Thursday, 26 November 2009

Dean Street Townhouse

There's a new permanent show on at the Dean Street Townhouse (69 Dean Street) in Soho which opens to the public on Wednesday November 25.

The place has got some decent Soho history - initially the Townhouse's 18th Century building was a printing press for publisher Novello. In the 1920s, it housed the notorious Gargoyle club, a haunt for people like Noel Coward, Sigfried Sassoon, Dylan Thomas, Francis Bacon, Lucien Freud, John Minton and Graham Greene. Matisse created parts of the red and glass interiors, and his painting 'The Red Studio' hung on its walls. In the 1970s, a goth bar (The Batcave) moved in, earning the space a cult following, yet another following (with overlap) came in its next incarnation as a men's sauna and massage parlour. In the 1980s it hosted the nightclub Gossips.

The collection (themed around the allures of Soho) is on permanent display on the ground floor and includes such eminences of the art world as Andrzej Klimowski, Peter Blake, Tracey Emin, Noble and Webster, Gavin Turk, Fiona Banner, Paul Noble, Damien Hirst, Jamie Hewlett, Jose Parla, Keith Tyson, Mark Titchner as well as lots of younger folk including Neal Fox and myself. Drop by and have a little cocktail or a nibble, I'm told the food is exquisite.

Friday, 6 November 2009

Wilton's Café Poster Exhibition

Dave McH, chief of the Notting Hill Arts Club and various other ventures (and the man who provided us with the means and opportunity for the infamous LE GUN shoe shop of curiosities), has opened a new café. It's called Wilton's, at 63 Wilton Way in Hackney, serves excellent food and drink and also houses London Fields Radio. To mark the opening Dave invited us to stage a little poster exhibition there.

I'm trying to find better pictures as all the posters were great (featuring Bays, Bianchi, Bragg, Fox, Greene, Heretic, Kariya, Malt, and myself) - here's Heretic & Fox's contributions, and below that my own.

Sunday, 1 November 2009

Bare Bones 2

Bare Bones 2 - launch and exhibition at Maurice Einhardt Neu gallery. Heretic were this issue's cover stars and showed a selection of posters as well as a limited edition screen printed BB book jacket, while other BB members put pen to A5 paper and sold several wallfuls of original drawings at a competitive price just in time for the christmas rush.

Saturday, 10 October 2009

messengers of her majesty's cosmic empire

Messrs Bianchi and Rubbish put up this marvelous show at the Concrete Hermit gallery:

'Robert Rubbish and Chris Bianchi (of Le Gun magazine and Bare Bones tabloid) bring you a unique collaboration. They will be
transforming the Concrete Hermit gallery into an interstellar installation that coincides with the 4o year anniversary of the first
man on the moon. They will be showing their cosmic collections of curiosities. The artists will be exhibiting their own individual
artworks as well as collaborative paintings drawings and assemblages made specifically for the show. The pair take their
inspirations from the time they spent creating and running a modern day curiosity shop in Hackney in 2007 as well as many other
sources including the films of Alejandro Jodorowsky, space rock, dipsomania, the occult, magic, Catholicism, James Ensor,
chemical memories, psychedelic experiences, death and Belgium. The exhibition will also have special events programmed
including a requiem mass on the last day: Halloween.'

Sunday, 19 July 2009

Latitude and Port Eliot

In July the Drawing Room went on tour with the House of Fairy Tales, and spent 5 hectic days in the woods at Latitude with special guests Heretic...

The following week we decamped to lovely Port Eliot festival in Cornwall for some more of the usual, plus copious amounts of sloe gin, some impromptu theatrics and a hell of a lot of uphill dancing.

Wednesday, 1 July 2009

Bare Bones in the press

Dazed & Confused report on the launch of Bare Bones 1 at the D&C gallery...

Monday, 1 June 2009

bare bones show

setting up the bare bones exhibition at the dazed & confused gallery.

this is what a small part of it looked like -

Tuesday, 26 May 2009


The Drawing Room micro-festival outside Tate Modern

The Drawing Room represented as part of the House of Fairy Tales festival outside Tate Modern on 23-24-25 May. We had our own very spacious marquee (see picture) into which we'd invited artists, collectives, performers and bands, and it all went remarkably well.
There was a hell of a lot of drawing, some drinking (mainly afterwards), and generally hanging out by the river over a the so far hottest and most gorgeous weekend this year.

Apart from the Drawing Room gang we first had Amelia Johnstone cutting paper drawings and being harassed by a reactionary mother, Material of Ludlow being over-run in a badge-making frenzy, the Mighty Low rocking out the day.
On Sunday we started with a banquet, followed by a 10m-drawing of the Thames as imagined by LE GUN and the great unwashed, the amazing printed drawing games produced by heretic, and the Bohemianauts for some gypsy klezmer pop classics at the end.
And on Monday we followed two hours of dress-up&draw with Strangeworks' hilarious 'blackboard drama' and Lina B Frank's crazy performance machine and finished the sticky day with Victorian punk revivalists the Rubbishmen of Soho.

In retrospect I think it was a supremely successful event, we did get loads of people drawing and enjoying themselves. The children-to-adult ratio grew over the three days, which was ok, but unfortunately this meant the parent-to-normal people ratio also increased dramatically, and while on Saturday I did feel like smacking a few of the pushy, narrow minded, overbearing parents, on Sunday I would have liked to punch them and by Monday evening I was ready to shoot them. Refusing to get involved themselves as in their minds 'drawing is just for kids' - but constantly 'correcting' their children's drawings, some literally taking their pens and intruding them with their 'ideas'. Thankfully there were others who were just fabulous and got right into the spirit.

