Category Archives: The Boating Party

Things I am grateful for #3


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Poetry.

I love to read it and I love to write it.

In some ways, it’s harder than writing a novel as every word has to earn its corn. There’s no room for superfluous wallpaper.

Some poets I admire and love: Raymond Carver, Paul Durcan, Patrick Chapman, Emily Dickinson, Paul Muldoon, Maya Angelou, Siegfried Sassoon, Charles Bukowski, Jorge Luis Borges, Emily Brontë, Ted Hughes, Sylvia Plath, Les Murray, Rainer Maria Rilke and Roger McGough, to name a few.

And, if you’d like to read my poetry collection, Let me fail in sunshine, just click on the title.

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Perfection


To achieve perfection takes trial and error.

If others are involved in your task, they may see your experimentation as indecision.

Ignore that gnawing urge to placate them for an easier life, and press on with your goal.

Only then, will you hope to attain something that you can be 85 – 90% satisfied with.

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The Boating Party – with Eoin Coveney


Luncheon of the Boating Party, 1881. By Pierre-Auguste Renoir.

Well, it’s been a while…

Welcome to the first Boating Party interview of 2013.

The Boating Party is a series of interviews with writers, artists, photographers, filmmakers, musicians, sculptors, illustrators, designers and the like.

In times of economic hardship, the Arts are usually the first things to be axed. But, in my view, the Arts are the most important aspect of our civilisation. Without the arts, we wouldn’t have language or the written word. Without the arts, we have no culture. Without culture, we have no society. Without society, we have no civilisation. And without civilisation, we have anarchy. Which, in itself, is paradoxical, because so many artists view themselves as rebels to society.

To me, artists aren’t rebels, they are pioneers.

And perhaps, most importantly; without the Arts, where’s the creativity that will solve the world’s problems? Including economic and scientific ones?

First up, in this luckiest of lucky years, is Graphic Artist, Eoin Coveney

Eoin Coveney

Eoin Coveney

What’s your greatest personal or career achievement?

Working with, and being mentored by, the late Will Eisner.

What’s been your greatest sacrifice?

I really can’t think of one. Maybe I sacrificed some of my social life working in a solitary environment?

To whom do you owe a debt of gratitude?

I owe Steve McManus of 2000AD for giving me a meeting many years ago even though it was against their policy.

Who and what inspire you?

European masters of the graphic novel such as  Moebius and Cam Kennedy.
Music and cinema also.

What was the last thing that inspired you?

Drawing a 6- page comic strip written by Gordon Rennie. It was a politics / zombie satire which was a joy to work on.

What makes you unhappy?

Lack of enthusiasm.

What makes you happy?

Trust.

What are you reading?

Nothing right now. My last was “A short history of nearly everything” by Bill Bryson.

Who, or what, are you listening to?

Lots of dark ambient right now.

What’s your favourite film?

Impossible to narrow it down. “The Host” is pretty close to perfect.

If you could go back in time, where would you go?

I’d probably be too worried about getting stuck there so I would stay here given the choice.

What frightens you?

Laziness.

What do you do to relax?

Noodling around on my microKorg.

What do you do when you’re angry?

Scream into a pillow.

What can’t you live without?

I would say music.

What’s your motto?

Keep on learning and improving.

What’s your Utopia?

Probably West Cork in August.

If you only had one year to live what would you do?

Six months frenzied work, three months of traveling and another three months of relaxing with friends and loved ones.

Up who’s arse would you like to stick a rocket, and why?

Probably Damien Hirst because he doesn’t feel the need to manufacture and craft his own art.

Who would you like to be stuck in an elevator with?

Howard Marks.

 What are you working on at the moment?

“American Caesar”, a graphic novel written by Neil Kleid.

What is your ambition?

To work hard on cool projects with brilliant people.

If you could change one thing in the world, what would it be?

I’d like to turn down the dial on human greed a good few notches.

Which six people would you invite to your boating party?

Fiancée, parents, 3 close friends… no celebrities!

What would be on the menu?

Greek food.

What question would you liked me to have asked?

“What’s it all about?”

Thank you, Eoin.

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Artist’s statement:

I have been illustrating professionally for 14 years. 
For the first ten of those years, I worked mostly on
 the pre-production phase for many of Dublin’s top
 advertising agencies. Producing
storyboards & visuals for hundreds of campaigns.


In 2005  I joined the Illustrators Guild of Ireland,
 and since then have broadened my range of styles 
and disciplines. These days, my work is split pretty
 evenly between illustration for ad campaigns,
 book covers and interiors, press and magazine
 work as well as pre-production work.
 Private commissions also undertaken.

