The Big Bang Theory
There’s a fundamental completeness about something coming out of nothing.
We have a fairly well-established model of that called the Big Bang Theory (a scientific point of creation) and, whether you believe it or not, the thought of something so magnificent and total being born from a single point is universally accepted, even if it’s not in the context of the birth of our universe.
Seeds and saplings, ripples in water, firework displays – the principles of explosion is all around us in the natural world and the one we have created for ourselves. And I am deliberately avoiding the whole war narrative here, even though it’s hard not to let it creep in to our thoughts.
Explodium is a voyage into a new era for me and the very first large scale painting I have done using some new techniques (for me anyway). There are a number of things that mark this out when compared to almost everything else I have done.
So here it’s worth pointing out that there are absolutely no tools used once the paint is on the canvas. Every ounce and drop is maneuvered by the use of centrifugal force alone. So the use of my bespoke (and painfully expensive) spin machine is critical to the way in which Explodium was created.
Brand new techniques
Let’s briefly talk about my spin machine seeing as it’s at the centre of the creative process. It’s a wholly unique bit of kit that consists of a variable speed motor and gearbox mounted to a fabricated table and rotor assembly that allows me to accelerate a spinning platform from zero to 200rpm in a few seconds.
With the genius of my colleague Adrian and the help of a robotics engineer (for the programming of the ECU) I have access to the most wonderful contraption that can almost bend time and space!
I exaggerate of course but when I have a 2.5 metre wide platform, weighing 50kgs spinning at 200rpm (just inches away from my privates) it gets pretty intense. This kind of leap into the unknown is exciting and a little bit foolhardy at the same time. But then if you never go beyond what you know you don’t get anywhere right?
However, this is just the start. You can have all the tech in the world but it’s useless if you don’t know what to do with it. I have some pretty strong opinions on that, as well as the whole process of spinning canvases. You can read more about that on my dedicated page on spin paintings.
Battling with paint
I exclusively use my own formula enamel paints and these are difficult to use at the best of times. However, when you’re trying to get these sticky and thick paints to move over large distances they become even more of a nightmare.
Part of that problem is down to the need to thin them down so that they can move from the centre of the canvas to the edges. They don’t travel well if I’m honest.
They need to be thinned down to get them to a more liquid like consistency. However, once they reach a critical point of dilution they become pretty watery and lifeless. So they definitely have a limit on how far you can alter their viscosity.
This was one of the challenges with Explodium – getting paint to reach the edges without losing structure, lustre or depth. I nailed it though.
Why you need plenty of space
Yes, you’ll need a big old wall for this. More than I would normally recommend for a 2 meter square painting. The reason for this is down to the way the painting seems to continue beyond the physical constraints of the canvas.
My focus group have all pretty much said it feels way bigger than it really is (and it’s pretty big already).
In one of the photos I have shown it hung as a diamond and this makes it look bigger still. I think you need a big pair of balls to own it anyway and an even bigger pair to hang it like this.
But in any case, testicle measurements aside, it’s a compelling, colourful and highly individual original painting that will pat you on the back every time you walk past it.
I genuinely can’t think of a better way to crown the success of your new build or major renovation.
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Swarez Modern Art, Upper A1 Lightpill Mill, Bath Road Trading Estate, Stroud, Gloucestershire, United Kingdom. GL5 3QF.
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