31 Dec 2012

That's Another One Done With

So the New Year is upon us, wooo wooooo! I do wish it would hurry up and happen, I can't bare the way the world comes to a standstill until the middle of January.
"Oooh broken boiler mate, can't do anything with that until the New Year"

Really, why not?????

(Sharp intake of breath) "Well its Christmas innit"

I know mate but you are a Sikh!!!

I have loads of groovey stuff in line, on line and lined up for the New Year! Its like having a line of cute ducks all in a row and you have to wait til mid Jan to to throw rocks at them. 
(that was a joke, I do not throw rocks at fluffy ducks, small pebbles but never rocks!!!

So as its Crimbo and the ghosts of Christmas past are still lurking and causing a stink like the brussel sprout that fell down the back of the oven I thought I would do a year review thing then thought better of it, however this is a longish blog post to give those of you with nothing better to do something better to do. So stay in tonight and read this rather than venture out and be molested by beer swilling knuckle dragging nobs who want to 'be your mate' at Midnight and then two minutes after auld lang syne put a beer glass in your jugular for 'looking at my bird' a lady who actually isn't his bird but will be by the end of the night as she loves 'bad boys' who assault random strangers!

I suppose the big news for me (ALTHOUGH EVERYTHING ABOUT ME IS BIG NEWS RIGHT?) was the New York show that never was. It's a long drawn out affair suffice it to say some 'gallery owner' offered me a show and then buggered off without even a "sorry". Its ok though Court Papers will be flying out to him to help usher in a shitty start to his new year!

So I thought I would tell you about the experience of creating the work for the show, the show that never was!

I decided after much debate with Mrs Storm to do a series of paintings about things that either made me rant, moan or bitch about (save's Mrs Storm listening to it). So the theme for the show is what lies beneath? Its about social, religious and political hypocricy.

At this point I feel I must stick a picture in to save you getting too bored by inane ramblings (see pic below)

That's me with the pics that is!

So day one model  one was Evris. In this pic I wanted to show a nice psychopath who loves his dear old mum and has a softer side, so when he’s finished jumping up and down on your head will happily phone you a cab to get you to A&E.
I approached a load of old ‘friends’ I have worked with as they have the faces only a mother could love, most were reluctant firstly because like me they didn’t want their faces all over the place and because the thought of being seen with their teddy bear was too much to bare! (pun fully intended)  I did try picking up (sounds bad I know) a model or two at boxing/cage fighting events but the general theme went something like this:

Hello mate
“Er yeah hello”
Have you ever considered modelling?
“You taking the piss mate”?

No I’m an artist and in need of some models

“Are you gay mate”?

No I just need somebody with your kind of look to model for an oil painting I am doing

“Will I get paid”?


“What will I have to do”?

Take your top off and prance around the studio holding a teddy bear

So I turned to good old modelling agency ‘Ugly Models’, who despite their name have all manner of models, from lovely stunners to models with faces like well slapped arses!
They have a brilliant section of thugs and tough guys (looks like an old bill mugshot book) and Evris jumped right out me, well not literally! I do however feel there is every likelihood that in his day to day life he does indeed spend a large amount of time literally jumping out at people!!!
So myself and Mrs Storm arrived at the studio with bags choc full of stuff, koshes, baseball bats, knuckle dusters, teddy bears, imitation firearms, soft toys, Cardinals robes, gimp mask, riding crop, racist Tee shirts, leather bits and bobs, rock and roll stuff, Cd’s, Laptop, cameras, refreshments  and all sorts of assorted bits and bobs for the days shoot, there was a lot to get through!
Evris turned up bang on time and looking as scary in real life as he does in his pics. I told to him what kind of thing I wanted and off he went, posing like and looking like a mad man. I asked him to do some aggressive stuff and he didn’t disappoint as he turned the air blue with his menacing diatribe.
We stopped for a brief rest and to have a quick drink and when we turned around Evris was doing press ups like a man possessed in order to pump his arms up, what a pro! The session flew by and we got some great shots. Evris was a delight to work  with, a real gent and he got to take the Teddy home, so we were all well pleased!
Me and Evris
The finished oil!

