News Art – OUR DYING EARTH

Scientists announced this week that microscopic life is dying out. Apparently this could be catastrophic, not only because of the logistical nightmares of the tiny, tiny funerals but also because this life is crucial to the marine food chain. They believe it is caused by global warming.

This made me wonder how many terrible warning signs we are going to have to have before the world agrees on the dangers of global warming.
I wanted to send a message about the fragility of our home, that is, the earth, which is, this planet, ie. the globe.

Microscopic Life is Dying Out

I made a replica of a house out of sand. In this photo you can see the living room I built.
I then moved a family into the home. Within a day wind erosion and the rising tide had completely devastated the house.

When they queried where their home had gone, and why they had so much sand in their underwear, I told them it was a metaphor about the temporary nature of the earth as a home if we continue to ignore global warming.

It was also then my legal duty to inform them that, as I had found them through the Council Housing waiting list, they had now technically been given a council home. If they wanted another one (that wasn’t riddled with old crisp packets and used needles) they would have to rejoin the waiting list, with another roughly eight years waiting time.

As they sobbed and shouted it warmed my heart (quicker than any build up in CO2 levels could) to see that my message about global warming had finally gotten through to someone.

If only I could make more people homeless, and quicker, I think I would be able to make a real difference.

News Art – WEEKLY BUSINESS EXPLAINED THROUGH ART (every fortnight…ish)

Once again I am helping the world by explaining concepts too confusing and clever for your puny, simple minds by translating it through my simple, puny art.

So if you thought payment protection insurance was dull or confusing then think again because you’re wrong and embarrassing yourself. You’re probably going to soil yourself next with that kind or stupidity.

End to Payment Protection Insurance

Lloyds Banking Group has stopped selling payment protection insurance (PPI) across all of its brands. “More than 90% of PPI sold in the UK is done so alongside unsecured or secured personal loans, credit card and mortgages. The Financial Ombudsman Service is expected to reveal that  in the three months to 30 June an average of 149 people a day lodged official complaints about PPI”. Full story (not that you need it) here.

Or in other words; the above artwork.

Obviously I haven’t delved into the Competition Commission’s plan to ban the sale of the cover alongside credit agreements or I would have used more wood in the piece…

And I would have probably posed nude with it. Next to a slaughtered sheep. A slaughtered sheep that was ambidextrous. And called Harold… or Sharon, depending on whether other banks choose to follow Lloyds lead in this.

News Art – REALITY VS FICTION

There is nothing sadder than someone who can’t distinguish between reality and fantasy. Over the weekend I built this large group of skyscrapers.

This was in response to a sad tale of a British soap actor being attacked in a pub for something his TV character had done.

His delusional assailant could not separate real life and TV, his dream world and waking life.

Soap star attacked in pub

This pathetic story made me think about how we often walk through life in a day dream, never stopping to examine what is truth and what is lie… or are a lies. It is just like in the Matrix when Morpheus asks…

‘Have you ever had a dream, Keanu, that you were so sure was real? What if you were unable to wake from that dream, Keanu? How would you know the difference between the dream world and the real world? ‘

I wanted to ensure I didn’t become like this poor, delusional man who attacked the actor. Hence I built these skyscrapers to mirror the ones Morpheus used to teach Neo to free his mind.

I then attempted to jump between them and bend gravity, something Morpheus teaches we can do when we stop confusing fiction and reality.

When I woke up in hospital I could only assume I made the jump and, as no one ever makes the first jump, this attracted the attention of evil Agents and they attacked me, putting me in hospital. How else would I have got all these bruises and broken bones?

But also if I was able to survive an Agent attack, this indicates I may be the next Chosen One.

In conclusion, confusing fiction for reality is a terrible and dangerous thing to do. Also if Hugo Weaving asks if you have seen me recently, please tell him he just missed me. Maybe also mention that as lord of the Elves he shouldn’t be so violent!

News Art – NOKIA VS IPHONE

While I have only just recently made an artwork about Apple, I felt it was necessary to revisit after hearing today that Nokia’s profits slumped 40%.

The company, which until recent years had had a very loyal customer base, continues to struggle against competitors such as the iPhone and Blackberry.

This reminded me, in a loose, metaphorical, tangential way, of how I was a loyal Nokia customer for many years but then switched to an iPhone.

