THE BONGLIZARD VENTS ON BLOGLIZARD! WHAT IS ART ANYWAY? An artists view! Also ALBUM AND ART REVIEWS!
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I often wonder like many have probably asked themselves when creating art 'Why do I spend so many hours creating a painting, what do I get out of it? '... Nothing in the end but the satisfaction of seeing an image come to life in its form and for a brief few seconds of 'Yeah that's what I wanted to see and it is what it is'. Only to then take a photo and sometimes display it online as I'm trying to keep up with the new world, I will possibly upload it to see what people think and in the very slim hope of mainly getting some work from it. This rarely happens due to most art I release is deemed offensive in some way and people just don't like it, so for me doing art like what I do does not pay well if at all, but it satisfies me knowing that it hopefully stimulated someone enough to love or hate it as art is subjective to the viewer. Fuck social media policing artwork and that goes for Etsy too. Its a case of whats perceived as bad to someone can also be perceived as good to someone else and vice versa.
Some times a vision makes a possible print sale, depending what new art I post online my followers on social media increase or mostly decrease every time which amuses me no end as it cuts out the people out who just don't get what I'm doing anyway. Seeing followers go up and down, strangely to me is a great sign that something is going right as at least its made an impact. At the end what does having followers mean anyway if they are not buying and supporting the art? if you do follow, I do appreciate it and all I want you to do is go and look at my art. Buy some if possible and support the cause, huge thanks to those who have so far as it gives me hope on this drowning pool called Earth.
So after over 20 years of pursuing a career as a freelance artist, I still wonder why? I guess if it was not mentally rewarding in some form, I wouldn't do it. Is it because we are conditioned to believe the big break could always be around the corner, all artists chase it so WHERE IS IT? WHAT IS IT? It does not come easy, right place, right time, right person sees it, whatever it is being an illustrator is not that great, as well as the very small highs that come when your art gets used which becomes a rush you crave, you have to get ready for the lows. Sending out emails about your art feels degrading as its almost like screaming at a wall but has to be done, you send emails and promote your examples to companies, clothing brands, magazines, bands anyone who may listen only to find after months and months still no response. Then there's this to deal with too where sometimes you get some interest in your work and get asked to create some art so you brainstorm and create something that you think is amazing you spent days or weeks creating something, only to be told 'ITS NOT BEING USED'....As Johnny Cash once sang ' I don't like it but I guess things happen that way '. Rejection is always there in the freelance art world, you get ripped off, you get copied, you get your art used without your consent too, these are common problems but yet you must carry on just in case you miss the big opportunity that in reality is very small. Its dis heartening but ain't that what keeps the dream alive. What is it?
Then after completion, the feeling from a piece of art is a comedown wave of achievement and disappointment at the same time as the painting gets thrown aside into a stack of even more paintings, among folders of drawings, sketches, ideas and other bullshit that creating art creates!! . ..AND FOR WHAT? Is it because I don't know what the fuck else to do with a day apart from exist, granted I tattoo, play drums, draw comics, make stuff, drink, sleep, smoke, feel crazy, but for real since I was a kid that's all i did was draw and I was obsessed with music, album cover art and Horror. I would get lost in records, staring at the covers examining the image for hours, total inspiration. This carried on through my life where it was an option to try and do something I enjoy and try and live off it. A waking thought and nightmare for most artists as you finally see how hard that is to do and to survive.
I always did it for my own personal satisfaction like most artists, monetary gain would be and is a bonus when it comes to art as in this universe you're fucked without it, everyone wants a job they love and art gives that hope if you seek it, even though its hard to find, sometimes its there, being a freelance artist you chase that dream that is almost impossible to achieve unless you are aiming mainstream or willing to create art that you don't like, which defeats the purpose of doing something that you want to do... I spent over 100 hours on some pieces of art and only an hour or so on others but so many years of my life have gone into my work and its all piling up with nowhere to go, the progress which can be seen in closer inspection when looked at back to back, I'm seeing how times change along with the concepts and new skills learned. But something inside asks me why did this happen.
Most paintings draw you in to its own world during creation, hours pass by un-noticed apart from the stack of vinyls or cd's that pile up with the splattered paint, pens and other shit that forms around the work area, applying art to creation makes the brain think of everything and nothing all at the same time, rolling thoughts, memories and madness, reflections of life all the while creating something only you can see so far and its all going to make itself present when you are ready or think its ready. To do it or over do it is the question, when is too much too much, keep it simple or go hyper detail it all works some how, total fuckin chaos surrounds the canvas yet quietly in the centre the new art sits with the presence of a new form appearing. A picture, a clear dimension to another place, serene, sometimes obscene, but it exists, like a photograph of a place that exists only in my brain, until its there, sometimes you feel the bizarre demons and soul get exorcised by laying down each layer of pencil, ink, paint.
