Saturday, 16 July 2016

Benalmadena.

I like it.



This is what I say:

It is so crazy it almost makes me feel sane. Almost. I drank myself very contently through all of it.

I only want to mention the park for now. That is craziness enough. It is actually a zoo. A beautiful zoo without cages. Full of exotic trees, obscure plants, big pond - proper landscaped, English style city park on the Costa del Sol.

Get away from the beach for a while and enjoy it!

Some of these Costa del Sol resorts are beginning to mature and develop in a way no town planner, or architect could ever have imagined, or predicted. 

Sitting in the park after falling out with police on the promenade (long story for another time), I was wondering what to sketch here for cash to get my next beer. (Sorry, I meant new passport). Then I noticed the sounds of the cockerels. Thousands of them. The cacophony distracted me. Then I noticed all the buck rabbits. WTF?

Ay every entrance to the park is a large sign; 'PLEASE DO NOT ABANDON ANIMALS HERE'.

So, here are Hundreds and Thousands of abandoned cocks and bucks living in paradise. Exotic plants. Landscaped grounds. Possibly drugs amongst the cacti and Amazonian things growing and making seeds. Happy tourists happy to feed for a photo. Fenced off at night - no foxes, or dogs to bother you whilst roosting, or burrowing. Only one thing missing really unless you are inclined another way!?!

I see how they are here, but don't understand why. Who is abandoning cockerels and buck rabbits? Not a meat farmer obviously. In my present financial state, and with a farm boy background, all I could see was about €5,000 worth of organic, free range chicken. Why is nobody taking them? If the authorities don't want them here perhaps they even pay someone like myself to erm... 'take them away'?

I went to one of the many English pubs here and enjoyed a chicken roast with a pint for less than a Tenner instead. Next time maybe. This is my madness - what is yours?

-------------

Mentionable thanks to everyone who gave me work, contributed and bought sketches. Thanks to Phil and family at Cheers bar (midway along the promenade) for keeping me watered. Hope the chalk boards are paying for my beer!

Crazy place. Look forwards to returning one day.



Monday, 27 June 2016

The Real Vote has yet to Happen.

I am currently in Benalmádena. I like it here - some of these Costa del Sol resorts are beginning to mature and develop very pleasantly. I still have no Passport. When/if it arrives it will probably be missing something; the EU symbol.


Yet, I suspect as a UK Passport holder I will still be an EU citizen.


* The Brexit poll result has no legally binding status.


* UK national elections will almost certainly take place long before exit negotiations have even started.


* At least Two contending political parties will include retention of EU membership, or even rejoining as part of their manifestoes.


Amongst holday makers and UK ex-pats here in Spain Brexit has beaten the football into Second place on the discussion table. Even other Europeans here were watching Brexit more eagerly than the football. Except for the Spanish of course (I will come to that later).


Amongst the many voters and opinion makers I have spoken with I get Two common themes from UK citizens:


Pro-Europe voters, like myself, see the relative peace, prosperity and freedom as something far too precious to risk losing for future generations. Read the history books - it has never happened before!


The against voters seem to be resoundingly against the freedom to travel and immigration. They think EU membership is to blame for property prices. It isn't. Whilst I fully appreciate the frustration of being excluded from the peoperty market, I don't understand why people think EU membership is to blame for high house prices.


With non of the benefits of EU membership the UK is going to rely even more on foreign investment, foreign workers and bank speculation. House prices will only rise even more disproportionatley compared to the national average salary. Leaving the EU is not the answer.


The start of the solution is remaining within Europe. A Europe where ALL member states (including Spain) sign-up fully to the EU constitution. Deal with corruption. Deal with illegal labour. Regain control of the bakns.


That is a very big ask in a Capitalist World, but I believe it is the only believable option.


Will my own life be any different without an EU logo on a new Passport? I doubt it. Whilst I fundamentally believe in Socialist values, I am also a very independent person. I know how to look after myself and exclude myself when that is the best option.