I still feel guilty, not only to Nokia but also to the simple life I once had. When did I become so pretentious as to think this kind of trend-following gadget was a necessity in life? What is wrong with ol Bricky who served me so well?!

I decided to make an artwork about how we can learn to see through the trappings of wealth and prestige and lead a clutter-free life that only indulges in the beauty of art .

I put my iPhone next to my Nokia to begin the artwork. However as soon as I looked at it I immediately became lost in its ‘i’. Before I knew it 2 hours had passed!… Hence this meant its battery had completely died (1.5 hours before that).

Obviously all I could do then was shriek in anguish,  lie in the foetal position cradling it (the only way I can get to sleep these days) and try to breast feed it. I was hoping there might have been a recent upgrade that allows it to recharge from its owner’s life force.

So I regret to say that for the first time ever I failed to make the artwork.

NB: If anyone is inspired by this to develop an iPhone Breastfeeding app I expect a) commission and b) a copy sent to me immediately. By post.

NBB: This website is not for profit (not by choice) so this was in no way sponsored by Steve Jobs, though he would probably pay big bucks for a photo of me breastfeeding my iPhone. Big bucks indeed.

News Art – ANONYMOUS ARTIST STRIKES AGAIN!

The anonymous artist has made another prediction, this one more amazing and early than the last!! El Diablo!

About a week or so ago our office kitchen sink sprung a leak. Of course I, as I’m sure the rest of the office did, merely assumed it was a piece about the recent poll plummet/leaking voter numbers for the new Naota Kan government.

This seemed confirmed by the news that the leaking rotting soy milk smell/symbol of Yukio Hatoyama’s cabinet had stayed around because it had been poured down the sink and was sitting in the pipes like his memory.
Like a fool I jumped too quickly to this assumption, ignoring the fact that if the fridge had formerly represented Japan than the sink being situated NEXT to it (and west of it) made it OBVIOUSLY either the Yellow Sea or the Sea of Japan.

And now what has happened in the Yellow Sea? Oil has leaked everywhere from a pipe line explosion!

Here is a photo of the sink being cordoned off to contain the leak and protect any seagulls from getting soaked.

Oil Spill in Yellow Sea

While the art metaphor is quite basic/amateur, I cannot help but be impressed by this artist’s Nostradamus-like skills! Some people might be wondering if I feel a level of competition with this artist but I promise I feel merely joy to know there is someone almost on my level with similar interest in public art.

Also they seem to only be able to work on Japanese and Chinese economic pieces and I am just glad that someone is covering the subject .

Wait! Oh my God! I just realised, two weeks ago an announcement was made to the office that someone was weeing on the floor of the women’s toilets!

A literal Yellow Sea had been created on the toilet floor! Twice in one week! This was a two pronged art attack! I am slightly in awe.

News Art – CATHOLIC CHURCH SAYS NO TO WOMEN PRIESTS

The Pope has again done his bit for world peace by seeming to compare the possibility of women priests to child abuse. The Vatican has deemed both to be ‘graviora delicta’(or ‘delicious gravy’ if my Latin still serves me, or if I indeed ever did learn Latin).

Since the uproar this caused the church has clarified that they didn’t intend to equate attempted ordination of women priests to paedophilia (awww, that’s really sweet of them to say! I think this amended statement would look nicer on one of those inspirational posters (the ones usually called ‘truth’ or ‘beauty’) with a photo of a beach or a little flower above the words ‘we do not equate the attempted ordination of women to paedophilia’).

However this does not address the real issue which is still the Church’s stance against women priests and how it COMPLETELY conflicts with the Bible’s teaching.

I am referring, of course, to the recently discovered GOSPEL OF DAN BROWN, which states, through the now translated Code of Davinci, that Jesus was pro having women in his posse and even (WARNING, GOSPEL SPOILER ALERT!!) totally had kids with one!

It also revealed the 11th commandment which was something to do with mullets on Tom Hanks being a Delicious Gravy of a sin.

The fact that the new Pope can still deny this fact about the position of women in the church is LUDICROUS when you consider that Dan Brown gospel sales in 2004 were only outsold by that other religious gospel about the prophet Harry Potter.

