A document of Acerone's first solo show in London from October 2012
I am trying to raise the funds to get this book printed so offering my followers the chance to pre-order one if the first 50 to be printed, all of which will be signed, numbered and dedicated to you with personal thanks from the artist - a real collectors item! By placing your order now, you will be contributing to the funds needed to get this book into print. Please help to support this book becoming an actual product!
40 page artist book 20 x 20cm Printed on high quality premium smooth 170g paper
An image that i caught a few weeks ago on a visit to family in Cornwall, a quick snap that i grabbed and momentarily lost amongst all the others from that weekend. Im so glad i found it again and had a few moments to give it a bit of post processing.
A very special photograph.
Cross-roads of Blackswarth Rd, Chalks Rd and Church Rd, next to the entrance of St George's Park, the Fire Engine pub and Lloyds Bank. Taken last night at around 5pm, 30 second exposure with a wide angle lens set at 16mm.
This post will be the first in a series that will document a new project i am working on in my local community of Redfield in Bristol, BS5. I have had my eyes on a wall in a local car park for some year now. One of those walls seems to attract tags - big, blank and off of the high street, it currently sports lots of mismatching grey block cover-ups and a spliff smoking acid smiley face. This wall is a beauty and needs brightening up with something a little more challenging.
After a multitude of emails to various Council associated people, i have finally been given the green light to get painting this space and bring some much needed life to a grey space. My idea is to take influence from my regular strolls and cycles from the centre back home to St George and pay homage to the various areas i find interesting along the route...
Over the next few weeks ill be using this blog to update my progress from start to finish, from gathering the photographs, through the digital manipulation process, painting the wall and the final piece, ill post my progress up here for you to follow.
A layer of golden yellow begins to be applied. Red needs 2/3 coats, yellow about 4. Painting with acrylic paint can be a long old process...
Today ill be accompanied by the sounds of Uncle Dugs on Rinse FM from 11am-2pm. When i stumbled across his show about a year or so ago i was instantly drawn in to the interactive element of the show - and his selection of jungle techno never fails to take me back to my youth. I spent so many hours of my early teenage years locked into local pirate radio stations like Ragga FM and Passion FM with my then hero DJ's Roni Size, Die, Dazee, Fellony, Bunjy and the Specialist, with MC's like Joe Peng, Jakes, Megatron and my school-mate Smiley, Bristolian kids of the 90's were spoilt with quality beats straight from the heart of the underground of our city - and i found the live element of radio exciting and infectious. Not to mention the underlying buzz that came from the knowledge that the radio station was being broadcast illegally and bringing us music that no other commercial station would dare play. From a young age i appreciated direct action.
Uncle Dug's 'Run Come Follow Friday' show always teleports me back to those carefree days, memories of which have undoubtedly spilled over into the paintings that deal with the notions of transitions from boyhood to manhood. So a big thanks to Uncle Dugs for beaming sunshine through my speakers every Friday lunchtime; in a weird and unexpected kind of way those vibes and memories have been captured in these paintings.
Special shout also needs to go out to Billy 'Daniel' Bunter who hosts a similar show on Kool FM on Mondays - but perhaps ill come back to that early next week :-)
The Scottish writer and activist Alistair McIntosh once told me ‘It’s tough to be a young man in this world’ and he was right.
Images of adult manhood given to us by popular culture and mass media appear worn out. The right man, the tough man, the true man, all of which have been force fed to us since birth and are neither accurate nor relevant to the real life of a modern male.
When I recently became a father, my preconceptions of what it meant to be a man were flipped upside down. I found that the irreversible transition between boyhood and manhood had begun and with guidance from a long forgotten fairy tale, my most recent work explores key moments from what is perhaps the most challenging and turbulent time in any man’s life.
The collection of work comprises paintings that juxtapose imagery of London streets and statues of immortalised heroes, double exposure photography and installations that use images of light and death as an allegory for change. ‘Where is Iron John?’ is a visual representation of a young man dissecting masculinity whilst negotiating the complexities of modern life in the inner city.
