Shane MacGowan has announced his very first art book, The eternal buzz and the pot of gold.
Scheduled for release in April, the former Pogues frontman’s next art book will be limited to 1,000 copies. You can pre-order it on here now.
The eternal buzz … will feature sketches, paintings, self-portraits and playful character studies as well as handwritten lyrics, stories, photographs and abstract excerpts dating back to MacGowan’s childhood and through six decades of punk and Irish festivities.
Additionally, it will feature photographs that capture candid moments between the singer and his touring band mates, personal photos at home, and parties with celebrities such as Nick Cave, Bob Dylan, Pete Doherty, Kate Moss, Bryan. Adams and Daniel Day-Lewis.
The book, which is described as “a labor of love” for MacGowan, was curated by his wife and collaborator Victoria Mary Clarke, edited by Paul Trainer and includes prefaces by Johnny Depp and art critic Waldemar Januszczak.
“I’ve always loved drawing and painting, and I used to do all kinds of stuff, hurlers, IRA men, teenage punks hanging out in cafes, you name it…”, a MacGowan explained in a statement.
“When I was about 11 or 12 years old, I started studying art history and looking at old paintings and modern paintings, I knew a lot about art. This is one of the only O levels I got, it was in art.
“I made the cover for The Pope’s album ‘Crock of Gold’ and I designed the cover for Pogues’ debut album, ‘Red Roses For Me’. And I more or less designed the second album ‘If I Should Fall From Grace With God’.
He continues: “As for my materials, I like pastels but I don’t really think about it. I will paint or draw on anything, with anything. I like everyone more or less from Fra Angelico and Giotto to the last, as Caravaggio was the last of the Renaissance, before he launched into Expressionism.
“I love Cézanne, Gauguin, Monet, Manet. I like the Irish impressionists, Lavery, Jack B Yeats, Brendan Fitzpatrick. The 20th century impressionists who painted the period of Ireland struggling for freedom. I love Max Ernst, the surrealists, Dali, Chagall… God, there are millions of them.
Victoria Mary Clarke said: “When we were doing The pot of gold documentary, Julien Temple wanted drawings by Shane so I asked my mom to take a look and see if she had any. She sent me a trash bag full of drawings and words that I asked her to take care of 25 years ago, we didn’t even know it existed, it was miraculous, like finding a pitcher of gold !
“His art brings back to me a lot of very funny and often hideous memories from different stages of our life together, a lot of his designs have been done on my shopping lists and my own diaries, and on things like sick bags and blocks. – hotel notes, air travel bags, recording studio sheets and diaries, so it’s easy to know exactly when they were made.
She added, “I love the way the drawings, notes and story fragments provide insight into Shane’s songs, it’s like walking into his studio and seeing everything that was going on in his head. The illustrations are like a visual tapestry of the inner workings of his creative process. I feel very privileged and very excited to be able to share them with the world in a book, especially for people who love songs.
Johnny Depp, who collects MacGowan’s art, writes in a preface for The eternal buzz …: “It’s rare for a creative genius like Shane to have just one way out. Such incendiary talent is likely to have a plethora of facilities through which his talent could seep into the atmosphere and change the climate as we know it.
“And so, revealed here, is Shane’s propensity for the savage, for the absurd, for the political, for the beautiful, all channeled and threaded through the needle of his pen. But, this time, not via the language tool. Instead, Shane’s visual acuity will take the lead here. His visions will speak for themselves.
“Sometimes they will invoke wonder, sometimes they can seem decidedly threatening, but, whatever the medium, his work will always be full of poetry – much like the great man and my great friend himself; artist, Shane MacGowan.