This framed image, which is A1 size, is hanging on the wall in the conference room at work. My manager recently challenged me to produce some art which included this quote from the World Health Organisation. We work in the water industry so the quote is appropriate to me and my colleagues.
The blue background is my attempt to portray clean water, the leaves in the corners are because some vaccines are derived from plants and in the black border are my interpretation of what some of the killer diseases look like under the microscope.
All of these diseases can be mitigated or controlled by the vaccine programme and one, smallpox was declared eradicated in 1980, the last known case was in Somalia in 1977.
I find it fascinating that that some of the most deadly cells can look so beautiful. Starting in the top left hand corner and working clockwise I’ve depicted Polio, Influenza, Mumps, Smallpox, Cholera, Chickenpox, Typhoid, Dengue Fever, Tetanus and Diphtheria.
It was a good challenge, I enjoyed making this piece of art. It’s also the first time I’ve seen any of my art framed.
On November 11 I went up to London to see the Jean-Michel Basquiat exhibition Boom for Real a the Barbican and also to meet up with some friends. I only found out the day before that it was also the day of the Lord Mayor’s Show, a big carnival type of affair, and most of the roads in central London were closed to traffic. It’s was so strange walking around London with no traffic, there were lots of people on bicycles and also lots of policemen making sure cars did not enter the closed roads. Unfortunately I got a bit lost and didn’t arrive at the Barbican on time to meet my friends. I assumed that they had already gone into the exhibition and hoped to meet up with them inside, which is exactly what happened.
I’ve been to the Barbican once before to see a concert but this time I realised just how much I dislike the place, for me it’s just too big and noisey and confusing.
I was really moved by Basquiat’s art, there were over 100 pieces which is amazing as they were produced in just a few years, between 1981 and 1988 when he tragically died of a drug overdose. The paintings look like they were done with a great sense of urgency, fast and furious, like he had important information to impart to us through his art. There is no sense of perfection, things are crossed out and rewritten, there is lots of repetition and symbolism and a fantastic use of colour. I just loved being in the presence of such great art. It’s such a shame we were not allowed to take any photos as I would have liked to have at least one photo of his work. There was also some really interesting reference material but I didn’t even have a note book or smart phone to record notes. However it did mean I just had to be in the moment with each piece of art and that’s not a bad thing. In fact it’s probably better than having photos. I think I could live with any one of those pieces of art, because in each piece there is so much to see and learn. In reality though I couldn’t afford it.
Normally it’s always colour that draws me into a picture, but in Boom for Real there is one piece called Tuxedo. It’s just white screen printing on a black canvas, it’s big – 151.8 x 260.8 cm you can see it here. I went back to it several times to soak it up. As I stood in front of this piece I had the feeling that it probably contained answers to … something? … but I’d have to spend a lifetime trying to decode it. I love art that reveals something new to you everytime you look at it and I got that sense from much of Jean-Michel Basquiat’s art. There is a depth to is that you can’t get from just one look.
I couldn’t afford the hard back book that was produced for the exhibition, it was about £40! but I bought a smaller soft back one which I’m half way through reading. What a fascinating man he was and what he shame he died so young.
It was so lovely to meet up with Lisa, Kelly and Cairrai who I first met at the Call of the Wild Soul Art Retreat and also meeting Michelle for the first time. We had a great day. I was shattered by the time I got home 13 hours after leaving 🙂
And you can take a 360 tour of Boom for Real at the Barbican here:
You still have time to see it 🙂
That’s all for now
See you soon
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