Balance

Copyright : Andy Bullock 2016

 The prologue to a new novel (agent/publisher sought) –

a dark and satirical dystopian vision that could be closer than we dare imagine … 

I

Sometime in the near future, maybe tomorrow. Location: Heathrow airport, London.

“How on earth had it come to this?” wondered Spencer Strong as he threw the heavy latch shut on yet another crate of overweight human flesh.

Through the relentless permadrizzle that cloaked everything with its clammy touch, he gazed vacantly at the hazy, sulphuric, acid-yellow glow that hugged the city-distant like a giant, suffocating, toxic blanket; he turned, pulled up his collar, sunk into his jacket and walked away from the crate without the slightest concern for its contents; he could not have cared less.

In fact he had long since ceased to care too much about anything; anything but money, that is. Nothing else had ever really seemed to make much sense to him. Since being born on the backseat of a car and conceived in a hospital he had always got things the wrong way round. The explanation for this unconventional start in life was as fascinating as it was preposterous; his mother was a nurse with nymphomaniac tendencies who had a soft spot for a ‘bit of rough’, and his father, a rather wayward taxi driver of mixed heritage, had a ‘thing’ for pretty girls in uniform and an open eye on a chance.

After a minor traffic incident involving his black cab, a drunken MP and an ‘exotic dancer’ (long story) he ended up in casualty, suffering minor cuts and the customary insurance-friendly whiplash, where he had the good fortune to be treated by Spencer’s soon-to-be mother (you get the drift), who administered a little more TLC than was strictly necessary. The result of this unorthodox medical intervention made itself known on the backseat of Spencer’s father’s black cab, precisely nine months later, on the way back to the very same hospital where the affair began; sadly denying the tale the perfect symmetrical, poetic ending. The errant and amorous member of Her Majesty’s government did not feature in this part of the story at all; although the ‘exotic dancer’ episode, having finally caught up with him, had relieved him of his hard-won office.

Spencer had always found people tricky, awkward to deal with; too complicated and complex by half. They had thoughts and feelings and emotions that got in the way of day to day life. To his mind, putting a price on things felt like the fairest way to judge anything. You knew where you were with money. It couldn’t lie to you, it couldn’t two-time you, it was exactly as it appeared to be. It couldn’t, in itself, disappoint you or let you down.

Money just ‘was’.

You could certainly have too little, but you could never have too much in his opinion. Money was solid, money was real. Like valuing a house or a car, you knew where you stood once you put a monetary value on something. The human bodies currently being lofted high into the corrupted night air had a very specific value to him. They represented a very good living, priced as they were ’per head’ which in this instance was a peculiar phrase, for in actual fact the price included the rest of the body too.

And the bodies were still warm.

“Take her up” he shouted, as he waved to the crane operator and watched the container, clearly marked ‘With Care:Contents:Human’, swing into the gaping, greedy, filthy orifice that was the rear end of another near-full, and rather ironically named, Boeing 747 Dreamlifter. This was one of a large fleet reconfigured to carry a maximum cargo payload. “Nett weight 5.4 tonnes”  he tapped into his smartphone app directly connecting him to global weight transfer control.  An obnoxious ‘beep’ coupled with a “Congratulations!” was the immediate response flashed onto the screen in eager-green neon. “You  have exceeded your target for the second quarter”. It promised to be another bumper payment, his team were working hard and would all benefit from an excellent bonus at the end of the month. “Thank God for prizov*” he said, to no one in particular while walking away miming an old-fashioned grocery store till ringing up a huge bill.

“Kerching!” he added. Lovely.

II

One year earlier. Location: Global Council Headquarters (GCH), Shanghai, China.

At a special summit meeting, on climate change and global warming, some shocking news was about to be delivered to the members of the G3 convened in the pristine but anodyne glass and steel surroundings of the new GCH complex ……… cont’d

*Population Re-balance Initiative for ZerO Vibration

‘ice cream dreams’ a new illustrated story collaboration with artist michael holyoke

big brenda

big brenda

A dark tale of seaside romance. Written by Andy Bullock. Illustrated by Michael Holyoke.

______________________________________________________

Say hello to Big Brenda Bagley.

Big Brenda Bagley was very big and very Brenda.

