Paul Garrard: Nothing is ever black and white


‘Repetition’ digital imageorwell

‘Orwell’  digital image


Digital Image


‘The Road to Wigan Pier’    pen and ink   A4

Artist statement                                                                                                                                         I like to think that it is unusual that the first George Orwell book I read was Keep The Aspidistra Flying. It made a real impact on me. It made me realise that art could be autobiographical and still have a message. I felt real empathy with Gordon and it is still my favourite book of his. I’ve never been much of a fan of Animal Farm if I’m honest. It’s a good book well written but just doesn’t do it for me. The book that really helped me form my political views was The Road To Wigan Pier. George’s descriptions of how people lived and the poverty they endured affected me deeply, even though he was documenting times well before I was born. He made me realise that you cannot separate politics from any other activity. Even breathing is a political act. And art most certainly is! Anyone who thinks that art shouldn’t be or isn’t political is just deluding themselves.

Predictably the work that has influenced my art more than any of his writing, and which I think is one of the best loved stories ever written, is his dystopian masterpiece ‘1984’. In these dark times it is never far from my thoughts. Much of my work is kicking out at authoritarianism and the distortion of truth by the media. Newspeak is dominant.

His essay on ‘A Hanging’ and his writings from the Spanish civil war cemented my pacifism and my belief that the taking of human life to be totally wrong.

Some of my work is overtly Orwellian and obvious and then other times there will be a quite subtle reference. Much of my work deals with oppression, hate and injustice the weapons used by the elite to keep us in our place. The one theme that runs through virtually all of my art is the phrase ‘nothing is ever black and white’. So much of modern life is covered in a veneer. People take things at face value. They think what they are told to think by today’s thought police; – mainstream media.

About:                                                                                                                                            As a visual artist I work with a mix of media, although today much of my work is produced in a digital format. My work reflects how I feel, how I view the world and life with all its absurdities.

Nothing is ever black and white, even when it’s black on white my art should never be taken at face value. More often than not I work with very bold colours; I love their richness and the way they shout at the viewer.

I’m not sure I have a single style although much of my work could be best described as surrealist or post-modern pop/punk art. Having said that as far as I’m concerned it’s just me and my art as I rarely set out to consciously produce work in a specific style. When I’m not producing simple line drawings my favourite technique is to build up pictures in layers, sometimes using digital ‘paint’, sometimes using collage and sometimes both together. I’m also starting to work with video.


Audio/Video links:



Kath Wilkinson and the destruction of Resistance

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Kath Wilkinson is a director of promotional films. She has worked in the corporate video sector  as first model-maker then director for nearly twenty years. A cineaste whose own work looks to commercial cinema rather than art video, her work is usually seen only at ‘pop-up’ events -and by invitation only, “but I wanted to contribute to this project when advertised. Orwell’s writing is very filmic and I have always wanted to tackle ‘The Road to Wigan Pier’ as a longer feature. I have developed some scenes on story boards  but this project is at present, a work in progress.”


The Destruction of Resistance:  video 4mins. 34 secs.

“For room 103, I looked closely at the three commercial film versions of 1984. My video examines the climactic scene of Winston Smith’s betrayal of Julia.

In contrast to the black & white film versions of Cartier in 1954 and Anderson 1956 and the washed out ‘period’ hues of the Radford feature released in 1984, I wanted to make the fear visceral through saturated, full colour within a fully illuminated room. Torture techniques are alive and well and operating in the full colour world of the here and now.

Orwell knew that the expectation of torture was a psychologically more effective tool than the act itself to accomplish moral disintegration. The film comprise four minutes of tight cropping centred on the mouth distorted by fear, the head rocking to and fro in a vain attempt to avoid its impending fate.


Because I used the rats point of view, closing slowly in on the face, I elected  to utilise that animal’s faster metabolic rate and reactions, so the victim’s movements and accompanying pleadings are correspondingly slowed down. The distorted screams are overlaid by the chattering of rats teeth.

The whole is jerkily edited  like a badly looped pieces of footage.

It is a corporate video; a torturer’s educational manual; a public service film

‘pour l’encourage les autres’…”

Kath Wilkinson April 2018



Nu sur le Plage: Jura Brian Joyce



Jura Brian

‘Nu sur le Plage’   Jura Brian Joyce    oil on canvas  182x182cm

It has been a few years since I have read the works of George Orwell. I read “Down and Out in Paris and London” just before going to live in France myself, I read “The Road to Wigan Pier” to be astonished at the treatment of mine workers and their families.  The famous book “1984” however goes much further than any other work of the dystopian genre, through the writings of the revolutionary figure Emmanuel Goldstein we get an explanation of the blueprint of the class structure.  The well known work “Animal Farm” gives us a narrative of revolution and tyranny, wherein we are the our own worst enemies.  There is no state solution in Orwell, all power is corrupt.

