July Blog

Nothing like a bit of inconsistency. Blogs on this site are usually late. But not this time. Its been quite a full month so far and at my age, stuff can be forgotten………………………Where was I ? Oh yes.

First off, I’ve joined an Action Group ! Yes indeed. Stott the rural activist !

I live in an unspoiled, tiny village. That’s “unspoiled”, not “precious”. Well, not precious until now. Farmland around the village belongs to Ineos – Chlor, a huge company which does things with chemicals and is losing money has put a 5 acre plot of grassland right next door to the village up for sale. A company called Memoria which specializes in the building and selling on of crematoriums wants to buy the land and dump one on us. So I’ve become a NIMBY, and in this case, don’t mind being called that one bit. It’ll completely change the nature of the place. So far I haven’t been called upon to chain myself to anything, but watch this space. Or a passing tractor.

Secondly, the Professional Cartoonists’ Organisation, of which I’m a founder – member has for ages been conscious that in the UK, as opposed to lots of other European countries, good cartooning is not regarded by the Fine Art establishment as an art form. Probably because cartoons make you laugh. And serious art’s not funny, is it ? Well maybe I’ve had to rethink that recently in the light of two exhibitions at the South Bank’s Hayward Gallery – which is all very cutting edge and contemporary – you know, the stuff which is easy to slag off by saying, “my dog could do that”. Firstly, no it couldn’t because it hasn’t got any thumbs, and secondly, a few of us in the PCO, thought it should be possible to draw cartoons about contemporary art which don’t merely dismiss art which is a bit difficult to understand, but which feed from it, and hopefully make the serious artists laugh too. A show there which has just finished was by David Shrigley. Shrigley’s not very good cartoons appear in the rather precious Guardian review and I’ve never liked them. His exhibition though, was good. Thought provoking and funny. A sort of contemporary art/cartoon crossover. A bit like Banksy. My jury’s out on that, but smiling nonetheless.

The Hayward’s current show is called “Invisible Art” and is exactly that. Empty rooms, empty frames, plinths bearing nothing and drawings done using invisible ink[which dogs can’t do].

So I thought I’d test our theory and send them some gags. Visible ones. And by all that’s Arty, they liked them so much they’re putting them up on their blog, and possibly on display. I was very surprised. On the one hand there’s no money in it [curses] but who knows, it might be the start of a link with people who can laugh at themselves. I didn’t think they could. A pleasant way of discovering that you’ve been wrong about something. Gag of the Month features one of these cartoons. If you don’t think serious contemporary art should have cartoons drawn about it, wear a bag on your head whilst viewing.

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