Decisions, decisions. What’s it going to be then, eh? #OpenUpSheffield

I have never done Open Up before, not because I was not interested, but because I have have never (not quite never) had a studio-based art practice. Mostly, I work from home and I am too much of an introvert to allow strangers into my home. Even close friends don’t get in there very often.

I have friends who open up their homes, and I admire them for it, but don’t hold your breath because that will never happen at Chez Bolam.

However, I now have a very satisfactory studio space at Replicast Art Studio (located here) in Sheffield and I will be opening up as part of Open Up Sheffield 2018. Replicast is a privately-owned industrial manufacturing site with an unused office building that has been rented out as artists’ studios.

Replicast Studios will be opening up 5-7 May 2018 as part of the 20th year of Sheffield’s Open Up event. I have made a lot of satirical work about retail, branding and the commercialisation of culture and I am planning to open a kind of pop-in shop for the weekend, representing various of my imaginary retail brands and selling products that are simultaneously real and fake at the same time.

Illustrated is my initial thinking for the branding of what might be a gallery / shop / museum / cinema / theatre / institute / discotheque of BOLAM. I don’t really know what I’m going to do, but that’s just normal for me, but I am only one of a very varied group of artists at Replicast, so please come along and see us, even if you are not prepared for a full BOLAM experience.

I have worked in lots of different media including, traditional paint and print, as well as digital works, video, audio, performance, written word, spoken word and much, much more. Some of my work is strictly for adults but there are also elements that are engaging at any age and, although I like to provoke, I temper my wind to the shorn lamb.

I will have homemade snacks and drinks and some sort of on-demand retrospective art service where I will read a poem, show a video, make a drawing or err something else, on-demand, so please come and see me at Replicast Studios 5-7 May 2018, 10.30 – 17.00  and I will attempt to entertain, enrage and eviscerate your sensibilities in equal amounts.

Dress: fabulous!



Happy New Year (where do we go now?) #NewYearsDay #BOLAM #BolamProspective

I seem to have stumbled into a cliché. I am just about finished moving into my new studio and, as my NYE hangover fades, it genuinely feels like a new beginning. Having taken some time off from obsessing about art every day, I feel like it is time to restart some of the numerous projects that I suspended the year before last.

Still life with portable stereo and tea mugs.

It’s a very long story but, don’t worry, I’m going to give you the short version. In Spring of 2016, for complicated reasons, I decided to take some time off from the self-imposed pressure of producing something every day. Partly for financial reasons as nothing was producing any income. Partly for practical reasons as there were other pressing domestic tasks that I needed to achieve. And partly for conceptual reasons as I became disillusioned with what I perceived as unproductive work that was not having enough effect on the world outside my own home office. It’s a lot more complicated than that, but I doubt anyone would want to read about every nuance. I decided to take five months off to concentrate on other things, but it turned into 18 months, until Rick’s Fast Art Takeaway at the end of last year.

A friend told me that the hook line from from Guns & Roses’ “Sweet Child O’ Mine” was just a placeholder for a missing lyric when they were writing the song, but it made it into the finished version. I feel like that every day, with every project that I start and every thing I do.

Where do we go now? The short version is that I don’t know but I can’t help asking myself that question over and over in a voice mocking the characteristic shrieking of Axl Rose.

New Year’s Day is normally just another day, but today I feel reinvigorated and already had a few new ideas about shooting timelapse inside and out of the windows out of my studio.

Stand by, and in the meantime, happy new year.

In through the out door – Bolam Metaspective #BolamAt60

I decided to do this some time ago, but now is when the work begins in earnest. After the post-event anti-climax passed, I have had time to assess the successes and failures of Retrospective: Richard Bolam at 50 and decided to do the whole thing again when I am 60. It won’t be the same, but it will be in some ways. The work is all in the past and some of the documentation will be the same, but there will also be a lot of new stuff and hopefully a few loose ends tied up that I didn’t have time or resources to complete.

