"And although I think there are enough hours in the day I really don’t think there are enough years in a life."
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.
Thanks for looking.
GRAHAM COXON ART