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The Boating Party – with Denis Goodbody


Luncheon of the Boating Party, 1881. By Pierre-Auguste Renoir.

The Boating Party is a series of interviews with writers, artists, photographers, filmmakers, musicians, sculptors, designers and the like.

In times of economic hardship the Arts are usually the first things to be axed. But, in my view, the Arts are the most important aspect of our civilisation. Without the arts, we wouldn’t have language or the written word. Without the arts, we have no culture. Without culture, we have no society. Without society, we have no civilisation. And without civilisation, we have anarchy. Which, in itself, is paradoxical, because so many people view artists as rebels to society.

To me, artists aren’t rebels, they are pioneers.

And perhaps, most importantly; without the Arts, where’s the creativity that will solve the world’s problems? Including economic and scientific ones?

This week, I’m delighted to welcome radio broadcaster, children’s author, lyricist and all-round communications expert, Denis Goodbody.

Denis Goodbody

What’s your greatest personal or career achievement?

My greatest achievements have all been to do with communicating ideas. We take communication for granted in our society – we assume that all the verbal conversations, physical gestures and expressions we send out every day are understood. When they are not understood, as often as not, we blame the other party.

I help people communicate their messages for a living and I think that has helped me realize the fragility of a ‘message’. When we communicate we are transmitting ideas, the most precious of all commodities on earth. Once upon a time the ‘wheel’ was an idea. “Will you marry me” is an idea. In my day-to-day life I see beautiful, wonderful, precious ideas go up in flames or sink without trace because the people gifted with those ideas failed to communicate it successfully.

On a personal level my proudest achievement is, somehow, communicating to my wife that I’d be a suitable husband. On a professional level my proudest achievement is to have sustained myself and my family doing something I love – having ideas and communicating them.

What’s been your greatest sacrifice?

God I’m fortunate. I could be pompous and say it’s an aspect of my philosophy on life, to say that I don’t look back or I avoid regret but that would be tosh. I’m one very lucky guy. Like everyone, I have reached the sign post and had to choose between busy thoroughfares and roads less traveled and I have usually taken the latter. I have never known what lay through the traffic jams on the busy thoroughfares because I’ve been too busy with the twists and turns on the less traveled ones. Did I sacrifice going out to expensive restaurants and drinking too much in favor of having kids? No sacrifice. Did I sacrifice my dream of the Parisian garret and the great novel? No sacrifice, my attention deficit and wayward ways would have left me starving in the garret with no important unpublished masterpiece left beside by gaunt corpse. The only thing I can think of that I could classify as a sacrifice was selling my extraordinarily beautiful first house but that wasn’t really a sacrifice. It was a groovy bachelor pad and it worked – the honey-trap helped win me a honey. Anything else I miss or regret would be loss, rather than sacrifice, and among those I would count the loss of my father’s life and my mother’s memory but what they have given me far outweighs their loss.

To whom do you owe a debt of gratitude?

Well I’ve just mentioned my parents so let’s take that as read. I have also mentioned my good fortune. It was my parents who chose the strange and archaic private education I received and it was my good fortune to have had the most incredible teachers. Nowadays half of them probably wouldn’t be allowed to teach because of insufficient qualifications, inability to speak Irish or whatever. I find it hard to think of one it wasn’t a privilege to learn from and that’s not just a rose tinted rear-view mirror. Oh, they were strict and sometimes sarcastic. One could hit your ear lob with a piece of chalk from thirty feet but there isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t use the skills, techniques and disciplines he taught me. One was a baronet and a racing driver. Another had his face badly burned rescuing a comrade from a tank at El Alamein. Yet another had mysteriously distorted finger nails which, we were led to believe, were the result of being tortured. I owe a debt of gratitude to all of those teachers, among whom I include my parents. As I observe the development of education I worry increasingly that it is becoming merely an ‘information-downloading exercise’ instead of the eye-opening, horizon lifting experience it should and can be.

Who and what inspire you?

Music, visual art, literature and children inspire me because they provide me with ideas and they stimulate the creation of more. Children inspire me because they embody possibility and hope. Seeing children observe things for the first time, trying to see those things as they see them, is a way for the rest of us to rediscover the world for ourselves. The notion that children should be seen and not heard is criminal. Music can speak truth without words, as can visual art. They speak truths in ways that leave everyone to witness their own version of that truth, free of argument or dissent. While I can’t say that of literature, as words are more self-evident, I will say this: fiction often contains more truth than fact. History has to be written from one standpoint from which it tries to recreate events. Fiction, on the other hand, makes no bones about its standpoint and is free to make its point subjectively and clearly without trying to be all things to all people.