She lived in a small grey house with a matching cat, in a small grey seaside town, that would like to be a bit more Brighton but was less than Bognor. A town that had been studiously overlooked by the new wave of south-coastal migrants from London seeking a new-wave life of lentils, lattes and chi-chi retro cafés.

This was a real English seaside town, where the only thing on the up was unemployment and the only shops opening were selling everything for a pound which made the charity shops look expensive so they were now all closing down.

There was however one splash of colour in Brenda’s otherwise monochromatic life – her van.

Not just any old van; it was an ice cream van, all pastel shades, sparkly stars, pale yellow sides and a sky blue roof, topped off with a smiling mister whippy and a fading seaside tune. It was her work, her living, her life. It contained her passion and guilty secret too …

cont’d.

greytown-by-sea

greytown-by-sea

… story continued in the ‘writing’ section of this site. Click here.

pervigilium – new six sculpture installation for central oxford

pervigilium1

pervigilium (latin – vigil, nightwatch, wakefulness, sleeplessness)

A brand new public artwork for central Oxford currently in production, to be launched by the end of the year. The work consists of six small sculptures of cherubic angel-like figures positioned high up on city centre buildings in places of dark shadow. The sculptures are cast from a unique new photo-luminescent material which will store energy taken from daylight and emit this as a cool green glow during the hours of darkness. The sculptures will slowly begin to fade over the course of the night before melting back into the dawn light.

Guardian angels or malevolent demons? Keeping watch or covert surveillance?

This work is fully supported by the Oxford City Council arts and culture team and is my first major piece of public art since returning to Oxford last year after spending the past six years in France.

Below is a working sketch design for the sculptures.

pervigilium2

Inspiration – a fickle mistress

tomorrow3

“tomorrow or another day”

The inspiration here came from a completely unrelated communication.

The words for this piece are by my friend and poet Agnieszka Studzinska. The image has perhaps even greater significance and impact when one understands that the photo is from a series of images i made in east berlin some years ago. it shows the main railway lines out of berlin to Poland and eastern europe.

Agnieszka was born in Poland.

The Blackadder Moment?

tinhat

the time has come. i can delay and prevaricate no longer.

it’s time to put on the tin helmet, say a little prayer, poke my head above the parapet and go for it.

this website and blog go ‘officially’ live as of this second.

my blackadder going over the top moment, to be met by a hail of bullets or who knows what?

as anyone who ‘creates’ for a living or even just for fun and self-fulfillment will understand, the metaphor of going over top, leaving the trenches or the safety of one’s studio is often all too apt. and although i seldom care to admit it, my skin can be as painfully thin and my ego as worryingly fragile as the next man’s. i challenge any artist, working in any field, to say that they really and truly do not care what anyone thinks of their work. for my part i know i make work that interests me but i also want to share it. i do not want to live and work in a vacuum, that would not be healthy. it is also the reactions of others to our work that can often lead to a greater understanding of how we are perceived, which can then further inform our future efforts.

and that can only be a good thing.

so, when you have a few spare minutes take a look around. i have created (imagined?) categories to file various work under. but why a ‘photography’ section and separate ‘artworks’ section? it is all just different types of art in my book. it just seemed to make sense to thematically draw some kind of line to make navigation easier. when you have a look it should make sense.

to (badly) paraphrase grayson perry from his (excellent) recent reith lecture, “if it looks like art, feels like art, tastes like art, then it probably is art”.

i genuinely welcome honest comment and critisism. but be gentle or at least tactful (see above!).

there is some work on the site which is intensely personal but which i am clearly okay about putting into the public domain as i didn’t make it to be kept in a cupboard.

i would be truly flattered if you saw fit to bookmark this blog and visit again. i will attempt to make frequent, if irregular, postings on things that i find interesting, on work that i am doing and anything of worth that pops into my head. as i am just starting to get my feet on the ground here in my new hometown of oxford i have lots of new ideas that need to be given wings and put in motion, so expect a small flurry of new bits and bobs in the early days.

also, having been completely ‘out of the loop’ with work in the uk (six years in the normandy wilderness can have a very disorientating and numbing effect on the brain), i am very keen to meet up with and organise professional representation across all my endeavours, visual and otherwise. so, if you would like to get in touch about anything like that … then please do, details at the bottom of this page.

note – to access the blog page at any time just click on my name in the header above.

happy new year to all.

andy b