Official Artist
Simon Birch
530,596 views| 168  Posts

rebel, with or without.

A typical day in sunny Hong Kong. I hit the gym in the morning, plugged into my ipod listening to UKG (dubstep). The gym is clean and dull but something to keep the blood moving when there's no surf. There are short muscular guys looking intense who, hard as they try, will never be as tall as me.

When I was a kid the gym smelled awful with rusty steel plates and rotten carpets, now it's slick and clean with personal trainers, house music and a juice lounge.

Back in the day I lived in a part of town with burnt out cars and dogfights. Now I don't but I still have a fear that when I put my card in the ATM it'll once again reject me and say 'insufficient funds'.

One day in the gym back in the grimy Midlands of UK, when i was 18, my bro, an enormous wolf, got into a row with another bodybuilder who, full of steroids, went home, got his shotgun and pushed it straight into the wolfs chest later that day. The wolf didn't flinch and the other guy couldn't pull the trigger. He left town the next day.

I don't think I'm gonna see any of that action in the spin class any time soon.

From there through the usual pile of emails, the management of my life, and on to the studio where the sun is shining, the radio is on, tuned to BBC1extra, DJ Ras Kwame.

I paint from noon until whenever and check my email now and again and try to keep track of progress on some pretty wild ideas for upcoming art projects. Guns, punk rockers, raves in the wilderness and meteors colliding with the city.

II wander across to the next building, in this sheltered industrial area, where there is a cafe, amongst many floors of expensive furniture warehouse stores. I'm usually covered in paint, dressed in tattered old overalls and when I enter the lift, any passengers fall silent.

At dinner recently my friends were telling me about their kid and what a wonderful life he enjoys. The kid is 5, he likes to paint so he spends much time scrawling away, then he'll eat and take a nap, then he'll play with the girl next door and run around in the park and, if he has time, will finish the day off with some video games and a good story book.

I said that was a typical day for me too.

Lucky kids.

I met a guy at my exhibition called Stefan Sagmeister. He's a very accomplished graphic designer from NYC and much in demand. I bought his book after meeting him, it's awesome. His work is wonderfully creative and contains much human/social commentary. Every 7th year he takes the whole year off and travels without any real plan to see where it takes him. He feels it re-energises and re-inspires his work.

Some years ago I did something similar after reading Kurt Vonnegut's 'Cat's Cradle', a future shock book that has interesting fictions about connectivity. I thought about people that had impacted my life, plotted them on a map of the world. I bought a round the world ticket, swept a girl off her feet to join my adventure and traveled from continent to continent, photographing people that I had connected with over many years. This documenting resulted in a huge book of portrait photographs and interviews. It was just a fun private project, no-ones ever seen it. But it was an inspiring trip and I have a wonderful book that catalogues that time of my life. I repeated the experiment 2 years ago with a few additions and subtractions.

about 10 years ago 0 likes  8 comments  0 shares
Photo 40915
you write the most readable blog on this entire site
about 10 years ago
45862083 0af2fd4d5d
i wish i had the life of a 5 year old!
about 10 years ago
45862083 0af2fd4d5d
I think these work for almost everyone in every job...
about 10 years ago
Mariejost 26 dsc00460
Thanks for sharing your "day in the life". I like the trip idea. Since I can't actually do it physically, I must think on this and see what other ways I could experience something like this. The imagination is not restricted by physical circumstances. The record of that trip must be a constant source of inspiration. It would be interesting to see connections to what you've done since the trip and some of the events/encounters from those trips. It would be interesting to see a graphic display, like a map of your life, professional and private, with the links drawn in and illustrated in some way. I also find your list at the beginning of the entry quite spot on. Even though I'm not a visual artist, a lot of it looks all too familiar. Expecting family/friends/co-workers to have a clue about what I'm doing and why its important to me... is a recipe for rejection and depression. I made that mistake twice in recent weeks, and have been paying the consequences since then. The lesson I took away was a hard one: if no one understand and/or cares about what I do in my creative life, just keep my mouth shut. They don't really want to hear about it and even if they did, they wouldn't understand it anyway!
about 10 years ago
Rottendoubt a4 patrick
i remember reading cat's cradle in high school. pretty good book.....
about 10 years ago
Photo 324
stefan sagmeister is like a god to me. lol! he's an inspiration whenever my brain is stuck. i like his approach in most of his work because it shows tht he had done enough research, enough brainstorm session, enough understanding of not just the idea/concept but the nature of the material he use for his work execution. it's amazing to see how his brain works. he def. had had me working my brain as he does. at least trying my best! i'm just always impress with artist who express their work conceptually and demonstrating the understanding of the choice of material chosen to execute. ....i hope i make sense here. haha! but yea. stefan is THE MAN!
about 10 years ago
Photo 327827
Ha! Great! I love this.
about 10 years ago
Photo 23398
1st time visiting your work & blog, you obviously have an imagination, and your blog is articulate splashed w/some humor. One of my close friends is an artist too. www.yurielvin.com He doesn't own overalls but his clothes is always covered in paint. I enjoyed reading your page and that "10 commandments of a miserable Artist". =)
about 10 years ago


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Hong Kong
Member Since
September 27, 2007

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