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Faking It

A lot of people think it’s an easy life in the art world and they’re probably right. Imagine being paid thousands of pounds to order a ton of rice from a wholesaler and then having it dumped in an art gallery, where what was simply food when it was sitting in a warehouse, suddenly becomes an ‘installation’. Of course, you have to be an artist to get away with this sort of thing. However, don’t despair, getting a gallery track record isn’t as difficult as it sounds and once you have one, you’ll be earning telephone numbers every time you dial your art dealer.

The first step on the road to cultural fame entails attending lots of flash parties, where you drink free wine and chat with attractive members of the opposite sex. Having been on this social circuit for a few years, I’ve successfully climbed the lower rungs of the art ladder. It takes time before you can sell one off artefacts for millions and I’m not in that league yet. The con that works best for me is what’s known in the trade as multiples. This means producing something in a limited edition and selling fifty or a hundred copies of the piece for anything between a tenner and a few hundred quid.

Last time I was short of a few bob, I nipped down the road to see a printer who did the occasional piece of work for me. Having put a bit of money this man’s way, I figured he owed me a small favour. I didn’t ask for much, just a pile of test sheets that had been run through the press several times and were now covered with a multitude of overlapping images. I cut the paper down to A3, folded it in half, bound the sheets together and hey presto, I had what’s known to connoisseurs as a ‘book work’. I signed and numbered the edition, then sold the fruits of my ‘labour’ to the Tate Gallery and other prestigious collectors of contemporary art!

Of course, there are other cons for those less successful at making money in the art world. Take, for instance, the self-styled ‘money artist’ J.S.G. Boggs. I used to run into this man regularly on the art circuit. Boggs claimed he never used real money and instead paid for whatever he needed with drawings he’d made of ten pound notes. The truth was a little simpler, as I discovered to my cost when I went for a pizza with the cad. When the bill arrived, Boggs announced that he didn’t have any money with him and I was left with no choice but to foot the bill for his meal as well as my own. The art world’s like that, full of chancers!

Praise Bob

Fed up with the rows raging between the Anglican and Catholic churches? Looking for a genuinely alternative religion? Are you ready to repent, quit your job and slack off? Then the Church of the SubGenius is probably for you. Founded in the late seventies as the ‘world’s first industrial church’, the cult promises ‘eternal salvation or triple your money back’. Adherents to the faith worship a pipe smoking guru known as Bob Dobbs who is ‘a pretty regular guy, just very rich and possessed by forces greater than man’.

I became an ordained minister in the Church of the SubGenius about ten years ago. With Bob’s aid, I was able to scare off the evangelists who’d been plaguing me since I’d rented a house opposite a church belonging to the Jehovah’s Witnesses. After showing these bozos a pamphlet that declared my religion to be ‘a spazz-church of macho irony’ and assuring them that I never read the Bible, they left me in peace. ’Yes,’ I shouted after two middle-aged women as they beat a hasty retreat from my doorstep, ‘you can rape your own mind and relax in the safety of your own delusions. It’s not a problem with Bob!’


City slickers are getting hot under the collar because someone has been sending out fake issues of Insurance Security Services Newsletter filled with libellous allegations. Forged issues of the bulletin suggest that top businessmen are involved in acts of child abuse, kerb-crawling, corruption and sinister conspiracies. These have been mailed in plain brown envelopes to hundreds of city workers. The police investigating the case have yet to charge anyone with the prank.

This material was written for the Stewart Home column of 24-Seven, a youth magazine that folded a few months after an expensive launch in Spring 1993, with the result that much of what was written for it was never used. For fuller documentation of the book work mentioned above see Artists’ Books: The Book As A Work Of Art, 1963-1995 by Stephen Bury (Scolar Press, Aldershot 1995.

Light journalism & humour

Stewart Home topless photo by Chris Dorley-Brown

Stewart Home 'dodgy'?


Stewart Home's Necrocard.

Stewart Home Artist's Book

Stewart Home art book bought by Tate, Chelsea College of Art & other prestigious publicly funded institutions.