Trance out moments happen, time slips, staring at a one inch section adding a layer intently creating a small part to a much bigger picture... Don't get sidetracked, don't look at the rest of the image, stay focused I can only paint or ink as much as i can see, you see the full picture you want to do it all AND NOW!!!! but you cant, it will take hours, and you know its going to take a long fucking time... like days, weeks and years but how long? who the fuck knows. Its not over yet, should I have started it, I cant stop filling in the picture, addictive vibes rush out that cant even be described, but fuck its cathartic, fuck time, what is it anyway, play another album, look up an hour or 2 has passed AND I ONLY DID HOW MUCH!!! Carry on man, ah fuck it another day has passed, I will be back when I can and it will be finished..... This happens all the time, I have many paintings on the go at once, hyper focus, cant get the ideas out quick enough, cant finish the picture fast enough, another idea, another sketch, another list, another concept, sometimes I cant take the overload, some days there's nothing, absolute mind blank, Oh never mind I got loads of paintings unfinished, fuck those too, I cant today, I'm just not feeling it...don't you hate that shit!!!
For example this painting took me just over 2 years to complete :
Then it lifts, the urge to create comes back and I cant get the image down fast enough, some days its lines, scribbles of nothing, snapped pencils, destroyed erasers, torn paper and a torn mind of disappointment of not being able to create, What the fuck is that! I'm not looking for nothing else but for the art to be seen and appreciated for some unknown reason that I don't understand, recognition of being another fucking artist in a world full of artists, whats the point? Sometimes the thought of mainstream art makes me ill and even the thought of trying to be some part of an art scene is also a joke, paranoid people discussing nothing but the idea of someone who probably didn't give a fuck about splatting some paint on a canvas just to show it off with no other promise other than the joke that it plays on the eyes of the viewing art critics....But the intent of the creator worked because people are looking at it. I create art to give you something more than a blank stare, I often hide hidden clues and meanings in my art to be unlocked by further research, sometimes I want people to think, over think my art, look into it, figure it out, dig the history of the subject, feel sick, feel inspired, feel aroused, feel anger, feel great, feel sad, feel happy or feel nothing, Just observe, look at it and see it. That is all, I think...
So again I ask why is it worth doing art!!! I HAVE TO! It's therapy, Nothing more than splitting the mind open and letting it pour out with strange visions, nothing more than painting waking dreams, nightmares and astral projection, nothing more than creating a visual menu of death and murder art to showcase serial killers, nothing more than creating x rated art for my own personal enjoyment, nothing more than painting portraits of my favorite musicians and films just to practice the puzzle of putting all the paint onto a canvas that is like a jigsaw to me, you see the paint on the block in small mounds of color so now its just a case of mixing it all together into angles, lines and shapes to replicate the photo of the chosen subject in front of me, a puzzle that can possibly be unlocked if I do it right, maybe some one out there will like it maybe they wont but I HAVE TO DO IT!
I personally love looking at art it can take you to another dimension and that's a good escape route out of present reality, all art possibly has soul and purpose, its an imprint of someones thoughts from the inside, an accomplishment of creating something, like a book or a movie its just another thing for humans to communicate with. You see the painting and like a film or a new record, you don't get to see the thought process and how many hours passed in the lonely head space that went by to create the concept. It is to be viewed, a gift to forever, a spark of inspiration can make a statement, a picture can open the pathways into a realm unseen before and then close the door and keep you in it if you stare long enough, the connection is an unseen force, something spiritual like the ghosts of creation, sometimes you can hear the sounds with imagination, an image can create many different thoughts on why it was created and maybe that's what art is.
Behind every painting there once was a person, energy forever sealed in many layers, it stares back at you with the intent of getting a reaction, sometimes it happens and sometimes it doesn't. It's just the way you perceive information and everyone has different ways of looking at things and different ways of expression, that's why art should exist to free the energy on both sides, the creator and the viewer are separate in time and space, yet still connecting and interacting some how. The pulse from deep within, ticking by, a human can feel the presence or connection to a piece of art but that feeling still remains unseen and personal to the one who judges it, artistic expressions from thousands of years ago and beyond still resonate today. It was created for some reason, a look into the past and future all at the same time, most probably created out of frustration and boredom at the time as there was fuck all to do but try and communicate with others for a brief moment only to live and die anyway and not see the outcome. I guess that's the point in doing art and after that conclusion all I know is if I don't create art i will lose my mind! As I say to myself WHERES THE FUCKIN PAINTBRUSH!!!
