Tag Archives: art

How Do You Feel About Tattoos?

Elephant tattoo

That’s a picture of my daughter’s back, she had the tattoo done a few days ago. Even though it’s pretty big, she’s had it done in a sensible place, half way down her back so it will really only show if she’s in swimwear. Not that I feel people should have to hide tattoos if they don’t want to, but unfortunately there are still some career choices where it can be a hindrance to have them visible – she is considering going into law, so that would be one such example.

The reason she had this tattoo done was in memory of her Dad. She loves elephants, she loves Disney, and one of her Dad’s all-time favourite films was The Jungle Book; with this being an image of an adult and child elephant from the film, it ticks all the boxes. It’s quite large as you can see; she initially wanted smaller but because of the detail on it, it needed to be a certain size.

In view of her reason for wanting it done, I chose not to say anything negative about the idea when she first mentioned it. What I did do though is make sure she took a long time to think about it before going ahead to be absolutely sure. She first came up with the idea around the end of October, soon after he died, and right away thought of The Jungle Book elephants. She then turned 18 in December, so could go ahead and have it done whether I agreed or not. And it’s now April. So she gave it over five months without changing her mind.


This is the elephant tattoo in mid-process

I don’t have any tattoos myself, but I don’t have anything against them. I’ve seen many that I find beautiful; high quality works of art by any standard, and others not so much – as I’m sure you all have. But it’s personal choice if people want to permanently ink their bodies; unless they’ve chosen a highly offensive image, then it’s really not anyone else’s business. Often people have very touching stories about why they’ve chosen to have certain tattoos. It doesn’t worry me in the least if someone I’m dealing with has tattoos, even in a professional context.

The only reason I wanted to make sure my daughter took a long time to decide is because the reality is that many people do regret tattoos. We all know people who regret tattoos. So even if my daughter does come to regret it years down the line, at least she won’t need to be cross with herself for rushing into it. This is part of her healing process from her Dad’s death – she thought of the tattoo, she chose the particular image, she paid for it with her own money – she owns it in every way. And if it helps her then I’m very pleased.

And do I like the tattoo itself? Yes I do, I think it’s rather lovely.

What do you think about tattoos? Do you have any?

Photo credits:
Image of elephant tattoo taken by The Belly Bar, where she had it done
Image of the tattoo in mid-process taken by me


The Picasso Dilemma

People looking at a Picasso painting

The dilemma goes like this. There is a burning building, inside is a child and a Picasso painting. You can only save one, which do you choose?

“What dilemma?” I hear you cry. “There’s no dilemma, OBVIOUSLY you save the child!” Obviously you do…although…hmmm…if you save the Picasso, you could sell it and buy mosquito nets for Africa, potentially saving thousands of children (and before anyone says it, yes I know the Picasso probably wouldn’t be ours to sell, but this isn’t a real scenario people, we’re just discussing the concept!). Saving the Picasso therefore potentially results in a greater good. I came across this dilemma on a BBC news article in December about giving to charity, and it keeps popping back into my mind, so I thought I’d share it with you – hey don’t mention it, it’s what I’m here for!

So the dilemma remains. Even if we accept the logic that saving the Picasso would potentially do more good, if it came to it, if we were really in that position and faced with that decision, how many of us could actually turn our backs on that child that is right in front of us? It’s far easier to turn our backs on the thousands of children in Africa who need us, we can’t see those children, we can’t hear their cries, they’re easier to ignore. Ouch.

What does the decision say about us? Are we being human and compassionate by saving the child in front of us, by reacting to that direct need and cry for help in front of us? Or are we being hugely selfish and just doing that for ourselves, because we couldn’t live with ourselves if we had turned away from the child in need that was right in front of us? But if our instinct is to save the child in front of us, then maybe that is the right decision? After all, our human instincts have evolved to where they are for a reason. Or have we evolved to think beyond our instincts rather than blindly follow them? Which is it?

Goodness, this is pretty intense stuff compared to what usually goes on around here isn’t it. I don’t offer an apology for that though, it’s good sometimes to question ourselves, and what motivates us. Clearly the concept I’m discussing here doesn’t just apply literally, we can no doubt relate it wider.

