Thursday, 3 July 2008

Don't Fart On My Art

British culture doesn't recognise intellectual labour. There's a debilitating climate of anti-intellectualism which greets that which isn't quantifiable, that which isn't measurable by a capitalist rationale of success as somehow irrelevant, as a curio rather than a purposeful endeavour. Try explaining the purpose of an independent record label that isn't based on making money to the lay person; like cucumber into my mouth, it just wont go. 

Regardless, it's this same logic that posits art-based pursuits as inferior to the sciences. Its an unfair distinction, which anyone who's studied fine art will attest. You can walk a business degree with little to no effort if you're just a little more than half an idiot (and no disrespect), but you can't really fake art. The proof's there, right in front of you. You've either laboured hard or you've nothing to show. And there are no rules that you can learn, no formulas to memorise that wont lead to anything other than transparent plagiarism. I guess it's the struggle for originality, to create something that hasn't gone before, that wont entice scorn or ridicule from peers. Art is hard, but it's worth it. And I know this post is self-important pseudo intellectual shite, but you knew it would be before you clicked the appropriate buttons, so stop laughing at the naughty child if you don't want your hair setting on fire.

To anyone that would bother to read this, what I've argued may well be obvious. I'm preaching to the choir, or turning away non-believers. So, what's the point? Well, I'm no artist, in anyway, mores the pity, but I think that I, we (Tough Love) have always strived towards making our records a bit more than the songs themselves. Like Factory, maybe. Not that I'd align us with their legacy, but there's an influence for sure.  Often we've been credited for this, but perhaps unfairly, the actual artists who worked so hard and so long for so little have been overlooked, or at least relegated to the side lines. That's really quite unfair. Confused as to what I do, someone asked me last week what my running of the label entailed and I couldn't provide an answer that wasn't either boring or a lie. Instead I chose to point at someone elses art and pretend it had something to do with me.  So this post is in recognition of all those that have made me look better. That's not an easy thing to do.  They are genius and they should be honoured as such. And this is me publicly calling myself out. 

Check 'em out:

Alex Ostrowski - impossibly talented all-round everyman who designed the Disco Drive 7" and T-shirt along with that rather magnificent Sequins album. It's also worth investigating his band kotki dwa and admiring his punk spirit

Chris Clarke - Introduced to us via Alex, with whom he shares a house and ridiculous work ethic. Worked on both the Popular Workshop 7" and T-shirt and helped with the Honeytrap album and HEALTH 12"

Rose Blake - Flicking through a Guardian supplement a year or so ago, I saw a T-shirt designed by Rose that made me hunt her down on the web and part with my money immediately. Her colourful and right on-point illustrations on the Honeytrap album make the fact she's Peter Blake's daughter irrelevant in an instance. Peter Blake is Rose Blake's father you know...That's the way I remember it. 

Nous Vous - Leeds based collective that not only produce beautiful and thoughtful art concepts, but also play in about a million bands all of which sound pretty sweet to me. Their work on the Situationists 10" was instrumental in its success, of that I'm positive.

Pea Math - We kind of stumbled across Pea Math's (aka Patrick) work retroactively having taken on the Mirror! Mirror! project in its final stages, but I'm glad we did. Not only a true gent, but also an inspired artist who's currently working on some AMAZING Tough Love T-shirts...

Round of applause please. And if you want to furnish their pockets a little, then I can't recommend them highly enough, the smart fuckers.

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