John H Howard
June 2009

To whom it may concern,

Many thanks to you who commented on my last entry and sorry for this belated reply. I just found there is more fun than the Spanish speaking soaps on my tv and I’ve been watching the Ted Turner channel 24/7 for the last 3 weeks. I’d also like to add that I think most of my work is really neurotic therapy. The process requires me copying some arty image that’s been bugging me, adding another that in some way complements it and repeating this until I can’t go any further. At this point I wade through the collected notes and phrases I’ve written down and choose a title – a sort of fingers crossed intuition thing. I’m currently working on another series, a lot looser but under the deeply philosophical and equally ponderous working title, “In Random Pursuit of Internal Logic” and I'll be posting some of this as soon as I can come up with a suitable disclaimer.

In the meantime,here’s another one.

I AM-am I ?

I imagine most of the artists on these pages, even the cocky bastards getting all the plum jobs have had doubts about the validity of their work as art. Even Maestro Ed Sorel in this months VF says –“I’m a good illustrator, but I’m a better plagiarist.- I’m always suspicious of the worthiness of of my own ideas. But when I steal an idea from someone I admire, I know at least I’m working on something with a good pedigree.”

Very reassuring I thought.

With not much illustration coming my way I’m forced to face and obsess about my painting. About my recent attempts to re- float my sinking ego I wrote- There are no paintings being made today that don’t in some way or another, reference the work of others. Plagiarism is only acceptable when it’s acknowledged and can be comfortably and legitimately re-titled, appropriation. Making art is a dodgy business at the best of times and what crosses the the threshold from self indulgent picture making to certified fine art seems best left to border control by historians and critics. In this series of paintings I’ve attempted to by-pass the usual subject, meaning and process pitfalls and selectively burgle the art and design archives allowing these art magazine mash-ups to sneak by and sit amongst their revered and admired posher relatives.

Without further apology, some of the paintings and their ponderous titles.

urbane transmutation 184hx140w
Art News appropriation 76hx86w
picturesque scene with canine intervention 76hx102w
some casualties of selective displacement 230hx122w
adumbrated principals 76hx122w
annus horribilis 2006 60hx76w
Vermeer appended 77hx77w
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