George Orwell stands tall as the best example of the struggle that will never end, and in my art work I try to define the limits of state and personal freedom, given the material reality in which we live. The painting “Nu sur le Plage” is a large painting of a mature and corpulent woman on the beach, clearly the woman has in her life given birth probably numerous times, this has taken it’s toll upon her body. She stands next to a sand castle, an example of her formidable intelligence and far off in the distance the horizon line at the level of her eyes cuts apart the body from the mind.  The paintings seems to suggest ‘ life ain’t much, but what did we expect and why did we expect it otherwise?’  Thus a critique of capitalism and the commodity fetish that forces us all to demand more, until the earth is barren. Only keen wisdom can save us from ourselves .



“It all started in my childhood, I had a keen artistic talent at the age of two, in early adulthood I began a course in technical illustration, involving a study of the Early Renaissance.  I have developed my artistic practice since then though not without is ups and downs, I have studied photography, psychology and the French language, and now, after twenty years of artistic production, I  have a body of large paintings and drawings; figurative works for the most part.  I really must say I’m not the best artist of my generation -but I am definitely in the top one!  Despite this I have never made a penny, and will have to sell my art for next to nothing to someone overseas and let my talents go to s***t.”

Jura Brian Joyce

Salt + Shaw: ‘On Location’


“On Location”: A proposal in response to George Orwell’s experience of Sheffield

When George Orwell encountered South Yorkshire, on ‘The Road to Wigan Pier’, he set foot in our past. At this time, our parents were toddlers and our grandparents were miners, labourers and domestics; facing unemployment as they raised a family and taking in washing to make ends meet. Our lives have been very different to theirs, escaping to the ‘big city’ of Sheffield, where art college took us on a journey away from the pits, steelworks and factories that could have employed us. But, even then, the “fiery serpents of iron” could still be glimpsed through the open doors of the foundry and the sound of the drop hammer was a reassuring heartbeat through the night.

Orwell’s perceptions are both shocking and resonant: “Sheffield, I suppose, could justly claim to be the ugliest town in the Old World.” It’s where we live, partly remembering how it was in the sixties and seventies, partly remembering family stories from longer ago. Now we find ourselves in a region where heavy industries have almost disappeared, leaving only a few traces of what once thrived. Pit wheels stand as monuments to mines closed in the 1980s. A shopping centre has crouched over the site of the Edgar Allen Foundry since 1990. In 2001 a museum opened, in what was once the world’s largest steel plant, to show how record-breaking amounts of steel were made; but without the necessary heat, labour, danger or productivity.

So, to return to Orwell’s encounter with the industrial North, how do we find South Yorkshire in 2018? What remains and what has changed? Have these unreported places fallen from public attention and concern – conveniently disappearing, in fact? What has happened to the landscape and topography; the re-use of space, the removal and replacement of industry?

How will we respond once out ‘On Location’?

What do our past connections and present links mean to us?

What will we discover, write about and record?

How can this gathered material be used to produce a new artists’ book?

In both a personal and political exploration, we will be looking for the clues and details just beneath the surface of the contemporary urban landscapes on our doorstep. George Orwell’s observations, perceptions and experiences in the same region are the sparks igniting our ideas and rooting our proposal in a deeper past. What remains or resonates from this time and what has been erased?                      Salt + Shaw February, 2018

Project update: “Two of our books (What? and Looking For Mr Orwell’s Chimneys) and 2 limited edition prints (Nothing Happened) will be shown in Room 103 @Saul Hay Gallery October 11th -November 11th”

About Salt + Shaw                                                                                                                “Their practice is frequently linked to location, to finding objects, discovering stories and creating narratives in response to a particular place, whether man made or natural. Ideas become concepts through negotiation, which inform the construction of their book works, making inextricable the links between all the elements only made possible by their partnership. …..a way of thinking and working  together where exploring and testing ideas outside eventually leads to the making of the physical objects, which have been negotiated into existence by the two of them. ….their commitment to collaboration and the further making of book works as conceptual artefacts.”                                                                                                            Balancing Act: the inextricably bound book works of SALT+SHAW  [Linda Newington, The Artist’s Book Yearbook ISBN 978-1-906501-06-8]

In the collections of:
• The British Library, London
• The Tate Library, London
• The National Art Library, V&A Museum, London
• Winchester School of Art Library, University of Southampton, Winchester
• University of the West of England, Bristol
• Chelsea College of Art and Design, London
• Manchester Metropolitan University
• Glasgow School of Art, Scotland
• London College of Communication
• York University
• Coventry University
• Private collectors in the UK, Europe, USA and Australia


Glenn Ibbitson: five further Orwell book cover designs

glenn ibbitson Air 6

George Orwell; Coming up for Air:  eight layer screenprint  A1 size paper  2018


glenn ibbitson farm

George Orwell; Animal Farm:  seven layer screenprint  A1 size paper  2018


glenn ibbitson EYE

George Orwell; England Your England:  seven layer screenprint  A1 size paper  2018


glenn ibbitson Wigan Pier

George Orwell; The Road to Wigan Pier:  six layer screenprint  A1 size paper  2018


glenn ibbitson p&l

George Orwell; Down and Out in Paris and London:  six layer screenprint  A1 size paper  2018