This blog will be my main site for any new work in the intervening years and I will be working towards a year of fun and excitement between April 24 2024 and April 23 2025. If you didn’t see any of the Retrospective stuff, there is an ample blog here:

And there is a new blog for Metaspective: Richard Bolam at 60 here:

There are also a series of BOLAM blogs (see right) that are there to contain various simultaneous projects and there will no doubt be lots more product.

Stay tuned…

Where next, Columbus? #BolamProspective #BolamAt50+3 #Bolam123

It’s a long story, but I took some time off from making and posting stuff everyday. It started as a partially enforced hiatus of five months but became 18 months before Rick’s Fast Art Takeaway in Orchard Square, Sheffield. There’s lot’s more to say and much of my thinking has changed in the last year and a half, but fear not, nothing has gone away. There will be more Playbolams and Bolam101s and Bolam365s and #NUNK etc. I will report on these development at some length, so stay tuned…

In the meantime, Rick’s Fast Art Takeaway is about to end in Orchard Square, and there will be a couple of dates for it at Cupola Gallery in Hillsborough, Sheffield.

More soon.

Principia Bolamatica – In which is contained the whole of wisdom #Bolam365+2 #BolamABC #BOLAM

Principia Bolamatica cover v2

Front cover of the Principia Bolamatica.

Like everything I do, the title of this post is both a joke and deadly serious.

When I was young, I used to collect and read books about the occult. I was looking for an answer to a question I didn’t understand, I suppose, but long before middle-age I realised that there is no answer. Only more questions, and the many mysteries and contradictions of life have no resolution. At least, none that can be understood by mere mortals.

That is the nature of life, the universe and everything.

My two previous attempts at a 365 project have been failures. The first seemed like a good idea:- for my 50th year, I was going to post a number of references for each of the 365 days including, a piece of music, a life experience, a work of art, and event that happened on that date etc etc etc, each day for the whole year. But the project was unwieldy and in the end I decided to just post one image that I had created, each day for the 365 days.


Despite, and possibly because, of this simplification, it had no coherence and, and the whole work added up to be nothing more than an administrative apology.

Bolam365+1 started of as an extremely coherent idea, comprising photo-composites of multiple “Bolaminions”, accidentally captured during timelapse shoots.

Bolaminions 1024x768.011

But I dropped the ball at the end of October 2015 when I got distracted onto other less important, unsuccessful, but highly time-consuming projects. I never caught up and now it’s too late. The second attempt was a much better project and I might re-run it and finish it another year.

I hesitate to promise too much for #Bolam365+2 in case it turns into an other damp squib, but here goes…

The Principia Bolamatica is a collision of images and text from notebooks and old work, partly inspired by Malaclypse the Younger’s Principia Discordia, Isaac Newton’s Principia Mathematica, and the cut-ups technique pioneered by Brion Gysin and used by Williams Burroughs & David Bowie (amongst many others). All significant influences on my work in one way or another at one time or another.

Anyway, I hope to publish one page a day for the 365 days of #BolamYear03 aka #Bolam365+2. Expect numerous revisions and I make no promises, my track record so far is nothing to be proud of.

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


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.

Stateless-Child Asylum Application, Virgin-Birth DNA Test & Work Capability Assessment Christmas Nativity 2015 – Playbolam™ World-Of-Fear™#BritishValues

xmasx 2015 playmobil & drone graphics v1.025

Here is the special limited-edition Playbolam™ World-Of-Fear™ Globalised Migrant Nativity, representing all the good things that have come to pass thanks to the legacy of ThatcherWorld™.

This strictly limited edition playset includes The Angel of the Lords, Baroness Hatchet, overseeing the triumph of price over value from Blue Cuckoo Cloudland, German Shepherds watching their stock by night and day, the Three Wise Investigators bringing administrative rigour, a single mother / people trafficker / benefit scrounger / illegal immigrant, a stateless child / potential terrorist and an excellent-value government Special Adviser.

Also included is a foreign-looking Saint Nicholas impersonator, and an evil socialist, trying to take “other people’s money” away from the hedge-fund managers and dark-pool investors in order to squander it on social housing and benefit scroungers.

All of this is made safer by the deterrent of militarised police.

Merry Christmas.