Friday, July 31, 2009

More Found 'Stilled Life' Objects

A few more examples of aluminium can 'roadkill' as found along the course of one of the lengths of local double black lines road markings...

(& this instance slightly repositioned)

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Touches of Colour

Something about the vividness of the colours of the found fruit, particularly apparent on another dull & rainy day, insisted upon to the attempt to record the various instances through the medium of watercolour in conjunction with drawing...

graphite & watercolour/30x20cm


Hanne Hukkelberg 'Rykestrasse 68'
Bjork 'Vespertine'
Beth Gibbons 'Out of Season'

Tuesday, July 28, 2009


There just seems to be something about the formal simplicity of the found fruit (of which this drawing as processed records the second gathering) that suggests it is sufficient for it to exist, as arranged, in & for itself in a purely white space...

graphite & putty eraser/30x20cm

Yesterday, the fruits' glorious colours were allowed brief moments of life through the medium of fleeting shafts of sunlight...

An aspect not communicated here, through either drawing or photography, is the heady scent of the fruit, a sensory experience particularly evident whilst sat in close proximity involved in the process of observation & drawing.

Soundtrack ('Last' But Not Least):

Rachel Unthank & the Winterset 'The Bairns'
El Perro del Mar 'Look It's...' (via LastFM)

It would be somewhat remiss at this juncture not to give a fond mention to the simple, quietly-effective, 60s-inflected, gorgeously melancholy & rather wonderful pop of El Perro del Mar, another pleasant new discovery courtesy of LastFM, which is mostly what we've been listening to this past week here at TOoT: late (& more than fashionably so, perhaps), as ever, to the party, of course, but a delightful & welcome find nonetheless, for the introduction it has, by chance, provided to a wealth of intriguing & enjoyable new music (not a little of it emanating, like El Perro, from Scandinavia), & also the facility it on occasion provides of being able to sample albums track-by-track in their entirety, like such an example as this.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

It's the Real Thing (& Some Mock-ups)

Today the opposite of tomato is "old bullet holes behind wild botany"

Out on a mooch with the camera during a brief interval between the rains, & found another example of drinks can 'roadkill' along the course of the double black lines.

Then staged a few compositions, as intended, using samples from the roadkill collection, just to see how they might look...

and just had to see just how a drawn outline would appear upon the actual road surface, such a device having been utilized extensively during the course of the recent series of 'roadkill diptych' drawings...


Hanne Hukkelberg Radio @ LastFM (including all manner of interesting new music & makers)
& an interview with Hanne Hukkelberg, conducted by Chris Douridas, on KCRW, via a link on the artist's website.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Found Still(ed) Life

Image of a scene just as found, perfectly, in passing this morning, whilst considering the very possibility of taking out a selection of the 'roadkill' cans as collected & arranging a few such compositions...

Friday, July 24, 2009

Back On the Road Again...#2

One of the more delightful recent aesthetic experiences has been the noticing, the finding, of the repainting-refreshing of the local 'double black lines' road markings (a necessary task, given the equally-noticeably worn state into which some of them had deteriorated, thus exposing the original-but-erroneous yellow lines underneath), which have of course made numerous appearences over the 3-&-a-half-years' life of the blog, in the form of both photographs &, more latterly, a series of drawings (currently on hold, having digressed into the related subject matter theme of the 'roadkill' drinks cans, but certainly not abandoned).

As is apparent from the following sequence of photographs (another impressive run-out for the fab new little camera) of the markings taken from various locations, this project & process of repainting has added another layer of visual & textural 'painterly' interest to the subject matter, with all underlying historical traces remaining apparent to some greater or lesser, subtle degree: indeed, the layers of evidence - & not least the introduction of another tinted 'grey' in terms of colour - are things of great wonder.

Art references, as previously & ever, abound, within the overarching tradition of the Modernist monochrome: here, its impossible not to be reminded of Jasper Johns' signature encaustic technique, solidifying the brushmarks, for example, creating a palpably physical surface...

Whilst the nature of the 'dragged' brushmarks in this instance recall Gerhard Richter's abstracts, any number of examples of expansive 'painterly' technique or, otherwise, Roy Lichtenstein's deliberate, ironic cartoon brushstrokes...

All manner of exquisite details become apparent, such as the Robert Rymanesque trailing-off endings & freshly-loaded beginnings of subsequent lines, illustrating the process of the mark-making...

