THE ARTIST TAXI DRIVER & BREXSHIT THE MOVIE
The Artist Taxi Driver (aka Mark McGowan) is in large part funding Brexshit The Movie, his film witnessing peoples’ ordeal of Brexit, through the sale of or donations made in return for, wait for it, his watercolour paintings. YOU WHAT?!
These variously tender, funny and acerbic works are the Dr Jekyll to his Mr Hyde The Artist Taxi Driver persona. Some are bold, in your face: a badger asking, ‘Who made you God?’ Others are so quiet they are barely there at all: feint, quavering pencil outlines with the merest splash of tone. The dead mouse captioned ‘it’s too bad She wont live, but then again who does?’ affords a melancholic and despairing note that is never allowed to surface in either McGowan’s Artist Taxi Driver rants or the tireless effort that goes into Brexshit the Movie.
Then there’s the somewhat demonic works like ‘why are you So quiet now?’ It’s one of many paintings that conjure an image of terror but at the same time hint at redemption. I asked McGowan about the tiny Calvary motif and the number ‘33’ that reappears in certain of his watercolours. He wouldn’t be drawn on specifics, as if there has to be some portion of his conscience not laid bare. Perhaps it’s a nod to endurance or self-sacrifice? Another Biblical story springs to mind, that of The Good Samaritan, the despised outsider who set the best example as to caring for the downtrodden, abandoned, those left behind. Whether or not the artist is inspired by religious conviction it’s clear McGowan’s whole approach to work evinces a messianic zeal as well as genuine and heartfelt compassion.
The Sudden fluttering…
Yet another style comprises vivid studies of singular creatures. There’s the pigeons that variously coo expletives or are pictured scratching around, muttering recondite investment speak as in ‘where’S the golden Seed?’ Or McGowan’s watercolours of bees, so deftly rendered with their insect setae, the delicate hairs and gossamer wings and for the most part optimistically captioned: ‘bee amazing’ or ‘bee who You want to be.’ But there’s a forlorn aspect also to these lone insects suffering at the hands of uncaring agribusiness.
Then there’s watercolours of treetops and firmament: scenes where the viewer is put in the position of staring up at the sky, as if lying on your back in a forest clearing, being engulfed by the heavens. There’s also the bridges set amidst lush, richly hued flora. And gorillas; hedghogs; green-eyed, blue black cats looking up at you ‘saying’ ‘there is always this cloudy moody sky’…
Obviously on one level these are modest contributions to that very British pastime of watercolouring. But there is, as I said, a tenderness here that affords a vivid counterpoint to the chippy geezer provocateur. In producing hundreds of these small works, McGowan reveals an altogether more pliable, perhaps hesitant, even self-doubting aspect of his worldview. One that all his angry Twitter and YouTube trolls just don’t get. Of course they don’t. Trolls don’t go beyond their own blind anger and narrow prejudice to even begin to consider things in the round.
new flyingleaps posters
For flyingleaps McGowan has produced ‘Spirit of Hope’ (2017) and ‘The Essence’ (2017). The first depicts a fox pup staring out from the work, straight at the viewer with one ear forward and its other flapping back. The title – in the artist’s trademark stenciled lettering in pencil – hovers in the white space above. The second work for flyingleaps combines a favourite motif, the ‘bee amazing’ bee with one of McGowan’s Edenic garden scenes. The saturated colours and array of flora are captioned again with thesame penciled script, tentative words at the foot of the poster, ‘The essence of the world is a flower’.
With both Artist Taxi Driver posters we’ve tried to emulate the quality of McGowan’s original watercolours so the ground is subtly textured and the quality of colour washes has been retained. Together these works make for a welcome visual breather in what is in many ways, let’s face it, a pretty manic, mad and malevolent political era.
Apart from More That Unites Us (2017) which is currently limited
to a run of 100, each edition is limited to 300.
They measure 30″x 20″.
All are numbered and signed on the back by the artist.
Posters are mailed 1st class – to be signed for – every monday.