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  • Writer's pictureMark Michael

Cold In The Sun

Updated: Dec 4, 2020

For the last year I have been working on Cold in the Sun, a book which combines both my artwork and writing. As an artist, I have always looked for the balance of connecting images and the written word in my paintings, whether incorporating text literally into the artwork, or using the titles of a painting to engage with the viewer. Cold in the Sun seemed a natural progression for my work as I have always loved the way in which a few simple words are able to evoke a response within us all. It can be visceral, humorous or shocking. The right combination of words can realign a person’s mindset in ways that are either positive or negative. I enjoy the way in which text can cause one person’s brow to furrow in confusion or contempt, whilst the very same configuration of letters could encourage someone else’s mouth to curl into a wry smile.

With Cold in the Sun I wanted to make a book that people could pick up and explore. One that doesn't necessarily require a reader to start at the beginning and read cover to cover, as the book has no narrative structure. Although the way in which our brains are wired, page one always feels like the best place to begin, even with a book that is rather unconventional.

I recoil from trying to over analyse or burrow too deeply into why I wrote this book. I suppose the best way to begin is with a sweeping statement Modern life is strange, in ways that are both terrific and terrible. I am absolutely fascinated by the way in which during the last decade we have adapted so fast to absorb content and the manner in which it is presented to us, which is often laughably polarising. We now live in a world where memes and other bite-sized hits of content have reduced our brains to crave condensed shots of digital espresso, which often hold no real neurological nutritional value other than to set us up for the day ahead. If a misjudged tweet can cost someone their job or force the thin skinned and the bored to troll, it is obvious that we are only slightly sophisticated apes, graduating from using rudimentary tools to bludgeon our pray to death, our means of inflicting blunt force trauma now are hash tags, Vlogs and Blogs. I am not about to lie, it is a fascinating time, where cancel culture boils over and scolds anyone who dares to endeavour to temper the heat from under it. What a perfect yet precarious moment to create anything.

Cold in the Sun consists of hundreds of short sharp phrases and over 70 original black and white images that explores dark humour, surrealism and the absurdities of 21st century life all served up in bite-sized chunks. In our current tiptoeing PC, woke society, I wrote this book to try and explore through art and writing, the grey areas between the black and the white.

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