Tag Archives: The Boating Party

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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Filed under Advertising, Animation, Art, Cartoons, Contemporary Arts, Creativity, Ideas, Illustration, Inspiration, The Boating Party

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 Mari-Ruth Oda


The boating party interview, mari-ruth oda, there is no cavalry

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 third installment features sculptor and ceramic artist, Mari-Ruth Oda. I first met Mari when she very kindly donated a couple of pieces of her work for the Japan Art Auction I held to raise money for the victims of the tsunami.

the boating party interview, mari-ruth oda, there is no cavalry

Mari-Ruth Oda

What’s your greatest personal achievement?

Feeling happy today

What’s your greatest career achievement?

I am yet to experience this… I guess so far would be that I am still doing what I do.

What’s been your greatest sacrifice?

I don’t think I have made any great sacrifices…

To whom do you owe a debt of gratitude?

Too many to list individually but everyone who has ever encouraged me to be who I am.
All my friends and family, everyone who has ever bought my work or promoted it in any way, everyone who has inspired me.

Who inspires you?

Leonard Cohen, the artists/musician collective around me, Richard Serra, my friend Junko Mori, and lots and lots of others.

What inspires you?
Natural forms, nature, feeling of reverence.

What was the last thing that inspired you?

Looking at a piece of cow hip bone at my studio today. The grace of the form, such subtlety, such simplicity, such complexity, the beauty…sigh.

What makes you unhappy?

Not having my own time/space

What are you reading?

I have several books on the go but yesterday I started reading the Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron.

Who, or what, are you listening to?

Currently on my ipod shuffle: Leonard Cohen, Eckhart Tolle audio books, Kirsty Almeida, Alabaster dePlume, Honeyfeet, Louis Barabbas and the Bedlam Six, John Cage, Kirsty McGee, Joni Mitchell, the Flaming Lips and Ríoghnach Connolly.

What’s your favourite film?

Tony Takitani, My neighbour Totoro.

What frightens you?

A swimming pool when I am the only one in it…

What can’t you live without?

Friends and solitude.

What’s your motto?

I see the next question covers my new motto.

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

Exactly as I am doing now, only a bit faster. I have been asking myself this question continuously for the last couple of months.

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

I’d quite like to stick it up mine so that I stop faffing and just DO. It will make me fly really bloody fast.

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

Leonard Cohen.

What are you working on at the moment?

An Arts Council funded research and development project that will culminate in an exhibition which will take place at Ashton Central Gallery from November 2012-Feb 2013. This is very new work for me. New medium, new scale, new context.

Which six people would you invite to your boating party?

Leonard Cohen, Richard Serra, James Turrell, Aung San Suu Kyi, Eckhart Tolle and Dr. John Hagelin

What question would you liked me to have asked?

Certainly not another one that I would have to give Leonard Cohen as an answer!

Thank you, Mari-Ruth.

Artist’s Statement.

In nature, form seems to repeat itself in differing context and scale. I enjoy abstracting a form out of its context and boiling it down to its bare essence that first attracted me to the form. The shape left is something ambiguous that could be interpreted in many ways.

I am increasingly influenced by the idea that all things are one, made of one unifying energy, which is at the core of everything. Essentially, the shape of waves or plant forms or our bodies that we see, are made of energy. The divide between the internal and external self is a perception that our minds create.

Since our perception is determined by our past experiences and preconceptions, what a form represents to us can be unique to each of us. Therefore my work’s identity is something the observer determines and it is the experience of viewing that give my work its meaning.

Corinthia 1 by Mari-Ruth Oda

Corinthia 2 by Mari-Ruth Oda

Seats by Mari-Ruth Oda

Wavelength by Mari-Ruth Oda

A space inbetween by Mari-Ruth Oda

Bony Holes by Mari-Ruth Oda

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The Boating Party – with Damian Morgan


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

The Boating Party is a new feature on my blog. It’s 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 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.

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.

Next up, Damian Morgan, a music agent with a difference – he loves his ‘clients’!

Damian Morgan, brave music ltd, spoilt kid

Damian Morgan

What’s your greatest personal achievement?

Would it be terribly dull to say ‘my children’? Seems ridiculous when people say their children are their ‘greatest personal achievement’ doesn’t it? But I do feel that. I guess the ‘achievement’ part is that they seem to be fairly well-balanced little chaps, considering they’ve got my genes! 
They give us a window on a world we’ve long forgotten: That is, the world as they see it. So, my two boys… full of life and wonder, they are the reason I live and breathe.

What’s your greatest career achievement?

