Abstractive Titles

Some works from my show at the Andel31.org itinerant gallery showing in Copenhagen. Open until 26th April, see their website for hours. My work is largely based on abstracting the titles of famous and expensive abstract paintings until they become semi-abstract themselves.

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Black Submarine

So, did you know that Britain is planning on spending billions and billions of quids on a set of matching nuclear submarines to wreak nuclear doom on the planet if we get annoyed with someone or if someone accidentally launches the missiles, or there’s an a mad dictator. Or something. I did, so I did this picture for Landfill Editions and CND. The text is intended to demonstrate the distance between the hopeful idealism of The Beatles Yellow Submarine and the reductionist nihilism of the present political arena.







Self Servicing

In a medium sized city somewhere in the frictionless Western World, a group of youngish people play empty games in the kindergarten of ambition and heartbreak. You can download the complete script here: PDF Download (zip). It’s written in 9 short episodes, designed to be very cheap to film. The dialogue is almost impossible to speak, and is written to be as un-natural as possible. I just want to be Hal Hartley really.




MARK & STEVE sit in the window facing the street. They both have coffees and sandwiches in front of them.

The coffee here is really good. It’s made from coffee beans, many many coffee beans.

A DOG sits on the pavement outside, wagging its tail.

That dog outside, descended from the wolf, is now a breathless monster bred, to flatter those bereft of beauty.

The beginning of all subjugation is desire. Without the human urge to mold the natural, the planet would be alien and godless. It’s cold in here today.

I can’t feel it, I’m wearing my silk long-johns. They’re really soft, I got them in New York.

I had some of those, but they got lost when I was trekking in Nepal. I think the porters stole them. Those guys live on, like, pennies a day.

All coins are a prison with our leering gaolers visage stamped upon them. Their cold eyes spy on pleasures sought.

Namaste, my friend, to that.


Klebstoff Sticker Magazine 8

I just contributed a sheet of stickers to the magazine ‘Klebstoff’. I just did one spread but there are over 200 stickers by at least 15 different artists.

You can see all the info and order it here for just €9.90 or a set of three issues for just €24 here.

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Some Spots

I drew these brush-o-delic pictures of skateboarding favourites for Nike SB. There’s currently some confusion as to whether they were widely used. I saw a T-shirt with them on, but apart from that… radio silence. Ha!

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Tooled Up – An Art Show

So, I like to be involved in things – and generally it’s a good thing. So when Mike Moloney, an old college friend of mine asked me to be in a show he was organising I said yes.

He sent me a hammer in the post – it went by airmail – meaning that at one point the hammer was doing about 500 miles an hour. Fast enough to hammer nails in. Resist any attempt to reference MC Hammer I thought. Or hitting nails on the head I thought. Or square pegs into round holes.

Then I got my thinking brush on and started to think… and think… and think… and then I painted this watercolour of a thumb. Thanks for the hammer!

G6 City Pavilion 37, Cheshire Street, London, E2 6EA UK
12th to the 20th September, Mon – Fri 11:00 – 18:30 and Sat 12:00 – 18:00


Do Broken Windows Create Economic Activity?

I’m working on a series of images at the moment exploring the visual metaphor of the broken window. In 1850 the French economist Frédéric Bastiat examined the metaphor of the broken window in an economic context in the ‘glazier’s fallacy’ section of his famous essay That Which Is Seen and That Which Is Unseen. In 1982 in an article by James Q. Wilson and George L. Kelling the broken window was seen as being symbol of the beginnings of decline in urban environments. It is interesting how the broken window as a symbol went from being part of an economic theory to being part of a sociological one. How it went from being a symbol within a theoretical treatise to being given a symbolic power in the real world.

The project has two layers. The first is the establishment of a formularised aesthetic for the depiction of a broken window as an image, with its associated backstory of being influenced by the political theories mentioned above. The second is the creation of altered photos of art galleries with what appears to be my broken windows paintings on display within it. I want to create the initial impression that the paintings are really viewable in these spaces. If they were really on show then it would suggest that the paintings were legitimate and had been accepted as ‘real art’ and having probably some commercial value where as, at least in a pre-digital sense, they do not exist at all. The broken window could suggest a forced entry into that space – just as I have undermined an art gallery’s ability to control what paintings are seen to be shown in its legitimising interior. Just as Bastiat questioned in his essay, does a broken window create true economic activity?

In the last image shown here I have inserted one of my paintings into a still from Stanley Kubrick’s ‘A Clockwork Orange’ with the intention of illustrating the following fake narrative:

“…I thought my broken windows paintings were new and original in their motif and expression, but as it turns out there is a near identical picture featured in one of the sets in Kubrick’s ‘A Clockwork Orange’…”

The reason for doing this is to play with one of the central anxieties of the modern artist: originality. Almost the only requirement for the modern artist is to create a truly novel expression. It matters much less if that expression is interesting or aesthetic in formal terms – this is the conceit of the relationship between modernism and the cult of the individual in the history of post-decorative art. Of course as an artist wishing to conform to this definition of a valuable creative act, one is always ‘on the lookout’ for the hidden confirmation that one’s supposedly unique acts are simply a regurgitation of someone else’s. There is no more depressing reflection from a critic than : “This reminds me greatly of ****** *******’s work”.







Lightning – A Model For Our Time

Lightning is my model. I have praised her before here, but again she has surprised me. Largely because she is nearly 4 metres tall and extremely athletic. She creeps around on her high-heeled feet like a cross between a narwal and a domestic cat. We spent a feverish day and night in the studio this weekend and I made these pieces with her. Her body heat is sufficient to heat an aircraft hangar.

