Amalgamations and Collaborations

A week in the life of Blarty O’Dork

My Six Vessels Artists Book’s progress.
My new artist’s book, Inside This Earthen Vessel which is a re-write of the poem in my earlier book, G Batch about six men I call mystics, is nearly ready to go to press. I have set the ‘poems’ in Quark in the shape of pots or ‘vessels’ which makes them like concrete (or rather, ceramic) poems. I think I shall call them my ceramic poems. Concrete poems started by the likes of Apollinaire and Alfred Jarry are set on the page in various shapes rather than the traditional set in normal typographic layout. A friend of mine who has been big into typo for ages liked them so much that he suggested we do a collaborative publication in letterpress later on using the poems. I shall keep you posted on that progress. My version is all but completed ready for my printer to run off 50 copies, which is a mixed blessing cos I am going to be doing all the trimming and folding and that’s no easy task. Here is the first one.
Destination Dust
Dhona the Brahmin was a mendicant
monk….. Who asked Siddhartha (Gautama
Shakyamuni, Tathāgata) “Are you human, one
from Gandharva?……… Are you a god or maybe a
Yaksa?” “Brahmin everything that’s created passes.
Strive diligently into your transition, go peacefully to
ward your destination. Escape from the Spinning Wheel
of Samsara.” During dispute when Guatama passed away
Brahmin Dhona, intervening, did say….“The message of the
Blessed Buddha Is still peace & forbearance today.” Thereby
the Malla chieftans of Kusinara….. On whose soil Shakyamuni
had died. Reluctantly released the relics to be divided into eight
domains….. Thereby each claimant built a monument……Which
every time turned to rust Confirming Siddhartha’s message that
Every… thing… passes… to… ashes… and……………. dust
Up on the road near Montagnola… A Wandering Writer named
Hesse heard the tale from a Mendicant Monk…………….Then he
recounted the story to you and to me In a book which he called
Tathāgata shewed how to escape the Swamps of Samsara and
Suffering. Tathāgata said “Namaste. The Light
in me Greets the Light in thee. I Am a Buddha Brahmin,
I Am a Buddha Now.”

The ‘a’s with the little ting on top just happened, so I have left them as I really like them.
Copies of the book should be available before the end of August. In time for the Oxford ‘Wayzegoose’ book fair where I have gotten a table near my birthday in October. “ Will you still need me. Will you still feed me. When I’m sixty four? Ba bum boom, les Beatells.”
The new book has several mentions of key belief systems but it’s not any way a religious book. It’s about looking at the wonders of existence on this little globe using the insights of some men who spent their lives dedicated to trying to help human beings see more clearly, the six ‘thinkers’ (or maybe better called ‘tinkers’?) in it being:

G.iorgi Ivanovitch Gurdzhiev

B.euys Joseph
A.ngeli Silesii
T.enzin Gyatso
C.arl Gustav Jung
H.ermann Hesse

The first letters of each name give the title of my Introduction to the project in an earlier artist’s book, G Batch.I could have included others like William Blake, but my time was limited to one year to complete that project and I had to be selective. The nice ting is this new book and my collaboration both grew easily from all the work I did at the time. There is even a wider scope book in there but Thames & Hudson’s reader in ‘Spiritual’ etc books couldn’t imagine that anyone out there would buy it in big enough numbers. I believe they would, it’s just that the publishing world has little imagination, like the art world- galleries etc. I approached the Museum Of Modern Art NY with my image called variously Venus at the Stairs or Venus Stares because they own two of the images which inspired me to do that image, Schlemmer & Lichtensteins, but they send a rather rude and ignominious reply to anyone who has the temerity to approach them:
Sirs and mesdames,
at the end of April 2014 i send a package with my image of my picture to see if I could galvanise an interest on your part to buy one. I sent it by air mail to: The Museum of Modern Art
The Department of Painting and Sculpture
11 West 53rd Street
New York, NY 10019
In the light of not having gotten a reply by today, 16July 2014 should i take it that your gallery has no interest?
Thank you for contacting The Museum of Modern Art.
Please note that the Department of Painting and Sculpture’s acquisition and exhibition programs are developed from within the Museum. Due to the large number of unsolicited submissions we receive, we can only respond to those which the curators express an interesting in pursuing.
The Museum of Modern Art

