As my disenchantment with the traditional gallery system grows – fueled by acrimonious disputes with a couple of representatives of it that have cost me half a year's income in legal fees – whatever time I have between working on commissioned paintings has been absorbed by unstructured explorations of other media that eliminate the need to hang anything on a wall. I've been experimenting not only with digital video, getting to grips with the idiosyncracies of Final Cut Pro 7, but also sound. I record everything I can, from conversations to the white noise of the surf, on a small Edirol R-09 and use the raw material for aural collages that I might later use as soundtracks.My focus on these new ideas – and new tools – has loosened up my approach to my painting. For a while now, I've wanted to paint the portraits of a few 'adult' performers I knew. However, I've resisted, mainly because I wanted to do them in a way that was somehow 'credible' – read 'politically correct' – as serious art. Then a friend lent me a copy of David Bailey's collection of black and white portraits from the early Sixties, A Box Of Pin-Ups, featuring everyone from the infamous Kray brothers to a young Mick Jagger and the world's first supermodel (and Bailey's then girfriend), Jean Shrimpton. I decided to do my own set of pin-ups. I painted them big, really big, so the larger-than-life-sized girls would loom over the viewer and I painted them pretty, in high-gloss enamel, with simplified lines and soft, pastel hues. I painted the surface to be as shiney and sexy as each of 12 subjects – and yes, adhering to the convention, there is a Miss for every month.
I could have given the series a title that would offer an ironic wink to those looking for deeper intellectual substance but I resisted. They are simply Big Pin-Ups. Nothing more – but nothing less, either.