My agency, for sure. Brave Music Ltd and the roster I’ve built. It’s had its ups and downs but it’s still there 12 years on and still going strong. The roster I’ve built is a list of some of my musical heroes and people I admire greatly. Artists such as The Smiths and The Specials. Bands I have always loved; bands that spoke to me as a teenager, and still do.

I had an odd moment last year when I took Terry Hall, (The Specials), to see Dave Haslam, (Hacienda), interview Bernard Sumner, (New Order), and as I was sat there, I suddenly thought “If you’d have told the 15 year old me that I’d be here doing this he’d have never believed it”.

What’s been your greatest sacrifice?

Apart from sacrificing my sanity to work in this business? I’d say giving up the momentum of a career to look after my children. Do the stay-at-home dad thing and put their needs first. It was great fun though. And being the only dad at toddler groups led to lots of funny situations and, ultimately, many friends I still have to this day. No regrets and I’d happily do it all again.

To whom do you owe a debt of gratitude?

Family. My mum for all the obvious reasons: love, support, nurturing, and teaching me how to iron a shirt. My dad, for his humour, gentleness and full head of hair. Both dead now, and much missed.

I owe a lot to my brother and sister, who had brilliant taste in music which I absorbed, via some sort of osmosis. Cool people and I love them both.

Who inspires you?

In my personal life, a young lady called Joanne Williams, a cousin of mine who was the same age as me but died 5 years ago aged 37. She battled M.E. and cancer. She was full of life and spirit until the end, and we loved each other like a brother and sister. She was funny, clever and wise, and I strive to live the life she should have had.

My inspiration in business, is the famous rock promoter, Harvey Goldsmith – a great man. Hard nosed but fair and with a great ethos. He recently said “British music is bland and tame and pop stars now don’t understand you have to put the work in” – so true!

What inspires you?

Nature, the planet, clouds, trees. An awareness of being a miniscule part of something billions of times more important than me. We are mere blips in history so do your best in life, make the most of it

What was the last thing that inspired you?

I’m lucky enough to hear great new music all the time but, I heard some 15th century madrigals, by Monteverdi, and they are beautiful. Inspired me to seek out early music. Textural, complex, really wonderful.

What makes you unhappy?

Unfairness, hate, poverty, racism, closed minds, being stifled – and the human race’s reliance on an animal-based diet.

What are you reading?

I’m addicted, (as are many), to Scandinavian crime novels. Just reading ‘Mercy’ by Jussi Adler-Olsen. Also, Nile Rodger’s autobiography, which reads better and, is more incredible, than many novels – an amazing life that guy has had.

Who, or what, are you listening to?

A great band from Sheffield, called Screaming Maldini, who make wondrous pop music and have a star-in-the-making in the shape of Gina Walters. I’ve just downloaded all of XTC’s albums, discovering their rich back-catalogue full of clever wordplay and amazing music. Also, the usual diet of Bowie, Smiths, Roxy.

What’s your favourite film?

That’s far too difficult to answer with certainty. Let’s say ‘The Man Who Came To Dinner’ for today. It’s about Sheridan Whiteside, an acerbic New York critic and lecturer who breaks a leg while in a small town and is forced to live temporarily with an uptight local couple who aren’t at all pleased about their new guest. Whiteside proceeds to take over the house, move in his secretary, (Bette Davis), endlessly berate his nurse and re-direct the lives of the couple’s children and generally wreak havoc. Very funny.

What frightens you?

Anything bad happening to my children. The Conservative party. Mitt Romney.

What can’t you live without?

Red wine, cheese, and my mobile phone.

What’s your motto?

Do unto others as you would have them do to you.

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

I’d take out a huge loan that I’d never repay and travel the world. Say sorry to all those I’ve hurt. Praise those I love. And get fat on curry, red wine and chocolate. Then I’d relax for the other 11 months.

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

Too many arses and not enough rockets.

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

A lift engineer!

Alive or dead? Peter Ustinov or Clive James would be good. Both have great stories to tell. They might suck the oxygen out of the space though…

What are you working on at the moment?

A new agency called Spoilt Kid. I want to be able to help new artists establish themselves in this increasing difficult industry. There are countless horror stories of how emerging acts are mistreated and given bad advice simply because they are not adequately equipped to deal with the business aspects of the music industry. It will give the cream of UK talent access to a wealth of professional services such as a record label, photography, public relations, tour management and booking agent services. It aims to provide a platform for musicians to not only establish themselves, but ensure they continue to flourish. It’s bringing together all the contacts I’ve made in the past 25 years under one umbrella. Fingers crossed!

