Tuesday 23 January 2024

Final post for blog

Google has failed to index a lot of pages on this and other sites so I am throwing in the towel. I mean, Google even owns Blogger, which is where the blog you're currently visiting is located. If the parent company cannot see content made by a subsidiary there is something seriously wrong with either the parent or the health of the child. I blame the parent. I certainly won't blame myself, I just don't have the time to get up to speed on all aspects of search engine optimisation so am going to go over to Medium (@mattdasilva) and LinkedIn (matthewdasilva). I've also started using Prose and Post News, both of which don't require elaborate hacking skills in order for your work to be seen. It's almost exactly 18 years since this blog started and in that time I've published thousands of articles on a range of subjects. I intend to continue doing this, but just not here. If you want to stay in touch you can find me on the socials or get in touch by email and I'll work out a way to supply you with the content you require.

Sunday 21 January 2024

KDP - Kindle Direct Publishing for 'Gold 4WD' poetry book

Because I had a show coming in up Mar ’24 at Gallery 59 in Goulburn I took the next STEP and submitted a book of POEMS to Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) on 20 Jan. I’d gone through the poetry files over the previous couple of days, sorting and cataloguing them and finally putting each collection into a single MS-Word file for easier access. Once I got the hang of KDP I formatted the Word and PDF files properly, I even came up with some back-cover text – in the form of bio and blurb – to use in the editing window supplied by Amazon for the purpose.

This was all very nice and encouraging, especially because, in selecting the order of poems for the book I was able to exercise creativity just as, in writing them, authors normally do. I guess that this ordering process is normally what authors do, but I wouldn’t know not having gone through the publishing mangle before. I hope the book comes out bright and crisp on the other side!

For ‘Gold 4WD’ I’d ALSO taken the step of launching a dedicated blog, and I busied my desperate self like a good auteur making promotional tiles (see above) for the show to be used on social media. I had some great feedback from friends in this regard and even thought to myself that the gallerist might like to get the participation of the local media in Goulburn to run a story. THAT would be nice, but meanwhile 20 Jan was a Saturday this year, and I waited all the next day for news of my beautiful book’s progress through the SYSTEM. The hours dragged on while I went about fulfilling my DREAM of being a successful artist/poet.

Friday 19 January 2024

New site for poetry

'Anti Pode' is the dark cousin of HA, anti-pode.blogspot.com the yang to HA's yin, the bread to the cheese, the cream to HA's strawberries. I never thought of usig this URL back in 2006 when I reserved it. Well think about THAT,  it's been 18 years since I made the decision - not having been able to reserve antipodean.blogspot.com - to get this one. I wonder how this project is going to go. 

I've done so much with HA it's almost reached the end of its working life, but I hate letting go. I have this irrational need to conserve, as I have outlined in 'Leontography' (see link in sidebar) and so ditching HA just because I've got all these shiny new toys (shiny new URLs) goes against my nature. I'm the guy spending thousands of dollars to preserve flags, pieces of embroidery, old etchings. Give me a lost cause and I'll champion it.

I'll stuff my life with these old ghosts.

My plan with 'Anti Pode' is to post poems that have already been published elsewhere. There's an obvious selfish reason for this policy, in that many literary magazines and website require that material submitted be new and unseen. Fair enough. I did send some poems to a journal recently that had asked SPECIFICALLY for already-published material, but this is very much the exception.

I have hundreds of poems and a number of major projects, what I call collections or sequences, I sort of use the  terms interchangeably, I'm not a pedant. The 'Anti Pode' blog allows me to feature these sequences because I can make a 'Page' for the ones from which poems published on the blog have been taken. I took the images for the new site from my own records. One is from a road trip in December 2008 and the other is a shot taken out of my window in Pyrmont in about 2017. There's a tagline on the blog as well to localise it for international visitors. Many people won't get the "antipodean" reference because, to be honest, it's not a common word. So I upped the ante with a little bit of text designed to make the cartographically-challenged feel comfortable.

Go and see.

