Archive for category Business
Once again I am helping the world by explaining concepts too confusing and clever for your puny, simple minds by translating it through my simple, puny art.
So if you thought payment protection insurance was dull or confusing then think again because you’re wrong and embarrassing yourself. You’re probably going to soil yourself next with that kind or stupidity.
Lloyds Banking Group has stopped selling payment protection insurance (PPI) across all of its brands. “More than 90% of PPI sold in the UK is done so alongside unsecured or secured personal loans, credit card and mortgages. The Financial Ombudsman Service is expected to reveal that in the three months to 30 June an average of 149 people a day lodged official complaints about PPI”. Full story (not that you need it) here.
Or in other words; the above artwork.
Obviously I haven’t delved into the Competition Commission’s plan to ban the sale of the cover alongside credit agreements or I would have used more wood in the piece…
And I would have probably posed nude with it. Next to a slaughtered sheep. A slaughtered sheep that was ambidextrous. And called Harold… or Sharon, depending on whether other banks choose to follow Lloyds lead in this.
While I have only just recently made an artwork about Apple, I felt it was necessary to revisit after hearing today that Nokia’s profits slumped 40%.
The company, which until recent years had had a very loyal customer base, continues to struggle against competitors such as the iPhone and Blackberry.
This reminded me, in a loose, metaphorical, tangential way, of how I was a loyal Nokia customer for many years but then switched to an iPhone.
I still feel guilty, not only to Nokia but also to the simple life I once had. When did I become so pretentious as to think this kind of trend-following gadget was a necessity in life? What is wrong with ol Bricky who served me so well?!
I decided to make an artwork about how we can learn to see through the trappings of wealth and prestige and lead a clutter-free life that only indulges in the beauty of art .
I put my iPhone next to my Nokia to begin the artwork. However as soon as I looked at it I immediately became lost in its ‘i’. Before I knew it 2 hours had passed!… Hence this meant its battery had completely died (1.5 hours before that).
Obviously all I could do then was shriek in anguish, lie in the foetal position cradling it (the only way I can get to sleep these days) and try to breast feed it. I was hoping there might have been a recent upgrade that allows it to recharge from its owner’s life force.
So I regret to say that for the first time ever I failed to make the artwork.
NB: If anyone is inspired by this to develop an iPhone Breastfeeding app I expect a) commission and b) a copy sent to me immediately. By post.
NBB: This website is not for profit (not by choice) so this was in no way sponsored by Steve Jobs, though he would probably pay big bucks for a photo of me breastfeeding my iPhone. Big bucks indeed.
China could soon overtake Japan as the world’s second largest economy. Full story here
This comes as no surprise to me thanks to the work of the AMAZING anonymous artist at my office, previously exhibited in News ARTicles here and here. This artist had purposefully left soy milk to rot in our fridge to represent Japan (soy loving country) and its decaying politics as the milk was timed to go off just as the Japanese Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama was forced to resign.
I had then mistakenly interpreted the new fridge as possibly the new Japanese cabinet of Naoto Kan. However I recently realised it represented the looming economy of China as it began to emerge as a serious contender for Japan’s number 2 position. The growing popularity of the new fridge as it filled up with all manner of lunches and milk for the coffee has mirrored China’s phenomenal growth rates.
Some of the space that was being rapidly filled up, however, was with cakes for employee birthdays or Wednesday Cake Club. This indicated, of course, the centrally planned economy of China and how a great deal of its growth came artificially from government stimulus programs rather than organic business. How would China/the fridge fare once these stimulus measures were unwound/the birthday season died down?
What resulted, we now know, was the worldwide headlines today of the second quarter results that showed a surprise slowing in China’s economy… also the fridge looked markedly bare today. But is this a bad thing? David Cohen and Maya Sen, analysts at Action Economics, said the moderation in GDP growth reflected government efforts to avoid overheating. David clearly understands that an overworked fridge can cause the motor to overheat and break down.