Things are always relative from your own perspective!


One other thing the anti-Europe voters may like to consider. That special relationship with our cousins across the pond. It counts, and we risk losing it also. No EU membership means no influence on the European political scene and more complicated trading partnerships. Spain looks set to benefit here. They haven't signed-up whilst getting most of the pluses from EU membership. As such they effectively retain some sort of autonomous status. With the US naval base at Rotar (a short sail from Gibraltar) and Ms Obama Junior about to start her work placement at the US embassy in Madrid, the US look like they are preferring a different sort of special relationship.


Well hey, that is my shout for the day. Everybody else seemed to have an opinión, so I thought I would form my own and possibly vote at the important stage ;)





Monday, 20 June 2016

Ronda, Benalmedina, Fuengirola and possibly Gibraltar.

Contact me for work. Walking slowly along the coast and through the mountains whilst I wait for new passport. All options considered!

johncolley@hotmail.com
Tlf: (34) 689 744 929

Fifth laptop and camera stolen in less than Two years. Working on the streets is getting more complicated.

Monday, 6 June 2016

I have run out of pens :(

Hard times in Malaga. Think I just can't compete with Picasso. These tourists are not really art appreciators. Moving soon.
















Saturday, 28 May 2016

Pics.
















Malaga. Work please.

Tlf: 689 744 929
johncolley@hotmail.com

Friday, 6 May 2016

A very considered little gift.

Thank you for this. I love it. It will be filled with small sketches and ramblings to be returned to you one day.


I will post a new sketch (or, rambling) each week.
 

Thursday, 5 May 2016

Malaga.

Back in Malaga on another mission to replace my passport.

Also on a mission to explore motorcycle club culture - I want to sketch Harley's. Sketches and more will come later.

I have sort of been keeping my blog 'clean'. It got boring. It was bringing in work when it was 'dirty'. Afraid that clients wouldn't want to read the dirt, I made it a bit sterile. So...

Time to make it a bit more interesting again?


Tuesday, 12 April 2016

Costa del Sol and Costa Tropical.

Just meandering along the coast looking for work to enable me to finally replace last passport.

Motril, Almunecar, Nerja, Torrox. Malaga... anywhere. Any work?

johncolley@hotmail.com
Tlf: 689 744 929.

Photos and stuffs will come as I am here anyway.

Monday, 7 March 2016

The Kids from Pozo Alcon.

 
I am going to have another attempt at finding these people. This is from 12 years ago now. 12 years - where did it all go?
 
I would love to know what this bunch are upto today in the reality of a working world. May even try to recreate the photograph. Pozo Alcon is a small agricultural service town on the edge of the Castril and Cazorla natural parks. Stunningly beautiful places. Popular with Spanish people for a weekend retreat, but seemingly off the European tourist map. It is the sort of place where old guys can still be seen returning from the fields, slopes and groves with donkeys. Beautiful scenery, very charming, but little chance of making a living in today's economy. I know a guy who has Two houses on the edge of the village he is trying to sell. Perhaps he will let me stay a couple of nights.
 
The area is perfect for outdoor activities; climbing, biking, hiking, nature study etc etc etc. Beautiful lakes to swim in, or just dangle your feet whilst sitting in the shade of the pines feeling carp nibble your toes during the heat of August. Should, and could be a very popular place for visitors from all over. The competition is vast in Spain mind - there are so many beautiful places, but most people seem to just want the coast.
 

Friday, 5 February 2016

The worst kebab shop in The World. V2. (Granada).

I will start from the beginning. The begininng after my last moan many years ago in La Coruña.

Here in Granada there are so many kebab and shawarma places you have to be pretty good to cut it.

There is also a small chain of Indian restaurants that are very good. They will cook to your tastes. Give fabulous service and make a very good evening, or lunch of your eating. Expensive, but very good.

When they opened Muglia Fast Food I thought 'great - a chicken tika wrap to take away'. But, no. Turns out to be just another kebab shop. The worst kebab shop in The World actually.

