May 022011

Before I arrived in Amsterdam I lined up a few oppurtunities through some very good friends that live there. This was the first assignment that I have completed, around the time of my (…ahem) 40th birthday.


The challenge was to decorate the obsolete smoking room inside the bar, which some friends also use as a changing room for their comedy/drama performances. The floorspace of the room is just over 1 metre square. The concept came to me when I was playing chess for the first time in years, and remembering Escher‘s work explaining his many divisions of the plane. I wanted to distort the plane, with a checkerboard design.

The great co-incidence to the painting was that a local band called Dr Marshmallow Cubicle was due to perform at the bar, so I suggested that they play INSIDE the smoking room, or cubicle (when viewed with black & white ’tiles’). Video below…

The piece is entitled Plane Distortion:Sheet 1. The magic viewpoint for the painting is (my) average eye level within the doorframe (you should see my 360 degree photograph below to better explain). I am discovering that this kind of work has a reward for the viewer, finding the viewpoint and synchronising all the surfaces. This was an experiment to test the theory, so it reveals pretty much straight away.

On close inspection you will notice I haven’t hidden the nature of the aerosol edge or the speed at which I worked, this is to reinforce that it is hand painted. Recently a friend asked if I got Dr D to print my Clowns & Jokers piece, only to be told that it was hand painted, so I’m trying even less to keep a graphic edge, or even make it (geometrically) less clinical. Aerosols really perform best when they are applying paint to larger surfaces, so even some errors are good.

Never thought I’d be saying that.

If you visit Amsterdam you can find the bar at:

Sint Pieterspoortsteeg 29

I made another one of my (very rough) 360 degree photographs below, during the big reveal in the early hours of a Friday morning.

If you can see something happening below here – wait for it to load fully –  then click and drag around the image to look around. SHIFT will zoom in, CTRL (PC) will zoom out. If its full of gobble-di-gook then you’ll have  to view it in a regular (java script enabled) web browser.

Experience the 360° panorama