The Oiled Blue Last
If you must know I found this guy on my way to get a sandwich, he was painting the Old Blue Last, our lovely pub just across the road from our office. He seemed approachable, so I approached him and asked him about demagoguery of oil painting in the mid-19th Century.
VICE: Hello, what is your name?
Artist: Alex Cree. Depending on what day of the week you ask me, I’m an artist, like right now I’m an artist.
So what made you pick the Old Blue Last to paint?
Well I walk past it three or four times a day. I’ve actually drawn it already from the front at night.
What do you think of our place?
I love it. I love the architecture of it, all the different heights and the stairs. But it’s that red block in the middle that made me really drawn to the back of the building.
Really? I saw an old woman smoking whilst peeing there once. The Old Blue isn’t usually attributed to oil painting.
Yeah, I went in there once to use the loo when I was drawing and it was so loud. I’m a bit of a granddad in that way I suppose. I had been drawing it for a while before and it took me back, it's so quiet when you are out here.
So how long have you been painting it today?
Yeah I’ll get in like two or three hour sessions, and this is like my third or fourth.
How many hours to you think in total to finish it?
Well, anywhere up to 100 I guess. Depends how much stamina I’ve got.
So how long have you been painting?
About 10 hours.
What, since forever?
Oh, ten years. I did a masters about three-years-ago at Prince’s drawing school around the corner and it's kind of kept me in its orbit you know. It’s quite hard to just survive from selling paintings as I’m sure everybody knows.
Is the Old Blue difficult to paint?
It’s sort of, busy. I realised these bins changed every day. This truck obscures my view and then when it goes and all the bins have been completely moved around. But that’s what landscapes are all about really. I’m also battling with the idea that yellow is not a very dark colour and essentially I’ve got a yellow thing in silhouette. The building in a colour is yellow and by its nature yellow is quite light. I’m trying to kind of squeeze the black out; don’t tell my teachers.
Why, is black dangerous?
Well with great power comes great responsibility.
How many paintings of the Old Blue Last are you going to do in total?
I don’t know, it depends how long I keep my job for.
Are you going to put them up anywhere?
Maybe the Old Blue Last, I don’t know if they have any art.
What is your favourite colour and why?
If you are a colourist you can't have a favourite colour.
Like a parent picking a child I guess.
Yeah. Or maybe I haven’t discovered my favourite colour.
Maybe that’s the final endgame. When you finally know: then you are an artist.
Well a computer uses something like 56 million colours. I could probably get more than that I reckon.
Wow. Don't forget to show us the painting when it's done.