Moving statues

September 5, 2017

The new issue of Now Then Manchester (Issue 46) carries some photographs and a piece about how Manchester has got one new statue and lost one (not so) old one…

Screen Shot 2017-09-05 at 00.27.51


Star Spangled Burger

July 4, 2017

The Fourth of July seems a good day to upload a new video, ‘Star Spangled Burger’ – it’s a companion piece to Flag of Concealment which I made earlier this year.

A lot of my stuff is related to other things I’ve done, which is either a case of mining a rich theme (sic) or flogging a dead horse – but over time I can see how interests and ideas develop and one thing begets another. Anyway – enough of the self analysis on onto the back catalogue…

Trouble With Icons CoverThe new video uses footage I took a few years ago in Washington DC, of the Marine Corps Monument and a McDonalds drive-through. At the time I was getting material related to three projects. Firstly, ‘A White Flag on the Moon’ – a booklet [read the pdf here] about the use of the Stars and Stripes in art, which got me interested in Joe Rosenthal’s famous Iwo Jima photograph (which the Marine Corps monument is based on) and to make a video documentary with Cat Gregory ‘The Trouble With Icons’ – about how the photograph was pressed into service after 9/11.

YummierSecondly, whilst in Washington I to see the original Star Spangled Banner and the ‘Enola Gay’ – the aircraft that dropped the atomic bomb on Hiroshima. I’d written a couple of articles about how photography (or the lack of it) had influenced how this event was understood ‘Picturing Armageddon #1’ and ‘Picturing Armageddon #2’ which themselves came from an background piece to an exhibition I’d seen at The Open Eye Gallery ‘Strangely Familiar’. Lastly (if you’re still following) the footage of the flag fluttering over the McDonalds drive-through was taken in case it could be used in the off/on project about fast-food-as-a-metaphor-for-something-another that is ‘Yum’ (a little book) and ‘Yummier’ (a pile of fake Polaroids).


Engels rides again

July 3, 2017

Screen Shot 2017-07-03 at 17.31.55My two part article running in the June and July editions of on-line magazine Now Then Manchester, have been picked up by The Meteor – Manchester’s alternative media – You can read the first part here.


Pop Art: Talking about the Beatles…

June 21, 2017

pop art logoPop Art is a series of art works I’ve been making, inspired by the cover art of The Beatles’ album Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, which you can’t have failed to notice is celebrating its 50th anniversary. I’ve given the project its own page on here on the blog. And am doing a talk about the cover that inspired it.

The cover is undoubtably the most famous album artwork ever – and as it was done by a couple of bone fide pop artists – Peter Blake and Jann Haworth – so can it also claim to be the most famous piece of pop art? Whether it is or not, is something I’ll be discussing at a free talk I’m giving during the Didsbury Arts Festival on Saturday 1 July 2017 from 3:30 to 4:30pm at The Parsonage, 853 Wilmslow Road, Didsbury, Manchester, M20 2SG.
Talk DAF web advert


Engels comes home

June 7, 2017


I’ve written an article about my home city of Manchester and Friedrich Engels, the political philosopher and collaborator with Karl Marx. It’s published in two parts in Now Then magazine – and you can read the first part online here.

The article was prompted by the arrival from Ukraine of a statue of Engels, who lived in Manchester for 20 years. This will be the second Engels statue – the other being the controversial ‘Engel’s Beard’ outside Salford University. If you can’t wait until next month to read the full article, read on for the full story…
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May 23, 2017

I took these photographs the morning after a suicide bomber killed 22 people at a pop concert by Ariana Grande in Manchester.


A Proclamation

April 29, 2017

A PROCLAMATION is a new piece 600mm x 300mm laser etched Perspex® acrylic. It was done at FabLab in Altrincham. And here’s a video of it being done…

The idea for this piece came after I wrote about the Two Minutes Silence in my booklet ‘Best We Forget’. I had argued that criticism of any war, no matter how unnecessary or unjust the war might be, was seen as disrespecting the people who had been killed in previous wars. This was encouraged with jingoism to shut down any opposition to any war, rather than out of respect for those who do the fighting. So the silence was in effect telling people to shut up rather than think about the tragedy and victims of war.

I’ve produced several pieces based on these ideas, one of which was a list of quotes about silence starting with King George V’s proclamation of 1919, asking for his subjects to observe a two minutes silence to remember the dead of the First World War.

proclamation at A4

Text of the finished plaque

The list of quotes grows more critical and cynical as it goes on. It was typeset in a typeface reminiscent of the inscriptions on monuments and printed onto A3 sized tracing paper. Being able to see through the text was a visual pun on seeing through propaganda if one stopped looking at the words.

I found out about FabLab in Altrincham opposite the bus and tram station. They have equipment they can show people how to use including a couple of Laser Cutters. I decided to reproduce the A3 piece as a plaque by etching the list into Perspex® acrylic (thanks to Val at Lucite International for providing samples etc). The quotes were done in Adobe Illustrator and saved as a pdf file, which the Laser Cutter ‘prints’ on to the material you use, which can be paper, wood and other stuff as well as Perspex.

After a few trials to see what sizes, depths of cut etc. what colour material to use, and with a lot of patient help from Tony and Anthony at FabLab, I finished the piece today.