What was the last thing that inspired you?

My wife’s singing inspires me, and has done for a good while now, so the last thing? I think The Illustrated Beatles exhibition in Dublin. 42 illustrators digging under the surface of 42 Beatles’ songs and presenting their findings in 42 incredible pictures. As a body of work it combines all of the things that inspire me: Music, visual art and literate lyrics, plus the fact that I heard the songs when I was a child and they helped form my worldview.

What makes you unhappy?

Hatred, war and cruelty and, for the most part, all of those things are borne out of bad communication. If the money that was spent by governments on the development of weapons was spent on finding away to avoid wars, we would have had a solution long ago. The problem is that there is profit in dissent which is why the really evil people in the world are those who foment discord, dividing and conquering for financial gain.

What makes you happy?

As well as music, art, literature and children? Family. When, as adolescents, we distance ourselves from our parents – an evolutionary necessity – we don’t realize how important it is to comeback. I married and bred late compared to many and no day passes without me going dewy eyed at the fact someone as incredible as my wife agreed to marry me, have a child with me and allow me to call the kids she already had ‘family’.

What’s your favourite smell?

Well it’s not napalm in the morning. In fact, the opposite. I love the smell of fresh air in the countryside. It can be a fragrant summer woodland or a winter storm on a beach. If it’s mingled with my wife’s perfume as we stroll together, that pretty much completes the olfactory picture.

What are you reading?

I’m just finishing a book about The Beatles’ visit to Dublin in 1963, a nice context to The Illustrated Beatles Exhibition. My literary weakness? Thomas Hardy. His books conjour the smells I’ve just describe and I think he could have been the world’s greatest cinematographer.

Who, or what, are you listening to?

As well as Carmen Browne? I’m listening to a lot more jazz than I used to but my listening-week is usually ruled by whatever topic I choose for my weekly radio show ‘Roots Musings’. You caught me on a bad week, it was a novelty show about Halloween.

What’s your favourite sound?

Silence. Silence is a canvas and when you have it, you can choose how to fill it. I’m funny that way.

What’s your favourite film?

God that’s hard. Chinatown, probably.

If you could go back in time, where would you go?

The beginning.

What frightens you?

Like any parent the thing that frightens me most is the prospect of any harm coming to one of the children and, by extension, to any children or animals. Intentional harm or cruelty to animals and children is the basest and most perverse human behavior.

What’s your favourite sense of touch?

I don’t want to be to graphic about it but having the skin of someone you love touch yours can’t be beaten in my book. And I don’t mean exclusively carnal contact either. I go to the nursing home to see my mother each week and I hold her hand. With her diminished memory there’s very little room for meaningful conversation but that touch says everything we need to say.

What do you do to relax?

Music, literature, visual art and breathing in that fresh country air, with birdsong spattering the silent canvas.

What do you do when you’re angry?

A lot of internalizing goes on which is unhealthy but it does mean I process stuff rather than let go on reflex. I do shout a bit which isn’t pretty as I have a very loud voice to begin with.

What can’t you live without?

We’ve already got music, literature, art, family and fresh air. To that you could add chilli and red wine, preferably consumed Langkawi restaurant on Baggot Street in Dublin. How are you fixed? [You’re on. Next time I’m over!]

What’s your motto?

“Live and let love”.

What’s your Utopia?

I always have to remind people that in Thomas Moore’s original Utopia, they had slaves. This tarnishes the whole concept for me though it does teach me one important lesson. Living your life fairly and without exploiting others, means an element of hard work. To answer the question free of pontification, I would say my Utopia is somewhere in the west of Ireland with all of the things mentioned under the question “What can’t you live without?”

If you only had one year to live what would you do?

I would conquer my attention deficit and finish the novel I didn’t finish in question Two.

What sends your taste buds into overdrive?

Chilli – especially prawns. And I meant that about Langkawi! Mine’s a ‘Sambal Udang’.

Up who’s arse would you like to stick a rocket, and why?

If I were the rocket-suppository-inserting type – and I don’t believe I am – it would have to be Mitt Romney or some other American Tea Party Type. They have no concept or care of the world around them. They are phenomenally selfish. They are racist and intolerant. They embody just about everything the American Constitution – as I understand it – set out to avoid. I know it’s not my country but it is my world they are setting out to destroy. They are no better than the fundamentalists and terrorists they claim to oppose.

Who would you like to be stuck in an elevator with?

