Celluloid Stripes

Ideas come and they hang around for a bit, so I work on them, and then I get bored and do something else for a bit. And then I get bored of that and come up with another idea, which hangs around for a bit and then I do that for a bit instead. Then I get bored of that idea, and come back to the original idea (the one I had two ideas ago), which is still hanging around and do that for a bit again. In this way I maintain a constant sense of being very busy whilst making the smallest of incremental advances in the direction I want to go, which also happens to be three different directions at once.

Welcome to my creative process. Please wipe your feet and take off your shoes before entering, and make sure they’re clearly labelled too as I may just put them on by mistake (or design, if they’re good shoes) and walk out with them.


Oh! Who’s this then? Why, it’s me in a tiger suit and my film-making friend, Robert Brown. It’s been nearly a year since I last slipped into my figure-hugging, striped spandex body-stocking; I honestly thought I’d worn it out. The idea, that is.

But no, ideas hang around. Or they wander off and come back to find you sat at your kitchen table in Levenshulme, Manchester, having breakfast and thinking to yourself, “I’d like to make more work in a shorter amount of time with fewer barriers to access. And I’d like it to be about fantasy within domestic settings. It’s got to be queer, it’s got to be colourful and it’s got to be fun. And I’d also like it to be about feeling (un)comfortable in your surroundings, wondering how your ideas or even your very own self, will survive the future. And I don’t want to do it on my own.”

And then this idea that you put to the back of your mind either because you dismissed it as ‘NOT AS IMPORTANT AS THIS OTHER AMAZING IDEA I’VE JUST HAD’ or accidentally left it behind at the pub when you and your wife Samantha were busy trying to avoid the press brushes some leaves and twigs from its fur and goes:


You jolt upright, causing a little fountain of milk and Shreddies to leap into the air from your bowl.

“I’m. Right. Here.”

I’m not sure what happens at this point. Maybe you and the idea have a good old romantic kiss – with tongues and everything – just as the sunset rolls behind the ocean like a monstrous pink grapefruit and gives the sky a hot flush. Yeah, that’s good.

So, the tiger returns. I’ve used this, I don’t know – frusona? – to explore ideas of boredom and mundanity before but this year I’d like to take this tiger of mine back to Telford, the source of all my dreams, fears and frustrations. But since Rome wasn’t built in a day, and neither was Telford, I decided to do something a bit smaller and domestic in scale. For one miserable, wet Saturday, Rob interviewed me in my tiger costume and we followed whatever tumbled out of my brain as a structure for our subsequent filming. I’ll be working on turning this raw material into a short film over the coming months, and expanding it to include more creatures and locations in subsequent shoots if all goes well. Amazing, eh?

In the meantime, I’ve got a couple of other performances coming up soon, pretending to be a volcano and all that. Oh, now there’s an idea. Off I wander. Don’t mind me, ideas, I’ll be back in twelve months’ time.



Published by Gareth

London-based artist

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