Playbolam™ Fresh Hell™ coming to a soul-crushing shopping mall near you! #Playbolam #BritishValues

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After a short hiatus, I am reconfiguring the Playbolam™ studio for a new range dystopian play sets. Expect a fresh set of toys for your children that will normalise financial aspiration, respect for inherited authority, the inevitability of debt & the appreciation of added-value, real soon now.
http://playbolam.wordpress.com

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Life Kills – or – If at first you don’t succeed, post-rationalize #BolamABC

Bolam XXX graphics v1.091

“It took me four years to paint like Raphael, but a lifetime to paint like a child.” – Pablo Picasso

I don’t know why it took Picasso so long, I was painting like a child by the age of five. Maybe, like me, he shouldn’t have bothered with the Raphael stage.

I’m having an existential moment. Having spent most of my life working with technology to make art and creative things, one of the most satisfying works I’ve made recently involved nothing more than cheap poster paint, scrap paper and skills I learned as a child. It’s not so much old-school as pre-school.

A few weeks ago I began an ill-fated new project.

I had a “brilliant” idea to make a satirical Halloween advent calendar. Each day would be a skulls head, stylistically referencing the Mexican Day of the Dead festival as a satire on the commercialization of cultural events. There’s more of an explanation here.

Halloween 2015 graphics v3.034

I often use Keynote to make graphics. I know it’s not really a graphics application but it is very fast to work with and acts as a digital sketchbook. Also, it is very useful for making multiples that share common elements. However, as a graphics editor it is lacking some things that I miss from other packages, and I wanted to create more complex graphics.

I am not an illustrator or designer, but I did use both Adobe Illustrator and Corel Draw a lot in the past, and I went looking for something similar. I’ll not bore you with all the options but I found iDraw that works both on Mac OS X 10.6.8 and my iPad running iOS 8.x, and has all the missing features I was looking for; layer control, composite vectors, text on a path amongst others. I’m very impressed with it although it crashes now and again, but that might be related to other problems that I and others are having with what appears to be an unresolved memory management issue with 10.6.8.

On the whole, iDraw is very good, but where I made this project unwieldy is that, as an attempt to extend the social media reach of the project, I decided to screen-record myself creating the graphics in order to show both the conceptual thinking and how I was learning to use the software.

“Brilliant”, huh?

Not really. I didn’t realise at first, but simultaneously screen-recording with QuickTime Player 10.0 on my 1.83GHz Intel Core 2 Duo 2Gb Mac had a major performance hit and made the machine quite sluggish, which I initially blamed on iDraw. Anyway, the graphics took so long to make, that it was impacting on other projects and, after the first batch of four which I made beforehand, I was having to make each one on the day and couldn’t get ahead. I hate that tyranny of having to do something rather than as and when, which is how I usually work. What’s more, the amount of mouse wiggling was aggravating the dormant RSI injury in my right shoulder and neck.

So, reluctantly, I decided to abandon the project on day 10. Sometimes you’ve just got to admit defeat. I could have forced it through but it’s only a minor project anyway and I might complete them in time for Halloween next year.

Bolam TV animated ident animation output v1.002

Here is one of the making-of videos for the first 9 (the graphic for the 10th was incomplete because I hit a snag which was the last straw.

Conceptually sound, but practically inept, and the results are nothing more than okay. I think it will work much better when there is a full set. We’ll see.

Anyway, I have always been a hoarder and I’ve always hated waste. And this is why I am still using a first generation MacBook and why I keep all my spoiled inkjet prints.

Although it took me nearly twenty years to get around to it, the “Stained by Dead Inkjets” series of collages used very old-school, pre-digital techniques, despite the source material being of digital origin.

Stained by Dead Inkjets - Collage #6 (title tbc)

Anyway, as one of my “brilliant” satires, I decided to make my own Day of the Dead decorations rather than buy any of the crap from the shops. I’m not keen on the horror theme of Halloween and I think the Day of the Dead celebration is much more positive. I experimented with a few ideas, and my favourite is these faces, made very simply by folding and cutting scrap paper. Then I painted a base colour, allowing the colours to cross-contaminate, Rorschach-blotted them and voila!

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What’s more, the back of it is even better than the front.

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I like them far more than the highly-conceptualized Halloween advent calendar that I had spent so much time on, and (not including drying time) these took a few minutes each. It’s only take all my life to learn that.

“Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once we grow up.” – Pablo Picasso

Richard Bolam at 60: T-minus 3,179 #BolamProspective #bolamat60 #bolamat50+1

Launch event postcard v3 improved

Like much of my work, that title is half a joke and half deadly serious. I achieved much in the run-up to, and the year of Richard Bolam at 50, but there was so much more that I either failed to achieve, postponed, or simply did not complete. This is due to a number of life factors, not least more than a little mismanagement.

However, after much thought, I have decided to just continue the project and tag each subsequent year as #bolamat50+1, #bolamat50+2 etc, until I get to #bolamat60 (if I make it) and just see what happens on the way.

Partly inspired by Eduardo Paolozzi, Robert Rauschenberg & Jamie Reid (amongst many others), and referencing the Principia Discordia, Newton’s Principia Mathematica and the post-punk zine scene, I decided to assimilate some of the old material into a new publication (or publications) with a working title of “Principia Bolamatica”. This is a composite of leftover scraps from the “Stained by Dead Inkjets” sessions and scans from my notebooks and scrapbooks.

Principia mathematica page 2

Principia Bolamatica page x of x

I was introduced to the the Principia Discordia when I read Robert Anton Wilson’s book “Cosmic Trigger: The Final Secret of the Illuminati” when I was a teenager. Cosmic Trigger (volume 1 as it is now) is a load of new-age hokum and conspiracy theory bullshit, but is fascinating as a jumping off point for various weird shit that I have subsequently found interesting at times. The Principia Discordia is the gospel of a pseudo-religion called Discordianism. I am not a believer but I am drawn to the playfulness and non-literal interpretation of things like this, along with the cut-ups technique used by other artists I admire such as William Burroughs and David Bowie.

But that’s another story…

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Principia_Discordia
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cosmic_Trigger_I:_The_Final_Secret_of_the_Illuminati
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Philosophi%C3%A6_Naturalis_Principia_Mathematica

I have established an online backbone for this phase of the project as a group of WordPress blogs that will contain various media, but it is an ongoing project with no manifesto attached to it other than trying to finish the Richard Bolam at 50 project in a way that I am satisfied with it. As I have written before, the only element I consider a major failure is not getting the 12 issues of “Catalogue” finished within the Richard Bolam at 50 year but, although it’s too late to meet that deadline, I will be completing them over the next year or two. Issue two will be out soon.

The Principia Bolamatica will be hosted, one page at a time, on BolamABC and published bit by bit as one or more PDFs, but also look out for Bolam000, Bolam101, Bolam123, BolamA2Z, Bolam365, Bolam24/7, Bolam360, Bolam5x5, BolamXXX and BolamXYZ.

Screen shot 2015-08-10 at 11.40.59

Each of these blog sites will be used to host appropriate elements of various projects, some of which I have planned and some not. I will probably move over to bolamprospective.wordpress.com as a main site but richardbolamat50.wordpress.com will remain live and I might add more content if that is the appropriate place for it.

Stand by…