Would it be too obvious to say my wife? I have no desire to meet any of my heroes as I wouldn’t want that status diminished by reality. I guess I’d settle for Barrack Obama or Ang San Suu Kyi, both of whom I believe are incredible people.

What are you working on at the moment?

I should be working on a book I’m writing and a couple of advertising projects already overdue.

What is your ambition?

Right now, my ambition is to complete the answers to question 25. Beyond that, my ambition is threefold: finish the novel I started (not the one mentioned above), promote and expand my radio shows listenership, to write more songs with Carmen Browne. Before all of that, however, I’d have to say my ambition is to be the best Dad in the known universe beside which the other ambitions are a piece of cake.

Which six people would you invite to your boating party?

Thomas Hardy, Guy Clarke, Joni Mitchell, Carmen Browne, Barack and Michelle Obama.

What would be on the menu?

Sambal Udang, Sushi and lamb tagine and metzes. We’ll have a couple of bottles of the Chateau Kefraya – failing that, anything else from the Beka Valley.

What question would you liked me to have asked?

Other than what date we’re having that meal in Langkawi? I think I’d like to have been asked to define my concept of God. I am inundated with scientists, atheists, agnostics, fundamentalists and dogmatists telling me that God either does or doesn’t exist. None of them, as far as I can see, have taken the time to describe the God believe does or doesn’t exist. There’s almost 7 billion different concepts of God on this planet alone and I’m not arrogant enough to say that all of them are wrong. In the Judeo-Christian bible there is, I believe, a misprint. Where it says “God Created man in his own image”. The reality is the other way round – we create God in our image.

Thank you, Denis.

My two rascals enjoying Denis' "How the Elk got to the Games".

My two rascals seal of approval of Denis’ “How the Elk got to the Games”.

Denis Goodbody – Biography:

Denis is a writer and broadcaster living in Dublin. The bulk of his career has been spent conceiving, writing and producing advertising. In recent years he has expanded his love of having ideas producing and presenting 2 weekly radio shows, co-writing jazz songs and writing books.

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The Boating Party – with Tone von Krogh


Luncheon of the Boating Party, 1881. By Pierre-Auguste Renoir.

The Boating Party is a series of interviews with writers, artists, photographers, filmmakers, musicians, sculptors, designers and the like.

In times of economic hardship the Arts are usually the first things to be axed. But, in my view, the Arts are the most important aspect of our civilisation. Without the arts, we wouldn’t have language or the written word. Without the arts, we have no culture. Without culture, we have no society. Without society, we have no civilisation. And without civilisation, we have anarchy. Which, in itself, is paradoxical, because so many people view artists as rebels to society.

To me, artists aren’t rebels, they are pioneers.

And perhaps, most importantly; without the Arts, where’s the creativity that will solve the world’s problems? Including economic and scientific ones?

This week, I’m delighted to welcome ceramic artist, Tone von Krogh.

Tone on the wheel

What’s your greatest personal or career achievement?

In some ways I feel I’ve not reached the point of my journey where I’m counting my achievements. However,  being able to do what I love on a daily basis is my highest achievement as much as work in constant progress.

What’s been your greatest sacrifice?

I don’t think I have made many sacrifices. I moved to a new country to follow my love for ceramics and dream to take it further. I found another love which meant I settled here. At times it is hard to live far away from close family, but I have my own little one now…

When baby number two came along, I put the ceramics a side for a for a while. It felt like a hard decision to make at the time, but we were starting a build a total house renovation, so something had to give. When, after 3 years, the girls were both at school and I could move into my brand new garden studio, it felt like I had never left my business. I wouldn’t have missed those years with my girls for anything in the world.

To whom do you owe a debt of gratitude?

I’m sure there will be many more than I remember to mention here.

One of many, is my tutor at college in Norway, Peer Bjarne Moen for encouraging me to be me and express it in my work. I would not have followed my dream so confidently without his faith and push.

My family and friends for  their continuous support, encouragement, patience and help.

Fellow designers and artists for networking, inspiration and critique. And, of course, to all the galleries who promote my work.

Who and what inspire you?

The material clay itself really inspires me. The softness, its ability to take whichever shape you squeeze it into as well as the transformation from clay to ceramics.

I have always had a strong love for Scandinavian – and particularly Norwegian – woodlands and coastal landscapes. My current collection “Vinter” is directly inspired, as the name suggests, by winter and snow covered landscapes. The shapes are soft with indentations and bulges added to hint at something under the surface. After a heavy snow fall, all sounds are muted and objects become unrecognizable with sharp edges rounded. In a landscape, a bulge in the snow may cover a rock or a small tree or a man-made object.