(Even this blog is another way of getting people to look at my art... HAHAHA! the swindle continues!)
PART 2 : THE NOISE AND VISION INCISION : ART AND ALBUM REVIEWS
ARTISTS WHO CAME INTO MY MIND AFTER WRITING THIS :
The Early years inspiration via album art.
WINSTON SMITH - DEAD KENNEDYS - The legend of collage and cut and paste d.i.y graphics along with Jamie Reid (see below). Dead Kennedys albums were insane, this was a whole new level of artwork that blew my small mind, from the lyrics to the free newspapers and booklets that came with the records you could really learn a lot from this band and the way Winston would use graphics was phenomenal a true inspiration. The poster that came with the 'Frankenchrist' album was on my wall for years it was the H.R Giger piece entitled Penis Landscape. Fun Fact - There's a small one inch section missing from my poster as it was chewed away by my pet rat in the 90's he was named JELLO BIAFRA at the time after the singer of the Dead Kennedys. Irrelevant but that little pet beast was cool.
DEREK RIGGS - IRON MAIDEN - The debut album took you to a grimy dark street coming face to face with a monster, A beast known as Eddie, looking like a Punk / Metal crossover, whatever it was it felt like he was on your side. The imagery is simple in theory but very striking. The same for the next album 'Killers' except this time you see him with an axe in hand, above a bloodied victim. This took it to a horror film level and worked perfectly. Riggs completed so much iconic classic art for Iron Maiden and most notably for me 'Number of the Beast', 'Piece of mind', 'Live after Death', 'Power slave', 'Somewhere in Time' and 'Seventh son'. The landscape, detail, hidden messages, codes and style of art meant hours got lost looking at these covers.
LARRY CARROLL - SLAYER - The power in the art for 'Reign in Blood' and 'South of Heaven' are true visions of horror that open the realms of hell before your eyes with a killer soundtrack to die with all at the same time. Reign in Blood is a beautiful dark piece of art, It's like witnessing the hailing of Baphomet on acid. In the era of Satanic panic this subject made people uneasy but as a before teenager metal head like myself at the time, this was truly the fuckin balls! HAIL SLAYER!
JOE PETAGNO - MOTORHEAD - Joe's style is amazing as every interpretation of the Motorhead Warpig on each album cover to me is a thing to cherish. Always stunningly executed in detail, I always liked the soft edge look to the art but what was going on was visually ferocious. Check out 'Another perfect day', 'Overkill', 'Orgasmatron' and 'Rock n Roll' as they are prime examples. Amazing style great colors and depth perception, it's true classic art.
ED REPKA - MEGADETH / NUCLEAR ASSAULT and EVERY OTHER THRASH ALBUM - A doomsday prophet through his art. His style accompanied the concepts of the album titles with perfection. Ed Repka provided the art for many albums through the 80's and on wards. 'Peace sells but who's buying' is a glimpse into a bombed out real estate nuclear escape land adorned with the figure of Vic Rattlehead. This was a character brought to life from the skull from the first album sleeve Killing is my business. This is not a Repka design but I really like this cover for it's impact, the photo reminds me of an old hammer movie or something. Apparently Dave Mustaine hates it, but this did have a weird almost cheap snuff film quality vibe to it, which I think works really well. When I was small I would stare at this cover and wonder ' Who's head was this? what the fucks it doing on this table and what the fuck have they done to it with all the metal bolts and shit!!'. Nuclear Assault, another awesome band that had a great range of apocalyptic art back in the day thanks to Repka, 'Game Over' and 'Survive' are stunning representations of the 80's doomed nuclear age.
JAMIE REID - SEX PISTOLS - The art of Jamie Reid is a universe unto its own, practically inventing the look of punk graphics that would last and influence nearly everything that was to be the future from the Pistols on wards. Through art and graphics that stood out from everything at the time, just because it was so blunt and straight to the point, There's not much to look at with 'Never mind the Bollocks' but it is amazing, The lettering becomes art in itself, very clever, I still think its great. Down to the newspaper ransom note lettering you will see this everywhere and I believe you can thank Jamie for that, I even use it on my serial killer boxes and flyers sometimes. One of my true early influences, He was responsible for some classic pistols art 'God save the Queen' portrait complete with torn fag and safety pins, the 'Pretty Vacant' smashed picture frame and another favorite of mine is the 'Fuck forever' design. Genius.