There had been warnings of late that China’s rapid growth needed to pay attention to the lessons of Japan’s economy and avoid a hard fall. Or rather, China’s Premier Wen Jiabao needed to reflect on the fridge that was so successful and so overpacked that nobody had noticed the soy milk sitting at the back and expiring rapidly. Wen seemed uninterested in my email warnings about this but luckily I do not give up that easily. To aid China I took my old tomatoes out of the new fridge and moved the mayonnaise I had put in there to the fridge door. This lessened fridge clutter/economic pressure substantially. I also purchased a FANCY jar of pesto and wholemeal wraps, indicating the recent wage rises and increased standard of living for the Chinese people also affecting economic growth.
So, in conclusion, I think that China’s slow growth announcement today is not only nothing to worry about but is actually good news as the increased space means I can now bring bulk yoghurt packets to work. Well done Chinese finance ministers!
One more point… Richard Fairgrieve of Blackfiars Asset Management said today on Bloombergs Countdown that for investors China still remains a bit risky. He may here be referring to the frozen millk incident but I feel it is my duty, on China’s behalf, to point out that I have since then experienced nothing but exemplary service from the fridge. The only risk I see now is from some ham I ate today that was within expirary and looked delicious but I soon found it smelt funny and was sadly lacking in flavour (just like The Agricultural Bank of China’s highly anticipated listing on the stock exchange yesterday which resulted in disappointing results). However, should this stomach investment reap poor results/salmanella, I feel this cannot all be blamed on the market/fridge and I as an investor/tight-arse-who-won’t-go-out-and-buy-new-meat must be held partly responsible.
NB:: Because of China’s rigid control of media within the country, I was unable to get a photo of the insides of both fridges to show the discrepancies in food layout. I will try again tomorrow to get this insider info.
Today I have made some important business news into an artwork to make it easier to understand for people without my natural comprehension of self-certified mortgages and credit rating talk.
FSA CHAIR WANTS SELF-CERTIFIED MORTGAGES BANNED
Lord Turner, Chair of the Financial Services Authority, “prepared to clamp down on the mortgage market by banning “self-certified loans” used by the self-employed…The FSA’s consultation proposes imposing affordability tests for all mortgages… analysed lending decisions, looking at the causes of arrears and repossession since 2005…The FSA has stepped back from an idea raised in the mortgage market review discussion paper last year… set a maximum loan-to-value ratio on mortgages…questions about the consumer protection and markets agency that the government plans to replace some of the functions of the FSA, others of which will go to a new subsidiary of the Bank of England… Turner asked whether the new body should be able to ban specific products as “inherently undesirable”… “We are signalling a significant change away from that approach, but the shift is not a purely technical issue which can be left to technicians; it is a social and political choice which should merit extensive debate.” – The
Or, in other words…
I apologise if the FSA finds their depiction in this shocking but I think when combined with the other elements of the sculpture they will agree it is a fair portrayal and really puts credit supply instability into perspective!
The European Parliament yesterday approved tough new rules to curb bankers’ pay. MEP Arlene McCarthy said the new laws would ‘transform the bonus culture and end incentives for excessive risk-taking”.
This made me remember just how incredibly angry I was at the bankers during the financial crisis. Roughly a 37 to be exact. I decided to make some Revenge Art. I sculpted this classic, stereotypical image of the Fat Cat Banker.
He is bloated from his indulgent lifestyle and is laughing at all the small mum and dad investors he has ruined with his consequence-free, high-risk strategies. He is even doing that laugh where he knows it’s not that laugh-out-loud funny but he wants to make sure you see he thinks it’s funny so he’s forcing an awkward kind of chuckle. Bankers!
Once I had finished sculpting I then told the model I had hired to pose as the Fat Cat Banker that I could not pay him as I had ‘accidentally’ risked all his wage on entering the sculpture in a prestigious art award. I admitted I had a very low chance of winning but had I won it the reward would have been extremely profitable (here my acting was at its best as clearly I would have had a very good chance of winning). I then added insult to injury by asking the model posing as the banker to ‘bail me out’ by paying the studio rent I now owed.
The banker/actor became very angry, presumably because he didn’t understand art or metaphor. He shouted and ranted and kept claiming to have ‘nothing to do with bloody bankers’. He even purported himself to be a ‘starving artist like you’. This was all very deceptive behaviour, typical of a banker who lives on large, undeserved bonuses and has forgotten all morals.
