THE OBSERVANT AMONGST YOU will have noticed my political views leaking into some of the most recent Lone Hoof paintings.
Perhaps it was always going to go this way. The Hoof-Bombs were there from day one after all, but while they definitely had a political dimension, really they were born from the absurdity of using community notice-boards for publicity - ostensibly as an alternative to social media, but then using social media to tell everyone about the community noticeboards.
I now see this was an early exploration of what I wanted Lone Hoof to be such that, today, six months later, and having recently read 'Alone In Berlin' (by Hans Fallada) which charts the similarly absurd use of randomly dropped postcards as a flimsy propaganda against the Nazis, I feel my desire to do Hoof-Bombs has been reignited. Watch this space.
But really, the conscious expression of Lone Hoof politics began with Lone Hoof #22, which started out as a response to the anti-refugee mood sweeping Britain. By the time I'd finished it however, Trump had won the US election and the painting - for me at least - took on all the aspects of despair I felt for that event too.
Meanwhile my engagement with Twitter continues to grow. To be clear: I had no interest in Twitter before all this began; Lone Hoof led me to it. And once there I thought I would solely use it to passively consume funny tweets from people off the telly. Instead, however, I find myself inspired and contributing into the network of progressive people sharing, organising, boycotting and reflecting on the state we find ourselves in, thus proving the proverb that you can drag a pipe-smoking horse to social media but you … er… can make him … er … tweet.
But being progressively-minded and interested in politics is frustrating and depressing at the moment, and I have asked myself: do I want to plug this politics leak into my paintings? Maybe Lone Hoof should be a refuge (for me at least) from the maelstrom of reactionary small mindedness that dominates the political agenda at the moment. Should I back off from the politics altogether?
The truth is I don’t want to. If anything, current world events demand the progressives amongst us should express ourselves more and more openly. For too long we have proxied our values onto politicians, believing that was enough to have our views represented - to (among other things) provide action against climate change, xenophobia, racism, intolerance and inequality. It turns out our votes are not enough, and decades of progress, integration and tolerance are now being rolled back.
Lone Hoof. Sometimes it's just a horse smoking a pipe. Sometimes it's not.
I'm busy working on my blog posts. Watch this space!