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SHOW – Jody Barton – Edward Morgan – Pernille Z. Nygaard

Edward Morgan and Pernille Zidore Nygaard join me for a heavy duty show of drawings and paintings in Copenhagen’s prestigious Le Fix gallery. The show opened on Friday 28th February and is open for three weeks in March until 18th. There’s a huge amount of good new work and it’s all in Le Fix’s excellent, dedicated gallery space upstairs from their shop.

Le Fix
Kronprinsensgade 9b

Open shop hours until 18th March 2014
details: https://www.facebook.com/LeFix


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The other Artists:

Edward Morgan

Edward Morgan is an artist who works in the media of drawing, painting and film. His work centres around the words that you’re constantly exposed to in everyday life. The language in his drawings and paintings are embellished with romantic landscapes or obsessive patterns. In his video work he takes on different characters and gives voices to inanimate objects to tell stories and satirise dramatic cliches. Born in London, he studied Painting at the Royal College of Art, graduating in 2012.



Pernille Zidore Nygaard

Pernille is a Danish Copenhagen based artist who works mainly with drawing and sculpture, with an abstract approach to both medias, though still with recognisable figurative elements. Her work evolves around de-contextualising common objects and forms in order to question their primary meaning. She has decorated a large public space in Roskilde Search and Rescue Hangar, illustrated the Danish children’s book “Grønflammeskoven” and shown in Denmark and in the US, including a show at the Conner Museum in Washington State.



The Free Library

Welcome to the FREE eBook Library. Download books for free!

As part of the ‘Free Library & The Manic Defence’ show at the Antonio De Luca Gallery Berlin on 31st January 2014 I want to give everyone the opportunity to read and enjoy these specially redesigned editions of 15 of my books from the last 10 years plus my TV script ‘Self Servicing’ as well.

I’m also proud to announce the launch of my new book also here in eBook format : The Manic Defence.

Please (CTRL – control) click on a title to download (pdf format)

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All titles are free to download and are in the PDF format. Many of these titles are out of print and unavailable in their original form. All titles are © all rights reserved Jody Barton, but of course they are free to download and share.

No commercial use or distribution is allowed without written permission from the copyright holder.

Manic Defence & The Free Library – Berlin Show & FILMS


A show of new paintings and drawings.

On the night of the opening I’ll also be giving away 100 free signed limited edition screenprints to celebrate the opening of the Free Library. The Free Library has all the books I’ve ever made as an artist including such gems as ‘Love Me Hold Me’, ‘F.H.I.F.F.’, ‘Golden Treasury’, ‘Zine Age Riot’, ‘Life on a Modern Planet’, ‘Drinking Baileys from a Skull’ & ‘Embryo Boy’, and a new title ‘The Manic Defence’ all redesigned as e-books. All free to download.

Antonio De Luca Studio
Immanuelkirchstrasse 28  D-10405 Berlin
open until 21st February
Mon-Fri 11.00 – 19.00 / Saturday: 14.00 – 18.00


All works €100 – buy here: http://gallery.100euroshow.com/products/jody-barton-berlin


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The Manic Defence

The Manic Defence

The Manic Defence is their eyes seeing us
pupils pointing in our direction
as we assess:
is that person’s pupil in the visual-middle of their ‘eye white’?
Does that mean I’m liked?

Eyes lovingly regard us
as we forget the ability
of eyes to lie
to look half interestedly –
to flick, to flirt, to flitter.
We are being watched for signs
that we’re watching back
and so pretend a dance of looks.

Eyes full or empty, have clocks for pupils
ant’s legs for clock hands
ants eggs for eyelids
ink pools for sunglass.
Who can stand to have their eyes so scrutinised?

Our job is to replace ourselves
but we desire our memories to live on
I combine breasts with USB sticks
a whole ants’ nest of eyeballs masquerading as ant eggs
ready to hatch into attention piles.

And wings, everything has wings to fly away.

The Manic Defence – available as a free e-book here:
PDF Download

Lightning – The World’s Eroticest Artiste’s Modele

I work with some of the world’s most smokin’est broadalinas. But of all the goddesses that visit the studio then Lightning has to be one of the most felinuous. She’s a living statue of the dancefloor. The heating is on so hot here that helicopters are floating overhead in the updraft. Lightning is a fascinating woman and has many tales to tell of her life growing up on a remote tropical island near Antactica. After her family were eaten by polar bears she fashioned an ice yacht and travelled to Old Europe to become a Bohemian.

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Bloody Thumb

These drawings are from a dream. Towers of coloured sand with vague silhouettes of sentinels, fragments of wooden structures lie submerged in grass, a droplet of fresh dark blood oozes from a neat cut on my thumb. The blood is alive with patterns and images.


Bouncing Your Own Drum

I know you don’t want to hear compliments, because you are scared that hearing them might make you happy or give rise to other emotions. I know you are scared of feelings because you don’t want to open the floodgates. Who knows what’s at the bottom of the weir? But when someone compliments you, you mustn’t shut your ear like when you blink your eyes during a sneeze. When you blink your eyes, the brain ‘fills in’ the missing time – there’s no sensation of darkness. But when you ears close there’s no ‘fill in’ – there’s just darkness. Open your ears. Don’t ear-blink. And be open to compliments and the emotions that go with them.