(Detail of final canvas in progress - currently untitled)
Over the next two weeks ill be uploading a photo or two a day to document my progress in getting everything together ready for my first London based solo show, 'Where is Iron John?' For those of you who havent heard about the show yet, this collection of work is based on the iconic Brothers Grimm fairy tale 'Der Eisenhans', which was later reviewed and retold by American Poet, Robert Bly as a metaphor for the journey of masculinity. Over the past 12 months i have been producing paintings, photographic prints, a screen print and reworking an installation, which together make up my response to Bly's insightful writing. Im now two weeks away from displaying this work to the public and the nerves are beginning to creep in...
So i have decided to share my process a little and post a little snap or two with a few words for build up to the show.
Some of you may have noticed that i recently reworked the header of our local rag 'The Post' with an image of two Greek gods during the recent 'See no Evil' event which dominated Bristol's art scene for a week in August. With an average daily circulation of 36,000 copies, i was pleased to get my work on the front page, even if just for a day...
(The Post, 13th Aug 2012)
My ninth and final painting for the show is a reworking of this image and i began putting paint to canvas yesterday. Its no secret i am probably the slowest painter in the city, so to think i only have 14 more days to complete this - and everything else - before all this work has to be in the capital makes me feel somewhat unsettled. Panic and progress will be documented daily here for the near future.
(Initial layer of white being marked up onto canvas)
'All Things Are Changing; Nothing Dies' - a pasted installation on wobbly boards at a festival in a North Somerset field.
There is so much i could write about this weekend past, but there are more posts to upload, canvases to complete and a screen print to execute... So if you want to read a proper review of BrisFest at Ashton Court, i'll leave you in the ever reliable hands of Bristol Culture.
In the lesser-known Brothers
Grimm fairy tale ‘Iron Hans’, a young
Prince is told to steal a golden key from beneath his mother’s pillow in order
to set Iron Hans, an imprisoned Neanderthal man free. The Prince refuses on
many occasions until one day, his courage builds and his curiosity can hold him
back no longer. He quietly creeps into the Queen’s bedroom and takes the golden
key from the very place that his mother dreams of him becoming a nobleman. This
part of the Iron Hans story symbolises betrayal; the betrayal of the mother at
a stage in a young mans life where he sees no other choice but to show her in
no uncertain terms that she is no longer needed as his sole guardian in life
and that from now on, he is in charge of his own destiny. Using his own knife,
he has cut the proverbial apron strings.
200 years on from the first
publication of ‘Iron Hans’, I read
with intrigue the hidden metaphors and meanings embedded within the story
rediscovered by American poet Robert Bly in his book ‘Iron John’. The trials and tribulations faced by a man on his
pathway through life appear to be the same irrelevant of what time we live in –
the coming of age folk tale that is Iron
Hans looks to be as relevant today as it ever has been.
At this point in the story the
Prince is a young teenager, roughly the same age as I was when I discovered
graffiti, spray cans and Subway Art(1). From the first time I held a can and made that scrawly, drippy line on
a garage wall in the lane behind my childhood house, I knew I was hooked. Bus
rides to Brislington warehouse hall of fame, Dean Lane skate park and Barton
Hill youth club fuelled my new found passion and soon I began to pick up the
skills of the trade; sketching outlines, sourcing spray paint, mixing colours,
and making my letters bounce of the wall – the initiation of becoming a
graffiti artist had begun.
The graffiti scene is a
notoriously difficult world to infiltrate but once accepted, a part of you will
stay indefinitely. It becomes impossible to step onto a train without imagining
it covered in bright interwoven colours that spell out your name. You can’t
walk past tags on the High Street without decoding who it was that left their
mark, just for you. Those Sparvar fumes will forever linger.
For a subculture that on the
surface appears to concern itself primarily with freedom of expression and
anti-authoritarianism, the graffiti subculture harbours an implausible amount
of politics. Internal hierarchies, tuff wars, snobbery, angst and jealousy
blight the scene and force its members to subscribe to a strict set of rules
akin to the 10 commandments. For years I believed our way was the only way, that art history began in 1960’s New York
(or perhaps even earlier in Philadelphia), that stencils were cheating and
‘Keeping it Real’ was paramount.