I was very hungry last night. Booked a bed in a cheap hotel and settled for a cheap kebab. I was that hungry. What was served to me was worse than I normally see people eating from bins here in Granada. It killed all appetite on appearance alone. Totally cold. Stale pita. Nothing by weight. I couldn't even face a cheese and tomato sandwhich after looking at it. It was a bit of a mision to get my money back.

It doesn't take much intelligence and skill to prepare a kebab does it? Hot meat, salad, sauces and toasted bread. Simple? Apparently not.

Anyway, Muglia people; you have lost my custom at your excellent Indian restaurants for trying to pull that off. Stick at what you are best at - people will appreciate that. Bring on the chicken tika wrap to takeaway - forget ruining your reputation trying to do kebabs and stuff you do not understand.

Next rant tomorrow.

Monday, 25 January 2016

Another year - another attitude?

Almost 18 months ago I had everything stolen in Barcelona. Everything! Left with the clothes I was wearing and nothing else. Where do you start from there? It has taken this long to replace all essential work tools (thanks to help from friends).

September 2014 I had a plan to get back to Granada with a plan. So, here I am with a plan. Tooled up and ready to attack the same plan.

First off is an all new business card, and all new attitude. California is finally comming. Possibly.


All work offers gratefully considered.



Sunday, 27 December 2015

Christmas dining in the mind of a young Pablo Picasso.

Photos may come later.

I was invited to join a very amiable bunch for Christmas dinner in the building that was the childhood family home of Señor Pablo Picasso. And, very nice it was too. Fabulous food, fabulous company - thank you very much.

Malaga is Picasso city. He was born here, but left for La Coruña aged just 10 and never returned. The Picasso museum is fabulous, but I have not been tempted by the Casa de Picasso (or, Picasso foundation) yet. Cash is tight, and I am having to put in every hour working on the streets just to get by day to day ATM. The Picasso foundation is home to an archive of all sorts Picasso, a library and a recreation of the living room of the home complete with a painting by his father on an easel. His father was an artist and art teacher. Later the family moved to Number 15 of the same building. It is a Five story building on the North side of Plaza de la Merced. At the time it must have been a very middle class/bourgeoisie place to live. On the edge of the old town, just a stones throw away from the working class terraced streets. A very priviledged place to live as a child.

On the 5th floor of the building I was enjoying fine French cuisine, good company and wondering what was going through the mind of a 10 year old genius Picasso during his days here. The balcony looks over Plaza de la Merced towards the cathedral, across roof tops and DOWN! It is like viewing the World from a very different perspective. Common today to be living at such an elevated height, not so common back then. Young Pablo probably played in the plaza, looking up at the almighty obelisque, at his own home, tops of the buildings barely discerning the tiled roofs. From his home he would have been looking down mostly, and across - tiled rooves were now square blocks, the trees had no trunks, the obelisque was reduced... This different perspective is made all the more 'unworldly' with the vast space in front of you. It isn't just the elevated point of view, it is the sense of spacial awarness makes you wonder more about dimensions, relative distances, the relationship of objects withing their environment. Pablo grew up with this (until he was 10). This is where the seeds of Cubism were sewn into the fertile young mind of a painting genius.

I will try to paint what I am trying to explain. Not a cubist painting, or painting in my own 'sort of style', but, trying to put myself into the young mind before it evolved to what is now recognised as Cubism. Fun. Just one more reason to hang in Malaga for a little longer.

Tuesday, 15 December 2015

Malaga Old Port.

I have been asked to do this sketch Four times now. It interests me. The way Malaga has changed. It is from an old photograph (I guess the turn of the 19th/20th Century). There is no castle even though the castle was built in the7th Century. Much of the sea has been reclaimed. Malaga port is a very different place today. The castle was rebuilt in the 1960's. Before then, the mound of a hill was all houses built from castle stones.



What the port was back then?

