Life is elsewhere
I bought this suitcase in Santa Barbara, California. It epitomized the weary traveller who has been everywhere but still can't find what he is looking for, a bit like someone else I know. When I opened the suitcase I found a large magazine printed in braille. I felt the embossed paper, but had no idea what it was about. The shop assistant explained it was a copy of Playboy magazine. My fingers once more caressed the embossed paper but I remained blind to the erotic content.
The broken plate and after-image
A few minutes before we got married we bought a set of antique plates. A little while later I dropped one and was reminded of a previous relationship. She, the woman in question, was standing in the kitchen throwing plates on to the floor. I thought that only happened in films. But I was wrong!
Chip big chip
I bought this loaf, painted it Virgin Mary blue (only in Ireland!) and placed a small plastic fireman (the one Regina gave me) with raised axe beside it. I suppose it’s a bit obvious how to read this?
I bought another loaf and painted it to resemble my favourite kind of landscape with gently rolling hills and a valley dissecting it: Drumlin country, from the Irish word droimnín ("littlest ridge"), first recorded in 1833, an elongated hill in the shape of an inverted spoon or half-buried egg. This loaf landscape amused me so I topped it off with a small plastic sheep dog. Here Boy.
There is more to the word than meets the eye, but I am not going to spell it out. I made this little sculptural please and had it manufactured in an edition that remains unlimited. I sent it off to the Tate Modern and sold it again and again. I thought this would go on forever. Well, I suppose nothing goes on forever.
Forget the painting
I found this painting palette (originally rectangular) and cut it to shape. The unintentional and unresolved daubs are, I think, more interesting, more expressive than the finished painting, which of course I never saw.
Drawing the line
I unravelled a coat hanger like one does, twisted it, saw a face and drilled out enough lead from my pencil to attach the twisted wire. I felt better then. Well, for a while. That's what artists do isn't it.
Good news will come to you from far away
On my birthday, my big day, I received a golden envelope in the post, which I kept and used as a template for making this folded lead envelope. I should have sent this with a heavy note inside, a Dear John. Instead I placed a printed card inside that read:
Good news will come to you from far away, but of course I never sent it.
The golden rock
I bought a second hand book called The Art of East Asia from a shop in Limerick and it fell open at a page with a photograph of the Golden Rock in Myanmar. I immediately knew I had to go there. So I went. I walked for five hours with a father and his two young daughters atop the mountain ridge visiting monks and sharing tea, we had no common language but they showed me the way until I could see the Golden Rock. When I turned around there they were — gone.
Exploded in space
The act of painting these nuts and bolts had a zen quality; I thought I could go on painting them forever, and then have a major exhibition in some prestigious art gallery.
There are no guarantees
I heard a story on the radio about asylum seekers who had been asphyxiated in an airtight articulated transporter. That night we went to see a film about asylum seekers who were shot dead as they emerged from a similar transporter. The next day I received in the post a miniature articulated truck, which haunted me. I removed the small plastic container, fabricated a small wooden coffin and attached it to the truck.
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