Noel Fielding is at the Royal Albert Hall today hanging works for his new exhibition, which opens tomorrow.
The artist and comedian has created around 30 arresting new watercolours for the show, He Wore Dreams Around Unkind Faces, which he describes as “a kind of pop-art version of paintings you see in dusty old mansions and castles in Scooby Doo”.
Noel trained at Croydon Art College and has shown his work at St Martin’s Courtyard, Covent Garden and the old Burberry building in the Haymarket, as well as contributing an exclusive piece to a major Museum of Liverpool exhibition, where it was shown alongside creations from Sir Peter Blake and Yoko Ono.
Here are Noel’s notes on the exhibition, written especially for the Royal Albert Hall.
He wore Dreams around unkind faces.
Titles for paintings i never got around to painting:
Magic Theatre. Price of admission: Your Mind
Wicksy The Mod
White Tiger Takes a Sh*t in Rich Man’s Apartment
Skull of Silence
Memories of the Future
Ancient Space Man
God’s a bit like your dad – he’s pretty laid back but occasionally he can go mental
Is that Vodka? No its a bottle of tears from all my comedowns
The initial idea for this show was to do a kind of pop-art version of paintings you see in dusty old mansions and castles in Scooby-Doo.
I originally wanted to call this show ‘The Lonely Prince’ – he is dotted throughout the exhibition. In a way I guess he represents me. Although I’m not lonely, and i’m not a prince.
I stole the actual title for this show (‘He Wore Dreams Around Unkind Faces’) off of the legend that is Jean Cocteau to appear slightly more clever than I actually am. Cocteau himself tossed off thousands of poetic beauties like this in one novel alone, The Miscreant.
I’d never used watercolours before in my life, it was a gamble, but i kept thinking…it’s only the Royal Albert Hall, so if it all goes wrong it’s only thousands of people who would see it.
My grasshopper mind couldn’t stick to the original idea, i was drifting out to sea like an unsupervised child on a lilo, heading to an island where people paint their Uber drivers without telling them.
Its an abuse of the Uber system to take the small profile picture of your friendly driver and use it to paint a portrait and hang it in the Royal Albert Hall…I know that. Its perverse and wrong. That’s why i did it. I couldn’t help myself.
What compelled me to start painting my Uber drivers? I have no idea. Perhaps its because I’d been so loyal to Addison Lee for so many years that every time i got inside an Uber it felt like i was having an affair. Plus, being able to see the driver’s name and tiny head coming towards you on a map made it all seem like a game. On the downside Uber drivers have even less idea where they are going than Addison Lee.
My lifetime’s work has been a struggle to combine the two things I love most in the world – art and comedy. My art has always been a bit funny, and my comedy, a tiny bit artistic. In hindsight i’m not sure its worked, in the words of The Hitcher “two powerful elements combined to make something not quite as good as either”. But at least i tried. Thanks for coming.
See the exhibition
He Wore Dreams Around Unkind Faces will be on display on the Ground Floor Corridor of the Royal Albert Hall from from Saturday 7 – Tuesday 17 March 2015.
The exhibition is free to view and can be viewed when attending performances at the Hall or on the following free open days:
Saturday 7 March, 10am – 1pm
Saturday 14 March, 10am – 1pm
Sunday 15 March, 10am – 1pm