I warned him that if he didn’t give me the money and instead hit me, as he was proposing to do, I would stop making art in London and move somewhere where I was more appreciated, leading to an artistic drain of the city. I recall him saying something that sounded like ‘you massive banker’ and the next thing I knew I woke up on my studio floor with my wallet emptied of the exact money I owed him. Never trust a banker!
NB: The Fat Cat bankers mentioned should not be confused with this Australian Fat Cat.
BP continues work to clear up one of the biggest oil spills in history in the Gulf of Mexico. BP’s image has been dramatically tarnished following its poor reaction to the spill and admissions that it did not use safety cases in its US wells.
Meanwhile protestors at the Tate art gallery in London recently poured oil outside the gallery to protest BP’s financial support of the Tate, sparking debate about the importance of art funding being ethically sourced.
BP has a drastic image problem. In response to this I regurgitated on the pavement. I then lured these pigeons to come and feast on what I had produced. This was to create an artwork representing BP’s current status in the world.
I see BP as like these two unappreciated pigeons; they are in no way attractive or likeable, they foul up the world with their waste and they get in your way when you’re walking quickly. But despite this they are, in this instance, doing a job no one else wants to do; that is, they are cleaning up a foul spill made by man.
Well the oil spill was made by BP, whereas the pigeons didn’t make the vomit… but a human/artist/Heidi did and I am a consumer of oil and thus also play a guilty part in this whole saga… and an even guiltier part in the vomit puddle… I’m getting confused as to how how BP was involved in the vomit but I think metaphorically the smell of car fumes helped the nausea and BP petrol was probably in a lot of those cars… and pigeons don’t drive cars…
My point is that BP have had appalling public relations in recent weeks and I feel that if the public were to see this artwork they would feel more empathy for this poor, beleaguered, morally-bankrupt corporation/diseased pigeons who eat sick off the pavement. I have sent this image to BP’s head office as a suggested new logo for the company they could put on all future letterheads and petrol station signs.
I have also suggested that if the Tate ever decides they are too FANCY and ethically-minded to take BP’s funding then I would happily have their sponsorship redirected to my projects, particularly as a recent accidental overdraft charge on my bank account meant I could only afford to fund this ‘pigeons eating vomit’ artwork this week. Well, I could only afford some old chicken which ‘inspired’ the vomit sculpture.
President Barack Obama spoke on Tuesday of an initiatve to cut government agency budgets while Britain, Germany, Spain and France have also spoken of austerity plans. The new British Prime Minister David Cameron and his Chancellor George Osborne warned yesterday of tough spending cuts and the need for big sacrifices from the public.
This is about everyone having to make sacrifices. As something to inspire us I tried to think of who in society makes the greatest sacrifices in life and I immediately thought of mothers. There is no one who is more filled with love and more willing to give everything for someone or some thing than a mother for their child.
I then thought about my friend who is a recently new mother – well I say friend, more aquaintance… and I say ‘recently’, it was AGES ago now – and I thought, imagine if you asked this mother to not talk about her kid for just 10 minutes.Or even imagine if you just asked her not to link a discussion about, say, sanctions against Iran’s nuclear power programme, back to the dull fact that her toddler Megan shouted ‘no no no’ in a very cute, angry voice this morning.
For her to agree to this would require one of the greatest sacrifices known to man and it is this kind of selflessness we are all going to need to aim for in the upcoming financial squeeze.
I then saw the CLEAR link of this girl’s pain at sacrificing talking about her child briefly to how the UK Chancellor George Osborne would feel if he were asked to stop talking about his precious budget that he keeps banging on about for just one evening. I imagine his ‘friends’ are in for a lot of conversations such as this…
Friend: ‘George! How’s it going? Haven’t seen you in months! I’ve not been too good myself, lost my job, ended up homeless. Had nowhere to-‘
George: ‘Ha ha, oh that reminds me how my budget was looking a bit fat today and then I realised how I could move a lot more rehousing responsibility onto local charities. They’re so cute when they cry out for funding’.
Friend: ‘Oh I heard you’re just Mr One Topic lately. Maybe we’ll catch up in July’.
So I have sculpted this image of a mother and child/my friend and her very aggressive toddler/the general population and cuts in public sector spending/George Osborne and his budget to represent Sacrifice.
