Failing to Fail

Resurrection of Lazarus Failing to Fail
Resurrection of Lazarus, by Duccio di Buoninsegna, circa 1308.

Failing to fail.

Making art? There are parts that you can talk about and there are parts that you cannot talk about.

It’s nice to think about artists that make only art but in my experience artists have to do many different things.

I read a quote today, Monday, 11 January 2016:

“I’m a writer … I really wouldn’t like to make singing a full-time occupation.” David Bowie, Melody Maker, 1969

This is something that I think is important when you are an artist.

To experiment with many different things.

Inspirations come from differerent places.

Blackstarskull Failing to Fail
Drawn on 11th January 2016

Here is a drawing I did earlier today… Bowie is interesting as an artist in all the ways that he stole… (“Good artists copy, great artists steal” Picasso)

Bowie is an example of that type of artist that takes his ideas from everywhere and everything. On his last album Blackstar, he has one tune based on a 17th century play, another that uses elements of nasdat (Anthony Burgess) and perhaps namechecks 1984 (Chestnut Café). He claimed that he was inspired by Kanye West and Deathgrips for this album.

That’s Bowie.

But you know what ?

Everyone should do that. Everybody can do that.

In the video for Lazarus (the story about a man who was ressurected from the dead by Jesus, the reason why the Sanhedrin decided that Jesus had to die…) you can see Bowie writing, almost like a Buster Keaton actor (Bowie began as a mime artist) and underneath the table, there is a woman.

I wondered about the woman. She reminds me of the muse. She makes Bowie do what she wants at certain moments. You can feel time is running out and Bowie is acting the writer who is looking for inspiration.

He is like an old fashioned actor. In the old way when we looked for inspiration, we expected it to come from elsewhere.We asked the Muses to give us inspiration.

So during this month I’ll try and explain some of the ways I get inspiration. Also there are very different cultural approaches to the ideas of originality.

On this day when everyone is saluting and celebrating an artist it is interesting to look at what it is that he did that you can do : take risks, experiment, wear masks.

Derniere Importation Failing to Fail
Derniere Importation

On the 28th of January 2016, I’ll be doing a concert with 11:11. Before that with the group I’ll be creating a visual identity for the concert, maybe for the group… I’ll show you the work in progress as the month progresses…

I don’t really know but we’ll be making it.

The concert is in Mains d’Oeuvres in St. Ouen. Hope you can come and see the end result…


fail 2016 means succeed 2016

fail 2016 means succeed 2016

To create you have to fail, fail 2016 means succeed 2016!

To create you have to fail. This is 2016. Fail 2016 means succeed 2016?

Time to create the uncreated. To create you have to fail. I set out to fail really well this year … and here are some of the ways I am going to do it. I set out to succeed: the ways I intend to do that are exactly the same.

This post is a perfect example! I put it up last night and then it disappeared! So fail spectacularly because you’re taking risks. And maybe you’ll succeed.

Here are some of the ways you’ll be able to watch me failing:


An electro group I’ve been playing with for nearly a year with Gabriel Guerin and Mathieu Autin. Live shows coming so watch this space!


“There’s No Devils at All, it’s Just the System” the third album by Zarboth and where I am a special guest came out on Friday the 13th November 2015. Yes, that Friday. Its weird in -your -face rock will be playing around France and the universe. The album artwork is by yours truly.

Zarboth website

Voices from the Other Side

Speaking of artwork, I will bring together my drawings in a small pocket sized book. You will be able to walk around with this book in your possession. The form for acquiring it has to be defined. A perfomance, a conference, a meeting? You can see the kind of images that it will contain here:

Macdara Smith on Instagram

Welcome to my Studio*

Finally my main resolution : post every week observations and notes about my creative activity on this website. In other words you will be able to come into my studio* and the non-stop party that this is my life. This will be to allow you all to create your own work, to have a laugh, to sigh, to get jealous (maybe) but most of all it will make you want to make you do your own stuff.

I’ll share links to other sites that have similar approaches.

*studio : a sketchpad, the corner of a table, the back of a cardboard box… whatever I have to hand.

Fail better, fail often

I’ll think of some other ways to try failing. And I’ll tell you about it very quickly…




Samhain-Centre Culturel Irlandais-31102015

"I work in real estate"
“I work in real estate”

On the 31st of October 2015, there will be a special evening in the Centre Culturel Irlandais in Paris. It is Samhain, the beginning of winter for the Celts, when the ground opens and the spirits from the other side walk amongst the living. Come and celebrate Halloween with us. Safety in numbers. There will be performance, music with Underpressure and June McGrane, strange rituals, games and great storytelling by Eddie Lenihan, one of Ireland’s greatest seanchais. You can reserve your place here: Samhain at the CCI

I will explain the inspiration behind my Voices From The Other Side series.
In the run up and the preparation for the evening I am involved in Drawloween, where I will be publishing a Halloween drawing on my Instagram account everyday.

Come play with us for ever, and ever, and ever…