Love is the devil…the building of studios…

© Love is the Devil – Study for a Portrait of Francis Bacon - Artificial Eye
Being without a studio for a protracted period redirected my arty energies hence my absence from this blog... but when a plot of land made it's self available it seemed only logical to take advantage and build our own, the benefits being savings on studio rent but most importantly the provision of an immediate space for creativity. 

For blog continuity construction has taken forever but has just completed and we are now the happy owner's of a very spacious and rather cheeky modernist looking home studio. So I'm just checking in to acknowledge that I'm still alive and active...

The studio interior is still undergoing furnishings so no glossy photos just yet...

I had originally written here a great deal detailing the construction, thinking that might be interesting but I've since redacted it because... who wants to read about DIY... 

Once the studios have been fully completed I'll post more...I promise...and showcase the 'space' being used.


The New Studios?

Foundations are being lain, remnants burnt; something new will become apparent....soon...


Prenzlauer Berg is haunted

Current poster promotion for Splendid Berlin Magazine 'Prenzlauer Berg is haunted'.

© Splendid Berlin


Splendid Berlin

Recently our good friends - Heike Schneider-Matzigkeit & Mark Fernyhough have created the rather Splendid magazine - Splendid Berlin Magazine, which documents Berlin art, style, culture and the city’s most bohemian residents who live and think on an international scale.

They have very kindly used some on my prints from Just Waves in Space (the early swimming cap shoot) as part of their regular supernatural Berlin series. As well as the Tesla Helmet prints I collaborated with Heike Schneider-Matzigkeit.

Its great to see the work getting some further exposure.
© Hilton Vasey - 'Just Waves in Space'


Snow days...

Recently we became parents, so I've been pouring all my attention into making sure this new little person is my first and only number 1 priority. Obviously I haven't missed the studio one bit. 

I've still found time to be creative be it decorating the bathroom '2001' (Kubrick) style or making a whole bunch of silly 1970's toys for the new addition.

As well as shifting my embroidery skills to these various characters, I've been reviewing my practise. Previously in this blog I’d indicated I wanted to incorporate ritual, however this period away has allowed me to acknowledge that I already do this... I’d just become complacent.

Looking over the 1st chapter 'I fell' I realise I’d actually accumulated well over 100 images for 'Just Waves in Space' but I hadn't acknowledged them all as integral, at the time casting many of them aside as spoiled!

From this I could see I had been taking for granted many of the various actions I use in these performances, repetition, drawing, limb binding etc as I had over time begun to see them as just normal!

What's next I've decided then is a more concentrated direction at ‘documenting’ each physical step I take…

'Heres me binding my face with cello tape, heres me drawing out a square on the floor etc, the various little things I took for granted will now take more of a central stage and I’m excited to see where this will take me.
For the time being I'm holding out on practise-led-work until the little-un is at least toddling around, I'm also building a studio/sun house at the bottom of the garden!....more to come.


Dont Look at the carpet...

© 1976 John Robert Rowlands - Station to Station/David Bowie

My previous works have in some form or other incorporated / referenced repetitive moves & twisted poses that have been somewhat influenced in some small part by German expressionism and I’ve spent some time trying to validate it more and more into my work.

I’ve been drawn to it for some time since it first influenced my early painting style but I’d been wary to contextualise it within my recent practise but consciously or unconsciously its cropped up here and there as a way to simplify actions into short abrupt moves but I'd never given it much thought. 

© Hilton Vasey

© Hilton Vasey

The use of more angular poses in ‘Just Waves in Space’ has become more prevalent as time goes on, enacting ordinary everyday actions like smoking, drinking tea and sitting down / falling over into this mishmash of 70's films.... I’ve realised other contextual influences are at play within the work.... this project initially is about memory, recollection and various cultural references of the 70’s and in some small part – occultism!?

© 1968 The Devil Rides Out Hammer Film Productions

I’m hesitant to comment here on links between occultism, Gnosticism, Qabbala or mysticism alongside certain artists of the period - out of respect of the copyright lawyers! –  but certain poses and angular combinations have popped up throughout their work over the years…"Don't look at the carpet; I drew something awful on it" hints to the practise of drawing the 'Tree of Life' as well as the use of angular hand movements and references to Aleister Crowley and Qabbala around the same time. 'Cheekbones Like Razor Blades' The Guardian 2010.

