It's an original Weasel

I don't often, on this blog, allude to the fact that I started out as an art student.

I struggled, but I had moments when I knew I had some talent. To cut a long story short, I did a painting like this one. This painting was done by Damien Hirst. I did mine in about 1973 whilst still in my first year at Art College. My effort consisted of a skull, very much in the manner of this one, atop one of those torsos that tailors use to make suits. All was going well - it was a standard piece of painting - until I had the bright idea of embossing little white circles on it. Don't ask why, I just did it. The effect was pretty much as you see it now, and as you can see the Damien Hirst version at The White Cube.

My personal tutor at the time was one John Bellany who has since achieved international acclaim and curiously, I now live about five miles from where he was born and raised. Bellany was, in those days, a violent, nasty, Scottish drunk, who regularly turned up for work drunk, and nasty and violent, and who had very little to say because, he was totally.. drunk. Bellany looked at my skull painting and observed the white blobs. He took me by my coat lapels, lifted me off the ground and  said, "If you ever do anything like that again I shall beat the shit out of you!"

He was right.


Hamish said...

Mr Weasel,
You are wise to keep quiet about your guilty past.
Remind me: is it John Bellany or Peter Howson who paints horrendous pictures of war, hospitals, Madonna?
I prefer your depictions of the Boston May Fair.

Wrinkled Weasel said...

Hamish, I am not an authority on Bellany or much art after 1970, but the story with Bellany was that he was an alcoholic, and ended up destroying his liver and getting through the experience by drawing himself in his hospital bed while his transplant healed.

I also had the misfortune to be in the same group as Helen Chadwick, who managed to get a little fame by sleeping with a lot of people and photocopying her bum, and later peeing in snow and making plaster casts of the resultant holes. Nobody I was at college with, apart from Chadwick, ever made any money at it or became known. It was a wank and a con.

We were never actually taught anything except the art of posing.

Hamish said...

Actually my wife may have been at Art College in Edinburgh around your time (no her name isn't Helen).
She is as scathing as you are about the poseurs, but remembers one or two good teachers.

Wrinkled Weasel said...

I went to art college because I was a bit odd and could not do much else. That's what you did if you came from a small town in nowhere county. If you were weird you went to art college, if you were gay you became a hair dresser, if you wanted to see the world you joined the army.

It was a default option, one that took me a long time to get over. I dropped out after my second year and a lot later on got a degree in Humanities, which I really enjoyed.

subrosa said...

You see WW, such an encounter with a Scotsman and you still live here. :) Brave man you are!

Wrinkled Weasel said...

Rosa, it is hard to dislike Scots people, but I sometimes think they could be a bit more outgoing and friendly. I don't mean they are unfriendly - quite the opposite, and people everywhere will help if you are in a fix. It is just that, I have been up here for nearly seven years and despite huge efforts, never really connected with anybody from here on what you might call a meaningful friendship.