by Elfyn Jones
Stuckism started with an insult: the conceptual
artist Tracey Emin accused her artist boyfriend Billy Childish of being
stuck (presumably because he was still painting, instead of producing
installations, performances and videos). Childish must have decided he
was happy being stuck because, together with Charles Thomson, he founded
the Stuckists in Jan 1999. The term Stuckism was coined by Thomson from
a reference to the insult in Childish's poem.
I started painting in 1985 when figurative painting seemed to be held
in high regard, but since then Conceptual Art has become increasingly
dominant. When my work was not included in a local exhibition in Nov 2001
I began to despair of ever having a fair showing.
Then I remembered hearing about a group called The Stuckists who demonstrated
outside the Tate against the dominance of the Turner Prize. I also remembered
an article about them in the Sunday Times and liking paintings by Charles
Thomson reproduced there. Wondering if there might be a Stuckist website,
I soon found that there was indeed an extensive site at www.stuckism.com.
Exploration of this website revealed that Stuckism had spread from London
to include groups in various parts of the world. I liked the Stuckist
Manifesto with its emphasis on painting and artistic integrity. It contained
many new ideas and seemed to sum up my disquiet concerning the contemporary
art world. Here was a radical, modern movement which championed painting.
Some of the artists appeared a little rough and their work at times shocking,
but this seemed an advantage if anything; a more precious group would
be unlikely to overthrow the entrenched establishment. Equally attractive
was the Stuckist's sense of fun, demonstrating on the steps of the Tate,
dressed as clowns.
Emailing the Stuckist website produced an immediate reply encouraging
me to start a new group, with Elfyn Jones, Neil Robertson and Geraint
Dodd. We called it the Wrexham Stuckists, a name which sounds to me both
comical and radical. With a lot of encouragement from the Stuckists a
was produced and linked to the main Stuckist site. Our website was barely
running when a website in Seattle contacted us, inviting us to exhibit
From these beginnings I hope the Wrexham Stuckists will gather momentum
and prove a more constant source of illumination than many of Turner prize
|If you are an artist intersted in joining the
Wrexham Stuckists please email us.