Monday, 25 May 2009


I've been wondering why I find doing the Drawing Room so rewarding, apart from the fact it's silly and playful and fun... and I've come to realise I do feel very strongly about getting people to think of any art (be it their own drawing or art in a museum) as accessible to anyone.
The notion that there is such a thing as 'high art' that must take itself very seriously and needs a certain kind of person or a certain level of study to be appreciated really annoys me, and people who cite their background/class/occupation/education as reasons why it's 'not for them' or why they 'won't understand it' even more so.
And the same goes for doing a bit of drawing - no-one thinks twice about jotting down a note, but most people above the age of 11 start stressing out if they're asked to draw anything. Otherwise perfectly articulate adults will panic, mumble about 'not being any good' and revert back to the classics (hearts, flowers, smiley faces, penises).
When there is so much hilarity and enjoyment to be had with just a cheap pen and some paper, and a little imagination!
I think I was very lucky to be brought up to think of drawing as entertainment, as something that takes you on excursions, that can be sociable or solitary but is almost always fun and interesting. And it's such a brilliant conductor for ideas, people should just realise they're perfectly able and should be doing more of it.

Friday, 22 May 2009

Tuesday, 12 May 2009

Grab this bullshit by the horns!

BARE BONES launch exhibition at the Dazed & Confused gallery next thursday!
( 112-6 Old Street - time tbc but usual private view time)

Fourteen people providing fourteen bespoke written/ranted/drawn/cut/carved/copied works.
Profile, interview and portrait of a featured artist.
Curated, funded and distributed quarterly by it's contributors.
We are not in this for the greater good, this is a coin-op co-op.
There are no flies on us.

Barely another bright eyed example of the present trend for non-electronic human communication,
this is a modern day Jack London loitering about in the rough heat of the self promotional art ego wasteland.
The scaffold on which were are hung, temporarily it supports us but will inevitably crumble like nonagenarian bones and end up a pile of spidery dust.
Grab this bullshit by the horns and hop onto our tabloid eye junket.
Consider this timely opportunity for you to loaf and invite inspiration straight into your hands.
Put BARE BONES in your pipe and smoke it.

welcome to the real world

been too busy to update anything - this was an exhibition at the Coningsby gallery organised by Dominik Klimowski to coincide with the launch of his illustrated book of short stories 'Welcome to the Real World'. The book and exhibition featured illustrations by Ali Mobasser, Tom McShane, Graeme Stuart, Neal Fox, Bill Bragg, Robert Greene, Steph von Reiswitz, Andrzej Klimowski, Danusia Schejbal, Swava Harasymowicz, Chris Bianchi and Dominik Klimowski.

(at the private view I was recognised as the creator of my picture by another exhibitor whom I didn't know, which he said demonstrated his theory that people always look like their own drawings. I do know what he means, but considering that particular picture was of a band of bearded gypsies with fur hats and evil stares I'm not too sure if I'm flattered...)

Thursday, 12 March 2009

House of Fairy Tales exhibition

everything is for sale! proceeds go to the House of Fairy Tales, which is an arts-based education project by Deborah Curtis & Gavin Turk. Candlelit Matinée (see below) is one of their ventures promoting arts-based entertainment for youngsters...

Tuesday, 3 March 2009

drawing room outing

we'll be representing in our own morbidly decadent section of this extravaganza - come and check out what the youth are up to and of course hang out with us and do a bit of drawing... entry fee up to you (donations only)

party in Berlin!

should you find yourself in Berlin on these dates why not party like there's no tomorrow? 
all being well I'll also be doing some visuals at this 48-hour bash in a Berlin brewery...

Monday, 16 February 2009

Pentti & Deathgirl! a quick review!

been extremely busy, and dashing abroad a little bit etc etc but having just read this book I had to take a minute to mention it: Pentti & Deathgirl, a brilliant book comprising of two graphic stories written and drawn by the excellent Emma Rendel. Emma's been publishing stuff for ages - self-publishing zines and slimline books, contributing short graphic stories to Le Gun magazine etc - until Jonathan Cape recognised a great opportunity, and Pentti & Deathgirl is the result (she's actually also about to publish another book in Sweden).
I was slightly worried about reading it because as a friend and fan I knew my expectations would be high and was afraid I might not like it, or even 'not like it that much' - but as it turned out I enjoyed it so much I keep picking it up to have another look all the time...

Pentti is a story about this brutal Finnish farmer who lives with his brother and can only act on his desire to be physically close to other men by picking fights with them at the local bar and beating them up. Deathgirl is an outsider at school who records her violent thoughts and hopes and day-to-day activities in her diary. 
With her particular sense for satire, Emma combines the naïve and seemingly innocent with despair and ultraviolence, and the result actually makes a strong comment on the issues at hand but delivers it in such a subtle and funny way it seems hard to argue. 
The artwork is beautiful and the visual storytelling brilliant, especially in Pentti, and I really love the use of colour, and the unpredictability of the narrative. And of course Emma's deadpan sense of humor is very present throughout (both in the pictures and the words) and had me laughing out loud again and again.
I can kind of see why people might be divided over this book, simply because it doesn't immediately fit into an obvious niche. It's not a pretty looking 'alternative' comic about being bored in the suburbs, the style probably doesn't adhere to the five generic styles (Marvel etc/BDs/Burns/Hergé/even the 'wilder' L'Association) people seem to expect from a graphic novel, and the feel-good factor isn't immediately apparent with both stories dealing with such awkward subjects and characters. But I think that if you're looking for engaging graphic stories skillfully told that will make you laugh and think and want to revisit their strange little world, this book is a wise investment.