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Photograph of a collage, circa 2014. About 1.3 x 1 m. Paper-covered polystyrene painted with acrylics, CDs, plastic grille, glue, pins. The original artwork used to hang outside the front door of our house in Concord West. When we sold the house, the new owners asked to keep the picture. Knowing that the work was too fragile to move, I said yes. It’s gone now.
This work arose from my unwillingness to simply throw away CDs that had become useless, coupled with the superficial observation that CDs look a bit like fish scales. In real life, the picture changed colour quite beautifully with the weather or with a change in viewpoint.
Untitled landscape (dragon mountains)
Photograph of a detail of a painting, 1999. Red wine and acrylic paint on board.
The photograph below shows the whole painting, which is about 1.9 x 1.07 m including the handpainted frame.
Like most of the paintings I have ever done, this took a ridiculously long time to do. It started with red wine on board. That is, I had some red wine on board, and I decided to put some red wine on a board. For weeks on end the unfinished painting occupied our dining room table or the floor of our living room while I added small details. A lot of it was painted by flowing wet paint over wet paint. I used olive oil to create a resist in some places, which preserved little bubble-shaped patches of layers beneath.
I am not a good painter, but I love painting. It can be a wonderful meditative experience working with paint. Most of my work is decorative and, if the pictures have any meaning, it is the meaning that engagement brings to them. I have written a novel called The story of the picture in which pictures are full of meaning. Appropriately enough, this is both a fantasy and a satire.
Bio pic (Craig Bingham)
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I generally dislike having my picture taken. I try not to be too precious about it. Vanity makes some people shy of photography and others keen to be photographed. Stoic indifference to the whole process would be more admirable. If you find a human being who has mastered that, let me know.
This photo (circa 2010) is taken at Rivendell on the Parramatta River, home of the Rivendell Child, Adolescent and Family Mental Health Service — but it really could be Middle Earth, couldn’t it? Every year the persimmon tree, which stands alone in a paddock by the water, does this amazing show of autumnal leaves. It also fruits beautifully, and some locals are quick to take the harvest.
The photo of a gate at the top of this page is also taken at Rivendell.
Portrait of the artist as a young wanker
This picture is well explained on the page where it first appeared.
Portrait of the artist as a young wanker (c. 1983). This photograph by Stephen Alexander is a picture of me in the house where I lived for several years as a young man. The picture in the background (partially obscured) is called The Assascension of Julius Christ. It was painted on my back door using acrylic and enamel paints, pen, pencil, papier mache, brown sugar (to encourage ants to eat parts of the surface), newspaper collage, foil and a nail. The painting was destroyed about 1987 when my mother attempted to transport it to her house for safe-keeping and it blew off the roof-rack of her car.
Fish (young fish)
This is a photo of a gate in Christchurch, 2010. I chose it to illustrate Young fish because it shows a fish swimming in air (as if that were its element) and apparently escaping an iron net. Or is it in fact caught?
Whizz Zock Bang
Sculpture by the sea
I needed a picture to illustrate the blog post about this story, which I was in a hurry to put online, so I scribbled something on a piece of dirty paper with lead pencil, felt pen and highlighter. I photographed the sketch and adjusted brightness, contrast, hue and vibrance in Photoshop, which turned the dirt into a delicately shaded background.
Untitled (abstract woman)
I did this painting sometime in the 1990s, but it is undated as well as unsigned. Acrylic on masonite, 102 x 79 cm. Often paintings look better when photographed, but not this one. However, I did think it was something like a painting by the fictional Tobin Fletcher, who is one of the artists in The story of the picture.
I took this photo of weeds to illustrate the poem points to consider. It is not very good, is it? The poem deserves better.
The idea of this concrete poem is that its appearance mimics the banal architecture of its subject. Produced in Word, saved to pdf, brought into Photoshop for detailing.
Shopping centres are emblematic of a certain weirdness about our culture: we love them, we hate them; we tolerate much that is awful about them and what is awful about them is often exactly what has been designed into them to make them function effectively as money-making machines.
Because shopping centres are a mixture of horror and pleasure, I believe we train our senses to avoid seeing them as they really are. For instance, everyone accepts that their visit should begin with a tour of a hot, smelly, greasy, grey wasteland called a carpark, and that the glamour need not begin until we have passed through glass doors into some sort of atrium. It is as if we choose not to see the carpark, not wishing it to stain the pleasure we anticipate in shopping for tomorrow’s garbage.
