Step 1 – Find an old pencil sketch of Muhammad Ali that your dad did back in the 70’s in your auntie’s kitchen and decide that you want to do your own version of it. Attempt to find the reference photograph that he must have used but fail. #ali #muhammadali #mohammadali #mohammedali #stencil #art #contemporary #mural #paint #painting #wall #london #overcomplicated #sketch #70s #modern #street #urban #graffiti #lockdown #stepbystep #instructions It turns out Ali has been photographed thousands of times over the years and the internet is not particularly helpful when you can’t be very specific. No problem. You’ll just have to make the detail up yourself.
Step 2 – Using the arcane skills you’ve learned over the years turn the original sketch into a wall sized stencil and then apply to your wall in black. So far so good. This is easy.
Step 3 – After much deliberation about colour and the general direction you want the picture to take you decide on a nice bright red and go with the wallpaper with the hidden morse code message and sit back to admire your handiwork. You leave it overnight and decide to come back tomorrow to see if you’ve actually finished…
Step 4 – Have a harebrained idea about taking this piece next level by having it as three murals in one and then proceed to attempt to make this idea a reality. Constantly question whether it will work or just be an immense waste of your time. Add some detail to the hair area then try to take some classy shots. This could be as good as it gets. Really go for it and include the cat if you can and any other arty shots you can manage.
Step 5 – Apply tape to half the wall and then recolour the background in a vague approximation of the colours of the Islamic flag to denote his membership of the Nation of Islam in 1964 and his name change from Cassius Clay to Muhammad Ali. Your idea already sounds pretty highfalutin but you’ll go with it all the same.
Step 6 – Add some white to the background then, using your meagre skills at skin tone and having no reference pic to go from (other than the photo of your dad’s pencil sketch), colour the face in and try to make it look at least a little convincing. Hmmm. You’ll have to try a little harder than that.
Step 7 – Fuss around for ages trying to get the skin tone looking at least a bit more believable. That’s a bit better. Best to stop now before you go too far. Admire your handiwork and take another pic. That’s two murals down. There’s no turning back now.
Step 8 – It’s reveal time! Find the ends of the tape that you applied to the wall in Step 5 and yank that stuff straight off the wall. You’re now officially a performance artist.
Step 9 – Now you get to see if your plan actually worked. Admire your handiwork and take a few more pics. Job done. Congratulations. Then it’s time to wonder if anyone has done this kind of thing before or if you’ve finally found your thing. Think about this for approximately five minutes before your attention is diverted by the next shiny idea to pass through your brain.
To occupy the time during lockdown Manana here has started taking suggestions off of the internet for what she should do to keep herself amused. She’s already completed Zelda on the Nintendo Switch, perfected the art of making croissants and somehow become an expert in the art of fly fishing although she hasn’t been near any open water since the start of January.
Today someone suggested she paint herself blue and post the results. I’m not quite sure what the person who suggested it gets out of it but Manana was game enough. The results speak for themselves. What on earth will tomorrow bring?
It is 37.5 cm x 37.5 cm on Bockingford paper and made using acrylic, spraypaint, paint pen and watercolour.
Mathilda had been staring at the ceiling of her bedroom for the last 17 hours straight. She wasn’t incapacitated or ill or bed bound however. She was, in fact, trying to ‘touch the void’ – a place apparently outside the framework of space and time as we understand it. She had read about it on a lifestyle influencer’s post on Instagram which had a picture of them sitting on a lone rock in some holistic yoga position with a few emojis thrown over the top. And that
post had over 11 thousand likes.
Eventually she gave up because she was hungry. As she wolfed down the eggs on toast she wondered if the influencer had ever really touched the void or was actually just making it all up. Whilst she was thinking she was also watching a Trump coronavirus press conference and came to the sudden conclusion that was all she really needed to connect with the bleak desolation of the void. It turned out it was pretty easy after all.
It is A2 in size and made using acrylic, spray paint, oil pastel and paint pen.
Here I have paraphrased Jean-Paul Satre because in his play Huis Clos, or No Exit, he doesn’t actually mean people are the absolute worst when one of the characters says “L’enfer, c’est les autres” but in this case that is exactly what I mean.
There I was going on my first excursion outside in about 5 days due to the fact that I have underlying conditions. The sun was out, the breeze whipping through my wispy geography teacher style hair (cheers lockdown!) when I noticed the first idiot coming for me.
It was a middle aged woman who for some unknown reason crossed the road and walked straight towards me. Not 2 metres in front or behind me but exactly to my location. Luckily for the lady, I didn’t have The Answerer with me, a hefty blackthorn staff blessed by the gods who just loves being used to beat the stupid out of people especially when they don’t adhere to scientific recommendations. Think Thor’s hammers Mjolnir or Stormbreaker but instead of the unworthy not being able to pick up the weapon, the unworthy get a knock upside their head in the hopes it might shake loose some intelligence….
It is A2 in size and made using pencil, watercolour, acrylic and spray paint
So we’ve got the final part of our triptych up today. Like the other parts it’s detailing someone dealing with lockdown. Rachel here is in a different boat to the others however.
Rachel has a nice house, big garden, investment banker husband and has always been a high achiever. She’s been attempting to treat the lockdown like an opportunity and was doing magnificently for the first two weeks. She’s been acing home schooling and has even been teaching little Sebastian some basic Mandarin on the side but the cracks are beginning to show. She thought she heard Sebastian swear and almost burst into tears. She’s now eyeing the bottle of gin in the drawing room. It’s not even 11am.
So there you go. We all deal with lockdown differently. Just try not to be the guy in the second picture and we should all be fine.
Well good morning there! If you tuned in yesterday you’ll know we had the first part of a triptych featuring a lady escaping reality using the power of music.
Today we have the second part – ‘We ride at dawn’ – featuring someone else trying to escape the reality of the coronavirus. Rather than music however this gentleman has donned his historical war outifit, picked up his AR15 and then gone to protest (against a virus!) on the streets alongside hundreds of other like minded citizens. They are convinced it’s all ‘fake news’ and seem to be on the verge of taking the law into their own hands. Their motto is clear…
We’ve got to get through this somehow. I’m just not sure armed insurgency is really the way forward.
You’ll be glad to know I prevailed in the mexican standoff with Patrick here. His phone rang. I signalled with my eyes that it would be cool to take the call. He wandered off to take said call and I struck. Hitting the wall with what I imagined to be the cover of Patrick’s newest imaginary Afrofunk single. Straight from the mean streets of Mombasa and fresh from his new collaboration album with Seun Kuti and Staff Benda Bilili. You’ll also be glad to hear it’s shooting up the imaginary Afrofunk charts as I write. Life can be sweet, even in these dark times…