Which six people would you invite to your boating party?

Bowie, Scott Walker, Morrissey, my dad, Mike Joyce, Terry Hall, they’d be great company. If it was a leaky boat I’d invite Osborne, Clegg, Blair, Cameron, Thatcher, Gove – and only one life jacket.

What question would you liked me to have asked?

If you could go back in time to one event what would it be?

I’d like to have seen the Berlin wall come down. What a party!

Thank you, Damian.

The Smiths, by Stephen Wright.

Manchester based Brave Music Agency represents some of the most iconic names in Indie music and up-and-coming live talent.

LIVE SETS & ACOUSTIC:

Drew McConnell, (Babyshambles); Jez Kerr, (ACR); Matt Berry, (IT Crowd); The Chameleons Vox; Mark Burgess; Nigel Clark, (Dodgy); The Rainband; The Narrows; Bethia Beadman; The Pipettes; Ian McNabb, (Icicle Works); Martin Carr, (Boo Radleys); Slow Readers Club; Danny Mahon; Northern Uproar; JayStansfield to name a few.

DJ SETS:

Mike Joyce, (The Smiths); Andy Rourke, (The Smiths); Kid British; MC Tunes; Danny McNamara; Ciaran Griffiths, (Shameless); Drew McConnell, (Babyshambles); Ann Shenton; Tony McCarroll, (Oasis); Pipettes; Alan McGee; Bez, (Happy Mondays); Charlotte Hatherley, (Bat For Lashes/Ash); Dave Haslam, (XFM/Hacienda); Dirty Pretty Things, (Didz Hammond); Doves, (Jez &  Andy); Emmerdale, (Jeff Hordley); Goldie Lookin Chain, Rhys and Eggsy; Inspiral Carpets, (Clint Boon); Moshi Moshi; Phil Smith, (Official Oasis Tour DJ); Shed 7, (Rick Witter); Terry Christian, (TV Presenter); The Farm; The Specials, (Terry Hall); Dan Ralph Martin, (Kasabian Tour DJ); Nick Power, (The Coral); John Robb.

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Filed under Contemporary Arts, Creativity, Ideas, Inspiration, Music, The Boating Party

The Boating Party – with Patrick Chapman


Renoir, luncheon of the boating party, 1881

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

The Boating Party is a brand new feature on my blog. It’s a series of interviews with writers, artists, photographers, filmmakers 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 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.

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.

First up, Irish writer, Patrick Chapman. Poet, screenwriter, short story writer and all round raconteur. Not only is Patrick a great friend, he’s been a constant source of encouragement and inspiration, for my own writing.

Patrick Chapman

Patrick Chapman

What’s your greatest personal or career achievement?

I hesitate to nominate a ‘greatest personal achievement’. As a person, I’m not entirely sure I’ve achieved anything apart from not dying. As a writer, I could nominate working with the Daleks on a Doctor Who audio play – but that’d be just the most fun. It’d have to be my New & Selected Poems, A Promiscuity of Spines, which spans 25 years of work. The book has an elegant cover art-directed by Vaughan Oliver, one of my design heroes. It was a pleasure to be able to commission him and find out that he’s a lovely bloke to work with.

What’s been your greatest sacrifice?

That’s difficult to say, as I live in the so-called First world. Someone takes away my iPad and I cite the Geneva Convention. You could say I’ve sacrificed having a regular life in order to be a writer – which to me isn’t a sacrifice.

To whom do you owe a debt of gratitude?

Too many people to list them all. There was Macdara Woods, a venerable Irish poet who, 25 years ago, gave me vital encouragement starting off. Before that, my teacher of English, Paddy Nangle, let me write short stories instead of essays.

Who and what inspire you?

People who don’t think they can write but who really can. I taught budding writers a couple of years ago and was struck by the quiet ones in the class – they hesitated and even resisted reading in front of the others but when they did, their work shone. Quiet geniuses inspire me. As for what rather than who? Everything and anything. I tend to get obsessed by a thought or an idea that won’t let go until I’ve wrestled it into a poem. Happiness, therefore, is a blank screen filled.

What was the last thing that inspired you?

It was Steven Shainberg’s film, Fur, which is an imaginary portrait of Diane Arbus. Not at all biographical in the conventional sense. Nicole Kidman and Robert Downey Jr are both superb in it. The poster for Fur showed Downey without all the hair – for most of that film he looks like a Wookiee but the marketing department, presumably, didn’t want it to come across as a sequel to Beauty and the Beast.

What makes you unhappy?