And from a gallery in Germany which happens to be having a Schlemmer show right now, a fact I was as usual blissfully unaware of when I suggested they buy my pic:
Dear Mr. Kennedy,
Thank you for this information on your work inspired by Schlemmer. However: as you may presume, our exhbition is already fully set and it is a retrospective on the artist Oskar Schlemmer only.
I.Conzen Kuratorin für Klassische Moderne
Staatsgalerie Stuttgart

I remember back in the early 80’s on their first(?) album Mark Knopfler of Dire Straits mentioned a friend who had made it, ‘In the Gallery’. At the time I was an ‘artist-bloke’ making and teaching art and related skills and I recall thinking well am not ‘In the Gallery’ yet, maybe one day? That never happened. I’m flagging up my chagrin cos it’s no good me saying in 20 yearns time ‘Why did you not let me in?’ and you telling me you didn’t know I wanted to be considered. In fact, my old mate IEPW has reminded me that ‘galleries’ are commercial enterprises, they are never going to let anyone in who isn’t ‘recognised’ and/or in one way or another, famed. So, I am barking up the wrong tree again. They are never going to let me in, in fact my biggest claim to fame is my ‘originality’ and that my friends is exactly what they do not want. They want the things which have been tried and tested, vetted and decided upon by key decision makers like Saatchi, the money, the last ting they want is someone who is always changing tack, always searching for the new.

There are those who tell me that being in the gallery is not all it’s cracked up to be (whatever that is; being ‘seen’, bought, considered, added to the list etc). Like Lucy Lippard who started, after gaining a degree in curating (?), at Momany and spent much of her life advocating being ‘outside the gallery’, I heard her say it in a talk a year or two ago, albeit from the stage in one of London’s ‘important’ galleries.

VIP I have to correct the mistake above. Lucy has gently informed me that she got ‘just an MA in art history’ rather than curating. I had carelessly assumed her degree to be in curating from her early role at MOMA. (As you will suspect I am trying to avoid digging a deeper hole here when I say) I have only respect for Lucy and her long standing relationship within and without the world of art. I first came across her writing in relation to Eva Hesse, an artist whose work I love and of whom Lucy was a friend and advocate, I think…be careful now…take nothing for granted Pete. Since then I have studied, slightly, her work in relation to the likes of Robert Smithson and her Numbers Shows. I was lucky to listen to and draw her at the Whitechapel gallery a couple of years ago. When I say I drew her it was without her knowledge or consent as I draw folk when the institution dis-allows photography so I have a visual record of a person at an event. As you may guess visual memory is important to me.

lucy for blog 29714 smkb

I’m a sad bastad me. Sad cos I tried so hard to break through into the world ofart, I mean you gotta be sad to even try, why not get a proper job?

What’s interesting is how tings move on. I never used to see my ‘writing’ as part of my ‘art’ but recently I have learned to understand they are one. In the same way, for many years I saw my ‘comic’ or graphic drawings (of Apulhed and Friends) as separate from my oil paintings and now I understand they are one. I used to wonder how I could amalgamate one skill or form in with another across a wide range, then I realised they are not separate, they are one. In my last blog I did a newstyle ‘comic’ in which I began to incorporate the photo-image with the drawn image. Expect to see more amalgamations, and collaborations, as the stopper is out of the champagne bottle.

A Blake workshop
On Saturday I went to a workshop by a Blake scholar whose prints from his own re-makes of Blake’s copper plates are in every important Blake collection all over the woild. The workshop ‘Printing in the Infernal Method’, led by Professor Michael Phillips, took place on Saturday 26 July 2014, at Morley College. Michael explained the mystery behind Blake’s method of creating the prints for his books. He dispelled myths about Blake’s techniques. Fundamentally Blake could mirror write on the tiny plates (c.70×112 mm) from his youth. Michael carries his own little bottles of pigment, limited to the exact colours Blake used, and linseed oil. He mixed the ink to its optimum mix. He then applied the ink to the small copper plates which he explained were created from a number of sources close to the original plates all of which are lost. He told us of a little boy who Blake taught how to make a plate.

michael phillips daubing

Michael the master Blake printer daubing delicately.

