Dear Cleo 17 08 19

Dear Cleo

See you in the morning, looking forward to it, maybe we will have a lazy brunch after class. I guess we will take in the Bookshop as well, all good girls deserve plenty of stuff to read.

Today, I wasn’t so overawed by Butada, perhaps because her drawing was less Giotto like without the perfect circles, or it could have been Khatia Buniatishvile playing Chopin’s Sonata number 2 opus 35. Whichever, today’s drawings were much more successful, and had an ease and freedom that yesterdays didn’t.

Figure 1 (17 08 18 01) Butada II.I Madonna of the tattooed arm, Ink on A4 Photocopy paper

Figure 2 (17 08 18 02) Butada II.II Is it a half of larger then girl? Ink on A4 Photocopy paper

I like how Butada’s influence destroys the perspective here and I am happy that the speed and style of drawing is transferring from my sketchbook into more finished work.

Figure 3 (17 08 18 03) Butada II.III Welcome to my pavement, Ink on A4 Photocopy paper

The door off the pavement allows the eye to escape through the back of the drawing, reminiscent of Velasquez’ La Minores.

Figure 4 (17 08 18 04) Butada II.IV Untitled, Ink on A4 Photocopy papee

Figure 5 (17 08 18 05) Butada II.V Still life with cigarette, Ink on A4 Photocopy paper

Figure 6 (17 08 18 06) Butada II.VI Still life, Ink on A4 Photocopy paper

Figure 7 (17 08 18 07) After Butada, Still life with cigarette, Ink and chalk on A4 Photocopy paper


This is obviously an early twenty first century piece it is modern in its feel but has strong debts to both cubism and surrealism almost as if the artist is trying to build a bridge back to the roots of those movements. It could sit quite well in an exhibition of French work from the 1920, the Conte crayon in particular is a typically French medium, but what immediately puts the piece in the Twentyfirst century are what I believe to be the traces of Sharpie marks. The Sharpie although invented in 1964, did not become popular for use by artists and designers until the early 2000’s.

We are extremely lucky to have the title of the piece, Butada is of course the Corinthian Maid recognised as the invention of drawing so I think it is safe to say that the artist was extremely interested in the history of art itself. There is a great deal of variation in the marks almost as if the artist was over experimenting with his mark making techniques so I am going to stick my neck out here, and say that this, although very accomplished, is a Student’s work.

I carried out an image search on Google and turned up what I believe to be the original sketch for the piece. This was interesting on several counts, although the sketch is executed entirely in Sharpie pen there appears to be a second hand at work in the sketch, this second hand has a much more mechanical feel to it compared to the flowing almost rhythmic lines of our original artist. My computer assistant advised me that the image size was 274kb indicating that it had been through a digital sizing process such as Photoshop and that it was originally uploaded using WordPress on the 20th of August 2017. So now we have a much more specific date to work to which is good. The image size leads me to believe that the sketch was somehow part of a correspondence or distance learning course and WordPress was of course the platform of choice for the OCA. I made contact with the OCA and visited them in Barnsley to examine their archive. With the information I had already, they were able to pin point that the sketch and the original piece were photographed by the University in their July 2018 assessment event and that the artist was of course, some of you may have guessed it already, Mickos.

Now that we have our date and out Artist we can with a little further research add a little more biographical detail and now that e know that it is a Mickos what better place to do this than the Tate gallery.

Professor Trumpington Maxwell, head of Twentyfirst Century art, was extremely excited to see the lost Mickos, he of course knew of its existence but feared it had been lost forever in Mickos’ house move in late 2018. The good professor, from the archive had the tapes and transcripts from Mickos and his tutor, the celebrated Doctor Bryan Eccleshall, discussing the piece on a Google hangout in September 2017.

It is a matter of fact that Mickos was heavily influenced by his tutor in this period, as he turned from producing more classical pieces and ventured into his now familiar modern style. We are all mostly familiar with the later parts of Mickos’ life, I will allow Professor Trumpington Maxwell, to fill in some of the fine detail of Mickos’ early career as an artist.

In 2017 Mickos began studying for the second year of his OCA painting degree, he studied under Dr Bryan who encouraged him to look for the results and the way forward in his sketchbooks. Mickos had a serious setback in May 2017 when his father died after a short illness, from May to August is known as the monochrome period as Mickos drew exclusively in black and white and it was only after a short holiday in Northern Italy in early August that Mickos returned to colour you can see from this work in particular his gifted use of colour, the reds in the form shadows of the green apples and the greens in the form shadows of the red ashtray. It was about this time that Mickos was awarded the MBM (Member of the British Museum) as that was the only possible way to see the oversubscribed Hokusai exhibition, Hokusai seems to have had a profound effect on Mickos, as you can see there are no cast shadows on this piece, it is only the second piece that Mickos eliminated the cast shadow, the first being A Music (opus number 17 08 08 09) which on loan at MOMA. Since Quentin contacted me I have pieced together a provenance of the work.

It was completed by Mickos in early August 2017 in his studio in Grosvenor Road, Edmonton. Butada was the name Mickos gave to his drawing machine which is still part of the Tate archive. There is a photograph taken by Frank Johnston(e) where the piece is on the easel presumably awaiting fixative spray. August that year was very wet, and although Mickos was a smoker at the time it is well documented that he hated the smell of the fixative. Mickos gave up smoking when he downsized to Hertfordshire in the autumn of 2018 at the insistence of his Granddaughter and long time Correspondent Cleo. We have evidence that Mickos made contacted his childhood sweetheart Angela Foster (nee Gormley) on Face book early in 2018 following her return from Australia after the death of her husband. The piece was sold at auction by Ms Foster’s daughter at Sotheby’s in Sidney in 2037 for 327 Australian Dollars, the buyer was one Joe Aubergast. Joe Aubergast moved back to England in 2045 to live at number 14 Church St, Kensington. Following the death of Mr Aubergast in 2054 the house in Church St underwent intensive renovation carried out by Daubit and Scratchit Ltd., the piece was bought at a boot sale for £14 by Quentin in 2056 from Dmitri Andrevskivitch a former employee of Daubit and Scratchit. Ironically Mickos was 100 at the time of this purchase.

Quentin has paid the University loan of Dmitri’s daughter and has generously allowed the piece to be on permanent loan to the Tate where it will be on permanent display at the Tate South Yorkshire Eccleshall wing which I think everyone will agree is a suitably fitting place for it to be.

I an extremely happy to have filled in a gap in the Mickos Archive but the Holy Grail, The Dolphins of 2013 remains elusive and I shall continue my search.

It was great to see you this morning and don’t forget that a woolly jumper is a sheep or a drawing we wear and that dinosaurs are close relatives to chickens, and the reason that your Granddad is only Fourteen and three quarters is that there is only a November the 15th every four years.

Love you lots

Mickos xx