Catholic Church Against Women Priests

I decided to let my feelings on this be known through, surprisingly, art. I arranged for this man to drive around London in this street sweeper. When people asked him what he was doing he was to tell them he was ‘attempting to sweep up the lies and hypocricy of the Catholic Church’! Take that Ratzinger!…

Sadly I discovered that almost NO ONE ever stops a street sweeper to ask them what they are doing, though I know I regularly do! Very disappointing. I suspect a papal conspiracy.

'Beauty/Amended Statements'

Here also is my suggested inspirational poster for the Church’s amended statement. Very sweet I think.

News Art – JAPAN/MY OFFICE FRIDGE UPDATE

China could soon overtake Japan as the world’s second largest economy. Full story here

This comes as no surprise to me thanks to the work of the AMAZING anonymous artist at my office, previously exhibited in News ARTicles here and here. This artist had purposefully left soy milk to rot in our fridge to represent Japan (soy loving country) and its decaying politics as the milk was timed to go off just as the Japanese Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama was forced to resign.

I had then mistakenly interpreted the new fridge as possibly the new Japanese cabinet of Naoto Kan. However I recently realised it represented the looming economy of China as it began to emerge as a serious contender for Japan’s number 2 position. The growing popularity of the new fridge as it filled up with all manner of lunches and milk for the coffee has mirrored China’s phenomenal growth rates.

Japan's Neighbour China Close Rival In World Economic Standing

Some of the space that was being rapidly filled up, however, was with cakes for employee birthdays or Wednesday Cake Club. This indicated, of course, the centrally planned economy of China and how a great deal of its growth came artificially from government stimulus programs rather than organic business. How would China/the fridge fare once these stimulus measures were unwound/the birthday season died down?

What resulted, we now know, was the worldwide headlines today of the second quarter results that showed a surprise  slowing in China’s economy… also the fridge looked markedly bare today. But is this a bad thing? David Cohen and Maya Sen, analysts at Action Economics, said the moderation in GDP growth reflected government efforts to avoid overheating. David clearly understands that an overworked fridge can cause the motor to overheat and break down.

There had been warnings of late that China’s rapid growth needed to pay attention to the lessons of Japan’s economy and avoid a hard fall. Or rather, China’s Premier Wen Jiabao needed to reflect on the fridge that was so successful and so overpacked that nobody had noticed the soy milk sitting at the back and expiring rapidly. Wen seemed uninterested in my email warnings about this but luckily I do not give up that easily. To aid China I took my old tomatoes out of the new fridge and moved the mayonnaise I had put in there to the fridge door. This lessened fridge clutter/economic pressure substantially. I also purchased a FANCY jar of pesto and wholemeal wraps, indicating the recent wage rises and increased standard of living for the Chinese people also affecting economic growth.

So, in conclusion, I think that China’s slow growth announcement today is not only nothing to worry about but is actually good news as the increased space means I can now bring bulk yoghurt packets to work. Well done Chinese finance ministers!

One more point… Richard Fairgrieve of Blackfiars Asset Management said today on Bloombergs Countdown that for investors China still remains a bit risky. He may here be referring to the frozen millk incident but I feel it is my duty, on China’s behalf, to point out that  I have since then experienced nothing but exemplary service from the fridge. The only risk I see now is from some ham I ate today that was within expirary and looked delicious but I soon found it smelt funny and was sadly lacking in flavour (just like The Agricultural Bank of China’s highly anticipated listing on the stock exchange yesterday which resulted in disappointing results). However, should this stomach investment reap poor results/salmanella, I feel this cannot all be blamed on the market/fridge and I as an investor/tight-arse-who-won’t-go-out-and-buy-new-meat must be held partly responsible.

NB:: Because of China’s rigid control of media within the country, I was unable to get a photo of the insides of both fridges to show the discrepancies in food layout. I will try again tomorrow to get this insider info.

News Art – WEEKLY BUSINESS NEWS EXPLAINED IN ART

Today I have made some important business news into an artwork to make it easier to understand for people without my natural comprehension of self-certified mortgages and credit rating talk.