For some time I’ve unconsciously explored such hand signals, wall markings and ritual mark making as part of my practise, not because of any ‘spiritual’ interest (far from it I’m a practising atheist) but because of my interest in line and actions created through repetitiveness, I suppose I've always had in interest in that secretive, almost OCD way of control.  

The decision to use more angular poses and/or ritual I hope will re-enforced and develop a series of absurd and irrational situations of building something unobtainable… 

I’ve always been interested in the pursuit of failed experiments. 

So I’ve begun inventing visual elements of ritual to incorporate into the performances, as each is actually a series of repeated actions… whether or not this comes across in the finished work I’m yet too see but it could pose amusing to make drinking tea look sinister…it simply may not translate to film, video maybe but thats another story…


Death Mask

A period of much non-blogging has been filled with mask making… 

I’ve used masks in my work previously as a way to further break up form but also create a barrier between me and the camera, either via pillowcases, bin liners, light bulbs, ping pong balls or something more sculptural, providing freedom to manipulate the body and persona. 

I started using them when I needed something to block out my features as I wanted to step out of the picture, a handy pillowcase did the trick but accompanied with a set of swimming goggles allowed me to adopt another personality – but still remain me. Since then I’ve incorporated masks in one shape or another constructed from found objects into either art-objects or simple props. 

The most recent mask for Just Waves In Space is more of a death mask, the intention had been for something more ‘Mr. Newton-like’ through exaggerating the features but this simply made it look more like me, which I prefer….its a combination of a full face cast and rough bric-a-brac, house paint and plaster which weighs a tonne, my intention to produce something rough, almost hand drawn and highly contrasting so it breaks up / merges when shot with the Polaroid…

© Hilton Vasey 'Tesla Thought Photography Helmet'
© Hilton Vasey 'Cocked Hat'

© Hilton Vasey 'Just Waves In Space'


Having a nice sit down…

I haven’t posted anything for some time, since the last blog entry I was mostly busy moving studio, which was a welcome break.

The new studio has more natural light but most importantly the move allowed me the time to take a step back from the work and try out a few new ideas.

© Hilton Vasey 'Just Waves in Space'

I did a couple of impromptu shots using some hats and started work on building new masks. Refreshing as that 'alien' costume had become restrictive.  The break gave fresh perspective and valuable time to play around with ideas again...

© Hilton Vasey 'Just Waves in Space'


I fell

Latest Polaroids for the 1st chapter 'I fell', more to come...

© Hilton Vasey 'Just Waves in Space'

© Hilton Vasey 'Just Waves in Space'

© Hilton Vasey 'Just Waves in Space'

© Hilton Vasey 'Just Waves in Space'

© Hilton Vasey 'Just Waves in Space'

Carry my eyes

Following the first bunch of initial test shots I've planned out six chapters broad enough to provide room for experimentation and development: 'falling', 'lost', 'having a nice sit down', 'going a little wrong - with ammunition', 'trying to build a space ship' and 'having a drink and giving up' or something to that affect... since the last session I also introduced ping pong balls to create more of a mask. 

© Hilton Vasey 'Just Waves in Space'

The ‘eyes’ came about after watching the brilliant Marty Fedlman in 'The bed-sitting room' 1969 a surreal Milligan comedy set in post-nuclear-holocaust London and 'Young Frankenstein' 1974, as well as the RenĂ© Laloux's 1973 animated film 'Le planete sauvage' which I remember watching as a small child and only recently been able to track down on DVD. 

My girlfriend’s been giving me her honest opinions throughout, on seeing ‘the eyes’ she burst out laughing which made my day, absurdity has always been important in my work.

Le planete sauvage 1973 © Argos Films
‘Carry my eyes’ was graffiti painted on the building opposite my old studio years ago, it just came to mind…

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Unless otherwise noted, copyright of all artworks remains with the artist Hilton Vasey is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.