As previously, additional, adjacent & related road markings lend themselves to forming part of the pictorial composition in best Modernist, abstract fashion...

as do other features of the roadside, such as this cast iron grid, adding another strong structural element to the composition & further subtle, rusty-hued touches of colour to proceedings...

All suitable fuel for inspiration, & again the presentation of horizontal subject matter in vertical form might raise certain perceptual questions.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Back On the Road Again...

Today the opposite of tomato is 'Easy To Be Around'

And so the occasion of the arrival of the rather sexy little Panasonic Lumix DMC-LZ10 (invested in as a pocket-sized & thus more handily-portable, anytime-anywhere alternative to the chunkier Fuji) provided the impetus to test it out 'on the road' & record examples of the recently-utilized small fruit as found, fallen upon the pavement & roadside, some of it inevitably as the 'roadkill' that seems to be providing the general subject (matter) of aesthetic fascination. The grey of the tarmacked road surface provides a particularly pleasing complementary ground to the reds, greens & yellows of the fruit in the creation of an aesthetic harmony.

Then incorporating road markings - a 'painterly' element, of course - into the composition, & introducing a formal device into the informal arrangement (as framed photographically, pictorially, thus relating to the horizontal edges, of course) that seems to intensify the structural role played by the kerbstones...

And finally a more obviously formal (& 'pictorial') composition, as found: Rothko was here, it might appear...

Interesting to consider too, incidentally, from a perceptual aspect, the presentation of such obviously horizontal subject matter, photographed thus from directly above, in the vertical, pictorial form of the screen - something that applies to the whole 'double black lines/aluminium can 'roadkill' enterprise, of course (especially with all such work thus far made being done so - processed through drawing on small, A4 scale - horizontally, thus relating more directly to the subject matter as found).

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Not 'Just Blobs'...

Today the opposite of tomato is "the sweetest grape on the vine"

Presenting the recently-drawn found fruit in photographic form, not least to communicate the vividness of their colour (inspired in such an endeavour not least by the influence of William Eggleston, as enthused about yesterday).

The first & third examples are intended to convey certain aspects of pictorial composition & spatial & colour relationships, whilst the second monochrome version (cropped from the first image) relates more obviously to the graphite drawings as processed & blogged over recent days.

The fourth & fifth images record the subsequent daily passage of time through colour changes (&/or vice versa!)...

Note too the persistence of the rain which characterizes the 'summer' here in 'The Yuk' - the sunlight as observed in the final image is something of an anomaly!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

It's All in the Details...

Whilst operations at TOoT incline temperamentally & philosophically toward the tendency of Slow Blogging (as defined & presented in Todd Sieling's manifesto), a week now having elapsed since its broadcast, it is perhaps time to acknowledge the excellent 'Imagine' BBC TV documentary on the subject of William Eggleston & his work, focussing as one might suppose on the photography for which he is particularly renowned but also including examples of videography & dabblings in music.

The film afforded a wonderful glimpse into the world of Eggleston (a magnificent artistic creation), not least with the camera following him as he pottered around his home town of Memphis, Tennessee, snapping suitably banal, apparently unremarkable, often care-worn & shabby subject matter as he chanced upon, allowing access to his specific modus operandi - particularly the self-imposed discipline of taking but one shot of a given scene or angle of approach - that appears informal yet produces such finely-balanced & compelling pictorial results.
Furthermore, illustrated throughout with sequences of stills of any number of familiar, iconic images & others seen for the first time (by this viewer, at least), the film supplemented Eggleston's work & enlightened aspects of its creative production via interviews with the man himself (measured & succinct in his thoughtful, illuminating & often profound pronouncements), members of his immediate & extended family & also fellow photographers such as Juergen Teller & Martin Parr, providing first-hand anecdotal evidence of situations, methods & processes that accumulated into a fascinating, entertaining, characterful portrait of the artist & his work (including the free-flowing, streams-of-consciousness film 'Stranded in Canton') in context, being itself an exemplary production, rewarding to experience & more so to return to (having been recorded for just such purposes).

