Thursday 14 September 2017

Upcoming Gig

I'm playing a Shemboid set at All Saints Community Centre, Hoole, Chester on Saturday 30th September 2017.

I will be a support for Vibravoid, Earthling Society and others.  I'm looking forward to it.

Come along and support the ever growing Chester music scene.

See you there!


Tuesday 21 March 2017


After me griping about there being no Rauschenberg art at the Abstract Expressionism exhibition at the Royal Academy late last year, here was a full dedicated Robert Rauschenberg show to more than make up for it.  The exhibition was at London’s Tate Modern until April 2nd,
I went down there in February to see it, and I wasn’t disappointed.  The work on show represented a wide variety of styles, techniques and periods in his life and career.  He was one of the most original and creative artists of the twentieth century and, for me, as important as Picasso and Warhol.  He had a profound influence on later generations of artists, and still has.  He did not fit into , or follow, any other genre or movement, and showed strong ethics in his social and political conscience.
Rauschenberg covered a lot of ground in his life and career, and practically all his interests were represented at the Tate.  He experimented with images from magazines by applying lighter fluid, and then rubbing the back of the image onto his canvas, or whatever he was working on.  The images were generally small, as magazine photos are, and he was limited to the exact size of the given printed image, so he could not enlarge them by this method.  He later took to working with silkscreens (at the same time as Warhol) and he had a large collection of his own stock screens, which he would use again and again in different arrangements.  The finished prints were generally large and featured many iconic images (JFK, Moon landings, old masters, cityscapes), all juxtaposed in various formations and compositions.
He used to walk around his block in 1950’s New York City and pick up discarded objects, and take them back to his studio to make art out of them, which became known as his combines.  These were part sculpture, assemblage and painting.  His famous ‘Bed’ was on show at this exhibition, as was the stuffed goat with the tyre round its middle.  He wasn't taken seriously as an artist for some time, and many thought he was just taking the piss.  He was first accepted and given the credit he deserved in the 1960’s, due to his screen prints.  He won an award for them, and he then promptly gave instruction for his stock of screens to be destroyed.  He was never a man to stay standing still, and always looked to move into the next groundbreaking direction.
Rauschenberg was also an avid photographer and he made many photo montages, treating them with ink or paint, creating a further exciting mix of media.
He also worked closely with John Cage and the dancer, Merce Cunningham.  With them, he created theatre set designs, films, and even choreography.  He was himself keen on dancing, and appeared in some of his own choreographed shows and films.
His later work was also represented.  Some of these were vast canvases, which included printmaking and mixed media.  By the time I got to these, I felt like I’d already seen the best of his work, and I was feeling quite full up with ideas and inspiration to take to my own work.  It took over two hours to get round it all, and I felt like I’d seen some of the greatest art of the twentieth century.  Here's to the great Robert Rauschenberg!
Also, I think hats off to Tate Modern for being able to acquire these important and iconic works for this exhibition, many of which had travelled a long way, and rarely seen in the UK.  Truly world class!

Here is a link to Tate Modern's website -

Here's a link to Creative Review's review of the exhibition (which has several photos) - www.creativereview/rauschenberg/review

Rauschenberg's "Bed"

Tuesday 1 November 2016


      It was Karen’s birthday recently, and we went down to London to see the Abstract Expressionism exhibition at the Royal Academy.  We were both blown away by the work on show.  It ranged from the influences and beginnings, right up to some later works of the artists involved in that movement.
      One of the influences was the work of Armenian-born artist, Archile Gorky, which was brilliant in itself.  The highly expressive lines in his drawing were very influential on both Willem de Kooning and Jackson Pollock.  There was a whole room of Gorky, one of de Kooning and two rooms of Pollock.  All of which buzzed with life and living expression.  It was fantastic to see a good range of work from these greats.  However there was a vast number of other artists’ work on display too.
      The Franz Kline had an immediacy and boldness of expression.  Minimal, both in their colours and in their forms, but violent in execution. Very striking.
      The Robert Motherwell pictures, of which there were only a few, were in some cases similar to the Kline ones.  But there was a collage of his which I really found exciting.  It was a picture of New York City, in mostly blue and black, and was very loose and free.  I kept on being drawn back to it, again and again.  I am after all a collage artist myself.
      Mark Rothko had a room to himself too.  I have seen some Rothkos before at Tate Modern.  The disorientating dreamlike pull of them holds me trance-like in the grip of their dark beauty.
      There was also a lot of work by lesser-known artists of the era.  The Lee Krasner paintings showed a similarity to her partner Pollock’s, but her work had something beautiful about it too, and was distinctly hers.  Joan Mitchell’s work stood out, as did the Clyfford Still and the Sam Francis ones.  There was also a black-painted wooden sculpture by Louise Nevelson.  This was a large wall assemblage of boxes and a vast array of wooden objects, like bits of table and chair legs, wooden tools and cut-out shapes etc.  All painted black, I found it quite difficult to focus on and it grew in time as I stood before it.
      Most of the work in this exhibition was vast in size. Some of it was hard to take in without physically moving along it, or standing at a range of distances away. One thing for me is that I like to get up as close as possible, to see the way the paint reacts against adjacent colours, to study the brush-strokes, and to nearly be able to feel the textures and any objects embedded within.  Almost to breathe it all in.
      There was so much to see, and I’ve only scratched the surface here really.  What I would like to have seen was some work by Robert Rauschenberg, but there was nothing of his.  Perhaps he was not officially an abstract expressionist, but he was working in that time and place, and with those influences.  All in all though, it was a fantastic experience to be amongst some of the greatest work of the twentieth century.  We were in there for just over two and a half hours, and we both came back feeling inspired.  I’d recommend it to anyone.



Tuesday 25 August 2015

New Shemboid album has arrived!

I have just uploaded the new album to Bandcamp and is available for download now.

"Dissonant Dissident" has eight tracks in all and runs to approximately 62 mins.

If you wish to hear it, you can either click on the Shemboid tab above
 - or -
click on the link below.

There are some CD-R copies.
It is a limited edition of 50, which are hand-numbered.
They are available now!

Monday 24 August 2015

Shem Sharples news

All the song-based music making I do is now on

If you are interested in the singer of songs stuff, then pleas feel free to take a look on there for the latest info and upcoming gigs etc.   Generally the Shem Sharples thing is more active than the Shemboid thing at the moment.

However, the new Shemboid album is just getting printed up as we speak.... for more details, click the Shemboid tab above.

Have fun!


Tuesday 2 June 2015

Artwork 2015

Here are a few of my art creations over the last few months......enjoy

Shem Sharples - Collage untitled 1

Shem Sharples - Untitled monoprint - 2015 - 1

Shem Sharples - Untitled monoprint - 2015 - 2

Shem Sharples - Untitled monoprint - 2015 - 3

Shem Sharples - Collage untitled 2

Shem Sharples - Collage untitled 3

Shem Sharples - Collage untitled 4