It is this feeling of mystery, or lack of obviousness, that I am trying to express in the surfaces of my pieces, despite the main shape of the piece suggesting a certain function.

What was the last thing that inspired you?

Little things inspire me all the time. A fairly recent moment was earlier this year whilst celebrating my 40th birthday in Switzerland. My partner and I were taking shelter in a mountain hut from a blizzard outside. Through the window I could see these amazing ridged snow swirls forming. I ran out and took lots of pictures with my phone as the folds continuously changed shape. I have been trying to achieve the same effect in my work ever since.

What makes you unhappy?

Hatred, unfairness, ignorance…. Unhappy children.
Kiln disasters.

What makes you happy?

Good music, creating, sunshine…. Happy children.

What are you reading?

In a normal week I’ll be lucky if I get to read the Observer on Sunday. The last time I read a book was in the summer holiday. Solar by my favorite author Ian McEwan. Not a typical book for him, I laughed out loud several times, which is rare when I read any of his books.

Who, or what, are you listening to?

I listen to anything from Melody Gardot to Muse… depending on what I do. In the studio I listen to Xfm which gives me a daily dose of The Cure and lots of other old favorites. I went to see Django Django live last week. They were so much better live than I expected.

What’s your favourite film?

Difficult to choose. I don’t watch many films twice because I hate repetition and knowing what happens…. One of the few that I don’t mind watching again is Jean-Pierre Jeunet’s – Amelie.

If you could go back in time, where would you go?

To a hot summer’s day….

What frightens you?

Anything happening to my children that I can’t make better. Not being able to do what I do due to ill health or other circumstances.

What can’t you live without?

Oxygen, water, nutrition and love.

What’s your motto?

Do what you love rather than what you think others want you to do. It will make you a lot happier and creative in the long run.

If you only had one year to live what would you do?

I would do what I do now for most of the year and then throw a big party for my family and friends.

Up who’s arse would you like to stick a rocket, and why?

Anyone moaning around me or getting in my way the next few weeks. I’m so busy getting ready for shows between now and December.  Tolerance levels are low.

Who would you like to be stuck in an elevator with?

The thought of being stuck in an elevator should have been one of my answers to question twelve. Can’t think of anybody making that situation any better except for a lift engineer or escapologist.  I am not good in confinement of any kind.

What are you working on at the moment?

This is my busiest time of year. I am getting ready for 3 big shows (http://issuu.com/lakesideartscentre/docs/lustre2012 , http://www.herefordshire.gov.uk/craftfair/index.htm , http://www.madebyhand-wales.co.uk/) all in November, as well as making work for Christmas exhibitions and general gallery top up. I spent the whole day on the potter’s wheel today making vases and bottles. I also started playing around with some new ideas for lamp bases. I may be under time pressure, but I still love being in the studio making all day.

Which six people would you invite to your boating party?

Only six? I would fill the lake with boats and make sure all my best friends and fellow makers were there. Toe Rag would be a good band to invite for the musical entertainment.

What question would you liked me to have asked?

I’m quite happy to stop before I rant on even more…. Some tricky questions there already.

Thank you, Tone.

Inspiring snow

Cup and saucer detail

Bowls

Artist’s biography:

I was born in Switzerland, but spent most of my childhood and college years in Norway.  In 1994 I came to England on an exchange program with Manchester Metropolitan University and graduated in 3Dimensional Design  in 1995.  After years of having studios at various art centres, I now work from a purpose built studio in my garden.

My work has been widely exhibited in the UK as well as Norway, France, USA and Dubai. The work is also sold through the website www.madebyhandonline.com

My current collection of contemporary domestic Ceramics is strongly influenced by my impressions from the winter landscapes in Norway. When the snow covers trees, rocks, paths and architecture;  sharp edges become soft and everyday shapes may become unrecognizable. I have tried to bring the same feel to my work with a range of wavy vases and softly distorted beakers, bowls and bottles.  The colour range is reflecting the many tones of snow and ice and winter skies.

The work is produced using a potter’s wheel, but then cut and reassembled to non circular shapes or given soft dimples or bumps. I use food friendly glazes and fire the work to stoneware temperatures.

Ed: (Top tip, if you visit her webpage and decide to buy lots of her lovely work, her first name is pronounced: Torna.)

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The Boating Party – with Christelle Jones


Luncheon of the Boating Party, 1881. By Pierre-Auguste Renoir.

The Boating Party is a series of interviews with writers, artists, photographers, filmmakers, musicians, sculptors, designers and the like.

