Tuesday, 10 September 2013

Rusting Metal, Peeling Paint - The Decay of Everyday, Portraits and so on - David Vigor Artist

Created one hot industrial afternoon in the infamous Enfield Rifle manufacturing plant, David Vigor, bastard offspring of Pollock and Van Gough, shirt designer, one time discharge harridan and general factotum, cradled the munitions that he lay on then chortled an odd sound that startled his wet nurse and filled her with a degree of fear and trepidation. It was 1956 and Britain still smoked from the ravages of war. Elvis P was King of the charts and a youth culture was exploding in supernova intensity. It was the dawn of a new age, or so we were told. 

Macmillan strode the English political stage. Kennedy's star was in the ascent. The Daily Herald was not the Sun. Rock and Roll were the gentrified name for the nigger music no one wanted to attribute to black people and young Dave gurgled. The decaying paint on the factory wall made a huge impression upon the infant child and from that moment on his obsession with rust and decay began.

Such is the way of the creative that even biography crunches hard then fails when thrown against their invention.

Few are like David Vigor who photographs peeling paint from aging walls or who places rotting string into a collage featuring flotsam and jetsam found on isolated beaches by the Thames. He walks there sometimes when the mood strikes, gazing long and low at bits of washed up tat.  His talent with the camera and computer are unequaled in my view.  The only person who comes close to his style, for want of a better word, is Dave Mckean who, until I mentioned him way back in '05, Dave V hadn't apparently heard of. If he had then let me be the first to apologise if such a word as sorry can amount to much these days let alone carry weight.

Well, steady on I hear you cry, what about people like Robert Rauschenberg? Didn't he anticipate this art form long before young Vigor was born? Perhaps he did. Maybe he played a part in throwing influence onto the Enfield man's output but remember this, copyist Dave is not as can clearly be seen by the images displayed here.

The name Dave used for his work on discharge and with a nod to the T-shirts whose design he created was stickleback2. He, just like long-horned goldfish, is an odd breed. That oddness is reflected in some of his work although its is transparently not his desire nor indeed his real self to be seen as an outsider for Dave is anything but. He is a working man with the working man's ethos. If he fails with words then that flaw is adequately compensated for his convivial nature and the curious images he creates.

As men go, Dave, is one of few words. He doesn't much like them as they only clatter around offering vague concepts whereas images say so much more.  He is emotional, sensitive in the extreme with an innate sense of self-hurt. If not gregarious he is highly sociable. Solitary at times but well grounded.  His ability to merge multiple disciplines, oil, water, line drawings, photography and then computer enhance them is quite incredible. It offers an all new perspective revealing a darker side of life or, if not that then a life as seen through wistful, melancholic eyes.

 Self Portrait?

His portraits have a remarkably photographic quality even though they are painted. Prosaic perhaps but coming from working class stock Dave has head well screwed on and portraits, when commissioned, pay the bills.

He has had exhibitions. He is exhibiting now his portraits for to sell  http://www.guerillagalleries.com/index.html

Numbered among his influences are Bill Brandt-Photographer, Andrew Wyeth-Artist, Jackson Pollock-Artist, Bill Shankly-Liverpool FC Manager 1959-1974, Howe Gelb-Musican, Egon Schiele-Artist, Pablo Picasso-Artist, Vincent Van Gogh-Artist, Dave Mckean-Artist, Mark Linkous-Musician and, of course, Jimi Hendrix who he both admires and empathises with.

These portraits reveal a talent for observation and for colour that I think remarkable. It is one of the things I advocated when both he and I lost our jobs. People pay for family portraits even though there is a singular lack of them here with pop and sports stars featuring heavily

Another area Dave would excel in is that of landscapes. I failed to find any on the internet that I could place here but there is a body of photographic work featuring Dave's, sorry, David's, beautiful scenes. These, with his talent for paint, could be transposed onto canvas. These would also have commercial appeal. Better still would be if David were to take a leaf out of Stanley Spencer's book and produce a series of Thames landscapes. He has the ability to do exactly what Spencer achieved in a modern context.

I fear his work will remain unknown either until his demise or his dotage. Such is the way of art these days that money talks as creativity walks the path of the beggar. There is no nobility in this only a down at heel despondency that throttles the creative drive. Let's hope I am wrong. This image that sits below this text is haunting - coal-black ravens on a powder blue sky. It is as stark as the end of days, the end of brief encounters when the sun meets sky as moon hustles by.

He is also viewable here...http://www.flickr.com/photos/stickleback2/

Russell Cuts the Corn From The Brewers Whiskers as he ruffles feathers of Proud Cocks and Game Birds


Vanessa V Kilmer said...

I love this series you are doing. These paintings and photos are wonderful. I find old industrial "trash" very attractive.

Russell C.J. Duffy said...

As I too am industrial trash I shall take that as a compliment!

twh said...

his photos albums on flickr are stunning. thank you for sharing!

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A Utility Fish Shed Blog

A Utility Fish Shed Blog