Wild Droppings

I'm finding the winter blues can be a bit of a downer. No shots of whiskey though, but slashes of crazed colour inks cheered me up this weekend. Not particularly cool but just the tonic for the bleak greyness.

The results won't win taste awards, but the process is so much fun. Daub some water onto heavy paper in a shape you like (thank you cheap bamboo brushes). Load a syringe or dropper with your psychedelic hues and let gravity take its course. Tilt and swivel for a class of substractive colour theory. If you really get into this, you can start using alcohol inks and glues for some ferral effects.

Oh, and check out this image by Pery Burge on the new scientist site... made by firstly dropping some oil-based gold paint onto water then adding two colours of acrylic inks. Beautiful.


Dublin Contemporary 2011 – Splashy or Splishy?

Went along to this International Art Fair at the weekend. Heavy rain had finally cleared and a Sunday afternoon's ruckus of children were blotted over the first floor of Earlsfort Terrace, an abandoned university campus. The paraphrased theme is Terrible Beauty—Art, Crisis, Change: Taken from William Butler Yeats’ famous poem “Easter, 1916”... suggesting "art’s underused potential for commenting symbolically on the world’s societal, cultural and economic triumphs and ills".

Walking through, the marie-celesteness of the venue would normally be just my cup of tea, but for some reason, I found it all distracting. Maybe that's because I'm not a nostalgic Dubliner. Rather, I must be a curmudgeon and regressing to white-cube preferences. Anyhow! I kept feeling that I was in a student graduation show, because every piece had it's own dreary little room with sockets and bare-faced concrete. Some were transformed wonderfully and completely, while others weren't, it seemed to depend on something arbitrary.

Attention deficiency led to constant forgetting of the theme... so it's just as well I brought a camera, because otherwise, an unreflective impression might have been misleading.

The stuff I liked in-situ was mainly the video work because "I got it" in terms of something political-social-surreal-challenging-ish. Chen Chieh - Jen's Empire's Borders was a series of interviews with regular Taiwanese people who simply wanted to go on holiday to the States. They were required to go through humiliating interviews at the embassy to get the visa, but were rejected for no known reason. Loved Niamh O'Malley's Quarry – a projection of stoney visuals onto a black canvas... like a painting, but alive.

Alejandro Almanza Pereda – Horror Vacuii

The static spatial pieces that struck me however were the disturbing / textual / strange ones. Floating barbed wire, the terrifying hairy tit, painfully hand-rendered magazines and a giant slimey octopus...

Amanda Coogan's live piece – Spit Spit, Scrub Scrub – featuring herself and two other performers in a room dribbling onto their huge blue satin gowns – for three hours!! Really, no image could do justice to that.

Dan Perjovschi's Dublin Drawings in the Annex were probably the most communicative piece on theme for me: simple social commentary with humour. ah!

Brian Duggan's Ferriss Big Wheel model, is a replica of one in the Russia town of Pripyat which was evacuated during the Chernobyl disaster. Abandoned promises of fun and frolic... that spooky vibe.

Fernando Bryce – Comoedia, Brian Duggan – The Short Term Evacuation, Wilfred Preto, Mark Clare – Democracity

Alan Butler – Painting of a photo from a news report of a suicide at Foxconn, Shenzhen, China, 2010; painted in an oil painting factory in China

Dan Perjovschi – One of countless ditties in The Dublin Drawing

Teresa Margolles – City's Keys 

Maarten Vanden Eynde – The Earth seen from the Moon

Siobhan Gibbon – Neoplasm

Mark Cullen – Towards Superconnection, James Deutscher – Oh, na, na, what's my name? Oh, na, na, what's my name?, Dan Perjovschi – The Dublin Drawing, Installation in the medical library (Artist anyone?)

Overall, I left without that furious sinking exhaustion that happens after "Art", maybe because of the lack of text information around the place, or maybe because it was all so cosy and derelict. Hmm.

Anyone else seen it and have thoughts on this?


What is the Technology of Spirituality?

 Living in a monastry slash commune for three months was fascinating and many times overwhelming. From a visual anthropologist's viewpoint, there was a mass of activity. People weren't sitting round on their bums in general, but were carrying out a wide range of practices within and without the temple environment. Here I made a tentative and rough inventory of what I could see, which was complex and subtle.

Drawings by a temple – Lerab Ling

Some quiet moments illustrated on my trusted A5 notebook. Most of the time, the views were so stunning that I just went for walks. I was refreshing to live in the mountains for 3 months. (To see stunning aerial views of this area taken by Jan Pieters, click here.)


Tibet in France – Lerab Ling

My summer volunteer experience is in full swing; busy like normal life, but with a massive temple in the back yard and staying in a tent. Not yet enlightened, but maybe another 3 aeons might do the trick. All the same, have been looking and seeing and working on my mindfulness. Here are a few snaps of where I am for you to imagine...
Full photo story here
Location: Lerab Ling


Making baby a present...

It's that age. If you aren't having your own, your friends are popping theirs. How can giving be a pleasure when plastic and generic sentiments seem unappealing? It's an ongoing mini challenge to give from the real heart, bypassing Hallmark sentimentality. Below are a couple of recent examples of baby stuff that I put together from the box of tricks. Any excuse to use a fountain pen eh.
Loving nerdy typographic stickers and muji origami papers – colour mmm!

A ribbon fetish is put to wholesome use in this easter bonnet set for little Erin's christening. One for the head, and a matching one for her wrist. (Thanks to Kate for helping me with the sewing).


Drink and Draw – Cork

Had a lovely evening at The Franciscan Well this Tuesday. 'Rebel Red' is one of their home brews and I'll warn you, a little strong, but tasty. Next time I'll try the stout. The event runs twice a month and seems to be going strong. Conversations and drawings ranged from how to cook and egg from a solar contraption, robots, herbal medicine, retinal examinations... I was more prosaic as a newbie and drew what I saw.
facebook group


Johnathan Harris – Personal Geography

Lovely idea and beautifully executed...


What is it about trains and working?

There's something special about simply being on trains. When I have my notebook or laptop, the items that have sat on the long finger, or the work that is a little stuck, seem to unravel…. and flow with the movement of the land passing by. Is it the defined time? Is it the actual motion of the train? Is it the sense of being in an inbetween place: nowhere to go: nothing else to do? the internet connection is too slow to get too distracted…. Being on a train is like having a deadline without the adrenalin. The physical rhythm seems to allow the necessary changes of mind and perceptions to let go: to move forward. Or maybe it's all in my imagination….  maybe it's just me?