Friday 17 November 2017

Cine Lo-cal

Episode I: The Room

I’ve been sitting on this idea for a little while and was spurred on to see it through to completion by uncovering an article about the tolkieneditor. That is an anonymous editor who has cut the horrendously overlong trilogy of The Hobbit films into one succinct 4-hour experience.

This project is not unlike that, taking what is necessarily a bloated source (The Room) and condensing it down into something more palatable. Where this differs is in that I’ve cut out all extraneous scenes in the film and left only the incidental footage of San Francisco.

The Room has largely been considered the worst film of all time, so much so there is a new comedy about the making of it (The Disaster Artist) coming out soon. When watching this film for the first time, I couldn’t believe quite how much filler material was left in the final cut, and how much of this excess landscape footage worked well.

I felt like this would be a good time to make something slightly humorous and abstract out of the film.

Cine Lo-cal Episode I: The Room from rouse_j on Vimeo.

What has actually happened, and to my surprise, is a somewhat coherent stitching together of typical San Francisco scenery that alludes to both the nature of tourist photography and traditional Hollywood filmmaking. The footage is quite peaceful to watch, and I think it stands alone rather well as in its singularity.

For added absurdity, I’ve repeated this 3-minute sequence until to fill approximately the length of the original feature film of 1 hour 40 minutes. To watch the entire thing would be considered a slog, and to some extent this references the source material too. What we have left of the film appears in exact order with stock city ambience as the audio.

In deciding on a title I came up with Cine Lo-cal, a little play on words for something that is both about location and also a stripped down (or low calorie) substitute. This also allows for some development of the project to include perhaps a few more films in the series. We’ll see how this goes.

Wednesday 15 November 2017



I read a conversation between Grammy-winning singer-songwriter Jason Isbell and Man Booker Prize winner George Saunders where they discussed each other’s creative practice.

In the piece, they both bring some genuinely fascinating points about their thoughts on ‘art’ and being an ‘artist’. Much of their discussion mirrored my ideas on creativity, in that I’ve always considered art (in whatever form) as running something of a parallel to science. It is important to have scientific research that eventually leads to scientific breakthroughs. I see art as being the same. I’d argue that it’s important to have people making art which will eventually lead to cultural breakthroughs. The quote below outlines Isbell’s thoughts on the subject.

"I feel like art exists because it is needed. And I think a lot of it has to do with how you aim the work that you’re doing, and if you don’t aim it at all, if you’re just throwing chickens out the window, then I think in some ways you’re making art. Because if it’s more important to you to say something, even if that something is convoluted and hard to understand, than it is to attract something, or to sell something, then I think you might be making art."

Link to the article here. Worth reading for some further elaboration and discussion.

Tuesday 7 November 2017



About a week ago I made a quick trip over to Dublin and visited a few exhibitions. In the intervening days I’ve managed to pick up some abhorrent stomach virus so for my own clarity I think I’ll discuss only two of the exhibits here:

IMMA Collection Freud Project
Irish Museum of Modern Art

I find it sometimes takes the sustained experience of multiple pieces to partially comprehend an artist’s work, and I certainly left this exhibition (of 50 pieces) with a newfound appreciation and something of a more profound understanding for Lucian Freud.

The content was quite mixed, with both paintings and etchings represented and various subject matter across the mediums.
Reflection (Self Portrait), 1985, Oil on Canvas

Included in the exhibit were one unfinished painting and an etching plate. As an artist, I feel preconditioned to place value and intrigue on medium and process, and seeing these objects, along with some telling descriptions regarding certain paint colours, is truly fascinating. Much has already been written about Freud’s long and labour intensive live sittings, but seeing behind the scenes is always inspiring to me. The collection spanned three floors of the outer building at the Irish Museum of Modern Art, one of my all time favourite galleries.

Eithne Jordan: Tableau
Hugh Lane Gallery

Before this exhibition, I was unaware of the work of Irish artist Eithne Jordan. Her work consisted of mostly small paintings of uninhabited interiors. I’ve had my paintings described as having ‘Irish colours’ quite a few times, and, looking at Jordan’s work I can say the same. The subject matter is often functional rooms. The image included here is one that caught my attention, some part due to the projector displaying a little error message to the bottom right and also due to my fondness for the desktop as a great revelator.

Conference Room II, 2017, 50 X 65cm, Oil On Linen

Although you lose the sense of ‘scale’ of the objects in the painting, something about removing people from the composition has always felt important to me. In an article in the latest Irish Arts journal, Jordan explains:

‘…if I introduced [a figure] then the painting became about the figure, not the space or the structures’

Personally, much of my work has evolved from painting gamescapes typically devoid of figures. This aspect of my own work has always been important. Like I’m capturing a moment before something wild and unknown going to happen as it typically does in such games. Perhaps I’ll write a little more on this in a future post as I have some thoughts evolving on the subject.

Elsewhere in the article, I read that work for another exhibition was explicitly completed for Butler Gallery in Kilkenny. This work focused on random findings while walking around a small town in rural Ireland. This resounded with me as I had dabbled with this in the past, and I am looking to develop a series of paintings about small town life to compliment a larger 3D game piece.

Watertower II, 2017, Oil On Linen, 50 X 65cm