Purveyor of Bollocks to the Crowned Heads of Europe
Tuesday, 27 November 2012
The recent making of the resin 'bell' reminded me of the last bit of resin work I did years ago - the bone being held up by the couple in the above, rather bad picture taken straight off the net from their publicity photos.
Those two represent the theatre company I used to work for and they are still going strong, but based in Europe these days. They should have got me to make that pediment and pillars too - it's not what you would call 'classical', but I suppose it does have some comic effect.
I said that I would not give a lecture about when a piece of sculptural work can be called one's own and when it cannot, but you know what a complete liar I am, and it's been on my mind for a while now - long before the making of the bell below - so here it is.
Someone who I work quite closely to has been getting sniffy for a long time about how I will always claim any object that comes from my workshop to be my own, just so long as I had total control over the conception and design, and even if I had very little to do with it's physical making.
It has always been like this, ever since any sculpture could be attributed to a single name, way back in ancient Greece and way forward to the workshop of Damien Hirst. Most successful sculpture studios employ teams of other artists and technicians (I know two of Hirst's) and many good sculptors have had very little to do with their pieces after the initial conception.
Did you know, for instance, that August Rodin never carved a single bit of marble in his life?
Well, it all came to a head the other night when I was sitting in the pub next to the slanderer with the new bell hanging up outside in the darkness, and someone asked if it was mine. When I replied that it was, a distinctly sniffy sound came from the bloke sitting beside me, and - knowing that it would be talked about after I had left the house - I decided to nip the negativity in the bud as far as I was able, by giving the bloke - who should have known better - a warning that any more aspersions cast on my work was going to actually lose me money, and I cannot afford that - particularly right now.
The message was delivered with more force than I had intended (I told him to 'keep his fucking mouth shut' at one point), but I do not regret a single word of it.
The Green-Eyed Girl was working behind the bar at the time and witnessed the whole thing.
After I had gone (stormed out, actually) the handful of bar-flies continued with the conversation until Green-Eyes came up to them and said, "Would you mind not slagging-off my grandfather in front of me?" and they stopped.
When she told me about this the next day, I thought that the slanderer should have followed on with his argument by replying, "He's not your grandfather. He had no hand in your making."
It's true - we are not blood-related, but I have been the biggest, most positive and consistent male influence in her life since her birth, and I think I have a right to call her my own.