This image is a detail from one of the oldest paintings I have put online. I painted it in Redfern, therefore sometime between 1981 and 1987. Black spray paint and acrylic paint on board, with string, matchbox insert and plastic novelty teeth. Approximately 1.3 x 0.9m. Unsigned.
I will always cherish the sheer joy of discovering that my tatty fan brush could be used to make the sluglike shapes that track across the left side of the picture. Some people think the teeth are a mistake, but they are wrong.
The mood of the piece is right to accompany Festa.
Below is a photo of the whole painting.
I kept this photographic accident because I thought it was beautiful, and then selected it to illustrate David Foster Wallace sits at his desk alone because its suggestive ambiguity and dynamism seemed appropriate for the subject matter.
In no other sense is this a photoportrait of David Foster Wallace.
If I told you that it is ‘really’ a happy snap taken in a Croatian cafe in 2015, and that the red shape in the foreground is an Aperol spritz garnished with a wedge of lemon, would you be disappointed?
Detail from ‘Four coordinates’
I generated this image within Photoshop, using a highly magnified background texture and the paintbrush tool, specifically to illustrate this piece of writing.
This image is not by me. It is a great modernist painting by Kazimir Malevich, painted in 1912-1913 (that is, before World War One). I like it as a modern image of a primitive figure, a Russian peasant. The war was soon to reap both the old and the new, destroying much of the past, but also taking away many potential futures by destroying progressive young people throughout Europe. Not Malevich — he survived the war. As I comment at the end of my story, departure, we will never know what we lost.
The story behind this picture is very like the story behind Seesaw. Needing an illustration in a hurry, I scribbled something on a piece of scrap paper with lead pencil. I photographed the sketch and adjusted brightness, contrast, hue and vibrance in Photoshop, which magically gave the background its mottled tints.
When I first wrote accidence, I presented it as a cube, with one part of the story on each face. Each face was underprinted with the traditional die dots representing one to six.
It was possible to read the story in random order by rolling the cube and reading the uppermost face, then tipping the cube to read on.
Later, when considering linear presentations of the narrative, I considered the flat two-dimensional representation of a cube known in mathematics as a dice net. There are 11 different dice nets for a cube, but only four of these are unambiguously linear. I selected one of these. Finally, it is traditional that the opposite sides of a die add up to seven.
The plan illustrated above is therefore one of the linear possibilities for arranging the six parts of accidence, and I found it satisfactory.
I created the illustration in Adobe Illustrator.
The physical structure of accidence guided its development in other ways.
Death. Eye. Dog (four images)
I abstracted/montaged these images in Photoshop to illustrate Death of a Bannister, wanting to suggest something of the creepiness of the moribund billionaire and the weirdness of his final delirium. Below are the original photographs used as source material: iguana in Taronga Zoo; accidental pocket images; dogs.
The splash used to illustrate Glass is an image extracted via Photoshop from a painting (Craig Bingham, Untitled [rays], acrylic on board, c. 2000?).
I wanted a gloomy picture to go with d-d-doomy, so I painted this in Photoshop. Needs work? Yes, it definitely needs work.
The poem So is abstract enough to defy illustration, but I enjoyed making this textured text in Photoshop, by turning a large piece of type into outlines and then using that as the mask. The background is actually a plant photographed on Guilfoyle’s Volcano in the Melbourne Royal Botanic Gardens.
I like this picture. I knew what I wanted to illustrate the story, but I had to make it. I found a photo online, modified the tilt of the head slightly in Photoshop, then printed it out as a guide. I painted over the whole image using acrylic paints, working quickly, and photographed the painting while it was still wet. As a result, the final image is full of reflected light that is no longer evident in the painting itself. If you look closely, you can see the edges of the underprinted image, which did not extend to the edge of the A4 page.
This is a photomontage, with some details handpainted in Photoshop. I created it to illustrate Tween hill and valley, a story that reminds me of my mother’s ancestors, without being about them at all.
This was drawn in Illustrator to accompany the innocents. I like it as a picture, but I’m not sure how well it goes with the story. A contrast, certainly.
In this photomontage I join a heavily compressed and colour graded picture of a littoral rockshelf with a cactus specimen (real colour) to create a carcinoma nightmare to illustrate Carcinoma of the sentence strucChesty Bond L’Ufficio Gullture.
To create a carcinoma nightmare in this photomontage to illustrate Carcinoma of the sentence structure I join a cactus specimen (real colour) with a heavily compressed and colour graded picture of a littoral rockshelf.