Next up was Hannah and Jay. In this picture which didn’t actually get painted (I’ll get to that) I wanted to show a prim and proper housewife who has a dark side and keeps a midget gimp as a pet for her personal pleasure. Once again I turned to Ugly for the models. Myself and Mrs Storm trolled through hundreds of models before settling on Hannah for the housewife and new model Jay for the gimp.
Jay turned up nice and early and I asked if he was aware of what we wanted? The agency had sent him with perhaps not the full brief, this was Jay’s first job for Ugly and he was keen to impress and didn’t bat an eyelid when I said basically strip down to your waist and whack this leather gimp mask on and when the lady model arrives she’s gonna drag you around a bit on a lead if that’s ok? 

The painting that never was
Me Hannah and Jay

Jay was more than happy to say yes. (Oh god I hope he was happy and I have not inadvertently abused a wee person) Images of Mason in a Jimmy Saville style enquiry in 20 years time now have me very worried!
Hannah turned up after negotiating the maze of doors and corridors at the studio. She was very pretty and exactly the look we were after, very Stepford Wife kind of thing, it was important that the model for this shoot was pretty in a cute kind of way, that way it would give more visual impact given the type of shoot we would be doing.
Hannah and Jay introduced themselves and Hannah got changed into a summery dress, just as well because it was a VERY hot day. Jay stripped down to his waist and decided he would be better off in his undercrackers.  Then we fitted him with his gimp mask and lead him to the photo area. When we started the shoot Hannah went right in to character and turned into the sweetly girlie with the gimp, Jay also followed direction really well, which was hard because the mask meant he could hear very little and was extremely hot, he soldiered on until the end when I thought t would be best to end the shoot. I was not going to look good telling the authorities why I had a wee person in a leather mask dead on the studio floor and a tearful lady with a riding crop in her hand in another corner!
The shoot was great and we got some really fabulous images, but the look was not quite what I wanted, this shoot really needed to be done in a set, 50’s diner or kitchen so reluctantly I decided that it would not make the final cut as a painting!
So two down two to go, this was gonna be a marathon day indeed! The guy who runs the studio was more than a little intrigued at the characters who were coming in as the day progressed!

My next idea was about abuse by the Church and so I had a very specific idea how the models should look. I decided to try and intimate the abuse rather than do something way too outrageous, some of my work can be shocking but I try my best to stay true to the subject matter and idea and if that comes out as shocking then so be it, I rarely do shocking just for the sake of it! 
My male model was Slane McRoth, wowsa what a name, a moniker fit for a super hero. Slane’s face is without doubt one of the strongest character faces I have ever seen, it lends itself to so many possible scenarios and he really knows how to get the best out of it, with his Amish looking beard and shock of blond hair he is a photographers dream! For my female model I turned to a friend from Facebook (disgrace book). I needed a pretty girl with a rock chick vibe, and Amina is both pretty and a dyed in the wool rock chick, on any given day she can be found head banging with the best of them. She was however a bit nervous about posing as she has never modelled before and it was even more imposing having to model with someone else.
Amina and Slane

If the chemistry is not right between the models then it shows in the photos, but I needn’t have worried as they hit it off like a house on fire (bizarre saying that one) and we all had a good laugh throughout  the shoot.
Working like this is great because it does not seem like work, its actually jolly good fun! Having said this it was fun for me, but poor Mrs Storm had to take all the images while I pranced around like Steven Spielberg directing, I say directing it was more kind of “er could you try this?”
So that was shoot three out of the way, I saw Slane and Amina off to the underground, Slane with a bottle of scotch and a crucifix and Amina with a teddy bear!  The shoots were becoming like Mr Ben, everyone leaving with a memento of the day!