Today, I find the continual "drumdrumdrumdrum" of almighty cruise ship engines in the background of a city  very reassuring. Not sure why? I enjoyed the same noise in Ibiza. Can't recall enjoying it in quite the same way anywhere else.


Thursday, 10 December 2015

More portraits.

Tlf: 689 744 929

johncolley@hotmail.com


For portraits; send photographs to: smartphoneportraits@gmail.com

Diana. Part of the fabulous team at the Picasso bars in Plaza de la Merced. A local personality rather than an international celebrity like Rihanna below.




Monday, 30 November 2015

Smartphone Portraits

Portraits for Christmas.


Happy clients so far, so I have decided to invest  a bit of money and time on promotionl materials. Also acccepting orders online to post. Anyone interested can send a photo to smartphoneportraits@gmail.com for a quote including post and packing.



Thursday, 12 November 2015

Back in Malaga I have a smart idea.

Marbella was fun for the weekend, but by Monday it turned into a huge retirement village for the lucky few from all over Europe and Russia. Even the cruise ships were just bringing in more grey hair. A few wigs and colourful tints. All retired people - very few retired people buy art, their houses are already full of stuff they need to uffload to pay for the drugs to keep them healthier and alive longer. Some seem to worry that money is going to run out before they die and the drugs just keep getting more expensive. Personally, I see a very simple solution, but I will probably change my mind if I ever make it passed 70.

Police would not let me work either. Strictly no 'street activity' without permission, so obviously I can't reccomend for those wanting to 'Fund Their Own Travel Adventure' for anything other than a good, affordable, off-season break.

I don't like smartphones.

For all the good I see in smartphones etc I see more damage. Mostly damage to my sketches on the ground as people walk over them whilst Twattering and Feckbooking. "Sorry" they say, "I didn't see them". Well look where you're walking then there is no need to feel the need to apologise. Can't be a nice feeling (like people give a flying f***).

I need to tap into the peoples' love affair with the smartphone. This is how an artist is going to try:

I suspect almost everybody using a smartphone will have a favourite photo on their device. A picture of a friend, a loved one, pet (or, most likely a f****** selfie!). Simply email me the photo (in original file size and format so I can print it out after optimising) and I will turn it into a beautiful charcoal and ink portrait for collection the next day. €10 deposit, a further €29 on collection, or delivery. If I get the orders I could comfortably churn out Four a day.

The perfect Christmas gift :)


Friday, 6 November 2015

Marbella.

I have never tried working Marbella, so here I come. Out of seaason fashion resorts can sometimes be very lucrative for artists like myself. Weather looks good - fingers crossed.

Contact me: Tlf: 649 744929, or here, or email: johncolley@hotmail.com

All work greatly appreciated.

Tuesday, 3 November 2015

Where is the real Malaga?

As much as I like Malaga, and have no doubt the designers and tourist engineers have got it right, personally it has always lacked something.

Huge investment in art and restructuring are paying dividends in so much as attracting international tourists and cruise ships. This time last year I almost sensed a bit of resentment from some local corners. Today everybody is appreciating the benefits.

Malaga is booming in many ways. It is very nice to see.

But, I have a small problem. Malaga lacks honesty.

The statue of Picasso in Plaza de la Merced is a lie. He never sat there in his later years. In fact he left aged just 10 years never to return. Malaga´s supposed new alternative barrio is Soho. Soho in London is South of Holborn. Soho in New York is South of Houston. Soho in Malaga is erm...erm... just a pretend Soho. It goes on.

Perhaps in time the polish will lose it´s gloss and we will all be able to see the real Malaga (north of Plaza de la Merced for anyone really interested).

They really didn´t need to do this. But, whatever, it all works financially.


Friday, 16 October 2015

Too much time on my hands?


Amongst many childhood memories that remain as clear as day is the image of a very content, happy and peaceful Grandfather 'fishing' during a family reunion at a place called 'The Waters Meet', or 'The Waters Edge', or something like that just outside of Tewkesbury, Gloucestershire. An old roadhouse style pub that had adapted to become a restaurant, hotel and pool fishing retreat.