If you like anything on 'Anti Pode' please leave a comment. I have this instruction on the 'Legacy stuff' page on HA - frequent visitors might notice that HA has had a major redesign today - but it's worthwhile repeating it. Bloggers mostly work in silence and any acknowledgement of their efforts is devoured voraciously by a receptive psyche.

Thursday 18 January 2024

New blog for Goulburn show

Trying new things has always been a way of choice, so now I’ve set up a new blog for a show to take place in Goulburn from 8-22 March. ‘Gold 4WD’ is, as you’ll learn from a post I am putting there tomorrow, the title of the show because of a short visit to the town two weeks ago.

Now I’ve done my share of road trips, in fact I bought my Aurion in 2007 because I wanted to drive around the country more. I was living in Sydney and my parents were living in SE Queensland, and it’s a 1200km journey between the two points. ‘Gold 4WD’ is a sort of homage to that car because my current car, an SUV, isn’t gold, it’s navy blue.

‘Navy Blue SUV’ just doesn’t have the same ring to it.

Now, does it?

Above: the promo tile I made. I expect and hope that those of you who know someone living in Canberra or surrounds might encourage your acquaintances and even your friends to go to Goulburn on Sat 9 Mar for the opening event, it’ll be from 4-6pm. It’s just a “short” drive. Short for regional Australia that is.

My days of driving long distances, I thought, were over until I secured this wonderful opportunity with the help of Michael Garside, who runs Gallery 59 on Citizen St, but I WILL be driving down there ahead of the show to drop some things off for promotional purposes.

You can be sure of that.

For further details I encourage those of you who are reading this post to go over to the new blog to find out what it’s all about, and why I chose the name. You might be pleasantly surprised.

Monday 15 January 2024

TV review: Marseille, s 1 & 2, Netflix (2016-18)

Oh boy am I glad the French hated this wonderful show, it crackles with insight and relevance and their detesting it gives me more opportunity to say “Screw you” (see end of post). I was a bit troubled by Julia Taro’s (Stephane Caillard) mental illness but in hindsight I could see how this slightly excessive dramatic ruse was important to underscoring the horror of criminal violence. Rarely has such an important segment of TV been aired in recent years. PTSD is a horrific debility but Caillard does a good job with a good script (as well as some corny cinematography) to convey elements of that horror.

Gerard Depardieu is brilliant as Robert Taro, and I fart in the general direction of detractors who summon up the shades of his recent legal problems. I honestly sit in the camp of people who are only focused on the artistic when it comes to allocating wreaths for artistic merit. If it turns out that Depardieu is indeed guilty of what’s been accused, I’ll openly admit my detestation of that fact, but he’ll still be a good actor.

As usual with TV crime dramas there’s a good deal of parroting standard lines in ‘Marseilles’ but this is universal for the genre. It has to be noted that this show had such a big effect across the border that the Germans made a knock off in the form of ‘Dogs of Berlin’ (which is reviewed here). When I reviewed the German show in November last year I had no idea ‘Marseilles’ was a precursor as nobody else seemed to make a note of the fact, but the combination of police procedural, politics, the far right, and soccer (what the Europeans innocently call “football”) links the two shows at the belly like Siamese twins. They are two sides of the same soccer ball, and one can’t be ignored without damaging the reputation of the other, just as you can't play soccer with half a ball.

In other words, see them both and enjoy. The German show is more about the cops and the French show is more about the politicians, and perhaps that’s essential to the identities of the two close neighbours. In fact they border each other over long-contested ground, so perhaps the makers of the German show felt obliged, in order to continue to paper over old sores, to pay homage to the French. I’m glad they did because ‘Dogs of War’ is great, with the same attention to ethnic minorities in the drugs business that powers ‘Marseilles’ to its rather clumsier conclusion.

I was sad to learn before finishing ‘Marseilles’ that a third season won’t be made. And screw the French if they didn’t like Dan Franck’s creation. Vive le Dan!

Saturday 13 January 2024

Starting the new year with a bang!

