June 28th, 2006


Things people do at the art school degree show

This week I visited dozens of London art school degree shows. Free Range at Truman's Yard on Brick Lane showcases lots of them, but I also visited the Royal College of Art, Byam Shaw, Central St Martin's and Camberwell, in search of... well, what? A sense of the spirit of the times? Ideas to steal? The elixir of youth? Free entertainment? The phone numbers of cute girls? The smell of paint? An exploration of white corridors? Some funny artist statements? Great views out over London?

Here are some snaps I took: a few glimpses of things people do at the art school degree show.

The fellow on the right is called Sean Hearn. He's at Byam Shaw, and I found his statement to the assessors (who'll be deciding what degree he gets) so amusing I thought I'd reproduce it here in full (after asking Sean's permission):

"Hello Assessors. In my country we have word for people like you. Fat Americano pigdogs. You are soo fat. All day you eat your burgers and hotdogs and you throw the wrappers at animals and they get them caught in their wings and they drown. You smoke cigars and blow smoke in your fat babies faces. All day you ride in cars laughing as you lick mayonnaise from jars.

"My work is visionary journey into the future. I despise all notions of linear time. I receive constant inspiration from my future selves who provide me with all the nourishment I need -- on all levels! I am not afraid of the dark side of man, I boldly wallow in all my own filth, I feed on my own arrogance and greed. Irony eats me from the inside and I care not. Foxes can always find their own way home. I express the flaws in human consciousness so the weak human psyche can see itself in all its glory and pomposity, in all its shimmering viscosity. In many ways my works is like bees.

"Fuck all other artists they bare no relevance at all. I draw on my inner power. Knowledge is my birthright. Stupid fucks. When the JuJu takes you you ride it or you die. That is my only law. You are a battery -- feel my charge. My work rushes upon you like playful kitten and then rapes you before you can blink. Climb into your cowering foxhole while I spunk on your quivering backs. Soak it in with you spine. You do not need to fear my work.

"As you well know my work is almost entirely ephemeral. This year I have been experimenting with ephemeral documentation also, in order to create an aesthetic continuum between event and document. All documentation of my expanding body of work was printed (using photo emulsion) onto leaves. The negatives were then cut into leaf shapes and scattered into the wind. Of course this was also documented. Unfortunately however the documentation of the documents were placed in a moist environment unknown to me (my mum moved them). Of course they began to rot and I was forced to discard them. Through no fault of my own I am now in the position of having no documentation. I am sure you will take this into account. Byam shaw has long been renowned for it's pioneering support of experimentation so I trust you will not hold this against me. Fortunately my father is a pioneering biochemist and this past year we have been working together to produce a fine dust which when ingested can produce art viewing experiences. A pinch is the recommended dosage for the average adult, however effects may sometimes vary. It is not recommended to mix the powders as too many artworks at one time may become confusing. Enjoy!

"In fact, fuck you. I refust to submit to a bunch of idiots. Give me a third, I dare you cocksuckers! Fuck you. Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha hah!

"Thank you for your time. May many blessings befall you and your immediate family.

Sean Hearn.

P.S. I don't think you are all idiots some of you clearly aren't, you know who you are (no, not you Stephen.)"

Don't be fooled: Sean's headed for a 2:1 like everybody else.