working on this series of paintings. All the characters in Domesticated are using some form of my face, including the female characters when they show up. They are not intended to be photographs, they are impressions.
I was in a fury through most of this time as I had recently lost the lease on my gallery Bedlam. It was a bank desicion. The complexity of the Neurotica pieces seemed to intimidate people. A large field of skin tones is upsetting, its supposed to be, the work isn’t intended to decorate your bathroom. Cartoons are very popular and that was the basis of the style. A simple line drawing with the blood coloured paint mix, either with a knife or a brush. The colours filled in after the lines were in. Then the colour of the uniform I used to capture the psyche of the viewer just with colour. They all wear uniforms, just like you do without realizing.
This was actually ten years prior to the diagnosis of bi-polar disorder, or whatever they are calling it now so as not to upset anyone, because that’s more important. I thought there was something wrong with me for most of my life, partly from people saying ‘there’s something wrong with you Graham’. The sadness and anger were there at the same time, all the time now, an emotional roller coaster running at high speed. A speedball of emotions, chemicals dumped into my blood by my own brain, thanks brain, endorphines and adrenaline, speed and morphine. At times no sleep for days. Which is great for creating the physical works, but there is always a crash. And sleep for a day, then do it all over again.
I’m sure now my brain was cooking itself. I was addicted to my brains behaviour. The psychologist actually said this in session, I am addicted to myself. At this point there were no other drugs, or alcohol for years. It was enlightening and exhilirating to feel that mania without anything. The paintings had to happen, they kept me from putting all the energy I had into bank robbery or something like murder. Painting keeps me out of jail.
And twenty years later it was pretty much the only conclusion the psychiatrists and psychologists could muster. I’m not really an artist. I’m an aggresive mentally ill patient of theirs, who paints pictures to keep from killing all of you. I had no choice but to visit with them, I was on yet another death bed, the crashes can be deadly too. I needed them to keep me alive, so I can paint. That is what I always said about my work, I’m a painter of things, the word artist is yours to use as you see fit.
And then there’s the bird, and the flowers, actual morning glories, all you need is the delicious aroma of hot chocolate in a mug, Then you can leave…
One of the final oil paintings I made, a strange idea, an invitation to leave quickly. I was in a bad mood, as I was unable to use oil paints. Use oil paint and die the doctors told me, they may have been trying to stop me from accidentally painting something.
Temporarily adding the unnecessary to the entropy wall.
It is clearly a large painting, more than half the size of that sculpture.
‘The Unnecessarily Erotic Amoebas of Port Elgin’, watercolour, 21″ X 30″, framed its 28″ X 36″, $25,000.00 US
One of my favourite frame jobs. This one is 28″ X 36″ overall. I made the wooden part with ebony, more for its weight than anything, I painted it black anyway. The inner frame is of gold filled copper bars, not plated, I think there is 6 or 7 ounces of gold that you could recover, but its a secret thing to hang on your wall you see, who would know why you paid $25,000.00 US for this unknown artists work.
‘The semitransparent Ostriches of Enceledus’, 5″ X 7″, pen on paper. It could be either, what were you thinking the last time you made a drawing of something? My favourite work is when I’m not thinking, which only happens alone, no cameras recording anything, then it would not be meditation. And for many artists that is the case. Preparing and making content for a page in order to attract interest to sell the work disrupts the work itself. Perhaps not so much for the younger generation which seems permanently on camera. For myself, I would have to set up cameras running all the time and learn how to ignore the fact they are there. I have tried over the many years of this blog, but its still the same effect. When I start a drawing or painting, I am not thinking about you, or anyone or anything else. When a camera is set up to record, that’s all I can think of, the cameras there, how should I sit or hold the brush for you to see what’s happening, so I am no longer creating the art, I’m creating a version of it for others to see. They don’t happen with the purpose of making money, however they are for sale, and I do need money to live and create more oddities.
How to draw a picture. I seem to have difficulty thinking about the process of recording work as it happens. I am rarely thinking about the broadcast nature of it all now. For my website to work properly, lots of traffic, I should be posting regularly. It does work to a degree, but not really for selling art at the price it should be. For that, how they happen is private.
The ever mutating studio wall. I’ve felt for a while now that the public does not get a good idea of the artwork from a digital or computer screen of some kind. That wall is not electric.
The painting is called ‘The Last Supper’, 1996, you can probably see why. That’s Judas hanging in the corner, I had to find a way to fit that in with the rest of the nonsense, there is a lot of it in this painting. There is an H- bomb dropping from the sky and the writing on the wall says…
And the Lord spake unto his disciples,
LOOK AT THIS MESS,
and verily he said, I can’t leave you guys alone for one minute,
and then he let them have it, saying unto them,
‘This is it! This is the last time I do anything for you lot of ….
Its been seen in public twice now, with a friendly audience only, a pop up type show in the anthropology lunch room, maybe it was independent studies. And a little out of the way cafe where I had to carry it on the bus to deliver it, I was so determined to poke somebody in the eye with it. Its quite heavy, 48″ X 32″ X 0.5″ plywood and 20 lbs or so of paint.
Tearing oneself apart from the inside is a difficult concept to portray visually.
This was the third painting I made in that. I was feeling better physically, enough so to stretch a large canvas. In the under painting of acrylic gesso mixed with plaster and semen, I painted an equation, with my blood. In essence it describes the population of the earth at the time I painted this, divided by the claimed wealth of all nations, which then equals the amount you are entitled to. No questions, no legal defence allowed. You are all way over budget. Time to stop. I followed the equation with an acrylic under painting of a nuclear explosion. Which was followed by the self portrait ripping my face off.
I called it tri-polar because I did not agree with my psychiatrist. All you have is on or off, I have an in between which allows me to divert the rage in us all into art. Do you? I think that is how art happens.