Here was a man approaching his 80`s very obviously enjoying retired life. I don't remember seeing any fish in net never mind on hook. What I do remember is the silver cigarette case packed with filterless Park Drive and the smell of Scotch eminating from his breath and a very neat leather lined hip flask. This is perhaps the reason I remain a very content, happy and peaceful smoker and drinker myself (yes - I started aged 11!). It is the sort of very powerful psychology marketeers and advertisers can only dream about using thankfully. 

I had a great deal of respect for my father's father. He had lived through a war that took the life of his wife, lives of family, friends and customers at his Black Country fish and chip shop. [This may, or may not be true - families can be the biggest distorters of history, but as a 10 year old it was undoubted fact].

Move on 40 years and this very content, peaceful and happy 3rd generation drinker and smoker is wondering "what's up with all this Freddie Starr business" in the Olive Press?


We read about Freddie's fall from fame. Apparently he is living hand to mouth whilst driving his Mercedes. Perhaps he means 'pump to tank'? I am not sneering - it is not the news I want to read. We all make mistakes. Perhaps a high profile mistake and a much harder fall from a much higher high is a relative thing?

Most of my waking hours are spent on the streets and plazas in Spain (and other countries). I am not a rich man - I am an artist who spends much time socialising with fellow street people. Homeless people reliant on help from others for the most basic hand to mouth lives. Families who are effectively squatting and dependent on food banks. Many of them British ex-pats who used to enjoy relative luxury watching Freddie on TV every Saturday night from the armchair in their suburban semi-detached homes.

We all know where I am comming from here? I am not so sure I know myself!?!

Freddie is obviously a broken man. Even though I have never been a fan, I don't wish to read this anymore than I like to read about the horrors of Syria today. I feel very fortunate to be living in peaceful times in Europe. "Life could be much worse Freddie. Stop looking for sympathy. Stop running. Get your shit together. Get to work again. Find new material relevant to life in today's context. It is never too late to start again."

Many of the homeless people I speak with would actually find symapthy, or even empathy - he doesn't have to ask. However, until we see a better man today we are not going to give it.

Sell your Mercedes if you have to. Put on some unpaid benefit gigs for homeless charities. Start again and then start resolving your problems. We want to hear laughter. See smiling faces, reconciliations and the never give up 'British bulldog spirit'.

If this story continues I hope it does so happily and gracefully. If it doesn't go that way I will probably continue to follow it anyway. It is a free paper and sometimes I get very bored. Such is life. Times change. We all have to adapt out of neccesity. I would prefer to read good 'news' Freddie.

You can also read stories keeping the 'Costa del Crime' image alive and well. All in the name of investigative journalism of course.

The Olive Press - bringing the Daily Hate to sunny Spain.

To be fair, they do report very responsibly on more sensitive issues. I would like to see them continue sucessfully for that alone.

Spanish Malaga remains a very nice place for all to enjoy. Just don't go reading the ex-pat press unless your sense of humour is well lubricated.

''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''

Edited for spelling from a W0bberly keyboard and to add...

The Olive Press has changed much. Originally it had a strong environmental leaning and reported news locally from the province of Granada. I was just a bit shocked at how much it has changed. I guess agenda number One for any newspaper is to attract readers. Agenda Two would be to keep readers. If this is what people want to read fair enough. My gripe is with tabloid style ´news´all over Europe ' not simply The Olive Press. Every newspaper and editor will always have an ulterior agenda. In the case of The Olive Press I like that agenda. Environmental issues are kept in the spotlight, and the way they report on immigration issues is 100% unbiased. Good for them.



Friday, 9 October 2015

Malaga again again.

Slight deviation in plan. I am now back in Malaga working in Plaza de la Merced mostly. Another shout for work - I am on an almighty mission to get to California!