Sunday, 15 May 2011

Boxrooms, light shades and public art

I'm dredging up little things I did last year now - simply because they remain impressive to me.  The first being the lampshade in my bedroom that I made out of garden wire, double sided sticky tape, lots of perspex and a few bits of black cardboard.  It's made my boxroom a much cooler place to live in. My existence in my box room is compartmentalised into tiny areas that make sense through my own logic - it's actually one of the only places in the world in which I actually feel comfortable. It's small, enclosed, cosy and I don't feel bad if I don't bother opening the curtains because I have really comforting red light shining through different coloured perspex.  It actually makes artificial light very comforting.

This probably isn't "normal" but I do seem to have my curtains closed quite a lot of the time.  That might actually be quite unhealthy - and also a bit of a waste of electricity.  The thought of opening my curtains doesn't usually occur to me.  Why would it?  I have a cool light.
 I've a few other tricks that have made my boxroom the best room I've ever lived in - one of which is to stick mirrored paper to the wall.  Back in ancient Rome they used to decorate their walls with images of other rooms so that there was an appearance of their rooms being bigger than they actually were - creating an artificial grandness.  By sticking mirrored paper on the wall I'm creating a similar effect, I'm making my room seem bigger whilst at the same time reflecting off the dull white wall lots of the scrumptious light.  Also I keep lots of my collages on the walls so that gives me some texture to stare at when I'm thinking... much of my life has been spent staring at walls and thinking so it's good to have some texture to look at - and it's texture I made myself so I get bonus points for being self indulgent.
I have the most self indulgent boxroom in the entire world.  Here's a pseudo panoramic shot of some of it... apologies for the picture quality - might be better if I had some natural light.

So a wardrobe complete with a door covered in coats and scarves - a wall full of collage and a bit of mirrored paper (the main area of this is above my bed on the opposite wall) - a chair where I put my computer when I'm watching television on my crosstrainer (the little monster sat on the chair on this photo is a small version of myself made by my amazing monster making friend Helen - more details here (bit of shameless plugging from me there))....  I do feel like I've created my own mini paradise in this room - like the whole place is a little area of the world where I feel like a normal person because to me all of this looks perfectly acceptable - it's like my cerebral innards are projected mentally all over the place and reality assumes the image that makes me the most comfortable.  Like a perfect zero environment where everything is peaceful and is made entirely out of me.

The outside world is a strange place - I do a fair bit of staring at flat surfaces and thinking when I'm in the outside world too - except there you have to watch out who's staring at you and thinking (or trying to think).  Humanity en mass seems to be a collection of quivering nerve endings on the back of some out of proportion protoplasmic amoeba.  It's like a lot of souls and minds trapped in flesh and not quite understanding what they are meant to be doing.  Getting on the bus everyday is like stepping into some bizarre liminal space.  An area of life between real moments where nothing much happens.  So when you look around everyone is sat there, not communicating, having a strange private moment thinking and drifting off into there own internal quandaries.  For me I either read a book or let my mind go into a static abstract haze.  Both of those things are a form of escapism from the rigours of doing.  I'm assuming everyone escapes into there own little worlds and then jolt back out.  This goes on for people all day long.  It goes on for me all day long anyway - so maybe I'm just projecting my condition onto other people.

This all brings me onto the other project I made last year that I felt like revisiting (again because I'm still quite impressed by it) which is my public art piece I wallpaper pasted onto a (non listed) building.  An old disused public toilet at the edge of Chorlton.  I spent a lot of time emailing various departments in the City Council investigating the legalities of doing something like this and getting away with it.  To the left you'll see a picture of the building - it's a really good piece of cheap architecture of yesteryear with some very ugly graffiti.  A little bit of collage would make this building much nicer looking and would accentuate it's forgotten beauty to the general public - the public unlikely to notice it because it's next to a bus stop (too busy catching buses).

There were a few contradictions in the law - one day I was told I could do it as long as I wasn't advertising anything and that I didn't do it on a listed building.  Then I was told by another department that they would need to get in touch with the local police department first.  This was all happening in October and the good weather was about to leave us so I just went ahead and did it anyway - pre-made some shapes and went down there at about 6 in the morning put on a hooded coat on and just got on with it.

And so there you go.  Doesn't it look more interesting?  In my haste I didn't cover up the word "scum" but at least I got "nazi" covered over.  It rained over the time that this work was up so the wallpaper paste was never ever completely dry.  So it had an oozing quality to it.  My plan was to leave it there and take a photo of it every few days, waiting for it to decay and fall off the walls - my whole point was that my act of vandalism was bio degradable - and that it would demonstrate how change happens all around us all the time even though we feel safe in our houses and boxrooms life is very much at the mercy of decay and change.  I was also hoping that other people might add something more to the work and that it might inspire people to glam up more of our rubbish old forgotten buildings.  I was quite excited about what I was doing at this point.  Though that didn't last long as four days later the whole thing was removed by the City Council - but they also removed the "nazi scum" graffiti so I feel like I've done at least some good.  Now the entire building is covered over by a huge placard.

To finish this entry off here's a close up of the above (one of many failed projects):

Monday, 9 May 2011

Twitter, marketing, advertising and what am I doing?

Recently started using my twitter properly - I've not got a great many followers yet but I've decided not to play it as some sort of numbers game, I'm only going to follow people I'm interested in and who I think are going to be interested in me.  Otherwise what's the point?  I'm at @garth_simmons if you are interested and interesting (and if your interested in me I'm sure you're very much interesting).

I have to work hard on twitter for the next month or so as it's part of my marketing campaign for my exhibition on 2nd July - I've also started a Facebook Event for it (

It's also listed on this website I've never even heard of:

So this isn't a very creative update at all - it's just going on about how I've momentarily become some sort of cut throat marketeer.  Which is a little out of character really - I feel like my life has a new script editor.  Not to worry though - I've started doing some paintings/collages that I'll update you on when I finish them - I'm taking the compositions from stills of animations I made a two/three years ago.

Just so this new blog entry has at least one picture in it - here's one of the images I'm basing a composition on: