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(The Stuckists)


Introduction Text Paintings Large images: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11



Lives in a cottage in Norfolk, is dyslexic and partial to blonde girls.

24.11.60 Born Erith, Kent. Great-great-grandson of Victorian watercolourist, .John Absolon, (1815-95)
1971-76 Rede School, Strood and Educational Special Unit, Chatham, Kent
1977-79 Medway College of Art & Design, Foundation. Second year ruined by a blonde girl.
1979-82 Epsom College of Art, Diploma. Paintings thrown into skip on Principal's orders.
1982-93 Unemployed/job training schemes for office and computer work
1984 Applied to Slade School of Art because Augustus John went there. Rejected.
1987 Applied to Royal College of Art. Submitted pictures of cats. Rejected.
1993-94 Fine Art Access course, Maidstone College of Art
1994 Accepted on a part-time degree course at KIAD (Kent Institute of Art & Design). Unable to take up the course because of financial difficulties. Then awarded a grant, so applied for full-time degree course. Rejected.
1994 Attended life drawing classes at Rochester Adult Education Centre.
1999 Accepted for NVQ in horse care. Unable to complete because of mandatory government Project Work placement. Founder member of the Stuckists art group.
2003-4 Artist-in-Residence, Rochester Adult Education Centre, Kent
2004 Featured artist, The Stuckists Punk Victorian, Walker Art Gallery, for the Liverpool Biennial
2006 Go West show, Spectrum London

Travels by train through Europe visiting palaces and art museums. Fascinated by German Hohenzollern Empire (1871-1918). Likes cats, dogs, horses and the Arts Club, Mayfair. Attends courses on sculpture, life drawing and painting daily. "I've been encouraged to keep going by Billy Childish during difficult times."

Working method

"I do lots of drawing from life. I've drawn continuously since I was sixteen. I like to watch cats moving and draw them. Then I enlarge the drawing on a photocopier and trace it onto the canvas using dressmaker's tracing paper. I usually paint 8-10pm every night: a painting takes up to a month."

"Job Club" painting

"They were all real people on a government unemployed scheme. They were builders apart from me, and they didn't want to be there. We'd all been doing it so long that I thought we would end up dead still doing it. I also disguised them because I didn't want to get beaten up. They're all portraits. I'm the middle one."

Web site

Web site www.absolon.org.uk + mirror site Electric Rain Missionary

The text above has been adapted from The Stuckists Punk Victorian book (National Museums Liverpool)



Of all the striking paintings in The Stuckists Punk Victorian exhibition, Philip Absolon's hit me hardest. I get the impression a lot of Stuckists are well used to life on society's fringes, on the receiving end of welfare-to-work policies which just don't work for many. Absolon's pictures - many in this style and on this theme - seem born out of the awful experience of sitting in places like Job Clubs and feeling, well, skeletal, living dead. I don't really like the picture - it's not the sort of picture anyone would like - but I've chosen it (a) in celebration of the Stuckist ethic, grassroots creatives all, (b) in remembrance of my days on the dole which though a long way off now still sensitise me a little to the plight of those in that situation today, and (c) to mark the campaigning work of Church Action on Poverty who promote Poverty Action Sunday in February and whose campaigning work does what Absolon does, in a very different way - provokes the comfortable classes to take note of the issues.

Feb 2005, see original text here

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