Diogenes and the chicken

Acrylic on canvas 762mm x 508mm (30″ x 20″)

Diogenes is my favourite ancient greek philosopher.

Diogenes made a virtue of poverty. He begged for a living and often slept in a large ceramic jar in the marketplace. He became notorious for his philosophical stunts such as carrying a lamp in the daytime, claiming to be looking for an honest man. He criticized and embarrassed Plato, disputed his interpretation of Socrates and sabotaged his lectures, sometimes distracting attendees by bringing food and eating during the discussions. Diogenes was also responsible for publicly mocking Alexander the Great.

Here I have painted him holding a plucked chicken, a reference to one of his infamous run-ins with Plato.

Plato liked to ‘interpret’ Socrates, and on one occasion spoke of his definition of man as a “featherless biped”.

Allegedly, Diogenes plucked a chicken and brought it into Plato’s Academy, saying, “Behold! I’ve brought you a man.”



The British people have used their democratic right to re-elect the Conservatives into Government in the UK.

In forming a new government, Theresa May has kept her job as Home Secretary. Within less that 24 hours of the election, she announced that she will be pushing ahead with the Communications data bill, or Snooper’s Charter.

The bill effectively legalises the monitoring of *all* communications within the UK.

The pursuit of state level surveillance is more than a disturbing abuse of technology, it represents a fundamental ideological shift previously pursued only in the strictest of dictatorships.

Stasi records found after the fall of communism (Leipzig)

This twitterbot never tweets.

@theresamaybot simply adds you to a series of Twitter lists.


She never talks to you, she never tweets publicly, nor gives any rationale for her decision.

How does it feel to be placed on a list?

She chooses her targets based on keywords she finds in your public tweets. Imagine if she could read your email too…

If you want to be a target, simply follow @theresamaybot or mention her in a tweet.

This is, of course, a parody of the complex data-driven surveillance programmes operated by GCHQ and others, but this process of algorithmic classification is behind all State level surveillance systems.


If Theresa May manages to pass her bill, every British citizen becomes a legal target for investigation and classification.

If this bothers you, I suggest you make your voice heard.

100 algo-Kims & 100 algo-Kanyes

Kim Kardashian and Kanye West occupy a unique place in popular culture. In America, at least, it appears they fulfil the role of Royalty.

Kanye West’s career is built on an unassailable sense of self-belief. Kim Kardashian’s on the ability to create a brand out of her very existence.

They are the American Dream incarnate.

Whilst their rarified position in society grants them significant wealth and influence, it comes at the cost of constant exposure. They must live their lives in public, presenting themselves to be photographed and commented upon, generating new pieces of ephemeral culture to fuel their status.

Without new images and soundbites, they cease to be relevant (and effectively cease to exist). Their faces have been examined by millions, from every angle. The appetite for new images of the lives of these particular human beings is voracious.

This work comprises 100 algorithmically generated digital paintings of Kim Kardashian and Kanye West.

Kim 019

These images were made using a generative system of my design, seeded with the names ‘Kim Kardashian’ and ‘Kanye West’. The source images are chosen from Google Images, they are then cropped using a face detection algorithm. The resulting images are then used as sources for a generative painting algorithm which makes marks based on the images, and blends and distorts them into something new.

Kanye 033

In this work their faces may be fragmented, but their underlying identities remain immutable, for as long as we (and the internet) choose to observe them.

Explore all 100 Kims

Explore all 100 Kanyes

New Activity in your Timeline (2015)

Approximately 4 million years ago, our ancestors adopted Bipedalism, freeing up their hands for more dexterous activities.

However, in recent years, our sophisticated tool making skills have resulted in the creation of the smart phone. A scrying mirror so compelling, that we willingly give up the use of one of our hands, disengage from the present moment, and hunch over our devices, literally deforming us.

acrylic on canvas, 405mm x 510mm

You can buy the original, and prints at Saatchi Online