FSA CHAIR WANTS SELF-CERTIFIED MORTGAGES BANNED

Lord Turner, Chair of the Financial Services Authority, “prepared to clamp down on the mortgage market by banning “self-certified loans” used by the self-employed…The FSA’s consultation proposes imposing affordability tests for all mortgages… analysed lending decisions, looking at the causes of arrears and repossession since 2005…The FSA has stepped back from an idea raised in the mortgage market review discussion paper last year… set a maximum loan-to-value ratio on mortgages…questions about the consumer protection and markets agency that the government plans to replace some of the functions of the FSA, others of which will go to a new subsidiary of the Bank of England… Turner asked whether the new body should be able to ban specific products as “inherently undesirable”… “We are signalling a significant change away from that approach, but the shift is not a purely technical issue which can be left to technicians; it is a social and political choice which should merit extensive debate.” – The

Guardian

Or, in other words…

Proposed ban on self certified mortgages

I apologise if the FSA finds their depiction in this shocking but I think when combined with the other elements of the sculpture they will agree it is a fair portrayal and really puts credit supply instability into perspective!

News Art – ART CENSORED ON RELIGIOUS GROUNDS

‘Two Russian museum curators have been fined for showing a painting of Jesus Christ with Mickey Mouse’s head.  Critics said the case harked back to Soviet censorship and underlined the Russian Orthodox Church’s growing power’ – The Telegraph

This news made me feel so appreciative to live in a democratic society that values free speech and allows my art to express any ideas I’ve had so far, be they offensive or shocking or inane or stupid. But after pondering further it soon made me sad. It is so much harder for artists like myself to push boundaries and shock the world when we aren’t blessed with governments more heavily influenced by extreme factions of religion or politics. I decided to test how far I could take things in our depressingly permissive society. It was going to require some pretty shocking and offensive attacks of icons and ideals we have always held dear.

Madonna and Child

Here I have chosen to sculpt imagery of one of the most revered and worshipped historical figures in our society. The piece is called ‘Madonna and child’ and as you can see it is Madonna (or Madge as she may now still be calling herself) with one of her recently, controversially adopted children.

So far no boundary smashing, though I can feel you’re nervous. And wait,  look closer and you see that, just like those Russian artists did with Jesus and Mickey, I have depicted her quite differently to the usual way we know and love… I have actually used absolutely no photo touch up, flattering lighting or make up whatsoever! Also she is in baggy clothing and  isn’t even doing pilates in this picture!

Continuing with the theme of religious censorship, I have depicted Madonna about to go on stage and perform her famous and controversial song ‘Like a Prayer’ and these three men are wisely  begging with her, saying, ‘please, please, Madonna, please stop wearing leotards on stage’. Madonna is about to ignore them and strip down to her leotard because she is also an artist who likes to shock our senses (and stomachs if we’ve just eaten), just like me and the Russians.

News Art – FACEBOOK JOINS FIGHT TO PROTECT CHILDREN ONLINE

Facebook has finally agreed to provide an alert button to aid child protection. Users can press it to report suspected grooming or inappropriate behaviour. Full story here

This made me remember how fearful I am for our children’s safety in this modern world (I forgot for a bit because I was busy cooking a stir fry). Computers purport to offer a world of fun and learning but they are leaving them open to horrific dangers. I decided it was well and truly time to wind the clock back and show children the wonders of old fashioned ye olde timey gosh darn it thingamyjig fun.

Panic button to report inappropriate behaviour

I organised for these Morris Dancers to perform in Trafalgar Square to show the yoof that they don’t need the dangerous internet or happy slaps or rhythm or good music to have fun. I hoped that by getting these middle aged men in odd clothing with peculiar taste in personal hobbies to gain the trust of these youth through such methods as distracting them with this puppet and dancing sexily then we could ‘lure’ them away from the internet sex offenders and over to safe, old fashioned,  confusing fun.

Child Protection

The dancers performed some wholesome fun dancing for the innocent youngens here with The Blue Eyed Stranger and the old classic, Lumps of Plum Pudding.
Unfortunately, like all music throughout history has done once it tries to pander to a teenage audience, the Morris Dancers became carried away in their attempts to be edgy and suddenly performed this entirely inappropriately sexy song called, ‘Ladies Pleasure’. I get hot flushes just watching it (the lunges at 1:15 should be illegal!). I feel I haven’t just let the children down, I’ve let… oh no, they’re the only ones I’ve let down. Phew, that’s not too many people I’ve let down then, statistically speaking.
In conclusion, I think this video sums up everything there is to say about, well everything in the world really. So inspiring. So mystical. So confusing.