First published: Spring 2022
In a recent book on Nick Blinko, Colin Rhodes explores the carnivalesque world within the British artist’s intense drawings. Here Raw Vision publishes an edited extract
Nick Blinko is first and foremost a visual artist. He has been drawing for as long as he can remember, and even the recorded releases of Rudimentary Peni, the anarcho-punk band he formed in 1980, are characterised as much by his images, including cover art, posters and booklets, as by his musical contributions.
Mosaic Parasite, 1987, 10 x 10 in. / 26 x 25 cm, all artwork: pen and ink on paper; courtesy: Henry Boxer Gallery
Blinko’s art is visually intense, characteristically consisting of crowded shallow picture spaces with countless figures and objects dredged, as it were, directly from the artist’s unconscious. His iconography speaks at once to history and the fluidity of time, and to the treachery of orthodoxy and ideology, as in works that point simultaneously to the established Church, cruelty and diabolical realms.
Counsel of Voices, 1986, 12 x 16.5 in. / 30 x 42 cm
A Blinko work is inevitably compelling and has a compulsive beauty that seems to pull in the attentive viewer like some hapless astronaut approaching a black hole. Looking at a single one of his drawings can feel like an obsession. But then these are obsessively wrought representations, crafted by a psyche that at times experiences the world in its raw, living and transformational state, in which birth, growth and destruction are mere facts, with neither moral order nor hope of redemption.
Belle Jar, 1984–85, 18 x 12 in. / 46 x 31 cm
When he is drawing, Blinko works continually, undaunted by the physical and mental strain caused by these marathon sessions. “I work long hours,” he says. “It can be 16, and I’ve notched up a few 18-hour days.” At such times, the hold of the outside world is tenuous and vague. The inner world of the picture is paramount.
by COLIN RHODES
This is an article extract; read the full article in Raw Vision #110