Ok so I’ve overcommitted myself. It’s natural, you’d say. Don’t worry about it. But I feel like I’ve let someone down if I promise to pay for something then pull out a month later. In the past month I’ve been very busy and here I am, looking down the barrel at insolvency or, worse, making my name objectionable in London art circles. The outfit I’m talking about sticks up posters in the Underground but charges almost 500 pounds, which is like 1000 dollars Australian, and I have to pay my car insurance. Or maybe I don’t. Maybe I can get along without car insurance. This isn’t third party insurance that covers people who sustain bodily damage as a result of an accident you cause. This is insurance of the car itself.

I think I’ll let the car insurance go.

In 2023 I applied to a number of galleries and I have six shows booked in ’24. There are another six proposals out there that haven’t been answered, plus one that I put in in ’23 that’s so far gone unanswered – I am sure because I’ve checked my emails like three times. While all this has been going on I’ve been making art, but again paramontages and combines that rely on computer work. I haven’t done any watercolours since early December.

This period of a month has been validating, I feel as though for the first time I have something that I can talk about. Certain documents are starting to come together, as well, notably the ‘Artist statement’ and CV. I have tried to be thorough with these but starting from nothing in August made me wonder what I should say. It seems easier now, partly because I can write down the actual shows I’ve been selected for, but that’s not the only reason.

One thing that I’ve been doing while occupied on the computer is moderating a Facebook group. I think it offers something that people can benefit from, a feeling perhaps of acceptance, a space where their ideas can raise a response but in a safe way, a place of confraternity and ease. I like that people can post their drawings or paintings. I see the comments other people leave.

The other reason I’ve found it easier to write about making art is that I sort of better understand the basic principles behind it. That’s not to say I don’t welcome feedback from outside. I do, and have in fact asked for comment from people who are well-placed to give it.

On the poetry front I’ve also done some work, getting back to a website (Submittable) I had forgotten about entirely since I last used it in 2013. That’s the last time I was rejected. It seems like when it comes to literary arts I’ve got a thin skin. I also found an editor, but I have to get some more funds ready so I can pay him – (come now it can’t be that hard right? – well it is!

I will just keep on moving forward. With any luck I’ll get an acceptance for my poetry and so won’t have to wait a decade in order to look up the website name again.

Wednesday 3 January 2024

Combines proliferating

Not content with staying up til dawn in the lead-up to Xmas I continued the trend and made dozens of works with similar qualities. I call these combines, one of the Pop artists used this word I can't remember which it was so long ago. I was a big fan of Pop art back in the day, but nowadays find inspiration in colours mostly. I still use culture references though.

'Proof II', 2024.

Having started to do works in this format naturally I studied the possibility of using poems as well. Well, having thought about it for a few hours I decided to take action.

'The election', 2024.

This poem was written on 16 February 2013; 12 November 2020; 15 and 23 September 2021. It referred to the 2013 poll but could apply to any election. I'm still interested in poppey things, 'Proof II' is based on a drama that aired in 2007 featuring a journalist. I was studying journalism at the time so naturally I took an interest. Making photos from the TV broadcast seemed natural but nothing at the time could have suggested to me that I'd use them 16 years later in an artwork. For 'The election' on the other hand I use photos from 2022 when Labor was elected (Liberal-National coalition won in 2013).

Monday 1 January 2024

New works to start the year

Last night I was busy busy busy making combines, starting with one about NY Eve.

'Observatory Hill 31 Dec 2007', 2024.

Other things followed overnight, as I combined photos of country roads, city streets, and fireworks, TV dramas. All of the things that I love. Dad told me once that Joao Luis' family got preference in Portugal by pyrotechnics, I wonder if it's true. Maybe in 2024 I'll talk more with my family over there, they sort of got upset with me because I had been complaining about my father.

'Highway III', 2024.

'Pink', 2024.

'Proof III', 2024.

I charged through all night, making 17 combines in the space of about 12 hours. It was an epic session and I had a great deal of fun combining colours.