To create a cactus Carcinoma in this littoral graded rockshelf I photomontage a heavily colour compressed nightmare of sentence structure and illustrate the join to colour with a (real carcinoma) specimen of a picture.
Thanks to Mimmo Cozzolino for allowing me to borrow his wonderful photograph of a vintage Chesty Bond figurine to illustrate My story of Uncle Russell. This story is about a man who for a time embodies something of a Chesty Bond aura. Is the story a plastic caricature of the man, or is the man a plastic caricature of himself? I like the slightly battered artificial cheerfulness of this Chesty Bond, which might signify something genuine about life.
I began painting L’Ufficio (The Office) while I worked at the Health Education and Training Institute and finished it while working at The Royal Australasian College of Physicians. Even if the painting looks like a collection of colourful stones, it was always about people and the way they are jammed up against each other in an office. People in an office are beautiful, but dreadfully constrained. This is the connection with Teamwork, although the story has an unhappier dynamic than the picture.
This simple photograph of a seagull captures a significant motif in the story Care. There is not a lot to say about this picture. The story is almost spiritual, a little outside my usual mode.
You will get a better look at these pennants if you go to the article All Saints Hunter’s Hill Soccer Football Club, where you can read something about how I acquired them. It is a bit of a miracle that they have survived: when I was a boy I pinned them to a board; later I packed them away and forgot about them. I rediscovered them years later down the bottom of a chest full of old posters, paints and other junk. I’m pretty good at keeping junk.
One mandarin fresh, damp and full of juice; another battered and desiccated. It seemed as good an illustration of Party trick as any, and that is why I took the photo. The story touches on themes of intergenerational struggle and the spooky intergenerational continuity provided by shared genes.
Detail from a painting on board (about 1.2 x 1.4 m, acrylic and poster paint, silver pen). Made in about 1994 by me and my sons Tom and Daniel, then aged about four and two respectively. For the purposes of Nuking the world, could this be seen to represent the deconstructed post-war landscape?
Terry White’s brother
This is a pencil drawing, scanned and then coloured in Photoshop, which I did to illustrate Give this to Terry. A bleak story, with a bleak picture to match.
This is not my picture: it was used by Springer Nature on their webpage advertising their ‘Change the World’ event. I have no idea how it was produced. I would love to think that it really is a photograph of a drop of water on the roots of a rainforest tree, but of course it must be a manipulated image. Nonetheless, strikingly beautiful.
My story, Free research, one article at a time, was a bit of a throwback to an interest in journalogy that I developed while working at The Medical Journal of Australia. How research is published and who has access to it is kind of important, even if it’s not very exciting.
I took this photo of a sculpture in Bray’s Bay Reserve, Concord West, many years ago now. A porthole to the sky suggests a globe. Perhaps the rusted iron frame suggests a fate. An evanescent cloud is captured during its only moment. To me, this seemed a good image for my article Climate change and other small/large problems
This is a photo-composition of nine separate pen drawings, coloured in Photoshop, made specifically to illustrate The story of the matches.
Almighty Dollar (AKA seems fair)
For How many million dollars would you pay a CEO each year?, I created this picture in Illustrator because I wanted to represent the shocking disparity between what a CEO is paid and the wages of the majority of workers.
One planet, one people
For On free trade in people, I plundered the Internet for free images, which I combined and modified using Photoshop and Illustrator, adding some groovy rainbow text to prove what a hippy I am. On the other hand, the actual text of this opinion piece might suggest that I am more a sort of dangerous neo-liberal free trader — or perhaps a radical socialist — or none of the above.
Desperate to illustrate this opinion piece (Towards an ameliorist manifesto), I scribbled a drawing, scanned it, and coloured it in using Photoshop, where I also duplicated some elements. I’ll have to ameliorate this illustration some day.
Creepy story (Buried) required a creepy picture. I put this photomontage together in Photoshop. Credits:
- Hand reproduced with modifications from ‘A surreal desert scene’ by ClaraDon, https://www.flickr.com/photos/florida_photo_guy/38725310684 . Reproduced under creative commons license: Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0).
- Desert scene reproduced with modifications from an image by rhianjane, https://pixabay.com/photos/anglesey-parys-mountain-wales-3816221/ . Reproduced under Pixabay license (Free for commercial use, no attribution required).
I illustrated ‘Word games too’ with photographs of the tiles from my grandparents Scrabble set. I mean my grandparents Ira and Elva Smith, who deserve their own story sometime. The tiles are sitting on my dining room table, which I hand-made, and which also deserves its own story sometime, even if it is not as interesting as my grandparents.