Mad Jack Muddles at Surreal VintageFor me, everything is mental. I play games of imagination with myself to see what occurs. Unlike dreaming, I daydream with control, Ideas manifest in front of my eyes, an augmented reality of imagination on the mundane ‘actual reality.’ The material world around me influencing my imagination and visa versa. This process encourages ideas.

A friends mother once suggested ‘Ideas are like birds,’ and over the years I have found that this is true. They fly around my bathroom, my eyes fully open staring at white tiles. A long tunnel of concentrated thought is augmented upon them. It takes a while to travel down this rabbit hole, a spiral of intent that leads to clear and surreal thinking, a controlled daydream.

It is here, in this augmented space, that the fluttering birds come to frolic. The main flock way above me, each one waiting their turn. One by one I converse with these colourful creatures, one by one they follow one of two paths:

Some birds die. They fall to become fish, to swim in the deep pool once more. Some may fly again another day.

Those that survive are captured, developed and become objects of creative expression. For want of a better word, they become my artworks. I make things because I want them. They are a result of conversations with the birds. To afford food, I sell them.

“ imagination is the better toy, chess its subordinate” Marcel Duchamp. (Fake)

For most of my life I have collected old vintage objects. One Christmas, at the age of 12, to the amusement of my family, I asked for an old Oliver typewriter  I had seen in a second hand shop in Colne, Lancashire. It’s build, colour, shape and smell haunted me. I could feel something of a presence beyond the physical object and traveled into the time and place it had come from. I could feel the intensity of its user typing frantically, and only guess at the sentences that were created at the service of its master, however mundane. It triggered my imagination. I took it apart and cleaned it. It’s skeletal metal elements whispering stories of the industry that gave it birth, from the smelters of the ores, to the formers and finishers at the Oliver factory. Once cleaned and examined, like a metal Frankenstein’s monster, I reassembled it to full working order and rested it on my drawers directly across from my bed. I lived with the essence of this object for a long time, the smell of old oil filling my room like an industrial fragrance, its dark green body and spidery lettered arms haunting me till I flew the family nest. This experience began my fascination with the imaginative journeys objects could initiate, and eventually, this fascination became the driving force of my artwork. It was inevitable.

Surrealism was my first port of call in the world of art. I was introduced to it while studying at Burnley Art College at the age of 17, thanks to my good friend and occasional collaborator Iain Broadley. He said recently that he introduced me to Surrealism and I introduced him to punk rock. It was a good swap. He is a surrealistic punk rocker and I am a punk rock surrealist.

In 2013 I initiated Surreal Vintage after realising that many more of my peers were also inspired and influenced by the machinations of surrealism. And although their work may have changed, may not look classically surreal, the essence, and their creative experience is still driven by the understanding of surrealist thoughts and ideas. Ideas developed nearly 100 years ago by the vintage surrealists.

Surrealism begins at birth, surrealism is imagination. childhood is surreal, imagination is the core of our beings. We live in an imagined world, everything we see around us has come from a mind. A building was once a thought, an idea. The architect then materialises the building into existence in collaboration with skilled technicians. At Surreal Vintage we understand this and we are the architects and technicians of our own ideas. We transport the world of surreal thoughts within our minds, without. We do this for our audience to ponder and revel in.

Surreal Vintage is a collection of current living British artists that, in part, subscribe to the basic premise of surrealism, although the terms are loose and can include:

  • DADA
  • Trick shop humour
  • Punk
  • Futurism
  • Nonart

Our artworks are portals leading you on the same journey we took to construct the things we present to you. We hope you take the time to join us on our trip to the nether regions of thought, the world within without.

Everything is in Flux