I've always found the Black Dog books interesting. I first read “I Had a Black Dog: His Name was Depression” and then quickly followed that up with “Living with a Black Dog”. Both books are a simple take on a complex issue and resonated with me instantly because I liked the concept of the black dog being the ever changing manifestation of depression, always there in one form or another the same way a loyal dog never leaves your side. Since that time I've been hiding my own personal metaphor for the black dog into my art in the form of a Black tear drop flying upwards.
After a while it became clear that I needed to develop this new addition to my work and the black tear drop slowly began to grow eyes, arms and even horns making it a lot more malevolent and, for me, a more accurate symbol too. It quickly became known as the blackworm and featured heavily in my solo show at Play Dead in 2016. Not only was it more prominent in the background it was also the main character in some pieces. On the opening night of the show several people spoke to me about the blackworm and I was surprised at how accurate their interpretations were as at the time it wasn't common knowledge what it stood for. I knew from that day onwards that the blackworm needed to stay.
At the end of 2017 I was preparing for my “In Quiet Desperation" solo show and was thinking about how the name Blackworm suggested something quite small and easy to control. I needed to add some scale so I did this by incorporating a silhouette of a man with the new larger blackworm towering over him menacingly. I also developed the character which now, in my mind, began to resemble a silver back gorilla with strong forearms and dragged knuckles leaning over the silhouette with quiet authority and ready to deliver a powerful unprompted strike at any time.
I've always enjoyed adding ambiguity to my artwork, allowing you to see different things depending on your perspective, so to see that an inverted version of my latest design looked like an angry dog neatly took my Blackworm journey full circle to the original inspiration of the Black Dog books.
My current Merch T campaign to get these t-shirts printed ends on the 28th June so order yours now before time runs out!! Prices start at just £13.
See more of the Blackworm here!
Had a great day painting on giant records for the Pie & Vinyl Record Store Day Paint Jam. Keeping me company were Winniemmay, My Dog Sighs and M-one.
Big thanks to Pie & Vinyl for organising the event and Play Dead for inviting me down.
HAND PAINTED RECORDS AVAILABLE FROM PLAY DEAD
These three and three more are available exclusively from the Play Dead gallery in Southsea.
Saturday 20th January was the opening night of my latest solo show at Play Dead in Southsea, despite the post-Christmas blues and the threat of rain the preview was a huge success. I only managed to get the one photo of the crowd inside the gallery but little did I know that while I was taking this photo one of my favourite photographers was also pointing the lens at me. Can you spot him...and better still can you spot the photo he was taking further down this blog post?
As I was following the mighty Nomad Clan I felt I needed to do something different with the gallery so, expecting a flat "no chance Korp" I went to Samo (Play Dead guvnor) with my idea to paint half the gallery black and cover it with paste ups, not just a few but entire rows of paste ups everywhere. Not only did Samo agree he also organised for the wall to be painted black before I arrived to save me time. Its not every gallery owner that will work this closely with you to not only bring your ideas alive but help develop them as well.
So we are a few seconds away from opening, Samo puts the spot lights on in the gallery and notices the amazing shadows being cast by these strong directional lights and shouts out "how about we don't put the big lights on and just use the spots so we can keep the shadows, it works with the theme of the show" and sure as hell it did. The whole point of the show was playing with the dark and light side of human nature so we left the main lights off and it created a much less clinical atmosphere and a real sense of foreboding.
A massive thank you to Samo for letting me loose on the gallery and helping develop my idea and Handpoke Harry for painting the walls. Thank you to Donna for looking after me and asking awkward questions on live streams. Thank you to everyone that came out to the show and the art gang for always making me feel at home down in Southsea.
There is no shortage of brilliant photographers in Southsea including Andrew Whyte from Long Exposures who took these amazing shots. Those reflections are on point. Follow him on Twitter.
Matt shared with me some fantastic photos from my first show at Play Dead so I was intrigued to see what he came up with this time especially as I knew he was playing with film. You can check out his write up and blog here.
I'm very pleased to announce that my first solo show of 2018 will be held at Play Dead Gallery in Southsea. The show runs for 6 weeks beginning with a preview night on the 20th January.
In Quiet Desperation is the much anticipated follow up to the successful 2016 solo show will see me further explore the other side of our persona, the masks we wear and the places we go when we are alone. Bringing to the surface all the the things we suffer in quiet desperation.
I hope to see you there and would very much appreciate it if you could share the event to help spread the word.
Korp: In Quiet Desperation
20th January to 2nd March 2018
Preview Night 20th January 2018 7pm to 10pm
Play Dead Gallery
131 Highland Road, Southsea, PO4 9EY
There is a huge demand for skateboard decks at the moment with a handful of secret commissions completed in the last few days. This one however was an indulgence because I wanted to see how the rainbow feathers would work.
This large Robin Williams stencil portrait has just come back from the framers after having some non-reflective glass added to it. You can now see a lot of the detail much easier which if you look very closely includes hundreds of tiny Blackworms to make up the shadows and some large ones either side of his face.
I'm a stencil artist at heart but previous limits on my time meant that the protracted aspect of hand cutting stencils took a back seat. However I made an exception for the Play Dead show and put in the hours to produce a stencil piece of a Robin Williams photo, not only was it a great image it also linked seamlessly into the theme of the show being about hidden mental illness.
I'm both pleased and saddened to have recently sold this piece but I know the buyer well so I'll be dropping round to stare in those eyes from time to time.
After a long wait button badges are back by popular demand. This new set of four includes two Blackworms, a Korpworm and a Team Korp badge. Get yours here while stocks last.
To mark World Mental Health Day I'm releasing these brand new A4 posters of my own personal metaphor for mental illness, the Blackworm. There is no charge so feel free to print and use them as you wish. I'm really interested to see whether you frame it, paste it up or just use it as a wallpaper on your phone so let me know by tagging me on Instagram or Twitter using @korporate