Ballons and Koons

Really looking forward to the workshop I'm facilitating at the Norwich Castle Museum in homage to the American artist Jeff Koons. 

His work reminds me of my art school days in the 80's, when he came to prominence producing  slick and clever 'one-liners'.  Love him or hate him, Koons work has been a constant remark on popular culture - creating a sickly sweet blancmange of kitsch imagery mixed with 21st century hedonism, can't wait ! 



Must see his full retrospective which has opened at the Pompidou in Paris - 

Derek Mace passes away, tutor and painter of PVC insects

Last week I was told that the artist Derek Mace had passed away.  He was my tutor when I first went to art school in Great Yarmouth as a cocky 16 year old.  He was aways a charming affable person who took his teaching seriously and put up with our many confrontations - from an angst teenager, who thought he knew it all.  

I learnt more about art in those first two years at Gt Yarmouth than I have since.  I had hoped our paths would have crossed since returning to Norfolk and I would have thanked Derek for his patience and willingness to teach such a pain in the ass.  

Tomorrow I will be attending Derek's funeral at Colney Wood Burial Place, Wednesday, July 2nd at 10.30am - to say thank you, and to see all the other people, who's life's he touched - 

Derek Mace - PVC Insects circa 1980's

Derek Mace - PVC Insects circa 1980's

Help need to find a rehearsal space in Norfolk !

This is a cry for help to the good people of Norfolk.  Jon and I, aka - Haywood Hix urgently need a space to rehearse our new outdoor performance 'works' which will open at the Norfolk & Norwich Festival on the 17th/18th May - 

  • Do you know a space we can occupy between the 12 - 16th of May ?  
  • We're looking for an old barn, village hall, something to get our 8ft 2" tall shed into ?
  • We need a space which is 16m by 10m with a height of about 4m ?

We can offer an exclusive preview at the end of the rehearsal week before the show starts its summer tour ! 

heavy lifting !

heavy lifting !

a shed load of ideas to show the passing world the fruit of two beautiful minds.
earnest companions with overalls, invention, a pet cat,
a cup of tea… and a leap of faith
everyday objects, ramshackle engineering, precise timing
and deadpan comedy all come into play in this chain reaction of a show
— Haywood Hix publicity machine

In the world, unsupervised -

On one of the wettest and windiest February evenings, I joined my wife and daughter for a memorable night at the Norwich Castle Museum for the launch of the new book and exhibition, 'Running wild' by the photographer Frances Kearney.  The venue was impressively packed -

I first met Frances a few years ago on the North Norfolk coast over dinner with my Cousin Thomas Haywood, a photographer and his artist partner Sista Pratesi.  With a room full of artists the conversation soon turned into a heated debate about the importance of 'peoples perception' of what you do.

I started drawing as a kid like all children, and continued into adulthood for a few reasons.  Firstly, I wasn't good at talking and needed speech therapy to be understood.  And I enjoyed the time spent with my painter mum, scribbling at the kitchen table late into the night.  Making sense of the world for me was always a visual thing, articulated into painting, drawing and sculpture - it was normal and natural.  

When an artist creates something, their intentions may become lost behind the 'picture' if the viewer is not intrigued enough to investigate further. The skill of a good artist is to pull you in, to make you respond emotionally, to make you 'look better' - 

Frances may not like her work described as beautiful, but it is.  Her way of understanding landscape, our relationship to it, our occupancy within it, is sometimes disturbing, tragic, but always magical.  My daughter features in one of her new works and seeing the process, the difficulty of making that image has strengthened the meaning for me.  Each work is like a pilgrimage, a fragile and timeless scene crafted through sacrifice and commitment.  I would highly recommend anyone seeing the exhibition and buying the wonderfully crafted book - 

'Untitled III',  Frances Kearney , 2013

'Untitled III', Frances Kearney, 2013

New storm brewing

Theres another massive low pressure coming in from the west, bringing the predicted chaos  to the UK roads, delaying our Christmas plans of heading off to the bright light of London Town. 

However I love this time of year, battering down the hatches, wood burner at full tilt and the nights closing in.  The water is cold and the surf windows are small, but this is the time when you can surf alone in crisp solid waves.  

So although my mind is focussing on festive merriment, my heart is already over the hump, we've passed the shortest day and like that scene in the 'perfect storm' - I can glimpse the rays of light through the dark moody sky.  Winter you rock, merry cheer to ye all !

Sunset at Happisburgh after the surge

Sunset at Happisburgh after the surge

Small town boy

My christmas out in a small market town, after a week of listening to radio Norfolk, I can't help wondering if being provincial is a positive thing...I chose to live in the provinces, like many people removed from the places that govern us.   Yet I still believe, even if delusional that I'm at the centre of a changing world.  

Whale in Norfolk

The coast where I live, is sometimes described as where the arse of England protrudes into the North Sea.   This is mostly a physical description, as East Anglia does resemble the posterior of Gt Britain, and when viewed from inland, feels a long way from the more meaningful body parts.

Sometimes I feel a twinge of jealousy looking at Cornwall with its elegant toes dangling in the mighty and blue Atlantic Ocean.  Our sea, the sea of the vikings in comparison is shallow and often brown in colour from the churned up silt.  However paddling out at sunrise in the winter months is spectacular, with grey seals for company and the improving swell from the east.

On October, 30th I was sitting on my surfboard in a playful 2ft swell, know one else was in the water except a youthful seal, who seemed more curious than usual and joined me on several waves, dropping in, just in front of my board.  I'd like to say that at this time I was aware that just out to sea, a hump back whale had been spotted cruising along the coast. however I was clueless, and only discovered this unusual sighting when I walked along the beach for coffee and doughnuts, and saw a crowd of people with binoculars peering out to sea.  When I asked what seabirds was attracting such a crowd, I was told of the discovery, and saw the plume of spray rising from the whales blow hole just beyond the reef.

Although I'm aware that our sea is not a pond and is connected to the larger oceans, it is very rare to see such a large mammal that confirms this knowledge.  If you spend time in the water and encounter anything larger than yourself, there is a sense of scale that immediately commands your respect and often ore.  I'm not sure that the sighting is a good thing, are whales meant to be this far east, is it lost, exploring, is it a symptom of changing weather patterns, over fishing, pollution or are they less rare in our waters than we think ? All I know is that peering out from land, seeing the whale, gave me a sense of wonder, an emotional response that connected me to the big stuff. 


Talking arse

how do you talk about your 'practice' without sounding like an arse ?  All I really want to say is, like most people I do stuff, good, bad but mostly irrelevant... 

Be careful of where a rant takes you

listening to a conversation the other day, about working hard for someone else to lie in bed, have 12 children and scrounge of the state.  Spoon fed from the Daily Mail...