During the brief Punk era everyone wanted to form a group. I already worked with Nichola Bruce on projects and films were collaborative ventures. Independent filmmakers helped each other out with gear and labour so it was not surprising that a small group of us began work on a project about our experiences living in the UK in the 1980s. The group included myself, Nichola Bruce and Liz Finch, who I had known at Art School in the 70s and had lost touch with until she re-appeared at a laundrette in Earls Court. We began working without any fixed brief and then gradually the project emerged. "Future Leisure" was an ironic comment on the social changes happening in the 1980s. It presented a freakish view of the future, showing it as a time of enfoced inactivity (future leisure) caused by mass unemployment and the micro-chip revolution. The work created consisted of hundreds of 10 by 11 inch 'storyboards' and about 20 large collage-based paintings, which became the inspiration for a written narrative in the form of a screenplay.
WORKING WITH COLLAGE
"Collage is a term that was born of the crisis of the First World War. Historically, its reappearance has dovetailed with times of trauma, violence, and social change...(It) is peculiarly suited to making sense out of incoherence without sacrificing the complexities of competeing images, materials and information. Using diverse strategies ..artists.. exploit the formal and ideological power of the juxtaposition of found images to create narrativbes that range from social commentaries and Suurealist fantasies to personl confessions." (Collage: The Unmonumental Picture)
In the early 1980s, during the Thatcher era, a group of us were renting studios near the financial district of London and becoming increasingly aware of the "in your face" self confidence of the young traders crowding into the new wine bars appearing everywhere. They were making "loads of money" and flaunting it. These scenes were in direct contrast to the images on the television of miners picketing the coal fields and steel mills, and of heavy industrial plants closing in the north of the country.
Like a lot of the artists working in the UK at that time I was trying to find a way to express how I felt about, what seemed to me, an unfair society. I was influenced by artists like George Grosch and Heartfield, as well as the work of Surrealists like Andre Breton and began using collage.
I had experienced the Punk scene in London and was liberated by the idea that you could make a statement quickly and effectively with ready-made imagery. It was a great instant outlet for frustration and anger - the emotions of the times. And it could shock!
See selected images in the FUTURE LEISURE side bar of the blog.