In times of economic hardship the Arts are usually the first things to be axed. But, in my view, the Arts are the most important aspect of our civilisation. Without the arts, we wouldn’t have language or the written word. Without the arts, we have no culture. Without culture, we have no society. Without society, we have no civilisation. And without civilisation, we have anarchy. Which, in itself, is paradoxical, because so many artists view themselves as rebels to society.

To me, artists aren’t rebels, they are pioneers.

And perhaps, most importantly; without the Arts, where’s the creativity that will solve the world’s problems? Including economic and scientific ones?

This week, I’m delighted to welcome Bristol based artist, Christelle Jones.

What’s your greatest personal achievement?

It hasn’t happened yet. At least, I hope it hasn’t happened. I want something to look forward to.

What’s your greatest career achievement?

Enjoying my work. When I started art school, I stopped dreading Monday mornings.

What’s been your greatest sacrifice?

I’m too selfish to make big sacrifices. However, I once sold a couple of Beastie Boys tickets, because something had cropped up at work. That wasn’t a sacrifice, though. That was just stupid.

To whom do you owe a debt of gratitude?

My parents. I had a great childhood, spent most of it outdoors, stayed up well past my bedtime and I’ve never been in any hurry to grow up.
Also, there are several inspirational Art and English teachers who I wanted to impress.

Who inspires you?

Artists, writers, photographers, directors, musicians, poets, sportspeople, scientists, engineers, intellectuals and comedians. Off the top of my head: Goya, Lucian Freud, Diane Arbus, Carol Ann Duffy, Peter Doig, Peter Cook, Francis Bacon, Paula Rego, Roddy Doyle, Roald Dahl, Bill Hicks, Grayson Perry, Rachel Whiteread, Mark Rothko, Steve Martin, Anish Kapoor, Tim Berners-Lee, Dave Allen, Stanley Kubrick, Leonardo Da Vinci, Ralph Steadman, David Pattern (my art teacher) Annie Leibovitz, Simon Armitage, Bill Cunningham, Bradley Wiggins, Joseph Beuys, Gerhard Richter, Mozart, Anthony Gormley, David Eggers, Jon Ronson, Jessica Ennis, Nick Cave, David Byrne, Don McCullin, Andy Goldsworthy, Edward Hopper,  I.K. Brunel, Richard Avedon and on and on.

What inspires you?

Workaholics. High achievers. Daft optimists. People who never give up or give in. Google.

What was the last thing that inspired you?

Driving through Wiltshire on an autumn afternoon. The low sun had lit up a field full of hay bales, so there was this patch of bright cadmium yellow set against a huge, dark storm cloud.

What makes you unhappy?

The News. I don’t know what to believe anymore, especially after reading ‘Flat Earth News’ by Nick Davis – an excellent, but scary book.

What are you reading?

I’ve just finished reading Jon Ronson’s Out of the Ordinary: True Tales of Everyday Craziness.

Who, or what, are you listening to?

At the moment, as I’m writing, it’s the gas boiler. The TV, internet and radio are switched off. When I’m painting though, I listen to 6 Music.

What’s your favourite film?

Withnail & I.  I can quote that film from start to finish. It’s a master class in swearing.

What frightens you?

vigilantcitizen.com and things that make you go ‘hmm.’

What can’t you live without?

Friends, family, laughter and my camera.

What’s your motto?

I saw a great quote in a South Wales sports centre. It said: Hard work beats talent when talent doesn’t work hard.

If you only had one year to live what would you do?

I’d sort out all the boring admin and hire a skip to save friends and relatives the hassle. I’d also like to make a video of myself hiding under a sheet, pretending to be a ghost, that would be played at my funeral to ‘lighten things up a bit’. After that, I’d probably live each day as if it was my last, move to the seaside and eat a lot of great food.

Up who’s arse would you like to stick a rocket, and why?

I can think of several politicians. Guy Fawkes had the right idea.

Who would you like to be stuck in an elevator with?

Greg Davis.

What are you working on at the moment?

3 large canvasses, (I’m still at the sketchbook stage at the moment), and running an after-school art club.

Which six people would you invite to your boating party?

Peter Cook, Grayson Perry, Bill Hicks, Mae West, The Dalai Lama and Dame Ellen MacArthur (well somebody needs to steer the boat).

What question would you have liked me to have asked?

“Do you need a bigger boat?”

Thank you, Christelle.

Sketchbook

Artist’s Statement.

