(I used to art, as well as words)
This, almost ghoulish image, is the means by which I have represented myself visually on the Internet for the past two years, in that it’s been my Facebook picture. I consists of me, peering in a strangely seal-like manner over a piece of Art I produced two years ago for my GCSE Coursework (I got an A* at the end of it), a picture taken by my Art teacher. Now, it’s been destroyed, cut up and glue-gunned in various bits to other people’s Art Coursework, just as mine was an amalgamation of paint, glue, plastic balls and collage; today, I thought I’d tell you a little about this green square of artistic experimenting.
First of all, it’s not great, nor am I going to talk about it in great detail; the file resolution is annoyingly small (this was the largest WordPress would let me make the picture here), and the bottom half of it’s even cut off, which may well be a good thing, as the bottom of the canvas consisted of an out-of-place line of trees, both visually, as it was orange and pink, compared to the rest of the blue and green canvas, and thematically, as it was the only natural thing on the board that wasn’t corrupted in some way. This corruption was important in the painting: the hand wrapped around the cityscape is a disproportionate painting of my own hand, disfigured and discoloured, and the plastic hemisphere in the top-left corner is impaled with pencils and old broken cables. Not sure what I was going for here; perhaps it was to reflect the inherent destruction of urbanisation in the twenty-first Century, and the corruption of typical values and beliefs as a result. So either fifteen-year-old James was a nihilist in the making, or just liked the colour blue.
The work (sorry, that was the least-pretentious word I could find to describe it – I’m tired, okay) is also weirdly three-dimensional: the purple-ish eyes in the centre are my own eyes, showing corruption in that their colours are inverted, and their shape not disfigured, and are stuck on from a separate sheet. Similarly, the sphere was glue-gunned on there and the whole thing was drizzled in glue from said glue-gun once it was finished, making it bumpy and bubbly to feel in places. I think this was to reflect the, at times, surprising complexity of our World, that even if cities are full of decay and misery, there is still a human element, shown by the egotistical placement of my body parts throughout the canvas, that we must consider.
Also, bits of it are intentionally weird for weird’s sake; that line of trees at the bottom was pushing this idea too far, and was promptly covered in dark blue paint and glue residue, but other strange things I feel worked: the blue triangle thing just below my eyes on the left is actually a photo of an IKEA lampshade (this one, to be exact) that hangs in my house, discoloured, flipped upside-down and sliced awkwardly with a Stanley Knife into a pyramid with a bulbous curvy bit on top that you can just about see, making it look a bit like old Scooby-Doo baddies, who would wear a mask, defining their head, and a long, flowing white sheet that spread out from the neck and covered their bodies. The cables that criss-cross over most of the piece are there for the Hell of it too, although the difficulty with which I glued them in place and twirled them round at the end like those twisty things that come on new Phone chargers to secure them makes them seem like they should be the focus of the work. I suppose all the randomness was to represent the chaos and disorder of these societies I’m deftly criticising, and that the human parts struggling to emerge behind them shows how our lives have become confused to the point of irrelevance. Again, I could be making this all up, and I just wanted to cut out some wires (because its like arts and crafts in Primary School, okay?).
Regardless of the teenage anarchy it was trying or not trying to express (and perhaps doing a bad job in deciding which way, as both understandings of the work are justifiably plausible), I feel this picture is both personal, but more thought-provoking than taking a selfie in front of your disgusting shower – seriously, why would you take a picture of yourself in the one room of your house where everyone’s filth and dirt are collected and, hopefully, thoroughly washed away? I think that the picture is at least as deep as the middle bit in a swimming pool, at least as personal as a Skype call, and at least as fun as peering ominously over a fence at someone ought to be, but isn’t.
– IKEA Lampshade (honestly, our house if full of this stuff)