The next study visit took us to Barcelona. And Madrid. I liked Barcelona more. I'd taken to printmaking at the time , one of the endless round of trying things out and projects we were subjected to as first years , all I wanted to do was paint , but that wasn't going to happen. On the Ramblas , down a side street I found a record store which was still selling vinyl , and in the shop was a gate fold edition of Jimi Hendrix's Axis bold as love . Still to my mind his most complete album.
The first night in Barcelona was a disaster, got off the plane and went immediately to a cafe , sat outside in the winter cold and drank most of the money I'd come with. Whilst others hung out in the opera bar or the less salubrious London bar , smoking draw and drinking less expensively than I had managed . This was pre-Olympics , the hotel we were staying in was an old ex brothel , but beautiful in a faded art nouveau way , the breakfast room was tiled with glass blocks which let in light from the entrance below. The staircases were winding light metal , lots of fade olive green and old light through patio doors. I spent most of the night hugging a toilet and throwing up , but still managed to get up for breakfast and a wander around Guell park , Gaudi cathedral , and too follow endless hordes of Japanese tourists around with my friends .
As far as I can remember I was listening to a lot of Pink Floyd in those days , especially the wall, Comfortably numb in particular , which maybe why when
I also made sketches which i would later turn into prints , I prefer the sketches and the prints are now long lost . They're drawn in a graphic designers layout book , the pages semi transparent and from that I found a way of reusing multiple elements through successive drawings in a kind of jigsaw fashion , seeing what fitted with an analogy of painting if ever there was one.
Forget to mention of course, the triumph of death , If i remember correctly that was Pieter Bruegel the Elder . That also had a serious effect on me . But the idea of storytelling within pictures was still something I was trying to get an idea of. Every element becomes personalized , every element within a painting or drawing becomes a part of my own personal mythology.