Sunday, 6 January 2013

Culture-Jamming with the Lords of Finance: Jamie & Bob

I have many artists in my family - for example, my mother creates psychedelic textile art, and my uncle  Stidy is a political cartoonist - but I feel over the last few years that I've been giving too little attention to the dark arts of art. So, welcome to my first exhibition.

It all started when I was messing around with one of those demotivational poster generators. I was reflecting on the sad greatness of the now departed Bear Stearns, and Shakespeare came to mind with the speech of Mark Antony, when he says "Friends, Romans, Countrymen, lend me your ears, so that I can sell them to an investment bank that wants to securitise them". One thing led to another, and I created my first masterwork. I called it simply, Bear Stears, but it is now known amongst collectors as 'ear 'ear.

When I first put it out for auction on Ebay, the piece wasn't well understood, it's meaning opaque like a Cayman Islands SPV. But, there was one man whose heart it captured, and he offered me $10 a share for it. He was my first patron, JP Morgan CEO Jamie Dimon.

I do dedications
I was inspired by Jamie's bold leadership of JP Morgan, and also wanted to keep him sweet so that he'd buy more of my art, so, in honour of him, I made a special edition print called The Dirty Work. It was a simple portrait against the backdrop of his respected asset management division, showing his understated elegance. I pinged him an email with a JPG copy, but his personal assistant replied saying "Jamie says you've hurt his feelings and should go screw yourself". I'm still confused by this response, but I think he's a bit sensitive because his company is being sued for Bear Stearns 'Shit Breather' mortgage bonds.


I do commissions
You learn to deal with the rejection in the art world though. As it happens, there was a silver lining, because Bob Diamond saw The Dirty Work at a distressed asset auction. He was impressed, and called me up on Skype, saying he was nostalgic for Barclays and that he wanted a piece reflecting on his tenure at the bank that he was thrown out of. I was sensitive to his wishes. I created a work called Libortarian Dreams, featuring dreamy blue imagery from his past. Bob, unlike Jamie, was very happy with it.



I do deep social commentary
It's all too easy for an artist to become slaves to their patrons and to lose touch with the everyday person. This is why I do special edition print runs of more down-to-earth creatures, like Morland, the Merrill Lynch Bull. Morland has always felt objectified on Merrill's logo (they even incorrectly refer to him as 'Dollar') and wanted to use his position to draw attention to the plight of less fortunate cattle in the factory farming industry. He helped me design, and posed for, a touching piece called Bully Beef.


Morland was kind enough to pose for me in another print too, featuring my brother reflecting on a nuclear explosion that I made on PaintShop. Both of these prints go for the meagre sums of £450, payable also in Bitcoin.


So, what do you do? Become an artist
Pablo Picasso once said "What do you think an artist is? An imbecile who has only his eyes if he is a painter, or his ears if he is a musician?... On the contrary, he is at the same time a political being, constantly on the alert to the heart-rending, burning, or happy events in the world, molding himself in their likeness." He also said "there ought to be an absolute dictatorship of painters", so go out, ye dictators and be merry, paint Canary Wharf in bright canary yellow, Wall Street in emerald green and Hong Kong in neon lava orange. Send me your images, and I'll put them up.


  1. Great works. Should endure.

  2. Dear Brett,
    Just a tip. To post a comment is difficult. Something is not right.

    1. I'll take a look at the settings - not sure why

  3. Bretto, you crack me up :) Your long lost cousin in Antarctica x