Monday, 8 May 2017

A merry band of happy travellers.

I am back in Granada. Have been for a couple of weeks now. There isn't anywhere I feel happier, more content, and healthy basically. It is a very nice place to be. No money, but - well, hey! There are many things much more important in life than TheWorldsMostExpensiveChocolate.

Sitting in Plaza Nueva, drinking a beer (did I need to mention 'drinking a beer'?), I saw someone wearing a Mutefish T-shirt. Some members of Mutefish I first met in Malaga I think. I then met Bo on my last visit to Ibiza. Sometimes these travelling circles make for a very small world. This is Mutefish. A very cool bunch of very hard working, very talented travelling folk. We come from all sorts of circles. All sorts.

Ambition. Of all the travelling people I meet - there are many, many, many - the majority of people I meet possibly. Travelling. There are travellers and travellers as there are people and people. More than anything else in people I meet I respect ambition. Fuck your background, fuck your history, fuck everything else, just show me you have dreams to chase. Personally, if you have no dreams to realise you might as well be compost.

This is why I enjoy bands like Mutefish. You hear it in their music. Chazbo Zelena is currently heading towards Sumatra (I hope?). He has a nice boat. I am very envious, but I love the guy to bits for his dreams, ambition and raw, beautiful music. When I say 'beautiful' I don't always mean 'beautiful'. This is not important. It is music with passion. Music with a real heart beat. And, most importantly he has the ambition to make his dreams happen. They will happen.

I have enough cash in pocket to spend Five whole fucking days just painting. Five whole fucking days without having to consider cash. Five days of my ambition and dream realised.

The result will, of course, be here for all to see soon. Six days possibly.


Friday, 14 April 2017

Xi Cacao

Xi Cacao [shee kuh-kah-oh, -key-oh]is an imaginary Goddess. 

Goddess of chocolate. Goddess of the World's most expensive chocolate. This is a background project I have been mulling for a couple of years, or so. She will be a very beautiful painting. She will also be much more.

www.theworldsmostexpensivechocolate.com is a conceptual art project like no other conceptual art! Keep an eye on the link. Nothing there right now. Give it time.

Sunday, 26 March 2017

Remembering film.


An email arrived in my in box recently. It was from a company called Light who have produced a very interesting compact camera. Digital photography is fantastic for all sorts of reasons. However, I'm going to talk about my favourite film camera - the camera I considered the perfect all rounder - not just the perfect travel camera.















Near Quesada. Ilford Delta with heavy red filter, graduated ND filter and polarising filter. 2003


The first camera I bought (well, my Mum bought it really, but I cut out all the tokens from the cornflakes packets and handed them for safe keeping as a very subtle hint for my 6th Birthday) was a Kodak Instamatic. A camera so easy to use even a 6 year old could make it work. You hoped you made it work, but you could never be sure until the printed results came back from Boots a week later.

I was hooked for life at a very early age.

Light have started a prjoect named  #VantagePoint. They're looking for feedback. This is the start of my feedback. Check their website - a camera with 16, or 17 lenses and sensors!

















Sierra de Baza. Ilford Delta 100 with red filter. 2003


Briefly, they mentioned questions about my favourite location to shoot in my hometown, or from 'my awesome travel adventures'. My travel adventures aren't always awesome :(  I consider Granada my hometown, but I am rarely there. I'm starting with a set from Andalucia - a place I love.

I travel very slowly most of the time. Walking from one town to the next. I also like to photograph very slowly. Sitting on a single viewpoint absorbing the environment. Waiting for that critical change in light















Cazorla Parque Natural. Agfa 50 ISO with graduated ND plus polarising filters. 2003

When I first started walking I carried a Contax Aria with a standard Carl Zeiss lens discretely hidden in my pocket. The perfect little travel camera. Relatively expensive, but representing good value secondhand. Contax owners were true enthusiasts who treasured their cameras. Everything bought on ebay (in the early days of the web) would arrive in 'as new' condition. I loved these little cameras. Full manual SLR control and functionality in a compact, robust pocket sized body with a very beautiful Carl Zeiss lens.













Embalse de Negratin. Agfa 50 ISO with polarising filter. 2003

Took me a long time to become as enthusiastic about digital photography. It has always been great for convenience and economics. It just lacked something I couldn't understand. Yet, I always dreamed of the day that 50MP+ capture would become affordable. Again, I was looking for something as close as possible to human visual perception. Those 50,000,000 pixels could imitate the 50,000,000 rod and cone receptors in the human eye. Would output technology ever match? Imagine that!