Right now it’s the thought that we’re quite possibly heading into a world of six degrees of global warming. That’s not Earth, it’s Venus. Nobody in power wants to think about it and it’s almost too terrible to contemplate, so people carry on regardless.

What makes you smile?

Woody Allen when he’s on form. His early, funny ones still crack me up, especially Take the Money and Run, and Love & Death. Annie Hall and Manhattan are my two favourites. I also have a fondness for his darker films, such as Husbands and Wives and Deconstructing Harry. Cassandra’s Dream was terrible, however.

What are you reading?

The Beginning of Infinity by David Deutsch. I loved his earlier book, The Fabric of Reality, and this one is as good. I recently finished Wetlands by Charlotte Roche, which was a hoot, especially as I was about to undergo a colonoscopy shortly after reading it.

Who, or what, are you listening to?

Dark Wood, the new e.p. by my current favourite band Abagail Grey, plus the Go-Betweens compilation, Quiet Heart, the Pet Shop Boys album, Elysium, and the David Byrne and St. Vincent record, Love This Giant.

What’s your favourite film?

Blade Runner. For thirty years I’ve loved its melancholy and its pessimism and its art direction, and Sean Young with that hair and those shoulder pads. It’s such a poetic portrait of lost souls in hell, and it’s got a great soundtrack by Vangelis. It’s also Harrison Ford’s finest two hours on film.

What frightens you?

The future. I have no idea how to manipulate it so that I don’t end up dead within the next hundred years.

What can’t you live without?

Apart from the obvious – air, water, coffee, etc – it’s the ability to write. This is what keeps me going. Without writing, I don’t really exist.

What’s your motto?

“The world is not enough.” If it’s good enough for James Bond, it’s good enough for me.

If you could be anyone other than yourself, who would it be?

J.G. Ballard, for his vision but not necessarily for his demons, though the two are inextricable. He gave a very good answer to the Paris Review when asked about his writing schedule: “Two hours in the late morning, two in the early afternoon, followed by a walk along the river to think over the next day. Then at six, Scotch and soda, and oblivion.”

If you only had one year to live what would you do?
Ignore all the warnings.

Up whose arse would you like to stick a rocket, and why?

The Catholic Church. But that’s a lot of rockets and a lot of arses. It would be only part payback, and poetic justice, for their former practice of torturing infidels to death by shoving hot pokers up their bottoms. That said, let’s not even get started on the Catholic Church and bottoms.

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

Steven Moffat. He’s a writing hero, not just for Doctor Who and Sherlock. I loved Coupling and Jekyll as well. I assume from all of this, plus his former Twitter feed, that he’d be interesting company at close quarters. I’d just let him do all the talking, and would write everything down.

What are you working on at the moment?

I’ve just put the New & Selected Poems to bed and am now turning to a collection of short stories, due out next year. Also, my physique. One of these projects is going better than the other.

Which six people would you invite to your boating party?

You know when you’ve just come down with a sudden, life-threatening illness in public and someone asks ‘Who’s your doctor?’ and you say ‘Tom Baker’? That’s how you know you’re a nerd. I’d ask Tom Baker first, not just because he was ‘my’ Doctor growing up but because I really enjoyed the tales of Soho in his autobiography – getting drunk with Francis Bacon – and his disturbing and brilliant book for children, The Boy Who Kicked Pigs. Jessica Hynes would be on the list too because I’ve admired her work since Spaced. Kate Bush, simply because she’s Kate Bush. Richard Dawkins, because he’s fascinating as a scientist, and I’m in his camp when it comes to religion. Alan Turing, just so I could tell him he’s been vindicated. And Douglas Adams, because he was very, very tall.

What question would you have liked me to ask?

Would you rather be happy than right?

I’d rather not be happy than wrong.

Thank you, Patrick.

Patrick Chapman

A Promiscuity of Spines by Patrick Chapman

Patrick Chapman was born in 1968 and lives in Dublin, Ireland. He is the author of six poetry collections, the latest of which, A Promiscuity of Spines: New & Selected Poems, is published on October 10th by Salmon Poetry. His other collections are Jazztown (1991), The New Pornography (1996), Breaking Hearts and Traffic Lights (2007), A Shopping Mall on Mars (2008), and The Darwin Vampires (2010). He has also written a book of stories, The Wow Signal (2007); an award-winning film, Burning the Bed; episodes of the Cbeebies series Garth & Bev; and a Doctor Who audio play, Fear of the Daleks. In 2010 his work was nominated for a Pushcart Prize.

Weblink.
http://www.salmonpoetry.com/

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