Please come and see me, along with many others, at Sheffield Zine Fest 2019. As well as past publications, I will be attempting to crowd-source material for an improvised metazine. I know that doesn’t real mean anything, but I don’t want to spoil the surprise.
After the world-changing success of Retrospective: Richard Bolam at 50, I have decided to do it all again when I’m 60.
Why not? The idea for having my own major retrospective came after seeing the Paolozzi at 80 exhibition in Edinburgh in 2004 and I decided to celebrate my own retrospective at what seemed like a significant year. The satirical nature of the project was in no way a criticism of Paolozzi (quite the opposite) or the curation of the show, but I was kind of scandalised by the gift shop. Every last thing that could have been stamped with Paolozzi at 80 was present in the shop; notebooks, pencil erasers, plastic rulers – you name it. But the one thing I wanted was not there – the fat coffee table book that is always produced for such comprehensive retrospectives.
That is what gave me the idea to produce all the memorabilia for my own more modest review. I have never been short of ideas and I produced a lot of stuff but, with hindsight, I allowed myself to get distracted with making new things, even though they were made out of old things, and I took my eye off the ball somewhat. What I should have concentrated on is my own version of that coffee table book. In my case it’s a multi-part magazine produced in the style of the old Exchange & Mart small ads magazine that I used to pore over in the 1970s.
I called mine “Catalogue” and planned to produce 12 issues as a part-work magazine for each month of my year at 50 (with an extra one for some reason I can’t remember at the moment). I only finished the one issue and was very satisfied with the look and feel of it. Afterwards, I realised that was the most important element of the work and should have taken priority over all the other stuff. In what I consider to be a very satisfying symmetry, I failed to produce the one thing that really needed to have been finished.
The end of the year a bit of an anticlimax, and I regretted not finishing the Catalogue. That didn’t last long, and I decided just to do the whole thing again when I’m 60.
A friend asked me what comes after the retrospective and I said obviously the prospective. That is the period we are in now – Prospective: Richard Bolam until 60 and then the next stage will be Metaspective: Richard Bolam at 60 and the countdown begins on my 55th birthday, 24 April 2019. I started preparing for Bolam at 50 a little under two years before and that was nowhere near enough time, so for Bolam at 60, I’m starting five years before.
I will be taking part in Open Up Sheffield 2019 on 4, 5, 6 May at Replicast Art Studios, 5 East Bank Road S2 2RL (opposite the Texaco garage). I am one of a very diverse group of artists in the building, so please come along and say hello. More details to follow.
I will be starting my own live broadcast, internet tv channel, Bolam TV, and the Open Up weekend will be a testbed for my dubious television hosting skills. There might be a few test broadcasts before then, so stay tuned.
I’ve shot lots of timelapse video in the past, and sometimes I have questioned my own reasoning. It’s works well as documentation, but it’s not always easy to make anything meaningful out of it. As I watched myself pottering about, this time it seemed kind of obvious.
There will probably be a few more to come.
I have reconfigured my studio to make a bit more space to accommodate the hoards of well-heeled art connoisseurs & rich patrons that will be beating a path to my door in order to throw money at me.
The garage shelving has turned out to be a good choice. It can be built to half height at 90cm (the same as a kitchen worktop) so I can work standing up, and I have temporarily built two of the benches into a full height unit to make more floorspace.
As I have worked in a lot of different media and covered a lot of subjects, I am planning to present some sort of lucky dip or wheel of fortune in order to bless my possibly meagre audience with a random taste of The Bolam™ Experience. There will also be a Bolam™ micro-supermarket, Disco-X and maybe even an appearance from The New Bank of X.
Please come and see us at the newly-established Replicast Art Studios at 5 East Bank Road S2 2RL (opposite the Texaco garage) on 5, 6 & 7 May 11am – 5pm as part of Open Up Sheffield 2018. We will also be having a launch event on Saturday 5th May 5.30pm – 9.30pm, free entry.
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.
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.
“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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
What’s more, the back of it is even better than the front.
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