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The Colony Room Remembered - ArtLyst Article image

The Colony Room Remembered

29-07-2011
 
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The Legendary Frankie Stein at London's infamous Colony Room is Interviewed by Cecilia W Yu 

Iprotest - An art exhibition from the minds of Artist Frankie Stein,Nathan & Artist Cecilia W Yu will be taking place late autumn,possibly sooner,in a central London location."The theme is protest,whether it be London or global. This group will be for people to network and also upload

pictures,photographs,poetry,sculpture,fashion,film,music,animation and infact anything that is artistic and is relevent to protest This is entirely not for profit!! Its a joint venture project We are a NGO and will be going for full Charity status in the UK in the near future!(date and location to be given nearer the time due to deciding the size of venue needed to match the amount of definite submissions) (it has to be your own work)this is all about getting protest art seen.No charge to the artists whatsoever.No degrees in art are required for submission to the event,just interest and sincerity is needed,though anybody with degrees or a following will be welcomed with open arms. WE have many recognised global artist on board already.There will be professional Curations!So save your protest banners,photos and artworks,and get them seen.We have an internal logic and dignity that neither seeks the artworld's approval nor are we attempting to try to set ourselves apart from it.

Cecilia W Yu:  Wow, The colony room…its just a pub to you Frankie Stein, but you know this is the stuff of legend for others…for me…its sort of somewhere in between because unfortunately I am one of those that had a paintbrush put in my hand at 2yrs old. I respect the hard work it takes to complete the journey and I know I’m lazy. Frankie, you keep me motivated! :)  But I don’t think Timeout did a good job of describing it…honestly…:P (link)

Frankie Stein: Blimming Heck Cecilia, there’s a photo of me behind the bar ,hhaaa! To be honest, it was very hard for me when I heard Ian had died. I cried because Ian and co would take the pi** out of a lot of people, but never me! He was always so lovely to me. They ( the owners ) were my friends, I spent many happy hours there, never had to pay membership. Still I got my members card. I joined in 1977. Such memories, drinking with Francis bacon, and watching a young Damien Hirst talking to Ian before Damien became famous. Just being a member there could open many doors for people! It was a magnet hahaaa, thanks for this :O) namaste.xx

Cecilia W Yu:  I told you we get one another artistically! I never got into that thing about you being a Punk icon and all that. I was not born then so a lot of the names you mentioned are a bit of a blur to me.

Frankie Stein: I just saw a comment on your link to Time Out. I had to laugh at Sarah’s comment that it wasn’t artistic, and they were all drunks and drug addicts! Hahaaaaaa!

Cecilia W Yu:  lol. Sometimes its all part of the spin…if we all actually spent as much time in bohemia doing what the press suggested. I don’t think any art work would ever have been made or anything done at all…no one seems to understand how demanding a “life companion” the Artistic Muse is and sure, some uses the booze.

Self Portrait (c) Frankie Stein, London, 2011

Instead, I get overly sensitive and turn into some sort of hermit for the entire duration it takes me to birth the work…drinking does not help….as evidenced by last weeks partying spree in London….now I can’t look at Bombay Sapphire Blue cocktails without feeling a great deal of nausea! :)

Frankie Stein: We are very different. I had a care order on me  from the age 6 weeks old until I was 21, put  into State’s care. I was so at a loss until I got an art scholarship. I had to ask Stevie Baby, the then Director of Art at my college w What the heck I was? He said, “Frankie, you are a conceptual artist.”

Then I had a chance to play around with my performance art and was invited to “Juggle for Andy Warhol” (an in-joke) but essentially his people wanted him to see my stuff. But something in me just brought me back to an image I saw years ago of a Young boy standing with a Sphinx. Something in it steered me towards Bowie’s Diamond Dog days.

Cecilia W Yu:  Isn’t that interesting how that kind of inspiration takes form? The only reason why we ended up starting “iProtest” together was because well, I was Tra-la-la-ing along and someone kept putting things about protest under my nose via email & social media. Of course I would not have even noticed it if the person did not have something “odd & interesting” about them. I am very bad when it comes to noticing people.

