North | South (2024)

‘North | South’ rewrites and reframes previous narratives. ‘History is written by the victors’, as someone once plagiarised.

This series came about whilst working on three different projects about the presentation and control of narratives. After weeks of trying to force them into existence, it became apparent that the projects were cross-fertilising and had no intention of staying in their lanes. So, a new project was born. And the artist lost control of his own narrative.

This new series will be released gradually, beginning on Solana, over a period of time, which will allow the project to steer itself (with a little help from it’s creator) in new directions.

<Link to series on>

Each piece begins with a circle. There’s a Japanese calligraphic technique called ensō circles, usually painted with one relaxed brushstroke by Zen practitioners. Mine are more like angsty scars painted after too much caffeine.

These circles are combined with new gestural marks and inked backgrounds and then, gradually, obfuscated until only glimpses of the beginnings remain. Original voices concealed but protected.

My original career began with the drawing board, where the ‘medium’ of the piece was contained within a central mountboard base. Around this however, I’d keep bits and pieces which might prove useful later. Some digital software also allows for this, and I found zooming out of a piece of work revealed what elements had been discarded, or had ‘bled’ off the edge. This allows me to ‘reframe’ the piece and take a step back and view the work from a more honest, knowing perspective. Processes and tricks of the trade exposed.  

If the viewer sees political echoes in the work, then the artist makes no comment other than to state that in Cockney rhyming slang “north and south”, means ‘mouth’.

I woke with a fragile glimpse of something. Something other. Something new. Something well-fed and warm. Not romanticising, but still.

He came from the South. Freedom to build always sounded good to me. Early traces still visible on those colourful steps. Three steps heading... somewhere unknown.

It’s all just stories he said. Ask him what he’d like. Just some cigarettes. He walked here. He actually walked here.

Suffix sufficiently altered. Tension equations for approximately everyone. Us and our municipal imagination. Where on earth do we go from here? Chaos versus vertical volume. I know which I choose.

Spirit gone, of course. One bright day. As it probably should. Breakfast time in the old house. Questions now, this is all new.

Carrying the prestige of their legends, new ghosts smiled.