Any thoughts? (Preferably thoughts related to what I’ve just written about, but not necessarily, I’ll take any thoughts).

While we’re talking about mosquito nets (and this wasn’t the original purpose of writing this post, but it seems a shame to waste the opportunity), if you want to help the fight against malaria, you can donate to the Against Malaria Foundation. A net costs $2.50, and 100% of public donations go on buying nets.

photo credit: IMG_0951.jpg via photopin (license)

Mike, I’ve Done That Doodle I Promised!

Doodle by Vanessa

Last week when I was lamenting over losing my blogging mojo, Mike Allegra, aka heylookawriterfellow commented that sometimes when he loses his blogging mojo, doing a doodle-centric post can help, he suggested I might try that, his words were:

“Maybe you should doodle? C’mon. Let’s see a doodle.”

So I doodled. Clearly I don’t have Mike’s artistic abilities. What he describes as doodles with his own work are so much more than what I would call a doodle. If you haven’t seen his doodles, there is a little selection of them on this recent post of his, including one he did for me a while back. Mine is what I call a doodle – random squiggles and lines.

I occasionally do a doodle like this one I’ve done here. I tend to avoid tasks that require a lot of time and patience, but doing one of these requires both of those, so it’s a good exercise in discipline for me, and it’s quite relaxing and therapeutic too. I often give them a theme, this one’s theme if you haven’t figured it out already is – hello in different languages. Apologies to the languages I didn’t include. I even included a “Hi Mike” in this one – can you find it? What else can you find in there? Why am I sounding like a kids’ TV presenter?

What I lack in artistic ability, I perhaps make up for in effort – you can at least appreciate the effort that’s gone into this right?!

Do you doodle? If you do doodle, what type of doodle do you doodle do? 

This year I’ve been an exhibit in a gallery…and so has my patio furniture

Earlier this year, I had the opportunity of appearing in a short film being made by the artist Edward Thomasson. The film was called ‘Inside’ and was part of an exhibition of the same name that he was having at the South London Gallery. It was an exploration of different kinds of ‘inside’. My partner Neil was also in it. He and I are singing on a sofa, and he is also the prison guard. Edward didn’t want professional singers, he wanted it to sound like an ordinary couple talking about something that had happened in the news, but in song. So to reiterate, we were DELIBERATELY not sounding like professional singers, because yeah, we totally could have sounded like professional singers if we’d wanted to, got it?

The film is 15 minutes long, so you might not want to watch the whole thing (there won’t be a test…well, maybe just a short one), but if you want to see it, it’s below. You’ll have to ignore the big ‘Wondershare’ watermark/logo on it; that was down to my failure to find an appropriate file conversion program to convert it into a format that I could upload to YouTube. I spent a long time. Nothing worked. I had to settle for this one that slapped the big old watermark on there…

More recently, a Facebook friend put out a call for unwanted old white plastic patio chairs. Her artist husband, Sam Westbury, wanted them to use in an exhibition he was putting together, entitled ‘Can’t Open the Door’. And you’ve guessed it, I stepped up. My four old white plastic patio chairs, which had been festering outside for years, were handed over.

Two nights ago, we went to see the exhibition, or ‘Immersive installation’ (See how I’m learning all the lingo now that I’m so in there with these arty folk) at ‘The Pie Factory’ in Margate. I took a photo of the section with the chairs, which is posted below. It looks a bit strange out of context here, but it’s part of a whole story that the installation takes you through. I’m certainly no art critic, so I wouldn’t presume to review it, but I truly did enjoy it. I had the opportunity for a chat with Sam, and he explained it all to me (in words that I understood), and it made perfect sense, I could see how all the elements worked together. Sam even said that one of my comments was very perceptive (Me! Perceptive about art!). It’s called an ‘Immersive installation’ because you don’t just stand and look at it; you experience it, you become part of it. It also stayed with me, I kept thinking about it afterwards and over the weekend. Anyway, without further ado, my old chairs are in here somewhere:

Patio Chairs

If you would like more info on Sam’s exhibition, and more photos, there is a Facebook group here – https://www.facebook.com/groups/452476074774097/

So have you ever been an exhibit in a gallery in the same year as your patio furniture has, or is it only separate years for you guys?