Frankie Stein: I am the same. I used to get told off for bringing ordinary people to posh places where they are not dressed properly! By that time the “Bowie’s night” concept was going on in all the different clubs ofLondon and I was also doing it at The Blitz’s. It all started with me doing some conceptual performance and around that time I interviewed David Bowie for Capital Radio. He took one look at my work and was just elated. He just “got it”.  For me the whole experience was about getting out of the gallery since none of my peers were posh enough for it. I wanted to take the art out to the places where Youth culture was. I think my mate Herbie Yamaguchi can still remember those days a little at the Tropical Fish.

Cecilia W Yu:  Interesting. I had the same feeling when I was doing Edinburgh Art festival in 2008. It was “THE First” Solo show. I was sponsored by Glen Morangie Whiskey. My friend & muse at the time was fixing cocktails for Arsenal Private members club for some guy called Henry (don’t know him). He came over & designed a cocktail for my show. I had a melt-down because on the same day of the opening, I had a major credit card fraud theft & was freaking out. In the middle of all that Political & Embassy VIPs showed up. My peers were so incredibly supportive and even made me laugh a little at the letter from Alex Salmond’s office about what art can do for “China-Scotland”. I just thought, “I want it to be seen in a space buzzing with Life & Passion. This is so wonderful but somehow controlled & too Aristotelian?”

Frankie Stein: Yes. I was performing at the Blitz, it was like that. What started as a club scene counter-culture turned into performing for Rock Stars every night. Mind you, no one treated me like an Elvis impersonator. They all knew it was “art”….Sting, Phil Lynott, Steve Jones from Sex Pistol and all that. Thea Porter was my mate who brought me into the Colony Room.

Cecilia W Yu:  Sorry who? Can you spell that so I can Google it?

Punk dog (c) Cecilia.W.Yu, London, 2011

Frankie Stein: Haha.Yes! Thea is the lady who designed the costumes for the Beatles Album with all the Indian looking outfits. She is very into ethnic clothing. She designed for loads of people at the time like Jackie O, Princess Margaret and the Beatles. I liked  Michael the Barman!

Are you still having trouble with your musing? Did you finish that “thing” forJapan?

Cecilia W Yu: Yeah I did. It is going to my friend’s curated show at theArt Museum of Iwate, then touring all of Japan later.  I know it is not very “edgy”…and I would like it more RAW….but you know…it’s for post-Tsunami Japan. I think they have seen enough “roughness” so wanted to send them something that gives an “inner smile”.

Frankie Stein: Edgy is not always a good thing…I’m glad you done something beautiful.  Hugs again X The story behind the piece made me cry.  You know even though I did a lot of things with David Bowie’s music as a muse. I always stopped people from telling me anything about him. I would just listen to the music. Like I used to Juggle to only Jimmy Hendrix and simulate different effects like a Graphic Equaliser would. It was all about connectingBowie’s artistic characters and finding the bit that inspired me. It was the little forgotten characters that were “of use” to me. There’s a chapter of the “look” in Peter York’s “Style Wars”. I was so broke sometimes, John Windsor from the Observer bought my canvas for me as my art patron!

Cecilia W Yu: Btw, thanks for listening to me cry the other day ! At the moment everything is this annoying emotional thing. Usually the muses are light as a feather & make me laugh.  But for the things we are doing together for London 2012, I can honestly say the new muse is grating! The energy is hostile, rebellious, intense, angry, manipulative but strangely very passionate in its need to be heard, bit tortured & scheming, somehow. I cannot make sense of “that” world. The Art may get “deeper & more layered” but it is hell on me personally. The performance installation I am preparing for, maybe in a northern Italian museum with my Musician friends. This piece is turning into some sort of “anima/animus trauma” and is ironically dubbed “Marriage of True minds” set to a Pasolini movie song! I feel yuck about the process.

Frankie Stein: When sexual energy is kept out of the muse process, it is so much easier. I am so glad I spent the last decades of my life in meditation.

Cecilia W Yu:. Haha, of course it can’t be “death, kill, sex, death, kill, death”…Zzz. That is not very ironic nor artistically interesting.

Frankie Stein: Lol. Oh Give it up! I still remember wanting to be  the “creature” in the Sphinx picture cuddling with the  boy that started all this “art” stuff at the time. But now we are all Princess Siddhartha about it!

Cecilia W Yu: Whatever goes on the Catwalk for iProtest, stays on the Catwalk!  FB Page


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