Castril. Agfa film with graduated ND, polarising and red filters. 2003

Access to this sort of quality is no longer an exclusive domain. We can all use it at a realistic price. We don't need to be professionals justifying an investment for financial return. We don't need deep pockets. We don't even need big pockets. Digital technology is finally delivering something I was only ever dreaming about. A pocket sized camera with lots of MegaPixel capture. The perfect travelling companion?

...

Lets' go to Berlin - a very photogenic city.













Agfa 50 ISO. Berlin. 2001


Why did I photograph a wall on a 2001 trip to Berlin? What are we going to do with all those megapixels? 

I am a lens snob. I am a visual information freak. I have some of the most critical eyes in the World (erm... ignore that). Photography is a love, because it represents my reality. A recording of a real thing in a real World. I want camera manufacturers to recognise what I like.













Agfa 50 ISO. Berlin. 2001

My eye from my mind is my vantage point wherever it may be. With film I used cameras I could trust. Learn about the limitations. Find out how to get the best from the optics, the film, the mechanics, the electronics. One reason I loved the Contax Aria so much was I trusted it. I could rely on the metering to be consistent. Set the aperture to the smallest possible opening and concentrate on what was happening in the view finder knowing that my knowledge and the camera would get the best possible results.













Agfa 50 ISO. Berlin. 2001

In many respects I used the Aria with a standard, fixed focus lens as a rangefinder! However, occasionally it was good to have the flexibility of a SLR, and use other lenses when appropriate. The shot above would be nothing without a shallow depth of field.














Agfa 50 ISO. Berlin. 2001
I love to work with low light. I travel walking by day and exploring at the end of the day. Twilight is my favourite time of day. Nature is going to bed whilst the manmade starts to glow with the promise of 24 hour eveything. Back in Adalucia...















Fujifilm Velvia 100.


I also like to work in very low light, and very bright light. In a small village in the mountains of Andalucia I met this bunch. It was siesta in August. A sleepy little whitewashed town with light bouncing all over the place.














The Kids from Pozo Alcon.  Ilford Delta 100. Red plus polarising filters. 2003

Heavily filtered. Just one chance. The best lens my money could buy. Years and years of knowledge. A dependable, trusted little, go anywhere camera.

The day has arrived when the digital equivalent is available. It still isn't cheap, but a certain manufacturer has hit the spot for me.

Light.co haven't for me. As much as I love the innovation, the use of many lenses and sensors, the small size - I would still like to have a play. A serious play. But, I want a decent sized sensor in a reasonably compact body, with reliability, a proven lens (what is the point in having all those megapixels if you're using small lenses in an array?), RAW capture, totally manual control, or electronically assisted control. Somebody else is already doing this in a classically styled camera that will give much more pleasure than just taking photographs alone.

Light.co need to look at that.

Saturday, 18 March 2017

Placa de Parc.

In all of Ibiza's efforts to attract the 'other tourists' they've created the World's prettiest concrete dump from the only character they had left to promote.

I understand that both Placa de Parc and Vara de Rey were dug up for drainage, gas and cable reasons. Surely this was a reason to improve, not destroy.

Tacky. Like, really, really wasted tacky.

Thursday, 16 February 2017

Original painting is Sold. But, prints are available via email. Prices inclusive of post & packing within Europe.

Mounted and signed A5 print €10.
Archival limited edition (30) print. A2 on acid free cotton rag paper €220.


















Details.


















Goddess Nº2 is about to be started.


Monday, 16 January 2017

21 large format oil paintings.

I have made a start. This is going to take time. I could be based in Ibiza for the next Two years at least.

As ever; any work is greatly appreciated.












Wednesday, 23 November 2016

Nomadic life.

Lots of people do it. Lots of people always did it. Perhaps at the start of human everything everybody did it - out of necessity.

Last night whilst resting at the end of a long day I watched a BBC documentary all about contemporary nomadic people in the USA. Mid-West USA precisely. Very interesting. It touched on the aspect of freedom, but sort of missed the essential point of the freedom, but introduced itinerant workers, retired travellers, young people effectively running from a society they didn't fit into - much more. Very briefly it touched on the dangers. The lost people. The crazies running from pretty much everything. Understandably, the presenter's focus seemed to be on the enjoyment of a travelling existence whilst trying to point out something he didn't quite point out. I guess he didn't really understand it. That crazy guy you ran from - you have to learn to live with him and many more!

For me, the point it missed most was that increasingly it is not a lifestyle choice. People are having to move to survive. In Europe as much as the US and elsewhere. I love to travel, but the dream I am chasing is a financially secure existence living in the city I love most and doing the work I love most. It is a HUGE ask from life. But, if the choice was there, I wouldn't go the nomadic route.