With my recent work, there is an element of unpredictability. I start out with a rough idea, but I never really know what direction the painting will take. Often the painting takes on a life of its own. The trick is knowing when to stop. The loft is full of paintings either under or overworked, that look terrible, or even worse – look OK. It’s so frustrating, but when a painting goes right, it’s the best feeling in the world.

http://christellejones.com/

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The Boating Party – with Emma Silver


Luncheon of the Boating Party, 1881. By Pierre-Auguste Renoir.

The Boating Party is a series of interviews with writers, artists, photographers, filmmakers, musicians, sculptors, designers and the like.

In times of economic hardship the Arts are usually the first things to be axed. But, in my view, the Arts are the most important aspect of our civilisation. Without the arts, we wouldn’t have language or the written word. Without the arts, we have no culture. Without culture, we have no society. Without society, we have no civilisation. And without civilisation, we have anarchy. Which, in itself, is paradoxical, because so many artists view themselves as rebels to society.

To me, artists aren’t rebels, they are pioneers.

And perhaps, most importantly; without the Arts, where’s the creativity that will solve the world’s problems? Including economic and scientific ones?

I hope a brief glimpse into their lives is as inspiring to you as it is to me.

This next installment is by a writer who serves as an inspiration to anyone trying to get published. Wise words from – Emma Silver

Emma Silver, The Boating Party, David Milligan-Croft

Emma Silver

What’s your greatest personal or career achievement?

Definitely getting Blackbrooke published. I wrote another book before it that was women’s fiction rather than teen horror and it was rejected again and again by agents and publishers. I always knew it wouldn’t get accepted because it wasn’t good enough and I was constantly tinkering with it. In the end, I got fed up and needed a break and that’s when I wrote Blackbrooke. It only took me four weeks (editing was longer I hasten to add!) and I just knew there was something special about it. It was snapped up by Crooked Cat Publishing straight away.

What’s been your greatest sacrifice?

I wanted to be a writer so I gave up a life that had taken me years to build. I had a decent job with a good salary and prospects, my own city centre place, a dream car etc. But I was miserable. I left my job and sold all of my worldly possessions so that I could live the simple life back in my childhood home for a while. I’d love to say it’s been difficult, but I honestly haven’t looked back.

To whom do you owe a debt of gratitude?

My English teacher in high school, Mrs Hynes. She was amazing and really cared about getting the best out of her pupils. However, she didn’t suffer fools gladly and if they couldn’t be bothered, she didn’t waste her energy, instead focusing on the people who wanted to be there. She pushed me to constantly strive for better. Whenever I’m feeling low or having a crisis of confidence, I remember her belief in me and all is well in the world again. I think people underestimate the power of belief for young people, who remember and hold onto it for a long time.

Who and what inspire you?

My parents. They never settled for the ‘norm’ EVER! My mum in particular worked harder than anyone I’ve ever known and did everything she could to give me the best start in life. She’s now living the American dream and having a ball and I couldn’t be happier for her. She certainly inspired me to make a lot of major changes in my life.

I’m also hugely driven by music when I write. I don’t have a preferred genre and always say I’m a fan of songs, rather than bands/artists. However, there are some classic bands that remain on the playlist such as Pink Floyd, The Who and Black Sabbath. It’s all pretty dark and moody for Blackbrooke, although some Stevie Nicks has managed to creep in as well as some 1980s pop classics. Eclectic to say the least!

What was the last thing that inspired you?

It’s probably quite silly, but I’ve not been away for a while, just living in my little bubble in Manchester, and I recently took a work trip to London. The weather was glorious and the capital looked stunning. It was just after the Olympics and the place had a great feel. It inspired me to get my arse into gear and keep working on my second book so I can keep riding the wave of my dream.

What makes you unhappy?

Money. Simple as that. I’m the most relaxed I’ve ever been in my life at the moment and it’s because I finally have some savings from selling my entire life coupled with the fact I’m no longer chasing money. It makes me sad that I was unhappy for such a large part of my twenties – during the years when I should have been partying and living the life. Instead, I was living hand to mouth because I was trying to keep up with a certain lifestyle I couldn’t actually afford. I didn’t see it at the time but now that I do, it feel a little bit sad.

What makes you happy?

There’s a recurring theme featured in Blackbrooke, which is freedom. Whenever I say that word, it sounds more dramatic than I intend. Freedom for me is having some kind of choice, however small. We have more freedom than we think but I still listen to people on a daily basis start sentences with ‘I’d love to do that BUT…’ or ‘I always wanted to be XYZ BUT…’. It frustrates me. I understand there are constraints in life but most of time, we can be whoever we want to be, but choose not to. People should be man enough to say ‘won’t’ instead of ‘can’t’. After all, it’s only themselves they’re lying to. God, an answer about what makes me happy has made me angry!

