Oil on canvas
68.5 x 33 irregular inches
I don’t normally blog personal things but Gerald Laing passed away today, I’m distraught, it’s so weird sometimes you feel like you’ve got forever… and you forget, you see I never saw Gerald as old, our last conversation revolved around Manga and his usage of Battle Angel Alita as a social allegory. Hew as a young man to me always about to do his greatest work. He was so generous to me with both his time and advice, we shared a belief in the power of images to change culture. He had a critical gaze that in a lot of ways isolated him from his peers. But what he leaves us with is a rich legacy of iconic and often controversial images. Gerald moved into a studio in Rivington St, one I was going to take, it was better in his hands. I walked passed it too many times without going up, that I regret. Last year he kindly spoke at the first Anti Design Festival and I want to share that, because the way he speaks is how I’ll remember him, and reminds me of the conversations we had… how passionate he was, and what he was trying to do and articulate, and I think we can learn a lot from it, and particularly about his perspectives on war. His message is important. I think what he spoke about is vital. I also want to share a little twitter conversation we had that was published in Art of England magazine.
STUART: How does it feel to be back in the East End of London?
GERALD: : In the last 4 years ago I have rented studios in Southwark, Chelsea, and now Shoreditch, which is by far the most active and interesting environment.
STUART: You used to live in Gilbert and George’s house on Founier Street, right?
GERALD: Yes. I fumigated no.12 for St Martin’s in 1962. Fournier street was a tip in those days. G&G had the sense to buy it.
STUART: Do you see a difference in the energy here now? A sense of avant-garde? Is
there such a thing any more? Maybe a new kind?
GERALD: I like the expression “everything changes except the avant garde.” (Paul Valery)
STUART: Do you want to share any thoughts on the paintings you hope to make or
plans whilst in london?
GERALD: My new concern is the lethal violence of the police.
STUART: Apart from absolutely nothing, what is war good for?
GERALD: Stirring the pot.
STUART: How much is the media to blame for our situation?
GERALD: The media is one of our only consolations. We are talking about the propagation and analysis of information. Knowledge is power.
STUART: Is celebrity over?
GERALD: It always is, after about a week.
STUART: Have you got any advice for image-makers of my generation?
GERALD: Draw and paint, for goodness’ sake.