18 years after I made my
first marks with a spray can the excitement of painting graffiti has faded. I
question the rationale of writing the same set of letters, with the same spray paint,
on the same walls, time and time and time again. The urge to create however remains
as strong as it ever was. The problem is that simply changing my palette and
trying out a slightly different style is no longer enough to keep me painting
graffiti in the traditional sense.
Three years ago I became a
father to my own son and with parenthood comes less free time. This is a fact.
My graffiti painting days had become numbered and I found myself returning to
my other, less time absorbing passion, photography. Once wife and child were
sound asleep I would steal an hour or two from the night and venture out with
camera, tripod and timer to capture traces of the city’s low-level light. But
all too soon I missed the process of painting and so began to use these
photographs as a new source of inspiration for works that I could produce at
home; a new sort of work based on canvas. These paintings gained attention from
a new audience, perhaps more attention than my street based graffiti had and in
time I found innovative ways to sell these pieces to people who, much to my
surprise and delight, were happy to part with a couple of hundred pounds for an
original artwork that they could hang on their wall…
… and then it struck me. I
had broken one of graffiti’s most important self-imposed commandments; ‘Thou
Shalt Not Sell Out!’
Graffiti is like an over
protective, jealous parent. It rears its young, teaches them hard love, dresses
them up in its uniform and ensures its children have lots of friends to play
with. But the minute a child decides that it is his time to move out, the
parent will suddenly turn on him and will stop at nothing to strike the traitor
down! It will call you names - ‘Black Sheep’, ‘Art Fag’, ‘Sell Out’, and will
laugh out loud when your post-graffiti work is out on display.
Iron Hans, the Neanderthal
man in the Brothers Grimm fairy tale told the young Prince that he must steal
the golden key from under his mother’s pillow so that he can use it to set the
wild man free. But this is my story and
the time has come to release my own wild man and accompany him into a new
place, a big place I am unfamiliar with; an enchanted forest of my own. The
time is right for me to betray my own jealous parent.
‘Where is Iron John?’ is my
first solo show in London and opens on 11th October 2012 in the
Apricot Gallery, 16-18 Heneage Street, Brick Lane, E1 5LJ
Acer 'Easton Hall of Fame' - Dice (Dicy) 'FSH' - Paris 'You Dont Have to Understand Something for it to be Beautiful' - Banksy 'Make it Rock or Go Home'
1997 in the alleyway that runs behind the black Swan and underneath the M32.
Many, many stories go with this piece and this place, but few are suitable for the 'net.
Anyway, here is (i think) the only wall to grace an Acer piece alongside a Banksy. Im pleased that it is, in my opinion anyway, the best piece he has ever painted...
Fantastic Super Heroes crew at Dean Lane Bedminster, 1997. Graffiti in the picture - Paris, Ace (Acerone), Playa (Coda), Loui (Bubber Loui) FSH (Dicy) + a portrait of a very young Bubber Loui complete with hoop earring.
This was my first ever piece at Bedminster skate park in late 1995, i think. After a chance meeting with Dicy skateboarding on College Green, i noticed the T-Shirts he was selling were sporting the very same graffiti styled 'K' i had seen down at Bedminster the previous week. He told me that it was him that had painted it and the logo was part of a new range of designs he was putting out under the name 'Kuldesac'. Kuldesac went on to become a massive success in the Bristol clothing scene and we all wore it religiously...
Dicy had seen the 'Ace' tag around and invited me out to paint with him the following day. We exchanged numbers, he called the next morning and the rest is history. After this freestyle attempt at doing a proper piece of graff (with some metallic Hycote paint i had found in a skip!) i went on to join Dicy and Paris in the Fantastic Super Heroes crew and later in TCF. And yes, Dicy and i are still good friends to this day...
Thanks for inviting a young toy out to paint with you all those years ago mate, perhaps Acerone would not be doing this today if you hadn't.