Apple’s Steve Jobs released the new iPhone4 last night. He said the 100 millionth of the iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad devices would be sold this month. Despite some criticisms of the recently released iPad, Apple also passed Microsoft at the end of last month in market value.
The constant excitement around recent Apple announcements such as this one made me think about technology and the intense emotions it can bring out in humans, sometimes even sending them into an almost frenzy. I have always felt this was best expressed in the groundbreaking film 2001: A Space Odyssey. I have always felt this, rather than known this for sure, because despite three attempts to watch it I have never remained awake past the opening scene.
In the opening scene some apes/early man, are confronted by a giant monolith which represents technology and monoliths. It makes them go crazy (or ‘ape shit’ as explorers later discovered it was called) and they all decide they really want to own the monolith or the latest monolith upgrade. Then another ape realises that bones can be used as tools for killing and this soon leads to a computer trying to kill a man called Dave, as usual!
I built this monolith outside Liverpool Street Station in London’s banking/wanking district, a hive of gadget adoration. As the commuters gazed in awe at the monolith and felt confusing desires stirring within them (some of them technology related) I approached them and offered them Apple’s ‘latest gadget’. It was a piece of animal bone and called ‘the iBone’. The iBone had no camera function or wireless internet but it did have a function allowing you to bash it against rocks (if they were Apple compatible rocks). All they had to do to own the product for a low £25 a month was to beat to death any of the Microsoft employees dressed in unconvincing ape suits whom I had paid to crouch around the monolith.
Pick up on the product was slow but just as word of mouth was beginning to spread I was warned of potential law suits from Apple, along with a rival product being planned by Google so I had to cancel the artwork.
I learnt from this artwork that man is not so different from the apes/men-in-unconvincing-ape-suits that we are descended from. We are still blinded by the beauty of technology without considering its consequences in terms of killer computers or legal action from any company mentioned in this piece. And every human who embraces such technology must accept that they are, at heart, a simple ape playing with their new toy, confused by its meaning or how to get the latest plugin to work on their new blog.
Sent from my iPhone.
‘The current round of the British Airways cabin crew strike heads into its final day today with little sign of progress after the most recent set of talks broke down late on Tuesday. Both sides are waiting for further talks to be arranged by ACAS, the conciliation service, in the run-up to the final five-day walkout, which starts on Saturday.’ – Sarah Arnold, The Independent.
British Airways CEO Willie Walsh and the Unite Union (representing the BA cabin crew) are locked in an archetypal battle for dominance that has been running for months now. I’ve made a sculpture of their dispute by representing the two sides as these Greek demigod type figures.
They are naked here because the battle has laid bare all their agendas, fears and genitalia. Each man/organisation hopes to be the man holding the knife, about to deal the killer blow. The knife, currently in the hand of Tony Woodley of the Unite Union, is the threat of customers moving to other airlines.
Willie Walsh looks up from the ground as if to say “I’d rather you didn’t attack me with that knife” or even possibly, “oh look up in the sky behind you, one of our planes flying past, how ironic!”, we will never truly know.
I’m not sure what the obvious homoeroticism represents but it makes it suddenly clear that BA and Unite may actually be closer to reaching a compromise than we realised, something that would have never been apparent without this art.
I have submitted the sculpture to talks between the two groups and ACAS in the hope that it will help them reach an agreement on employee travel concessions (represented by the fact that their ability to wrestle nude implies they must be on holiday in a warmer country).
‘Attorney General Eric Holder said last night that the federal government was launching criminal and civil investigations into whether BP broke any laws in its handling of the Gulf oil disaster… In the meantime, oil will continue to spew into the Gulf until the completion of the relief wells – which BP says will not be finished until August. ‘ Channel 4 News.
This is a pretty self explanatory piece. Clearly this sculpture I have created represents man and his pride that blinds him and BP from the damage we/it/he is/are/will be doing.
The man, who represents Man but is actually called Garry in this piece, stands in a vain pose, showing off his abdominal muscles and small penis while he tries to wash off the oil covering his body with a small soapy rag. He seems oblivious to the fact that the soap is doing nothing and his entire body is coated in oil, much like BP talk about cleaning up the oil slick but I imagine their board members are actually just having showers at their gym and showing off their abs.