WHY PAINT A HORSE SMOKING A PIPE? This is a regular question to Lone Hoof.
The truth is, the idea for Hoofism came to me first, way back in 2006, long before the idea of the goofy-looking horse had even occurred to me.
Of course, it wasn’t called Hoofism back then; it didn’t have a name – all it had was the central idea of starting at the very bottom, selling the first artwork for one pound and the second for two pounds and so on.
I had just bought my first house and was part of the graceless scramble to get on the housing ladder before prices became unaffordable. Everyone I knew in 2006 wished they had bought in 2003 (everyone in 2003 wished they had bought two houses back in 1999).
Easyjet was also relatively new and novel (a flight to Rome for one pound? Only if you’re the very first buyer!) and then, overnight, this sales model appeared to be everywhere, especially in the transport, hotel, holiday and leisure industries. Now you had to get in there early doors, no more spontaneity! And all these shifts in marketing were coupled with other early online cultural phenomena like the Million Dollar Homepage where people and businesses were buying pixels for one dollar.
Perhaps a ground breaking innovation like the internet always results in these sorts of changes in the market, perhaps the Victorians went through something equivalent, but if art is about noticing then I had noticed. I just didn’t know what to do with it.
To that end, Hoofism is the art.
Hoofism appealed to my admiration of the punk ethic and its do-it-yourself approach; it seemed to provide an outsider artist with a way into the conventional art market, but it also seemed a good way to harness an ambition to produce artworks again, to work with art materials, to be creative, to clock up the hours and skills and to just … be out there.
But I did nothing with this idea for ten years. I sat on it, talked about it in pubs, mulled it over. And then, in early 2016, along came the horse. One dark Sunday afternoon, drawing with my kids at the kitchen table, I heard the clip clop of his hooves outside; I smelled the pungent aroma of his pipe and then, there he was. It became clear to me. I would paint him, I would give him form, I would show him to the world, I would give him free rein and see where he leads me.
Why a horse, smoking a pipe? Quite honestly it could have been anything. It was the least pretentious thing I could think of.
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