We have Jo Myles in The SSBR House today telling us what inspired her to write Tailor Made. If you want to know what shenanigans art students get up to then read what Jo has to say!!
A Word From The Author
I’ll admit it, I’m a bit of an Arts and Crafts throwback, believing (to paraphrase William Morris) that things should be either beautiful or useful, but preferably both. That’s why I’ve never been able to see the value of the work of the Young British Artists. Why bother spending time to learn a skilled craft when you could just throw a pretentious pile of crap together, give it an evocative name and spout a load of nonsense about how you’re deconstructing some facet of the modern world?
I drew on this tension between “high art” and applied arts, and the kind of academic snobbery that seeks to put the latter in its place, as the background to Tailor Made. Felix finds himself immersed in the middle of this conflict while studying fine art at university. He’s somehow managed to enroll himself on a course highly influenced by the trendy British conceptual art movement of the 1990s. You know the one – just think of the media frenzy over Damien Hirst’s pickled cows “Mother and Child Divided”, or Tracey Emin’s installation “Everyone I Have Ever Slept With, 1963-1995”, a tent interior decorated with all her past lovers’ names.
I’ll freely admit it: Felix’s experiences are based on my own as a naïve young fine art student. I studied during the 1990s, at a time when the Young British Artists were having their heyday. For several years I dutifully attended the Turner Prize shows and attempted to find something I liked. I even visited the Saatchi Gallery (Charles Saatchi is one of the key figures in bringing the Young British Artists to the world’s attention) and a Tracey Emin retrospective. I couldn’t find anything that really spoke to me. What the Young British Artists eschewed were the traditional skills of painting and sculpture, saying they’d had their time and nothing new could come of pursuing such antiquated methods.
I beg to differ. To my mind, every artist expressing themselves through the traditional media has something of value to bring to the world, some new take on the world around them. Even at the tender age of eighteen, I could see that the Pre-Raphaelites on display in the National Gallery must have had more artistic talent in their little fingers than the whole Young British Artist collective thrown together.
However, I dutifully made the kind of art the tutors told me they wanted. Gone were the days of drawing and painting portraits and nudes (my specialty in high school). Instead my tutors wanted me to pile a load of rubbish onto a metal spike and draw that. Okay... I distinctly remember going out in the car one night down local country lanes looking for roadkill, as they wanted us to draw dead animals. I found one, put it in my freezer overnight, and then had to wait for it to thaw before I could draw it as I’d managed to curl it up so the bloody bit was in the middle of a frozen squirrel ball.
Another part of my art education I remember drawing on for Tailor Made was a fellow student’s experiments with melting plastic refuse sacks and then constructing tents out of their warped remains. The fumes were awful, and in the end the tutors insisted she went out in the cold to do it. There was other craziness in the name of art. I started growing cress on the surfaces of my paintings—for reasons now lost to me—and all the while I found myself getting increasingly irritated with the fact that no one was attempting to teach me anything about the craft of drawing and painting. Being outrageous and experimental was valued far higher than spending time developing our skills, and so it’s no wonder I gave up fine art after that foundation year.
Instead I went back to crafts. It’s been a very long time since I picked up a paintbrush, but I haven’t been idle. I’ve taught myself to make mosaics to a professional standard, along with all kinds of different textile crafts: feltmaking, knitting, crochet and dressmaking (that last obsession gave me the basis for Andrew’s Fashion course). I love to concentrate on learning new skills, and I hope that one day I might regain the urge to paint.
It could be that I entirely missed the point of my art education and I’m just a throwback to outdated notions of what art really is. It was fun, though, to explore a few of these ideas in Tailor Made, and to have my long-delayed revenge on the Conceptual Art-crazy tutors at my own college. Not that they’ll ever read it……
Title: Tailor Made
Author: Josephine Myles
Publisher: Amber Quill Press
Published: 10th February 2014
Genre: MM (Contemporary)
Rating: 4 Stars
College tart Felix McAvoy is used to causing a stir with his conceptual art pranks, but for his final show he's planning something even more outrageous. In a last ditch attempt to seduce his jaded tutor, Felix plans to wear the canvas in a subversive display. If he's going to do this right, however, he'll need a tailor-made canvas suit. Fortunately, he knows just the tailor to turn to for the favour--and Felix isn't shy about offering favours of a very different kind in return.
First year fashion student Andrew Wheeler knows Felix by reputation only--and plans to keep things that way. Andrew's determined to save himself for the man of his dreams, and Felix couldn't be more different from his ideal Mr. Right. There's only one use Andrew will contemplate for Felix's body--a model for his end-of-year project. Trouble is, it's going to involve a lot of close contact with a nearly naked Felix, and Andrew's never had temptation quite so close at hand...
What do you get if you cross a bucket of fake poo with a flaming tart and a conscientious fashion student? A highly amusing and funny novella from Josephine Myles!
Felix is studying conceptual art at Bath University. He is a stereo-typical, flaming man-tart and camper than a row of Christmas trees, who needs a favour for his final piece of conceptual art for his degree. Andrew is studying fashion design and is a conscientious, shy student who is a virgin and saving himself for his Mr. Right. So when these two meet, two worlds collide. Felix needs a suit to be made from canvass for his final performance of conceptual art. I absolutely loved the idea of two completely opposing characters , this sets the scene nicely for some hilarious moments. He seeks Andrew out after getting the tip from a friend that Andrew would be the person to approach. However, the temptation of corrupting innocent Andrew is just too much for him to resist, especially after seeing how attractive he is, and Felix embarks on the project of deflowering Andrew.
Felix is only doing this to impress his lecturer as he has a crush on him and at the beginning is quite prepared to offer everything to Andrew in exchange for his suit. Well, while I was reading this I could only shake my head at the whole concept of conceptual art. Maybe I’m a complete philistine, but some things just go beyond my realm of believability and to think of some of the things they were calling art just made my mind boggle. As for Felix’s idea……..
LOL……I mean seriously? If this isn’t a p*** take then I don’t know what is. I think this for me this was one of those eye rolling moments where I couldn’t just imagine what you could possibly do with a conceptual are degree.
Anyway, due to Andrew being so rock solid and down to earth, Felix begins to question his morals and values and realises that all he has been doing is pandering to his lecturers for good grades and not really concentrating on what he loves and that being drawing and painting. But not only does he question this but his way of life to date and realises that he has totally fallen for Andrew and can now quite possibly imagine being in a steady relationship.
I also adored the way that Felix deflowered Andrew. He was never too pushy and respected Andrew’s feelings and apprehension, becoming a tutor himself when it came to sex, was very gentle and considerate. A side to Felix you wouldn’t necessarily connect with if you took him on face value.
All in all this is a nice little feel good novella that is humorous, light hearted and will have you smiling as you turn the pages.
About The Author
English through and through, Josephine Myles is addicted to tea and busy cultivating a reputation for eccentricity.
She writes gay erotica and romance, but finds the erotica keeps cuddling up to the romance, and the romance keeps corrupting the erotica. She blames her rebellious muse but he never listens to her anyway, no matter how much she threatens him with a big stick. She's beginning to suspect he enjoys it.
Jo is a member of the Romantic Novelists Association and publishes regularly with Samhain. She’s one of the organising team behind the UK Meet, an annual event celebrating GLBTQ fiction. She has also been known to edit anthologies and self-publish on occasion.
Contact The Author
Also by Josephine Myles…….
Jo will be giving away a $10.00 ebook voucher for a publisher of the winner’s choosing.
Enter the draw below and good luck!!!