Wednesday is a strange day on which to end a year. Its like the middle of a project and suddenly it ends and a new project starts. 2014 was an incredible year, a roller-coaster ride of ups and downs.
In Jan I went to Los Angeles to realize my project MIRAGE in its first version. A 130×35 ft mural integrated into a augmented reality app MIRAGE was painted as a site specific piece in DTLA’s Fashion District. It was an incredible two weeks in LA, eating as many tacos as I could stuff in my face from as wide a range of taco trucks and restaurants as possible. Spent 2 weeks in the hot sun, painting a massive hotel in the Fashion District and browsing the stacks of Vacation Vinyl on Sunset Drive.
Having missed the coldest bit of winter I returned to London to start work on a series of new works in collaboration with the Swedish software firm Whisqu. It was pretty awesome using a robot to draw, especially the way in which the altered/glitched file data makes the plotter jerk in an almost epileptic fit while drawing. These glitch based plotter drawn works will be revealed mid 2015.
Sometime in late summer Paul Miller (DJ Spooky) released his long awaited book the Imaginary App, which featured MIRAGE from its original concept sketches, long before it became a reality. As summer settled in I signed with my first commercial gallery in London, Imitate Modern, and have now been in two group shows and an upcoming solo show in Feb 2015.
Come August I got to help one of my favorite painters Maya Hayuk on a private commission. Just inspiring to stand back and watch her do her thing for 5 days. She is a real painter, constantly thinking about the whole work, physically pushing the paint. Honestly one of the best in the world right now. A really great way to spend a week.
In October I went to Silesia Poland to create my largest ever piece of public art. A massive 5 story food bank that feeds the greater area of the town of Swidnica. It was a great experience brought about by the work of a local student group. The personal beauty is that this town is where my wife is from and the building is very near to her former school. It is on a shortcut path that kids take everyday so the primary viewers of the piece will be young students. Its an exceptional thing to be able to bring colour to so many young people’s lives. Plus bucket trucks at 75+ft up are like flying!
For the last two months of the year I have been working on my solo show ACID (opening 29 January!) at Imitate. The pieces of the show are broken in two, half being part of the installation itself, painted directly into the space. The other half are a series of ‘meta’ pieces I have been working on conceptually over the past year. For these pieces I take multiple paintings I have done on paper and cut into them with a razor in various patterns. Using the remains I collage them together into a new piece of art. It functions like a form of appropriation, a sampling of my own work. But as I am using the original and not a reproduction it acts like a distillation, purifying the piece into a metamorphic whole.
As I look out into 2015 its hard to speculate how things will go. ACID opens exactly four weeks from today. It feels in my head like I understand the shape of it, but who knows how it will develop on the ground? After the show I plan to get out of town for a break. Someplace warm. Malta maybe, or Portugal. The rest of the year is wide open. Absolute potential to do as much as I can and take what I do as far as I am capable.
As an aside I want to say that it was hard looking onto the world and seeing the effects of repression, violence and capitalist warmongering on the world stage. While I am a very strongly political person in private I make a point of keeping my work spiritual, as purely from within myself as I can. But the things going on in the world are dark, are patterns we have seen before in history and the scale with which the people of the world are victims to a handful of greedy bastards is unprecedented. But people are not blameless victims, we give these few the power they have both through our actions and our inaction. The world is walking down a dark path much the way it did a century ago, buying into a narrative being constructed by the very people who hold power over the public. We do not have to take this path, our actions can lead us just as much to victory and equality as it can to enslavement and darkness. Seek the light.
On to 2015, chaos reigns!
– RSH 31 Dec 2014