I haven't written anything here in just over a year because I've had to take a break from making art. The break has given me time to leave the craziness of the past almost-decade behind. I was studying art, my mind was in the clouds and I think I forgot what 'it' was all about.
The first large drawing I made in college, before my mind became cluttered with artistic dogma, was perhaps my best and most honest. It was an ordinary scene of the tenfoot where I grew up in the 1970s and '80s with prehistoric megaliths standing outside of the drawing. I've no idea what it's about, it just seemed like a cool idea.
I had a great childhood playing in that narrow space. That time is defined in my head by endless summers and great friends. As for the megaliths, I've always been fascinated by the mystery of our prehistoric ancestors. Why did they put all that effort into erecting those huge stones? Maybe that's a silly question? Why does anyone bother to do anything? Eating, sleeping and shagging just gets boring sometimes.
Recently I decided to ease myself back into the magical world by returning to a quarter-finished drawing that had been hanging around The Fortress of Indifference for a couple of years. That drawing is Immaterial Girl, Mad Donna as the Archangel Gabriel. As a piece of work I find it totally unengaging and filled with problems. But that's cool.
Mark Hollis died the day I finished it, or at least his death was announced then. No one's sure when it actually happened or what he died from as he retreated from music and the public eye a couple of decades ago. He wrote an album that I bought at a pivotal time in my life and the news of his passing stirred up lots of emotions.
I picked up Colour of Spring in 1987 when I was a lost 17-year-old kid and it really evokes that time for me. Now that I'm almost 50 - and still lost - it reminds me of all the things I once hoped might happen.
Mark Hollis didn't give many interviews but I remember hearing him say when you play something for the first time, you play it in its most pure form. But when you try and rerecord it 'properly' you're just trying to recreate something that was already perfect and authentic. You have to keep pushing ahead and breaking new ground, otherwise what's the point.
He also said, "before you play two notes, learn to play one note. And make sure you have a good reason to play it."