The finished oil

Only had one shoot left for the day, just as well as the scorching temperatures were starting to take their toll on myself and Mrs Storm, we were flagging  but determined to get to the end, bloody right too as I had paid for the studio for the whole day!  Studio hire in central London is not cheap!
And so here we were at the last shoot of the day. For this shoot I wanted an Asian Lady and a racist skinhead. Now I again needed a pretty Asian lady and was fortunate to have a friend from jolly old disgracebook  who said she would do it for me. Cheila is a mummy of three, an artist and a nutcase (in the best possible way). She is game for anything and so volunteered her services after myself and Mrs Storm agreed she was perfect for the role. Now as for my racist male skinhead (I don’t know any so I had to improvise) I press ganged an old friend of mine, my oldest friend in fact, the artist Stealer to step in and fill the role. He is not a skinhead but sadly his hair has long past given up trying and so with a bit of a touch with a razor and racist bad taste Tee Shirt from Camden Market (How flippin much for a tees shirt mate??) he would do nicely.

Again the chemistry was there but the shots were not exactly what I wanted. My Skinhead had to be big and scary and menacing. Stealer is big, six foot something but he does not do menacing very well, he did try hard but I was just not happy with the outcome so this shoot would have to be done again. Add to the fact that he does not show his face it was gonna make painting a portrait using his face a tad awkward!

So that was day one, and what a long a tiring day it was too. By the time we packed the car up with our strange assortment of props and stuff we were knackered and toddled off to a restaurant for a nice meal and sit down!

Shoot Two
So as I had been unable to get what I wanted for my racist skinhead shoot it was  back in the studio for another go. Once again Cheila was roped in and I hired a model once again from Ugly. Matthew Scott is a monster of a man, very tall and built like the proverbial brick outhouse.
He arrived with his lovely girlfriend and I set about transforming him into a scary Nazi, he already had scary so I just had to give him the Nazi. So the first thing was to draw a swastika ‘tattoo’ on to his forehead, I should never have used that permanent marker! Then I created an SS tattoo and another big swastika on his chest using electrical tape, I nearly ran out of tape given the size of his chest!

I told Cheila and Mat what I was after and they got to work. Given the difference in size, Mat about eight foot six and Cheila about 3 foot tall it was hard to sort a balanced composition, however Cheila made a few suggestions and we got the shot we wanted. Mrs Storm knew immediately what the winning shot was, me I just bumbled on hoping for the best. That as they say is ‘how I roll’. I was delighted, the shot I wanted was in the bag, well in the camera but you get what I mean!

Finished Oil

Shoot Three
We were becoming very acquainted with the studio now, we were like old friends. The owner just let us and and popped off home and let us get on with it. I must state there was no desire for me to run off with his lighting rigs, his cameras or his PC or anything else!  ;)
Today’s shoot was going to be a ladies day, we had two shoots planned and had both the models booked.
For the first session I needed an adult who looked like a kid? Yes bizarre I know but there was no way I could or would use a child model for the shots I wanted, the whole point about this picture was about the sexualisation of children from a young age, especially in those bloody awful ‘beauty pageants’ for kids. So again I turned to ‘Ugly Models’ for help, the lady there was now well used to my bizarre requests and recommended Maria. Maria is a wee person, very pretty and could easily pull of the child look. I told Ugly what I wanted from the shoot and when she turned up Maria had in tow a pull along suitcase he contents of which she proceeded to empty on to the studio floor.

Good lord!!!
I was more than a little surprised at the range and sheer naughtiness of the costumes she had, where the hell does one buy a costume like that in that size?? I thought it rude to ask, and hooker heels for feet that small, someone somewhere is not right!!!
We decided on a sparkly two piece affair and gave Maria a lollipop and set her working. I was a bit uncomfortable at first but had to keep reminding myself, “it’s ok she’s an adult and a professional model”.
Maria was great and we had a laugh doing the shoot, she told us about the kind of work she gets modelling for ugly and it seems she has a whale of a time (what kind of a time does a whale have?) on her assignments, and gets to go to loads of great parties and events and gets paid for it. Now that my friends is the way to do it!
Finished Oil of Maria

