WELCOME TO THE BEATING HEART OF YOUR ADDICTION
WE ARE THE SPIT
THE TRADE WINDS
THE HOWLING GALE
WE ARE BACKWASH
When I say painting I say it in the loosest sense of the word.
I’d just moved back from Amsterdam to the home of culture; Cleethorpes (my tongue is firmly in my cheek here), and was wrestling with my conscience. I felt I’d been dragged back (I wasn’t) and struggling to re-connect with my friends, family and day to day life in my small, run down home town.
I started painting as a way to experiment and expand my graphic design capabilities and using a friends old garage as a studio I ended up creating some pieces that Carhartt picked up and ran concurrent shows in their Manchester, Amsterdam and Bern stores. This fuelled many a late night painting into the early hours. A local gallery offered me a space to show some works and I created amongst others five large pieces based on the lyrics of Bob Dylans seminal Masters of War – But I see through your eyes, And I see through your brain, Like I see through the water, That runs down my drain – At the time I was heavily influenced by Jose Parla and loved the way he could craft decomposition into his ephemeral paintings, it was as if the city walls that exhibited the voice of the people, where brought to life in his pieces. As I wondered where I was heading, leaving behind a great city, places I’d visited, friends I’d made, I sank deeply into escaping via painting and during this period of self loathing Jose Parla's work led me to a newly found creative space and process that gave me a purpose to weave a decaying aesthetic into my own works, simulating my own passing of time amongst the veneers of history with my own layers of paint, posters, screenprinting, writing, and de-construction.
I only sold a handful of paintings, one to a lovely old lady whose house I pass everyday and I can imagine it hanging there, two screen prints and several canvases to TV executive in Manchester. But most never sold and the Masters of War pieces are currently rotting in the garden; the layers of paint flaking away, the elements contriving to create a lovely patina, in time nature has made them look better than I ever could have. And in the words of Tupac “Did you hear about the rose that grew from a crack in the concrete? Proving nature's laws wrong, it learned to walk without having feet. Funny, it seems to by keeping it's dreams; it learned to breathe fresh air. Long live the rose that grew from concrete when no one else even cared.”
So as the frost, rain and wind batter my ‘paintings’ they are turning into something that I never could have created, in their decomposition that decaying aesthetic I thrived for is coming to life, they look better than I could have make them appear and one day I’ve promised myself to rescue them from the garden’s grip, clean them up and hang someplace again.
Backwash Issue Two is a surf anthology featuring Japan, the photography of Chris Burkard and Sergio Villalba, Hamish Laing and Woody Gooch. Kalani Lattanzi swims at Nazare, whilst Amy Kotch surfs barrels whilst pregnant and John Peck knee paddles out as he has done since 1958.Purchase