Artists Books

Artists Book Exchange #2

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I left you with this image as my starting point. The image is centred upon the left hand of the standing man upon the shoulder of his seated companion; not an unusual pose or uncommon gesture, but the direct stare of both men invite you to – no, dare you – to question their relationship and the reason to preserve the memory photographically. This intensifies when further unconnected materials are added…

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I was then struck by the similarities in this book plate and a picture of this dead crow I had collected for inspiration for other projects. For a while, this became a prime visual motif and lead me towards an unsettling voodoo/hoodoo theme, complete with rituals and paraphernalia…

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For some reason, I had also collected a fair amount of bicycle related imagery. I can’t say why I had ever focussed upon bicycles; I certainly had not collected them for a specific purpose, but they seem to have assembled themselves whilst I wasn’t looking. There were some interesting Victorian portraits, as well as advertising for bikes and spares etc from the 1940’s and 50’s.

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This intense portrait remained with me throughout all these explorations, and gave fuel to the idea of a journey from childhood to old age with a being of natural melancholy and wilful self destruction. I had my subject:

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Ladies and Gentlemen of the Internet, may I introduce you to Victor Spillage. Or to be more precise, Victor Augustus Hereward Spillage (1830-1904) The second child of Lord and Lady Spillage of Decanter.

POSTSCRIPT
The original Victor Spillage was created by my brother in the late 1970’s when we were about 6 or 7 years old. In his imagination (and mine of course) Victor was the inventor of the best thing ever: Funky Pop! Funky Pop was a fictitious fizzy drink that we made by pouring a little of every kind there was at family parties; Barrs lemonade, orangeade, Tizer, Ben Shaws dandelion and burdock, Strike cola and if we were lucky, cherryade! The finished drink was always the colour of dirty dishwater and had a flavour that could only be described as  “S W E E T”  but packed a real punch – remember that these were the days when it was implicitly understood that there was nothing but artificial colours,  flavours and sweeteners in fizzy drinks, just e-numbers, volatile chemicals and whole bucketfuls of sugar. Like I say, it packed a punch. Victor has lived on, occasionally remembered at various family gatherings and late night inebriations over the years. My brother and I are now closer to fifty than were are to forty years old, but Victor has always been there.  I feel a little strange about giving Victor a new life, and indeed, putting him into the public domain like this, but what is done is done. I made a copy for my brother in addition to the ten I made for the original book exchange. This was his Christmas present this year. I put it in a diabolical bag.

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