Performance – Brewery Arts Centre, Kendal 2015
It all began the Saturday morning, 2010 in a field near Aspatria. A big stage under heavily laden clouds. A psychedelic punk duo with a big sound come on and pierce the heavens. Downpour. The crowd runs for cover leaving just one fool sitting in the wide open space with a set of watercolours. Just as well my expeditions to the wild places of these isles have prepared me for this sort of thing.
That was my first year at Solfest. 2011 and 2013 saw me in a semi-official role as Artist-in-Residence and with it came a chance to hone various skills such as juggling my paints and brushes amid a late night dancing crowd; speed-painting when on side stage during short daytime sets; drunk painting on stage with Three Daft Monkeys during a longer night time set and frankly giving up the battle in favour of a good time. It also gave me the opportunity to experience life as festival grass when I positioned myself ill-advisedly in front of the main stage (in the mud and the blood and the beer) as the crowd gathered for Alabama 3, then, having lived to paint another day, working at a more sedate pace, finding ideas for spots, stripes, splashes and scratches of colour from the mulling idlers on a leisurely sunny Sunday afternoon.
This lead me on to covering other live events such as the Hip-hop poet Jonzi D, a Scottish dance company production called ‘Dance Derby’, the comedian Paul Foot and a production of ‘Crime and Punishment’ at the Lycium, Edinburgh.
Many of these paintings were done in one single flourish of activity leaving them raw and open ended capturing something of the spirit of the live performance itself.