Friday, 4 September 2009
Wednesday, 2 September 2009
Monday, 31 August 2009
There is a picture of Mickey Mouse .
Mickey looks distraught , as though the world has just revealed itself to be a scarier and more hostile place than he once believed it to be .
Eyeballs on stalks are growing out of the ground and they have wrapped themselves around his spindly limbs .
The harder he struggles to free himself ,the tighter they bind him .
This whole disturbing scene is approximately ten feet wide by ten feet high and drawn on the cheapest wallpaper known to man.This wallpaper is pasted to the wall of one of the dampest and coldest bathrooms you'll ever see .
Over the course of a couple of years , black patches of mould break through the cheap wall covering into Mickey's eyeball world and eventually the paper begins to peel away from the wall in sheets ..
Mickeys disturbing world is disintegrating around his big round ears .
That piece of work was never recorded for posterity .
Much of the art of N . Brooker went the same way .
Many a psychedelic scene was painted on friend's rented walls and was eventually stripped away in horror by new inhabitants eager to replace it with something more soothing and pastel hued .
Probably something with less spaceships and eyeballs .
There wasn't much of an audience for Natty's work in his hometown of Rugby in the mid to late eighties .
There was an local painters exhibition at the town library where he displayed some of his work .
Incongruously sandwiched between oil paintings of foxes and pretty watercolour canalside scenes was a terrifying canvas that had been burnt ,cut and generally abused in all sorts of unacceptable ways .
It featured some sort of ghostly skull face and was titled "syphilis".
It was pretty funny if you had the right sense of humour
I don't know what happened to syphilis .
Natty probably gave it to someone .
He gave away all of the art he ever made .
This is the first time all of these pictures have ever been seen in the same place
They have been collected from far and wide from the people he gave them to .
Originally ,they were painted on wooden boards , on plastic sheets , on anything he found , with whatever was to hand , in biro and felt tip and leftover emulsion paint .
The hallucinatory art of N. Brooker is .
peculiar , unsettling , humorous .. always .tipping a wink to mortality .
Always the other .
Natty Brooker was reponsible for much of the enduring imagery related to the music that came from Spacemen3 and the early incarnation of Spiritualized .
He introduced Peter Kember and Jason Pierce to blues and gospel He played drums on the first spacemen 3 album , "the sound of confusion ", and also on "Taking drugs to make music to take drugs to ".He played in the first incarnation of Spiritualized and contributed to another five great bands you probably never heard of . As the music of spacemen3 was once described as" music to blow your mind inside out ", perhaps Natty's paintings could be aptly described as images for the same purpose .
It was Natty's iconic Devil and angel design that adorned the first Spiritualized album cover and it was his endlessly recurring threes that graced the last spacemen album .
A round the time that spacemen 3 were making Perfect Prescription , Natty was living in a house with Jason and Roscoe . Pete Kember spent more time around there than he did at home .
The front room walls were plastered floor and ceiling with photocopied images from favourite records and with interesting images cut from magazines .
There were vibrant blue and red blobs oozing down the walls of the kitchen and onto the doors .
His art was hugely influential on everybody from that small scene in that small town at that time .
Everywhere he went he left a trail of colour and challenging visions .
To describe the art of N . Brooker ,(, or Natty , or Gnatty , or Mr Ugly ), is perhaps a task beyond words .
His visionary world is by turns the stuff of sweet dreams and nightmares , the night before the morning after ,in which devils and angels link arms to dance the night away and where even your worst fears will leave you with a wink and a smile
His is a world in which flying saucers attack out of innocent confections and where a simple hairdressers sign becomes crowned with stars and wears a smile whose mystery evokes every femme fatale from Mata Hari to the Mona Lisa .
Here is desire and death , the sound of confusion given shape and hue .
Here too is a childlike wonder at the beauty of the natural world and a genuine love born of acute observation and acceptance of some of the less easily appreciated aspects of life .
A world in which what was fixed and accepted becomes fluid and strange and in which the most familiar items are likely to display the most peculiar characteristics .
Here is heaven in a grain of sand and eternity in an hour .
Step in and taste the colour of dreams because there is a riot in brain cell no.9 and that kaleidoscope of faces is leading straight to the centre of your mind , and who knows what you are going to find there .
Curiouser and curiouser .as another citizen of Rugby once had it , because here , at the mad hatter's tea party , everybody is shouting "off with our heads ", and if it's two thirty five in the afternoon , and you said you'd be coming home by two ,well , maybe there's a shortcut down that rabbit hole over there and maybe there's a chance you'll arrive before you even left .
N.Brooker was born and has lived his whole life in the midlands of Britain .
He continues to paint and lives alone with his dog .
Natty was diagnosed with cancer several years ago . It is in the light of this that he has agreed to share his work .