Suitably inspired, it then became imperative to invest immediately in the now obviously 'essential', long Amazon wish-listed book 'William Eggleston: Democratic Camera', published to accompany the major retrospective exhibition beginning last year at the Whitney Museum in New York & continuing via Munich & various US locations until 2011.
Liberally illustrated with examples of Eggleston's early monochrome & subsequent ground-breaking colour photography & supported by a series of historically informative critical essays, the book is an excellent resource for concentrated study of the artist's work, paying appropriate homage to Eggleston's talent as a chronicler of the apparently more mundane, prosaic aspects of American life & vernacular culture as radiating from but centred upon Memphis & the environs of the small-town & semi-rural mid South of the US.

One might categorize Eggleston's practice & aesthetic as a particularly fine (& finely-crafted & -honed) if idiosyncratic example of the art of 'looking at the overlooked' - democratically in that no subject or aspect of is more or less important than another - & capturing it for studied contemplation, over which time such apparently everyday, trivial subject matter reveals its mysterious, strangely-fascinating & visually compelling nature, creating its own pictorial logic & reality as communicated through Eggleston's exquisite sense of colour.

So many of the photographs display a wonderful, perfect yet unsettling stillness & quiet that haunts the images themselves &, in the act of apprehending them, one's thoughts & imaginative faculties, suggesting narrative developments even if this, as stated, is not the artist's particular intention: (almost) nothing might appear to be present & happening, but this very minimalism is profoundly compelling - less is indeed more judged by the evidence of such subtly, perfectly weighted compositions.
From such initially-apparent banal subject matter, details emerge to captivate:
below, for instance, in the midst of the delightfully abject-yet-somehow-attempting-the-monumental (one might surmise) shop window display (a piece of folk art in itself that readily suggests much Minimalism in its arrangement of multiples of simple geometric forms, & Warhol too of course), the single box amongst the many of 'Sweet 'n' Low' that, to the right, has slipped to the diagonal creates a certain sense of tension, pictorially & psychologically,

whilst here, literally frozen in space & time, one feels a strange desire to sample, for instance, Frozen Acres 'Tasty Taters' &/or 'Bavarian Style Beans and Spaetzle', the whole arrangement being poignant in its personal choice of ubiquitous convenience foods.

I might relate such an image of that freezer compartment to those photographs taken a while ago of the aged, abandoned contents of the bathroom cabinet at home, whilst the discarded matter - including tin cans - in the photograph of the road- & kerb-side below resonate with the current personal similar subject matter of drinks container 'roadkill': this, perhaps, is where the value of Eggleston's aesthetic lies, in capturing & presenting the individual amidst the general, slowing the pace of the endless procession of things in space & time, encouraging the spectator to look closely, & with wonder, at another's vision of the world & that which might otherwise be overlooked, disregarded as unworthy of attention.

all images of pages from 'William Eggleston: Democratic Camera - Photographs and Video, 1961 - 2008'

Monday, July 20, 2009

'Just Blobs' #3

graphite & putty eraser/30x20cm

Sunday, July 19, 2009

'Just Blobs' #2

Drained of colour, the objects become liberated to exist as forms in space...

graphite & putty eraser/30x20cm

Saturday, July 18, 2009

'Just Blobs' #1

Laura - a keen, admirably talented & astonishingly varied & prolific artist herself - was of the opinion that a small collection of found fruit (other things apart from 'roadkill' cans being picked up from the kerbside) would provide unlikely & unpromising subject matter for drawing, as the result would be 'just blobs': perhaps she was right.
Something insistent about the range & combination of colours suggested they should be acknowledged & recorded.

graphite & watercolour/30x20cm

This particular arrangement remains mostly faithful to the manner in which the fruits were casually scattered on the windowsill, with only minimal tweaking in terms of placing & spacing, thus doubling the 'found' aspect of the subject matter.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Hard-Fought Draws!

graphite & putty eraser/30x20cm

A drawing processed (& image hard-won) from another view of the crumpled polystyrene egg box, subject to complex plays of light & surface effect, complicating the resolution of form, as previously.


Elliott Smith 'XO'
Moon Wiring Club 'An Audience of Art Deco Eyes'
Test Match Special
Eng v Aus 1st Test, 5th day

What a privilege it was to be able to share - via the medium of radio & the wonderful, evocative word-pictures painted by the erudite, peerless TMS team - the compelling drama, live as it unfolded, of the tense ebb & flow of the scarcely-credible (given what had preceded it) rearguard action fought by England's batting tail-end, to the last wicket pairing, ultimately successfully, towards the drawn conclusion of an utterly compelling 1st Ashes Test: tremendous entertainment.