What are you reading?

How Black is Your Sabbath – a Black Sabbath biography from ex-members of their road crew. I needed a break from fiction and I love a good rock biog. Motley’s Crue’s The Dirt was the last one I read and it blew me away. They were deliciously naughty boys!

Who, or what, are you listening to?

As I said earlier, it’s a mix. I’ve started listening to classical music for the first time in my life with Ludovico Einaudi’s Islands album getting played to death. I’m sure listening to it would be a great conversation starter at a dinner party to make me appear more intelligent than I am. Just one problem – I can’t pronounce his name so I’ll continue to keep quiet about that one…

What’s your favourite film?

Wow. I’m a huge movie buff which I think shows in the Blackbrooke Trilogy because there are a lot of references to movies in there. I have so many movies that I love that’s it almost impossible to choose one but I’m a massive fan of Kubrick’s The Shining. It’s very different from the novel (which I also love) but it’s fantastic. Almost Famous is another favourite. I can’t explain why but I feel as though my life changed after watching it.

 If you could go back in time, where would you go?

Are you kidding? It would be to the 1970s so I could see all of the bands that I absolutely love when they were just starting out and playing little venues. I’d have said the 1960s because of Hendrix but I’d hate to get trampled by Beatlemania…

What frightens you?

Failing. In every respect. My book failing, my health failing, my relationships failing, it’s endless. I’m my own worst critic and every failure rests squarely on my shoulders – no one else’s. It’s a miserable way to live as some form of failure is inevitable and I just don’t ever want to become completely derailed by it one day.

What can’t you live without?

Sadly, it’s my laptop. My whole world is on there. My books, my photographs and access to all of those lovely social media sites I use to promote my book. I even watch shows and films through it rather than switch on the television. I’m glued to the thing. I wouldn’t say I’m technology obsessed but I’m now thinking of branching out to the wonderful world of iPad. It’s like having my laptop in my handbag, all of the time! Seriously, I need to get a life…

What’s your motto?

It’s a stolen quote – Every passing minute is another chance to change everything around. So true.

If you only had one year to live what would you do?

See the world, without a doubt. I’ve never been outside of Europe and there are so many dream locations that I have to visit. New York would be my first stop and then on to see my mum in South Carolina for a bit. I’d love to get a classic car and tour the States. Having a Jack Daniels in the Whiskey-A-Go-Go would be a must!

Up who’s arse would you like to stick a rocket, and why?

I fear the person whose arse I’d shove a rocket up might actually be reading this. I’d love to say they know who they are but they’re fabulously oblivious. With that in mind I’d just like to say to that person – you’re the human equivalent of plankton.

Who would you like to be stuck in an elevator with?

Derren Brown. Aside from the crush I have on him (which is a waste of energy given he’s gay) I’d pick his brain about the whole ‘mind control’ thing and see if there was anything he could teach me. Seeing as he’s homosexual I’d be confident he wouldn’t hypnotise me to have his wicked way but I fear he’d put me in a trance just to get me to shut up…

What are you working on at the moment?

Part II of the Blackbrooke Trilogy which has been a real labour of love. It’s been so much harder to write compared with the first book and the pressure to try and make it better has got to me on occasions. Blackbrooke has been fantastically received by teenagers and adults from all over the world and I don’t want to let them down with the second one.

Which six people would you invite to your boating party?

Derren Brown, Jimi Hendrix, Nikki Sixx, Dave Grohl, Sharon Osbourne and Bill Bailey. It’s only Jimi who’s passed on so perhaps Derren could host a séance?

What question would you liked me to have asked?

Can I order 1,000 copies of your critically acclaimed debut teen horror novel Blackbrooke?

Thank you, Emma. I’m afraid I can’t order a thousand copies, but being on The Boating Party might help a little.

Biography:

Emma was born and raised in Manchester.
Blackbrooke is her debut young adult horror novel after spending many years honing her skills drafting short stories and devouring horror through the ages from R.L. Stine’s Goosebumps collection through to Stephen King.

Emma is also the author of a semi-biographical account of her dad’s years in a rock band in the 1970s, Driving Exile.

Outside of her day job in public relations, Emma has worked for a Manchester entertainment magazine, reviewing theatre shows gigs and movies.

She gets most of her ideas and is inspired by music and also the fighting spirit of young people who aren’t afraid to challenge the norm and stand up for what they believe in. This fleeting ‘moment’ in life is what she tries to capture in her writing.
You can read Emma’s blog here: Emma Silver Author

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