Travelling costs money. Life costs money. Whilst hobo life is not about paying countless monthly bills it is about paying. Without vast savings in the bank you need income. You can only live for free within very tight parameters. This is not freedom. Recycling from dumpsters at closing hours. Using church run kitchens for hotmeals. Relying on handouts. Spending countless hours on the side of a road waiting for a lift. Being dependent on charity organisations for healthcare. This is NOT freedom. The other route - the 9-5, desk and boss with holidays offers more freedom.

Nomadic life can be free. You need to earn it. You need to know how to survive in lawless societies and strange environments. You have to recognise dangers and deal with them in a very calm, controlled manner. You have to recognise your own weaknesses and know how to control yourself! Most importantly of all; you need empathy on a level you always ran from in your other life of rules and regulation. It is a very complicated world.






Wednesday, 19 October 2016

Chasing a big fish.

John Haydn Colley has worked fulltime as a travelling artist and writer since leaving his formal career in 2006. During this time he has visited around 50 countries on Three continents often travelling very slowly by foot and funding every adventure with income from art alone. Today he has returned to Ibiza where he intends to remain for a year whilst completing a series of 20 large format oil paintings to be exhibited in London, Vienna and Los Angeles during 2018/19. “Ibiza gave me the initial inspiration and seemed the natural place to finish the project”.

About the Project
The idea for Evolution of a Goddess came from my own travel experiences. I like to travel slowly – walking along ancient paths, or trying to retrace forgotten trade and pilgrimage routes. Exploring the history of these trails revealed that many were actually ancient routes followed by human migrants from all corners of the World. Consequently faiths and customs travelled with the people. Religious beliefs evolved, adapted and combined. Mythical deities moved from one faith to the next changing in name only. The fundamental values represented remained the same.

The picture featured (Suza and Milo V5 – 2.5 Meters x 2.5 Meters) is a practice painting for an exhibition piece. It is a mural in a large public plaza in Granada, Spain, but is undoubtedly all about Ibiza! The Goddess is Maya – Goddess of the Earth in Peruvian, Inca beliefs. However, more than that, it is a very real person from my own memory of a very tangible experience. A beautiful morning spent picking small oranges with a friend in San Carlos a few years ago. Every painting represents a Goddess, but also depicts my own memories of time spent with very real people.

Un Artista sin Estudio
There are many reasons why I prefer to work outdoors. Most importantly, I enjoy the freedom. I rarely maintain studio space, but do need secure overnight storage for large works. All of my paintings are imaginative. However, having the buildings, plants and people of Ibiza town as a ready resource for reference is very useful. Working in public places also offers many opportunities to meet people who may become clients, or offer help and support.

Previous visits to this “island of many contrasts” have proved to be appreciated by locals and tourists. Business people have been especially helpful giving work and general advice. I am always happy to consider any work offers to help fund my personal projects. Murals, sign-writing, menu designs, publicity material etc are examples of this. With this in mind, I aim to find advance buyers for paintings ahead of the exhibitions whilst undertaking other work.


About the Artist
Birmingham, United Kingdom – 1967

Currently based in Granada, Spain.

Education.
Photography and Media Studies - 1986
Interactive Multimedia BA (Hons) – 1996

Before choosing to pursue work as a travelling artist and writer I worked as a freelance within the advertising industry specialising in digital communication of established media in design, marketing and brand development for agencies and corporate clients in London, New York and Berlin.

My current art client and publishing list is almost as extensive as my ‘old’ professional client list. As well as working for highly respected agencies on product brands such as Dove soap and beauty products, Magnum ice-creams, Lynx/Axe deodorants, I also worked directly for companies such as GlaxoSmithKline and Unilever on their consumer product branding and development.

Art clients include:
Time Warner
The Spanish Royal Opera
BBC
Several private collections around the World from Alaska to Tasmania and Hollywood to Moscow. Ibiza clients include Cotton Beach Club, Hotel Es Vive and Sunset Café.

Work has also been featured in several magazines – national and international.
British Journal of Photography. Professional Photographer. Boston Magazine and various weekend newspaper supplements (in Spain; El Pais, El Mundo, Ideal). This will be my first exhibition of paintings outside of Spain..


What I Need

· Storage space: secure night storage (a garage, or lock-up) within walking distance of Placa des Parc, Ibiza town.

· Investors/purchasers and any work!

· Feedback and advice.


Please feel free to contact me at any time.
Tlf: 689 744 929

Monday, 29 August 2016

Ibiza.

Back in Ibiza.

Phone number is working again. As ever; all work offers gratefully accepted.

Sunday, 21 August 2016

New Passport.

Olé.

Almost Two years later I am on the move again with a plan. Not sure where I go, but I am going.

No laptop. No phone. No cash, but I do have a passport - the rest will come. Phone number should be active within a few days.

Bus station is next stop. From there I will choose a destination I like the sound of.


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?

At 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.