Thursday, July 09, 2009

Off the Road...

A slight diversion today, although, in keeping with the general subject/object matter, this drawing is another processed from used & crumpled packaging, its physical form forcibly altered, in this instance a polystyrene 6-egg box. Crushed & reshaped thus, the white object presents itslf for tonal exploration from any number of aesthetically interesting & challenging angles...

graphite & putty eraser/30x20cm


Test Match Special 1st Test, Eng v Aus, 2nd day

Plenty of runs scored, including centuries for Katich & Ponting, but few wickets fell: an enthralling contest.

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Slimline Version

graphite & putty eraser/30x20cm

A rare occasion it is indeed when a drawing happens to be processed & blogged on the same day, but here we jolly well are...

This latest example of found-object 'roadkill' provided an element of visual interest in the manner in which the sequence of folds into which its three-dimensional form has been 'Cubistically' flattened & reshaped appear deliberately to follow the diagonal pattern of the design of the can's product-branded identity, an aesthetically pleasing coincidence.


Test Match Special 1st day of Eng v Aus 'Ashes' series:
the perfect accompaniment to & inspiration for a day's drawing.

Sunday, July 05, 2009

Flat-out Fantastic 2: Another View

graphite & putty eraser/30x20cm

And so to a drawing processed from the reverse view of the 'roadkill' drink can as featured in the preceding post, again a composition of accidental folds that appear to neatly resolve themselves into a reformed low-relief object characterized by a lightly yet much-faceted surface which, represented through the drawing process, somewhat compromises a clear reading of the branded design as would be originally intended before the object-as-container fell out of use & a victim to being thoughtlessly discarded in the contemporary manner.


Elliott Smith 'XO' (first left) & 'Either/Or' (far right)
The Woodentops 'Giant'
The Chasms 'Advance Paranoia, Advance'

Enjoying a more profound reacquaintance with the music of Elliott Smith - the more expansive arrangements & Beach Boyesque harmonies of 'XO' & the earlier pared-down softly-striking melancholy beauty of 'Either'/Or', which at times so perfectly illustrates the position Elliott's songs occupied between mid-period Beatles - think 'We Can Work It Out' for example - & Nirvana, providing the something of the missing link between, quite delightfully.

'Giant', being the enduring Woodentops'/Rolo McGinty masterpiece, is one of those summer classics, rich with irresistible songs & exquisite acoustic-electric arrangements, magically packaged in Pani Charrington's stylized forest tableau design, ever a much-loved favourite for the completeness of its aesthetic, a most welcome place to revisit.

And The Chasms - featuring, it transpires, a certain blissblogging & man of many talents Mr Simon Reynolds on the bass guitar*, which rumbles mightily throughout, establishing the minimalistic rhythmic foundations over which treble-rich buzz-saw effect-laden guitar in particular is overlaid in abundance to create an impressively physical edifice of noise, raw & live, an exhilarating experience redolent of such post punk reference points as, for example, the PiL of much of their 1st LP & 'Poptones' from 'Metal Box', the repetitively-driving juggernaut of The Fall (not least in the occasional northern-tinged vocal interventions), Warsaw-era Joy Division, the Cabaret Voltaire of 'Nag Nag Nag', 'Western Mantra' & 'Red Mask', Sonic Youth & such a now (& even then!)-obscure name, dredged up from the dark recesses of the memory, as Rema-Rema.
A most interesting addition to the minimalist music canon, especially in its more brutalist guitar & drums aesthetic, harking back to The Velvet Underground & US 60s garage bands (The Chasms being, apparently, on a grander scale, a 'barn' band - most fitting to accommodate the expanse of their noise!) when one might consider the concept to be characterized more often by electronica.
I'm hoping a recently-posted comment from 'Richard' was The Chasms' guitar hero Quirk of that name (putting me in mind, incidentally, of no less a personage than CabVolt's guitarist-plus Richard H Kirk) - it's a pleasure & an honour indeed.

Postscript 11/07/09

(* oh no they don't!)

A Correction:

Many thanks to Simon for his comment, not least for correcting my erroneous assumption as to his identity: the bass-playing member of The Chasms is actually Spoilt Victorian Child of the record label, under which guise he formerly blogged, bringing excellent & fascinating music to the masses.
Apologies for the confusion & misinformation.