Artist Writer Agent of change – Egocentric or Altruistic?

kokopeli kokahoop

There is something in me that pushes always for change; dissatisfaction (with status quo), dislike of canons, desire for improvement, hankering for difference, dislike of monopolies, the list goes on, well it would if I could think of more ideas behind what drives me. I have this desire to see things changed, for better or worse? Not always sure. Sometimes I know I can visualise a better way, other times I am being mischievous and promote change just to unseat somebody or knock them off a pedestal or I am simply insanely jealous of success (which I know so little about, not) that I want to unsettle others more apparently ‘recognised’, prized or given accolade.

Question is, is my change drive egocentric or altruistic.

I often say it’s the latter when in fact it turns out to be the former. So, I may vaunt a gallery, say it’s wonderful, build it up etc supposedly for ‘public’- benefit but the real reasons may just be I want to see the gallery succeed so that one day they will realise I am ‘good enough’ and exhibit my work, altho that’s a contradiction in terms as successful places don’t exhibit normal human beings, only gods o’fart.

Anyway, I am building up to a diatribe against the artworld. Some will say yeah, he’s so right, others will say he’s just griping cos they never let him in, he’s a wimp what never done nothing of no worth. (read that carefully). Yes part of me has plenty to gripe-moan about, part of me has lots to rejoice about, me, I just try to steer the middle path cos afterall, I have work to do, ongoing, in books, images and artefacts, and I will undoubtedly do my outputs til the day I die. I am an ideas man and I cannot stem the flow, good or poor, I have to let it out.

However, things are what they are. It IS what it IS. Accept? There’s this ting in the realm of ideas and thought that things are there, as they are, and we will be happier if we act as observers rather than change agents. So, we can look at the world around and say that starving person or animal is the way it is, I observe, I see, I experience but I cannot effect, intervene etc. WHAT? Well, if I see something ‘wrong’ or that I feel as ‘wrong’, then do I intervene, try to influence/change? So, like if I am doing a course and the course is ill-equipped, do I try to ‘change’ that? Get more and better resources? Is that a public favour or an ego driven desire for my own selfish needs? Or do I say, that is the way it IS, get on with it, find your own resources etc.




Call yourself an artis?

But you are always being turned down even by turning pages! Yes I applied to be accepted…list….most all on em said, ‘I hear yu nockin but yer can’t cum in’, some dint even say that, some dint even hear my footsteppes dancing and whirling, swirling around like a crazy cranky oirisht  dervitch O’Ceinedgh, others just ignored my call and cry from this wilderness. Poor ole tootless Blarty-no-mates me. No I’m not feeling sorry fer mi’sen! I bin around longenuf to be long in da last toof in fact I no longer got no teef, I got a set of falsies. But am not ere to kowtow, to beg nor to bow. I WAS THERE in the early70’s (1970) at the Bath festival. I was there speaking to Oz magazine. I admit I missed the Stones in 1966 at nelson Imp cos me mummy sed not to go they may contaminate me, but I caught them 5 times at Earl’s Caught in 76.  I was in Brainstorm 2. I was in Sennet before it went bust some tink it went bust becos I wer in it.I bin in Cantab too, have you? I did over 22 solo shows. Now I retract. I hanker no more, no longer hope or simper nor wimper. I reject the galleries and the media too cos I jump before I’m pulled in therefore I yam free. I am RA Doubtless without doubt now. I just am the man what makes my art & tings. I use the blog-ting as my book. I still make artisbuks for me own delight, buy one if you might.


Van sang ‘It Ain’t Why It Just Is’. Knopfler another poet sang ‘Why worry? There should be laughter after pain. There should be sunshine after rain.’ And D T Suzuki said, ‘The philosophy of clothes…the apparent world where everybody dresses for everybody else to make himself appear other than himself…when this goes too far one loses one’s originality, makes oneself ridiculous and turns into a monkey’. I am of course like all of us a little monkey with a monkey mind meditating to try to move on. So, call yourself a monkey.

Now I have learnt that you don’t have to aks to be accepted, you either are or you aren’t and there’s nothing you can do about it. Some folks are ‘in’ others are ‘out’. NOW I don’t care no more cos I know I Am accepted, Out There. Where? There on the fat chair, thanks Herr Beuys. My art (& my ideas) are not like that of anybody it just is. It is what it is, that’s what it is. Nothing changes, everything is as it always is. Yet I wer reading this Suzuki man, not DT but SHUNRYU, (that’s Shun Ryu, not we shun yu, I know his mate well, Eye Byn Shund) and he says in zen we must, ‘accept difficulty as pleasure, become honest enough, or straight forward enough, to accept the truth of transiency (everything always changes), it is not so difficult to accept this truth, (altho that too may change, get it? transiency). But nevernot  don’t fergit, one man’s boot is anudda man’s missing toot. Shut it Blarty Monkey Pants.

How do we ecscape the monkey mind? Find that quiet place then Meditate. Then go back, go back to do what you do, do your work your passion your obsession. Just do it, with love, tolerance and equanimity. Have faith and hope.

I been meditating on the one hands clap conundrum and I tink I ‘got’ it, the sound of one hand. It’s not the achievement, the winning nor gaining, it’s the being, the seeing that counts. Counting every millisecond, seeing every petal- experience all the pain & joy of life. It is real, that is IT. I believe I have discovered the secret to life, it is life itself- live life! Really!Gurdjeff says it, Buddha says it. Life is really really real and I should live mine. I mean real-ly ‘live’ each and every millisecondmoment. Appreciate life for what it is, Real-ly a series of miracles ad infinitum. This pen this book this hand this jumper this rug, they are all part of the miracle.

‘Pete, In your article, you do some good and honest mulling around of your dichotomy with the establishment.

I reckon that a lot to do with this common position of outsider creatives is about the lack of power. Because you have no power in the established artworld, which translates into influence, status and remuneration, it leaves you bitter and resentful. You are a classic angry outsider, aye Tha Bin Shund.

But…. looking at it a different way, you have not been in their field, but have ploughed your own furrow, and isn’t that what money can’t buy….a creative freedom? You should be paying them!

Your musings of what IS and whether you should fight it, makes me think of a way I prefer to to look at this.  I think we function at two levels of being,

1) The operational level, where we just do or enact things according to habit, practice logic, experience, principle or reflex reaction. We are following a script.

2) The reflective level, where we abstract up from the operational level to see it has a series of patterns of action, goals, events, outcomes, players etc., a kind of model of our behaviour. We reflect on this and adjust it to achieve different outcomes and behaviours for different reasons. A creator is adept and feels at home in this level, but it is the operational level where the results of its work are manifested. The creator has power in his reflective world, because he defines his own model, but the power in the operational world comes with currying favour with the gatekeepers of the artworld. So it isn’t either or, its both levels at full belt

You cheeky monkey!

postit mr postie

P. Shakey ManKey

came from Lankey sure

and danced with a rosette

pinned into his chest’


ps- see my next blArt for a biggie about the new McKlean exhibition at the landmark gallery of Essex, Firstsite. Their best show so far, times ten!

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