Archive for September, 2020


Baldessari, Saatchi, Ryman & Sold Art

Modern Art Report – Baldessari, Saatchi, Ryman and Sold Art

Apologies for the lack of communication coming out of my studio these past few months, even by my standards this update is very late indeed, here are my notes on some highlights from 2019 and early 2020, hopefully followers of my work will find they were worth the wait.

Union Jacked – 2019 – acrylic on canvas 60 x 60cm
Private Collection Finland

Back in late January in what now seems like a very distant alternative reality, a world without this dreadful virus, I was about to update my website with news and highlights from 2019 and was thinking of some of the significant people that we had lost in that year from the world of art. Whilst the events that have unfolded since the start of the year, especially the horrendous death global death toll, have put a different perspective on things I would still like to pay tribute to a few super talented members of the art community from across all genres who we lost before before Covid 19. Notably two prodigious experimental filmmaker’s Jonas Mekas and Agnès Varda and minimalist painter Robert Ryman whose paintings are the very antithesis of my own work, mostly being monochrome and invariably on square supports. In fact my complete oeuvre to date only includes two black and white paintings, one being “On Thin Ice” from my “2012 – Signs, Secrets and Symbols” exhibition, the other being a commissioned still life from 2008. Ryman gave a special place to the world of white and his pieces, luxuriantly contemplative, have a serenity that always captivates me. “Legend” one of a series of 9 paintings from 1982, pictured below, is on display at the Tate Modern exhibition In the Studio: Painting with White and is free to enter.

Ledger – 1982 – Robert Ryman – Tate Modern © Robert Ryman

We also lost some incredible musicians in 2019 including Peter Tork of The Monkees and drummers Ginger Baker and Andy Anderson. Andy worked with everyone from Isaac Hayes to Edwin Collins as a session musician and was the drummer with several great bands bands during his career, notably The Cure and Hawkwind. Also back in January I received very sad news from a friend that Martin Griffin had just passed away. Martin of course was also a drummer, on the sticks with Hawklords and Hawkwind, and was something of a legend in the West Country. News of his death was particularly poignant for me as it was just over 40 years previously that I had recorded with him in his studio in Roche. Another giant who touched my life in a personal way was the pioneering conceptual artist John Baldessari, a Promethean towering man both physically and artistically, his artwork featuring in more than 300 solo exhibitions and 1000 group exhibitions during his life, he has left behind a phenomenal cultural legacy.

He started as an abstract painter, famously cremating all of his paintings from a 13 year period at a San Diego funeral home in 1970. After The Cremation Project 1970 Baldessari went on to embrace a proliferation of mediums, including painting, graduating to some mammoth public conceptual pieces and was referred to as a serial inventor. However his hallmark technique was his use of photography, particularly the process of placing black, white and coloured dots over the faces of the subjects in photographs and he certainly had a direct influence over the development of appropriation art. Playful and provocative, always at the heart of everything he did was his sense of humour and his counter revolution against what he saw as a staid art world that took itself too seriously. John Baldessai touched my life in a tiny personal way when in April 2011 I was invited to be a participant in his dynamic collaborative artwork “Your Name In Lights” at The Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam.

Three Red Paintings – 1988 – John Baldessari – Institute of Contemporary Art, Miami
Gift of the Lannan Foundation © John Baldessari

A huge thank you to the friends and clients who have been sending messages and enquiring about my wellbeing these past few months of silence, here then, later than ever, are some of my personal high points from 2019 and early 2020.

The most marvellous news of 2019 took place last June when I was in the Saatchi Gallery in London with my good friend Dex and I took a call from my son-in-law telling me that I was a grandfather again. My youngest daughter Emily gave birth to a beautiful daughter Bronte, she was due around my birthday but was in no hurry and arrived safely a little late. I am now blessed with five granddaughters and one grandson and here she is at just over a year old, already flexing her creative talents!

Bronte flexing her creative muscles at 14 months old

With other news regarding Saatchi, I was delighted to have been contacted by the chief curator of Saatchi over in the USA with a request to commission an extra large 48 inch print of Rebecca – one of my paintings from my “Falmouth Working Boats” exhibition of 2011, the original of which is held in a private collection. “Rebecca” the print is now vibrantly hanging in a meeting room in a hotel in California on which Saatchi were working. So a big thank you once again Saatchi.

Rebecca – 2010 – acrylic on canvas – 48 x 40in print commissioned by Saatchi 2020

Also last August I was approached by the accomplished Spanish contemporary composer Antón Alcalde. He told me that he had recently premiered a commission written for large orchestra called ‘that pale blue dot ‘. Antón went on to say “the title was extrapolated from a Carl Sagan quote. I based organically the whole work taken as ‘cornerstone’ your masterpiece ‘The Earth is blue….. is beautiful’ (2009).” requesting use of the image of the painting to illustrate the cover of the composition. The original has long been in a large private collection of “Billington’s” but I am sure that this very special and ardent collector of my paintings will be equally as proud as I am that the image is now the cover art for a magnificent piece of music.

The Earth is blue…… is beautiful – 2009 – acrylic on canvas 100 x 40cm – Private Collection
Antón Alcalde – Pale Blue Dot – composition for large orchestra

On the subject of music, what news of Jynnji?

Jynnji and Jynnji Music, the label and Music Publishing arm grew meteorically exceeding all expectations during 2018/19. Wholly eclectic and style agnostic, Jynnji artists spanned the entire musical spectrum and all areas of the globe and the label’s reach was equally global and I was completely humbled and astounded by the amazing roster of talent on the label and the many more artists who wanted to work with me. A heartfelt thank you to each and every one of them, also to Lee at Cornwall Live/West Briton, Andy at Source FM, my distributors and to BBC Radio and all of the independent stations, journalists and music press, UK and international, who supported the Jynnji project during its short but very exciting life. It was with much regret that due to personal reasons I had to close the label down at the end of summer last year and I have nothing but the best wishes for all of the musicians who were on board. Hopefully they have moved on to bigger and better things and long may they continue to create such original music.

Regarding my painting, 2019 saw me sell my first piece of modern art into Finland, “Union Jacked”, which was commissioned by a lovely client who wanted a painting in the style of my work from my 2014 “Punk – The Transatlantic Paintings” exhibition. I am rather proud that this is the third country in the beguiling and most scintillating Nordic region where I now have paintings in private collections, the others being Sweden and Norway.

Union Jacked – 2019 – Private Collection, Finland

Among sold paintings during 2019 were two small studies of my often returned to theme of landscapes and landmarks in Cornwall art, St Michael’s Mount and Lizard Point. Other paintings sold included “K’ubul” and I was happy to see “Harmony of the Spheres” from the same “2012 – Signs, Secrets and Symbols” exhibition go to the home of a crazy super talented psycho-billy musician.

St Michael’s Mount III – 2018 – 6 x 8in
Private Collection
Lizard Point III – 2018 – acrylic on board 6 x 8in
Private Collection
Harmony of the Spheres -2012 – acrylic on canvas 50 x 50cm – Private Collection

Meanwhile I have several ongoing projects underway in the ArtLab, details of some of which I hope will be posted in due course. As always my sincere thanks for your continued interest in my art, especially to those that currently invest or have invested in my paintings.

K’ubul -2012 – acrylic on canvas 80 x 60cm – Private Collection

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