The next session was my infamous burka shot, a lady in saucy underwear in a burka. Oh the fun I had wandering the ‘specialist’ shops in Soho to get the right item of clothing. I had to make 300 trips and spent ten thousand pounds just on that alone! LMAO (joke)
For this shoot we chose a model called Lilly Roma, she is a well know UK glamour model and on all of those late night ‘special channels’ where a phone call costs about five hundred quid! LMAO
Unfortunately she got caught up in some mad traffic thing on the motorway and would not be able to get to us. That was a right old pain in the derriere but these things happen and we just chalked it up to experience. However it was kind of funny that blokes spend hundreds of pounds to call her and here she was calling me, I shoulda charged £2 a minute! LMAO So that was another shoot that would have to be re shot!

Shoot four Man they are mounting up!

So our goal for today was to get the Burka shoot sorted as we had been let down with our previously. I turned to disgracebook for this one and put a shout out for a model who would need to be happy prancing around in a burka and little else, other than saucy underwear.
The call was answered by Layla Randle Conde, a professional model, tarot reader, writer and train journey blogger! 

If you are ever on a train and happen to annoy a firery redhead and find yourself screaming and cursing at having trodden on an upturned a plug under your stockinged feet it will have been Layla who laid the trap!
It was another baking hot day and Layla arrived in a summer dress and cowboy hat, very cool I thought and now I am going to have to ask you to remove all that and stick on a heavy dress and head piece and PVC underwear.

The shoot went really quickly and we got some great shots, Layla is a professional and like most professionals has an instinctive idea about what it is you are after even if you don’t actually know yourself.  Between them Mrs Storm and Layla captured exactly what I wanted, and me, I was just happy to be there!! LOL

Finished oil

Shoot number  5
And so here we were at the last shoot for this body of work.
Damien in character!
The first one was with Damien Knight, once again another great model sent to me by ‘Ugly’. I needed someone who looked like an orthodox Jew as none of my neighbours many of whom are orthodox Jews felt like posing!  Damien had a black beard, and then some so he was perfect. He also has a bundle of piercings but they would be easy to paint out. If I had asked him to remove them all it would have taken about three weeks!!
For this shoot Damien had to be dressed in the right gear and hold a stash of porn and inappropriate reading material. I must stress that all of this was bought especially for the shoot and was not from a collection I allegedly have in the studio/garden shed/storage facility/loft or on top of or under the wardrobe! I had to buy a wig and deface it to get the right curls, again this is not a wig i have hidden in any of the above places where the alleged stash of porn is stored (not stored because it does not exist!)

Finished oil of Damien

Damien got right into character and we got some great shots. Mrs Storm even took a series for him to use for himself for promoting both his modelling self and his enormously impressive beard!

The last shoot of the day and the series was with Daniel Kane. Daniel however was sent to me by Dark Arts Models. A great company with some stunning looking alternative models. The owners both of whom I have since met are lovely people and great to do business with, so if you ever need a fabulous looking model with a serious edge,  give dark arts a call!

I had tried to hire a model from Ugly for this shoot but all of the muscular tough guys I chose from their books were happy to pose as the soldier, the macho shots but cried off when they realise that for the New York cop shot they would have to wear a pair of ladies stockings!
Me and Daniel
Finished oil number 1 

Not Daniel however, when the soldier shoot was done and I asked him to change into the cop clothing he was more than happy to do so. I love working with professionals in whatever filed they are in and Daniel is one of those, he did whatever was needed to make the shoot work and I was extremely grateful to im for that, in fact I was so grateful I did two paintings of Daniel, the first time I have ever used the same model twice for a show.

Finished oil number 2

So that was it job done. Now for the hard part, getting the paint on the canvas, now that is a whole new story!

So I thanks everyone who helped me get this body of work together especially Mrs Storm, I really and truly could not have done it without her fabo photography her  guidance, encouragement, and occasional foot up the arse!

And if you have read to the bottom of this blog then thanks go to you too for your perseverance, and if you have just skipped to the end, shame on you! LMAO


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