PUSHEAD - METALLICA - The style and art of Brian Schroeder a.k.a Pushead stood out with its clear cut graphic style of clean pen and ink Skull work and savage imagery. He became known for his work with Metallica and other bands including the Misfits and the Ultra classic 'Dr Octogon' album cover for Kool Keith. He has influenced many, many artists and his style resonates through a lot of art I see out there. A true original, some of my favorite pieces for Metallica were the 'Harvester of sorrow', 'Crash course in Brain surgery' and the 'Damage inc' spike baseball bat skull, I had the original T shirt when I was a kid and wore it until it practically got destroyed by time, I fuckin loved that shirt!
Here's some select vinyl that's been in heavy rotation with me this last few years.
GORE ELOHIM - ELECTRIC LUCIFER
I was blasting Goretex 'The art of dying' a few years back ( which I still play to this day, its a demented album and was a classic debut in underground Hip Hop ) and decided to chase up the world of Goretex and see if any other albums dropped in the passing years, only to find a history of name changes and a handful of releases I did not know existed. I discovered Gore Elohim was Goretex for awhile but now goes under the name Lord Goat. This sick album from 2013 is absolute brutal hip hop at its best with dark lyrics that carry the Electric Lucifer concept right through until the end of side 4 where you will still want more. A nice green vinyl double disc with awesome gate fold artwork and nice inlay sleeve that fully immersed me in the listening experience. This is not a short album, so get ready as it takes you on a ride of real life underground horror, sci fi, government ops, serial killers and more insane content that ties this whole concept together, nasty beats and dark lyrics, immense sound. If you missed this I suggest you track it down, play it loud and repeat. Released on Lord Goat's label Supercoven Records. Also note that 'Coffin syrup' and 'Final Expenses' by Lord Goat are both essential listening.
MATT PIKE VS THE AUTOMATON
I'm a massive High on Fire fan so I could not wait for this to be released. Matt Pike's solo album is exactly what was needed in this universe, heavy riffs, dark occult content, aliens and tripped out vibes hit the skull as the album slides and pulls you through many soundscapes. It gets heavy, it gets fast, it gets slow, it jams out and gets experimental,its a total trip into the unknown that has a different twist to the High on fire sound. If you like this style of music this is for you. I ordered soon as I seen the release date and chose the smog vinyl because it looks like a room filled with smoke during a heavy session.
KOOL KEITH and THETAN - SPACE GORTEX
The master of illusion, the ultramagnetic MC, the most individual of all rappers in existence, a man of a thousand personas, the legendary Kool Keith came back with the band Thetan on this one and the results were super dope to say the least. Heavy tunes, laid down from the live drum sound and throbbing bass track. It gives this Kool Keith project a whole new different dimension to the history and lyrical mastery that he always provides the listener with. A great concept as the adventures in space, time and hip hop will guide you through on the search for Vagina Lucy. Banging tunes, smooth beats, this album seriously cuts it. There's even a GWAR connection with a surprise appearance of Sheriff Tubb Tucker from underground cult band the X COPS. It's a super nice, galactic trip out album with a hard edge. Great artwork too.
PIGS, PIGS, PIGS, PIGS, PIGS, PIGS, PIGS - VISCERALS
One day on while on YouTube I came across the track called 'Reducer' by Pigs, What the fuck? I was instantly hooked. There was something about the driving pulse of the track and the grainy 70's jam room feel to the video, I checked out some other stuff, went out and got this album straight away on a nice Red color pressing and have been a full on Pigs advocate ever since. This album is super solid, dark and miserable but with a super up lifting groove and its refreshing to hear. I have since seen them live numerous times and was pretty late in finding this band and don't know how I missed them. The fan base gets bigger day by day through their extensive touring and bad ass music and rightly so, For a real experience go see this band live if you get the chance.
CHURCH OF MISERY - VOLUME 1
The originators of real Serial killer inspired sabbath doom at his best, there is nothing like Church of Misery. This compilation of tracks from the early years and formation of the band features the original line up and it's a great solid collection of rock n roll doom. With super groove riffs and an old school metal sound, This was a much needed addition to my collection as I missed this the first time around and it became more hard to find and scarce as the years went by. This version is a great sounding black vinyl repress by Totem Records, it contained some cool serial killer stickers and a neat repress 7 inch vinyl that features the tracks 'Race with the Devil' and 'Chilly Grave' taken from the album.
STAY UN-TUNED FOR THE NEXT INSTALLMENT OF BONGLIZARD COMING SOON ON BLOGLIZARD!