Work in progress

The test piece from the other week. I’m living with the work for now – seeing it at different times of the day, in different states of mind. I’m really liking some of the textures, however the balance of the tones isn’t working for me, but that’s ok. The illusionistic three dimensional nature of the work is something for me to contend with too. How much do I want to manipulate this, or not? For now what’s needed is time, looking and pondering.

Five things this Friday

1. More doodles

2. Influence

I rather liked this short blog post by Austin Kleon - The way we talk about influence is backwards.

Rather than Van Gogh influencing Basquiat (which is kind of impossible if you think about it, and implies passivity on the part of Basquiat), try instead thinking of Baquiat working on Van Gogh…

I particularly like how, in the quoted Michael Baxandall text, this new arrangement opens up the language we use.

3. Eight week blocks

As an experiment, I’ve started the year trying to work in eight week blocks. I got the idea from a couple of different places. Now half way through my first block and I’m thinking of changing tack. I expect I’ll write more on this at a later date.

4. Nakatomi Space

Image from Die Hard

Die Hard meets the essay Lethal Theory, “walking through walls” and “what it means to bend space to your own particular navigational needs”.

Read (approx 10 mins) or listen (approx 14 mins) to this text by Geoff Manaugh.

5. Personas

A couple of conversations about personas (for artists) got me thinking about the Tom Peters book The Brand You 50. (He’s no relation, or at least not that I know of!) I’ve got the book tucked away somewhere along with his book Re-imagine. Both are full of provocative nuggets. It could be time to dig them out for a browse.

Five things this Friday


There’s a review of A Slow Take over at Eye Contact site. It’s written by John Hurrell. I was introduced to John at the opening (thanks Maggie!) and noticed later in the evening he was having a close look at my work, which was great to see. And I find it’s interesting he mentions Billy Apple as I was thinking of one of his works just the other week.


Two images I liked on instagram this week. Click through to go to the original post.

Yup, that’s Blinky Palermo.


Choir! Choir! Choir! + David Byrne singing David Bowie’s Heroes. Discovered one morning this week – a slow start and then… well, what a way to start my day.




A short article looking at the Japanese perspective of space. The author looks at four types of space:

  • Relational space (wa)
  • Knowledge-mobilizing space (ba)
  • Location (tokoro)
  • Negative space (ma)

Instead of being about the built environment, the Japanese words for space center on the interactions and relationships among people.

In Japan, a building can’t be in Tokyo without Tokyo being in the building.


One of mine from 1989-90. Oil paint with Polyfilla on board

Little boxes

Geometric ink drawings on dotted paper

Detail from my sketchbook

I’ve got myself a dotted notebook again. While I have no problem drawing over lines on a page, the dots I find hard to ignore. Unlike a plain page, where anything goes, the dots encourage doodles of boxes, diagonals and straight lines.

From these drawings I’m beginning to explore similar structures in paint – just to see what may be possible (or not). As you know, paint on the end of a brush behaves quite differently from a 0.5mm ink pen on paper so there’s a translation of sorts to be negotiated. Scale, surface and colour all come into play too but for now, to keep things simple, I’m sticking to mixing only black and white on a small mdf panel.

Five things this Friday

1. Trying to write today’s post I find I can’t not mention Mark E. Smith, leader singer / head honcho of The Fall. As you may have read, he died yesterday at the age of 60. Others have described him and his influence far better than I ever could. I’m glad I got to see The Fall play at Bodega back in 2015. They are kind of special, by which I mean they’re quite something.

Mark E. Smith - The Fall at Bodega, Wellington, October 2015. Photo: Dan Robinson

2. My friend Nik wrote about my work Slipped Monochrome #2. As he said to me, it took his writing to an unexpected place. Find out where over here.

Slipped Monochrome #2, 2017 Te Tuhi

3. Just after writing my previous post about Scale, I came across this quote over at Daniel Levine’s website. A painter of monochromes since 1990 he says, amongst other things, ”I realized that a painting can never be large enough, but it can always be small enough. A small painting can easily fill a wall; seriousness is not inherent to scale.”

4. Austin Klein, writing about work/life balance succinctly sums up a poem by Kenneth Koch published in a 1998 issue of the New Yorker, “Work, family, or friends: pick two. You can have it all, just not all at once.”

5. These paintings by Ryan Crotty look rather nice. Whoever took the photos has done a great job. (And for you sports fans, no, not that Ryan Crotty).

Ryan Crotty, “I Like Me Better” (2017), acrylic, gloss gel, and modelling paste on canvas, 24 by 20 inches