29 March 2016, Bury
Hotel room horror in Bury. I try to read but can't concentrate. The book is Ma Jian's Red Dust. He travels alone through China in the 80s. Ma is both writer and painter. He's in a desert without water, almost dying. I'm not that strong, one lonely evening in a hotel room drives me crazy. My biggest adventure is a walk through the English rain to a pub to watch football and drink a pint of ale.
I'm coming back here in November for my solo show The ABC of Capitalism at Bury Art Museum & Sculpture Centre. Then I'll stay two weeks painting twelve big portraits of heroes of capitalism and three Disney themed propaganda murals. It will be so hard work that I'll be too tired in the evenings to get bored and anxious.
TOP 10 MUSTARD GAS COUNTRIES
21 March 2016, Pepino
The countries that have used sulfur mustard, a chemical weapon commonly known as mustard gas.
- Germany against British and Canadian soldiers near Ypres, Belgium, in 1917
- United Kingdom against the Red Army in 1919.
- Spain and France against the Rifian resistance in Morocco during 1921–2.
- Italy in Libya during 1930.
- The Soviet Union in Xinjiang, Republic of China, during the Soviet Invasion of Xinjiang against the 36th Division (National Revolutionary Army) in 1934, and also in the Xinjiang War (1937) during 1936–37.
- Italy against Abyssinia (now Ethiopia) from 1935 to 1940.
- The Japanese Empire against China during 1937–45.
- Egypt against North Yemen during 1963–67.
- Iraq against Kurds in the town of Halabja and the Iranians during 1983–88.
- Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant forces against Kurdish forces in Iraq in August 2015.
MY TWILIGHT ZONE
19 March 2016, Pepino
I must face the fact that I'm not young anymore. It's not because I'll turn 40 next summer but I don't understand the youth of today anymore. My art has matured, it's the most creative period of my career but at the same time I begin to see the dusk. I got a selfie stick but I guess it doesn't help much.
Jari asked me blog on his culture jamming website about my work Minstrel Show. Last year, I bought some personalized Conguitos mascots, extremely racist stereotypes of black people, holding signs with named of Mandela, MILK and other fighters for the civil rights of Africans and Afro-Americans. I expained how I was colliding the still existing prejudice to universally celebrated heroes. I was attacked by youngsters telling me that a) it's not valid to use racist pictures in art though the content is anti-racist and b) as a white man I'm not authorized to speak about racism.
My education in the art school was post-modern, now the youth is post-internet.
12 March 2016, Pepino
I came back home from Stockholm yesterday but my friend Angelique sent me a photo where she poses with my Syrian themed plates. She told about her childhood memories, the Superman was in the 80s the number one snack in the Syrian Arab Republic and is still popular.
I remember the crazy night, in September 2011, when we were driving around Aleppo in Angelique's SUV, dancing in an open air discotheque, enjoying drinks decorated with fire works. I guess you can't do that at the moment in Aleppo - now she lives in Copenhagen.
CHAMPAGNE ROOM SYNDROME
10 March 2016, Stockholm
I'm staying in Grand Hôtel and just had a three hour spa session. This is how art stars live.
Stockholm syndrome is a psychological phenomenon in which artists express empathy toward the art world, sometimes to the point of defending it and identifying themselves with collectors and museum directors. I don't suffer of that disorder but I'm sometimes afraid of champagne syndrome which refers to the situation of a poor artist kidnapped by the art world luxury. I had once a total nervous breakdown when I was unable to provide for my children but was drinking gallons of champagne. Fortunately, these days I'm doing much better economically.
MY RABIDLY ORDINARY LIFE
06 March 2016, Pepino
Today, I drove to Ikea with my wife. Spending a Sunday in between Billies, Lacks and industrial Swedish meat balls is the most ordinary lower middle class state of affairs in the late capitalist world. I felt rabidly common. I tried to concentrate in curtain rods and rails. The canteen was overcrowded and we had lunch at McDonald's. It was just the two of us, the kids stayed with my sister-in-law, and I got for dessert a white chocolate sundae with two plastic spoons. It was as romantic as ordinary mortgaged adult life can get.