Mixed media, Indian Khadi Paper

'Imagined Countries...all made up'.

As Oscar Wilde said.. "A map that does not include Utopia is not even worth glancing at."

'Utopia' a name thought up by Thomas More whilst staying in Antwerp in 1515, it literally means 'nowhere land' or 'a good place to stay'. He wrote a book about this place.

Words attached to drawings.. word learning for children and language learners..words attached to places.. these reach an apotheosis in the Mappa Mundi, the locating of known and unknown events, empires, cities and rivers and lakes.. on a piece of terrain.. all on parchment or paper, all within the grasp of the human mind..the world made tangibile.. truly imagined.

As a child I spent hours in my bedroom drawing and making maps.. maps of imagined places which became one imagined place. Because over the years the place became quite distilled in my memory, quite fixed. It's a country with a history and geography, a political ethos, religions that waxed and waned and hero's, cultural and otherwise. It has its artists, its footballers, its film industries, its literature.. it's multi ethnicity. As I became enthralled by football, between the ages of eleven and thirteen, this country also sprang up with leagues and each city had a team, a fanzine was created etc.. as I moved into my pop music phase, then this country also developed a chart, music press and recording companies and rock festivals. Next came a film industry, with stars.
This country, or several countries, had histories, ethnicities and politics. As I fell in love with other parts of the world that I visited in real life, this country came in parts to resemble those places. Bits were like north America, others like parts of Spain .. others still like... Wales and Ireland.

This country could never be manifested in my art.. it is too personal somehow..and even now I cannot bring myself to give out it's name.

Why do artists create utopia's?.. more importantly, why create 'failed utopia's' . Is it because the artist is more honest than the philosophical dreamer, or simply that, for an artist, the very act of creating an 'utopia' is pleasure enough without the need to gain pleasure from making it an ideal one. The pleasure comes not from the beauty of the Idea, but from the beauty of creativity.. with all the faults built in. The faults are necessary. If we have to go for a creationist view of the world, that indeed is the way Yahwe seems to have done it!.