“The badge-maker (portrait of Brian Haw)”
I had an interesting day Thursday gone. I had some work on show at the London Affordable Art Fair and the gallery holding it sent me a pile of tickets. Being Billy No-Mates I went up on my own but that allowed me to do something else I’d been promising to do for years… I thought I’d pay a visit to Brian Haw, who’s still camped across the road from that paragon of democracy, the houses of parliament. I don’t know what I expected of Brian when I got there, not that I had any right to expect anything. Here’s a man that’s forsaken any life he had previously (that includes his family) to protest about the despicable behaviour and murderous actions of our government. If you don’t know about him and that he’s been there since June 2001 then that shows what a sterling job the majority of the media in this country are doing in keeping you on-side. It’s also little known that this government has passed legislation to stop protest outside of the great house – however, no doubt much to Blair and his fellow pseudo-dictator chum’s chagrin, it can’t include Brian as he was in situ before the laws were passed.
Initially aimed at the illegal and immoral race for oil control in Iraq, Brian has now extended the protest to encompass all aspects of how children and civilians are being murdered around the world in our name. The great British public voted these great British murdering bastards in after all.
I planned some time ago to paint a portrait of Brian as the third piece in the ongoing series titled ‘Badge makers’ and I wanted to say a ‘thank you’ to him for what he was doing on behalf of the rest of us. He’s had five years of idiots like me coming up, shaking his hand and saying the same old stupid things to him. There’s nothing you can say to him that is adequate enough to express your gratitude – I hope he’ll understand one day when he’s got less reason to be so angry (and he is bloody angry. I don’t even come close). I left him with my packet of tobacco and a promise to see him again – hopefully not there.
I ambled up Bankside to check out the Tate. The proper Tate that is, Tate Britain – which I did mention to somebody on the way in, actually now looks like a small provincial gallery from the outside. Once upon a time it seemed huge, and then they started converting power stations, flour mills, Zeppelin hangers etc. into galleries… Anyway, next time you’re up for some capital cultural edification I’d recommend the old Tate. You’ve now got room to amble around and enjoy the paintings without the usual huge crowds stamping on your head as in the new Tate. I found a Constable that I knew of but had never seen in the flesh before, and I’m not really a fan of Constable. The analysis doesn’t go any deeper I’m afraid – I just don’t get any ‘oomph’ from his paintings. This study however, of a girl in a bonnet, is beautiful. Small and beautiful.
Oh – the art fair? Just me doing the usual art-whore thing really. Mind you there were a couple of galleries that had heard of me – I don’t know whether that’s good or not as they hadn’t contacted me. Probably had me on a list of ‘nutters to lock the door on once you’ve got him out of the building’.