And after the date in the warehouse basement playing disco house I was feeling a little dispirited and so I walked around goose green for a half hour at 4AM taking photographs of the foxes and their fur was matted and rotten looking and they were the size of dogs. The next morning we woke up and drank champagne again and one night, a few days later, passing the stairs, I saw a man standing on the bottom step with a glowing white face.
Recurring dreams of icebergs, of visiting a city similar to somewhere in Holland, and standing at the docks and looking out towards the horizon, icebergs rising above the water. Often in the dreams we ride a boat tour out towards them, dressed in fluorescent life jackets, crashing over the grey, freezing sea and when we look down into the dark water there is a total sense of gloom and adventure, and there are large, smooth skinned animals circling below the waves. In some dreams we walk across the icebergs, the snow crunching under our feet, the air startlingly cold, everything lit by a low, amber coloured sun. In other dreams, we perch on the edge of the icebergs, dangling our legs, looking back to shore and the city is a string of fairground lights flashing against a black and blushing sky.
And as I was waking up all I could imagine were delicate sheets of glass sliding in front of one another. I had dreamt of chasing giant onions rolling down a hill and some sort of military guided mass exodus.
Later, there was a machine made out of silk screens and iron filings and we were painting on it from a distance using magnetic remote controls.
hand your love out
New Fiction: Nothing Happened in the Artinskian Age byRead it: http://theneweryork.com/nothing-happened-in-the-artinskian-age-tom-offland/
The newer york published my short story!!!
Last year I made lots of shabby, food based versions of works by Damien Hirst. Crumpet paintings, a fish finger in jelly (the impossibility of fish in the finger of someone living) and a sweet corn skull (for the corn of cob).
I was going to exhibit them, but the fish finger went mouldy pretty quickly and also I destroyed most of the crumpets in a fit of sadness and drunkenness and then kept a bin bag of broken coloured crumpet pieces in my room until one day there was a mouse in there and I had to throw them out.
I’ve still got the sweetcorn skull though.
What I remember from Salvation Mountain is that we drove there through the desert and we couldn’t find it on a map but rather saw it on the horizon, a mile distant, over a freight track, something built out of paint and slumping bales of straw, blue and white and red and yellow, rising out of the sand.
Before that we had driven through miles of wind turbines, their blades reflecting the blinding sun and turning slowly in unison like strange, metal trees growing from the desert and we had pulled up on the shore of a wide, silver blue lake that was still and steaming and looked as if it were an immense coin left lying in the wasteland.
We had driven through a sewer outlet and had to turn around at a chain linked fence which had a sign strung to it warning of military missile tests and we stopped to piss out there on the scrub, our piss pooling in the scorching sand and somebody had said something about being murdered by a drug cartel and getting left in the Chuckwalla Mountains for the turkey vultures.
The last town we passed through before reaching the gatehouse at the entrance of Slab City and the eventual slopes of Salvation Mountain, was a sort of surrealist masterpiece left baking at the southernmost edge of North America, composed in equal measures of metal fenced static homes, burnt open general stores and giant, empty Romanesque court buildings, their pillars and balustrades flaking in the desert sun and graffitied with spray paint and littered with bullet holes.
There was a yellow brick road painted on the rubbery steps of Salvation Mountain and messages on its every side pleading with pilgrims not to stray from it. At its summit, you can look out over the withered and endless country and down at the blue streams flowing permanently in gloss paint from its sides and at the garish chapel and catacombs, built out of straw and paint and wire, sprouting from the mountains feet and filled with weird offerings and plastered with messages of love and echoing with the burnt out voices of the desert crazy human beings hidden somewhere amongst it all.
I remember standing up there, at the summit, and thinking about the man who had built that mountain in the desert out of paint and straw and string and him carrying bales and emptying buckets and sculpting the thing for decades in that impossible desert heat and that he had seen god in the desert and that Salvation Mountain was his testament to god and I remember thinking that I felt in awe of the mountain and of the man but that I couldn’t feel anything about god.
As we were leaving, two men had pulled up in a convertible at the edge of the mountain and one of the men said that he owned a mattress factory in Iowa and that he was on spiritual journey to the town where his ancestors originated from, only on the way he had come to realise that his spiritual journey was really leading him to salvation mountain, though he had visited the town of his ancestor’s one night anyway, driving slowly without stopping.
Recently my friend Sam opened a bike shop in Camberwell Green called Seabass cycles (http://seabasscycles.co.uk/). It’s named after his dog Seabass, who I shared a house with for a couple of years, and who is essentially a little, hairy man pretending to be a dog.
Here are some paintings that I did for Sam’s shop, I wanted to paint Seabass in various scenarios around Camberwell, driving a bus, hustling drunks in a snooker hall called Johno’s, etc.
I’m going to do some more as I think there should be an entire gallery dedicated to Seabass.