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What I’ve found great in books and films recently along with all-time favourites.


The books I’m absorbed and getting a lot out of now are:


Sanctuary; Britains artists and their studios edited by Hossein Amirsadeghi – a great tome with questions around where and how UK artists work plus delicious photos.  In was published in 2011.  When I’m working at home so much, trying to get commissioned to mess up a wall somewhere as well as sorting out somewhere more permanent to work, this is a tonic for me!


Show your work! by Austin Kleon. A friend bought this for my while in the Tate modern earlier this year – it’s something you read very quickly cover to cover, but I go back to it and open a page randomly for a pick me up.  Plus the cover feels nice, rubbery in a nice velvety way (kinda reminds me of another favourite book ‘The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy’ – there’s something about how the Guide is reassuring, even when its giving you bad news…that’s my memory.. but I found a quote now ‘ it does at least make the reassuring claim, that where it is inaccurate it is at least definitively inaccurate. In cases of major discrepancy it’s always reality that’s got it wrong.’   Thoroughly my kind of humour (I haven’t moved on from being 14 in this way!)


As I’m going down the DIY route to trying to get to Masters level without actually doing the course, at least not yet (due to circumstance, not choice) and so I have an overall plan (I probably already said – evolving my practice, attending lectures, giving talks, going to exhibitions, showing work etc ..whatever moves me on). And I felt the need to buy ‘Mastery’ by Robert Greene which has lots of approaches to getting great at anything.  One chapter, for example, is ‘see people as they are: social intelligence’. For me, it has tonnes to learn with and from.


I read Nineteen Eighty-four for the first time a few weeks ago, the scenes in it have stuck with me since.


More long term, I’ve enjoyed What Painting Is by James Elkins (you can download a few chapters from his website free, plus other writings.

I read Downcast Eyes by Martin Jay as part of my dissertation (‘What is found in reproduction’) reading.  Would like to read it again when not feeling so pushed.


In Praise of Shadows very short and thought-provoking.  Makes me think differently about bathrooms..how the Japanese ideally have theirs…


Tim Ingol Lines  great, especially for me in thinking about writing… what do walking, weaving, observing, storytelling, singing, drawing and writing all have in common? – they all proceed along lines


Bertrand Russell Wisdom of the West I think about this book as linking Maths, Art and philosophy…prob just rose-tinted spectacles as I was especially into Maths at 14, and this opened up the way I think about it all.


The best live performance I’ve seen recently was New Rope String Band I think they are based in Newcastle, 3 guys – 2 violists and an accordianist  hilarious, creative, kinda slapstick performance..if they are showing and you get a chance, go and see.

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Paul Westcombe

Wherever he is and whatever is to hand, Paul Westcombe will draw on it!

  • Paul colonises places with his drawings of weird and tortured imagery, with scenes replaying themselves out on and around different surfaces, often starting on everyday paraphernalia more commonly thrown away.
  • Boredom has fuelled his output.
  • His composite drawings were made out of frustration at having to stand for long periods of time, folded up to enable working on a large scale drawing, while being discreet.
  • He tries to make each drawing last as long as possible (limited material to draw on).
  • As his work can take a long time – an exhibition such as at The Jerwood Space (http://www.paulwestcombe.com/installation_4_jerwood.html) he made works to fit using paper, which was then glued to the wall for quick installation.
  • Faced with a white space problem, his solution is to throw coffee at it!