Psychedelic Disko Flux NFTs

This is the title of one of my new collections of NFTs on Opensea. The works are an integral part of the development of my current visual research and I am in the process of animating some of them for projection. Taking the ideas from earlier works – inklings of forms that I really cannot fathom the source of, but which seem to have their own logic as they develop.

Thought Metaphors available on OpenSea

These marbling experiments began when I was doing my M.A. in Fine Art at Sunderland between 2005 and 2007 at a time when I was musing upon notions of order and chaos. I’d read a lot of existential philosophers some years earlier, Sartre, Heidegger, Kiekegaard and so was musing on ideas of freewill – which was the main thread of my MA degree show and therefore my works were visual musings on order / chaos, determinism / freewill.

Work considering existence, order and chaos, waves 2007

For what I hope are obvious reasons, marbling seemed to be a good visual metaphor for the depiction of chaos. That this patterning should be so popular for bookbinding I felt was no accident – how the fluidity seems to echo thought, trains of thought, experience, consciousness all mutable and shifting, flowing with dynamics of new colours as ideas.

My own early experiments with marbling paper were used to bind artist books carrying on the subject area of my M.A. in my library installation, Further Reading at the Lit and Phil in Newcastle upon Tyne in 2007-8. Off cuts were used in collages on graph paper.

This collage of marbling on graph paper and this marbled ball-type structure were made in my Leeds studio back in 2009 as part of my development of a body of work I titled Screen Play.

The new digital collages available as 1/1 editions on Opensea are direct developments of these works, but they also correspond to the idea of a mind-manifesting in depth of thought whilst also taking in outside influences.

Towards my practice-based PhD on the revivals of nineteenth century imagery in the late 1960s I have looked at the various forms of transcendence, e.g. through psychedelic drugs and Transcendental Meditation – and why these older imageries somehow articulated these departures. And as far as I have researched, departure is the key –  for it is a departure to another reality that of the past, which crossed and still crosses over with our own in the traces of Victorian culture, architecture, clothing etc that remain in contemporary life.

Recognising the lilting lines of Art Nouveau as parts of the revival and the Victorian end-paper as visually connecting to the amorphous lines of the liquid light show – the rendering of these segments as facets, sequentially distorted and centred in a globe structure seemed a good metaphor for a thought.

Art Nouveau Staircase, Brussels.

Thought Metaphors 1-14 currently available on OpenSea as part of Psychedelic Disko Flux.

Marble thought collages rendered to T-shirt design

T-shirts available through shroomies.uk – hit the sticker to enter!

Painting & the 3rd Dimension

Over the past few months I have been reading the excellent William Feaver biography of Lucian Freud. Some of my followers will already be aware of my affinity with Freud’s work, especially with his earlier paintings. I have always admired his facility and continued attention in the application of paint in relation to his subject. Simultaneous with this reading has been the presence of two of my own paintings in the same room. They are from very different bodies of work but they correspond in their analysis of depth of space and, albeit on different planes, on the idea of perception and existence too.

In chronological order they are this one that began a series of paintings that I called Screen Play:

Space Bar (part of Screen Play) 2010

The painting was first exhibited in York rather appropriately at York City Screen in 2010. The screen in question is something approximating what we see when we look at the illusion of the depth of field on a computer monitor. A keyboard and a mouse is suggested. The painting also plays around with patterning approximating marbling – like the endpapers to a book – a book of fact or fiction. There are snatches or glimpses of landscapes – I imagined a travelator on the left and a snowy woodland scene at the base as well as abstract shapes there are various points of perspective. There is perhaps a lamp to the left of the painting.

The second painting is more recent. It has never been exhibited but had some nice praise when I first posted it on Instagram. The painting derived from a model of a small theatre that I had made. This follows on from a large body of work upon reflections upon man’s existence – which I realise are essentially rooted in the plays (and poems) of William Shakespeare with possibly nod to more recent readings of other philosophers. But it probably because of Shakespeare that the stage became a recurrent motif. Followers of my work will know that this theatre construction is one of many. This one is the tiniest.

Untitled 2018

Looking at these two works on a daily basis whilst reading about Freud’s own deep reflections upon vision – and perceiving that incisive investigation in the recent Freud exhibition at Liverpool has made me look at the main areas of analysis in my own paintings. If it wasn’t already obvious, the visual materiality of the third dimension is certainly a recurrent theme in my work. Further back in 2005-7 during my M.A. at the University of Sunderland I was working on fragmented images on wide open canvases whose surfaces were otherwise populated by screen prints. In an exhibition around the same time I elaborated on this theme by reproducing the composition into a three dimensional model on one facet of a lantern book.

Safe Place 2006
Safe Place Pop Up Version in Lantern Book as part of Further Reading at The Lit & Phil, Newcastle, 2007

More recently I have been indulging this further with a stereoscopic app on my phone – viewers (invented by Brian May – yes, THE Brian May) are available from the London Stereoscopic Society.

Fly Agaric Stereoscopic Photograph 2020

More recently I have been building more three dimensional models and experimenting with these in film and painting – below, an example of an experimental film still.

Experimental Film (still) 2021
Pen & Ink Study 2022

Above a pen and ink study of the camera chamber model, (lined with hand marbled paper and also used in the film) where I’ve taken this perception and relay of the third dimension and distorted it – as Freud sometimes does – to as the eye sees it rather than as it correctly is. A sort of travelling of the eye over space.

a favourite quote, lost for years and found again.

Adam Chodzko in Art Review, July / August 2003

‘”I’ve made this and this and this.” they say, indicating apparently disparate art objects, “but I can’t see how they relate.” So I try to encourage them to intuit what, abstractly, this missing connection might be and tell them how this elusive link is their blind spot and this is where their desire to express will come from. And it will continue to drive them to keep creating, although always remaining their blind spot, but one encircled by an ever-tightening (if they’re good at it) constellation of art objects. Although like Zeno’s arrow, never coinciding absolutely.’

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