|Tony Hancock - The Rebel (screenshot)|
Watch scene here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gs73aPdYvnE
Do you remember the Action Art bicycle scene from Tony Hancock's "The Rebel"?
This guy was the inspiration.. British Action Artist, William Green.
Sadly all the negative attention to his (at that time) unusual work & his methods didn't do him any good and he gave up making art and became an alcoholic (he did eventually make a return to art due to an exhibition but that was thirty years or so later just before he died). Knowing this makes me realise how delicate people can be about their work and whilst we might all think aspects of it are funny or weird to us, theres always someone who takes pride in their work seriously enough that any criticism could make them feel self conscious about continuing their creativity and destroy their confidence.. Such a shame.
Here's a clip of Green working on a piece for a Pathe Newsreel clip called 'Action Artist' from 1957:
This could've been the very piece he was working on in his studio that day when Pathe paid him a visit: http://www.tate.org.uk/art/artworks/green-untitled-t07905
Some more information about William Green including an artists biography & some of his later works on paper via England & Co Gallery: http://www.englandgallery.com/artist_group.php?mainId=56&media=Drawings%20%26%20works%20on%20paper
A nice little blog piece from the Illuminations Media Blog archive about sixties art television (mentions William Green & also a bit about Ken Russell): http://www.illuminationsmedia.co.uk/blog/index.cfm?start=6&news_id=195
I also read that Ken Russell filmed Green for a spot on the BBC's Sunday Report & I'm very keen to see that if the footage is still around.. In the meantime here's a link to 'Pop Goes The Easel' a report made by Russell for the BBC arts programme Monitor in 1962:
And a bonus link to Russell's Bohemian semi-social documentary about the old digs where he used to live in West London: 'A House in Bayswater' - 1960: