“Artist as a social role is somewhat embarrassing, in that it’s taken to be a useless position, if not a reactionary one: the practitioner is dismissed as either the producer of over-valued decor, or as part of an arrogant, parasitical, self-styled elite.”  S.Price(2002)Dispersion. http://www.distributedhistory.com/Dispersion08.pdf

 “So, what do you do for a living?” me- “Umm, er, I’m a part time art installer, and sort of, er, an artist”.

I am guilty of feeling guilty. I have a great life so I’m not about to moan on about the burden of struggling to find my own visual language and then finding a gallery interested in such things and hoping they can find buyers so that I can make more of these things, but there is this feeling… Maybe it’s the voice of the pragmatist/late Grandfather in my head “What on earth is the government doing giving all this money to the arts when nurses need a pay-rise!” The nurses are always the Ace card. No-one would dispute they play an incredibly tough and vital role in any society which makes artists always look a bit vain. Thanks to that bunch of under-paid do-gooders I seem a bit useless. And then on top of that there’s that archaic concept of “man as provider” that rattles about my consciousness (again sounding like my late Grandad) that adds to my embarrassment. Woe is me.  

I live near a train station so everyday (if I’m up early enough ha ha!) I see streams of people  trudging off to their 9-5 jobs and I quietly rejoice I’m no longer one of them. But then my wife heads out to join them to pay all our bills and get abused by grumpy passengers and I stay at home in my sweatpants and slippers and listen to wonderful music and think about what to paint, how to paint it and WHY OH WHY!! I promised not to moan but that’s about all I’ve done so far so I’ll stop that thought there. 

It’s not like building roads or clearing land-mines or saving the South American rainforests. I am the creator of luxury bourgeois wall decorations… With lots of time on his hands to think, and ponder and solemnly reflect. (for most of you it’s simple daydreaming, but not us noble artists) 

But then something stupidly simple and incredibly useless captures the hearts of the whole world. A boy from a small rural town in a small poor nation runs faster than anyone – ever. And he does it with such breathtaking ease and nonchalance, confidently beginning his celebrations before he has even finished. Every time I see his image or remember those races it makes me want to sing and dance and do the hand pointy thing.

But what’s the point of that?