Monday, 4 April 2011

Bernard and Val...

I installed two more paintings in West Bromwich today. ‘Bernard’ and ‘Val’ have found a home in Charlemont Community and Youth Centre, a bleak bunker like building in the shadow of two enormous tower blocks. I know the area very well, as I was born in another (now demolished) 20 storey tower block nearby, went to Charlemont Primary and Junior School, and spent a lot of my teens hanging around the area. More recently, I’ve spent a lot of time drawing and painting the motorway that the community centre faces.

I think I broke every health and safety rule in the book trying to install them in some bizarre and awkward spots. ‘Bernard’ has actually ended up above a serving hatch in the pool hall. At first when I was pointed to the spot I thought ‘oh dear’, but actually I thought it looked quite good after I put it up. In amongst the cluttered walls of photos and film posters it seemed to have a quiet presence. It’s one of my favourite portraits. ‘Val’ also looked interesting in her corner, looking out at the youth playing pool. She’ll keep them on the straight and narrow.


As I was sliding around on chairs on top of tables installing them, I thought back to the idealism of my own youth. When I was a student I wanted my paintings to be in community centres like this, shared amongst the people, like my hero at the time, artist Ken Currie (image above), when he painted those early strident paintings of the working class. Well, mine have ended up there, given away, whilst his soon ended up secreted away in the homes of rich collectors and dealers. No sell out for me! No sale at all….but I’m pretty pleased with today anyway.


1 comment:

frank said...

Interesting paintings, but I'd like to know why do you put the face of sad people on your wall? it's something that catches my attention, in my case I's put a xlpharmacy banner or something like that.