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Graham Coxon Introduction

the musician hates the soapstar when he sings, does the artist hate the musician when he paints?

being at art school with clever people is a thrill. it can either greatly inspire or make one retreat into a shell of self doubt. when i was at art school i’m not sure if i was taught how to mix colour or use a chisel or clean a brush. i ended up surrounded by stoney hard brushes, blunt chisels and muddy paintings. it was the same with the guitar. i wrote riffs on it before i could tune it, listened to records and worked them out (though i was more interested in how to create the cataclysmic sounds in the middle section of, say, the who’s “anyway, anyhow, anywhere” than contorting my fingers into jazzy fret spiders).

its a similar story with painting. encouraged by munch, soutine, modigliani, chagall and picasso.... then franz kline and de kooning. their painting struck me hard as a teenager and like pete townshend and his guitar made me determined to have the same affect on myself. but one can see through oneself a little more easily than others can, if we are honest, and when i look at my visual work it’s easy for me to see their creator as a confused, inconsistent hobbyist or, at worst, a painter and decorator who owns a few art books.

so! Retrospective.... its a grand word and a frightening word. More accurately it’s an invitation to take a look at the work of a confused mind.... a mind that hasn’t yet had the opportunity to find itself comfortably within a visual identity.

i have said dumb things in the press, released songs that perhaps should have stayed at home on the four track machine and so, perversely, i exhibit my visual work. i worry about the self obsessive nature of everything i do creatively but try to see a positive in opening up, in allowing my work to be seen “warts and all”. afterall, i have never been a slick individual so this exhibition is probably as honest a visual record of myself as there can possibly be.

there were moments when painting the brand new pictures when i felt like a painter, only to step back and look at what i’d done and realise that there’s a long way to go. and although i think there are enough hours in the day i really don’t think there are enough years in a life. guess i am knocking on and with age comes a greater importance for me to find the furrow and to find a truth to live by.

perhaps that search is what art and music is all about, perhaps its just that during my time within a strong and confident artworld i always felt “less than” and unable to know, let alone explain, my position. its best then to show what you do, get reactions and listen. i have never had a problem doing that with music but with art..... yes.

so its frightening to show my work in this way and that’s as good a reason as any to do so.

Picture of Graham painting

thanks for looking.
graham coxon


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