Luckily for posterity the boy had kept what was a postage stamp sized plate in his box and it passed to descendants. On the back of it was an old Blake image which has given Michael an exact measure of the depth of cut Blake used to incise the image then use two dips into sulphuric acid. 1.125 mm deep is all he did. Michael scotched the rumour that Blake had used rollers to ink up his plates, no because they were not invented whilst he was working. He used a leather dauber. We were allowed to have a go and man is it difficult. I used my most delicate touch and that was too much, I got well told. Then Michael did four prints from each of 5 plates each diminishing in tone until the final pull, which now had 3 mini-blankets on whereas the first pull had one, was almost inkless. I learned so much from Michael and have to thank him for his patience and knowledge.

blake chimney sweep print smkb

The Chimney Sweep.
You can see how kak-handed my daubing was where the grain shows in the ‘white’ areas.

I love the work of Stephanie Wright which i saw in the new summer show at Sculpt gallery near Tiptree in Essex. Her pots cum found objets sculptures are refreshingly original and humour-filled. If you care to go to her website she does quite a range of ceramics but the ones in this gallery are my favourite.

a new style comic by Apulhed-man

I have decided to ‘go the whole hog’ as gurdjeff used to say when you consider doing someting, do it wholeheartedly. This strip is me announcing am back. Back doing graphice stories which is a field i got burned in once or twice before. Altho I know, cos am not so thick as I look, I am not fire-proof, I believe I can make it stick this time.
Public warning:
This is just the first!

To see the ‘comic cuts’ click on the green line below:

robgil comic quarkd sm kb

Robert Crumb & Gilbert Shelton at the British library

All images and words ©pete kennedy 2014.
Trip on a sweltering day to see Robert Crumb & Gilbert Shelton at the British library talk was riddled with little bad trips. They stumbled out onto the platform not young now either of em. My camera couldn’t focus, couldn’t understand why half the shots were foggy until afterwards when I saw that it was focussing on the glasses and drink vessels, should have gone into manual focus, twerp.

crumgilb 7 gd sm kb

Got my pencil moving and did 3 sketches, one of both on em standing together, then one of each of em. Always try to do sketches at these events. Seems funny drawing these two master comic artists. My drawings are good I think, seems like taking coals to Newcastle. I could have drawn all night but didn’t. I took notes of some of what they said. They have a good repartee. Both lived in france for years where their work is so appreciated, bande desineray they say thur ( I put the ray in th’werd, they put it into their graphic works for 50-60 years). Letter part of evening went into a tribute to Felix Dennis what died recently. He was scheduled to compere this event cos it hinged around the ‘OZ obscenity Trials’ where he and Jim Anderson and Richard Neville were threatened with a long jail term but gorroff. That part of the ceremonies was very educative, but can be reported elsewhere. My interest was in the two olfartmen. I’ll call them rc & gs:

rc  crumgilb fold arms bkgnd ritin sm kb gs
rc says he had left his first wife in a rush to get to the west coast where all the good stuff was going on, said he had rung her about 3 weeks later to say he was sorry he had left without saying anything
rc it’d be impossible to know how it would have turned out if I’d not taken all that LSD. You may have visions but yor mentally crippled for 25 years.

crum lsd smkb

gs I was not taking any of those drugs. Pause. We were eating peyote. Really brought the colors out . I saw colour for the first time. Previously red meant stop and green meant go to me. Your drawings had to be better if it was B&W, color made it easier to read.
Asked about influences gs said, In my childhood I liked Scrooge McDuck. And Little Lulu
I was kicked out of art college cos I was doing funny drawings when they were after us doing VERY serious abstract expressionist paintings. (see watti mean young Ben? , in th’old days we were sposed to be seriarse!).
How did you get into doing all those comics about yourself rc?
rc I got tired of doing Mr Natural and my wife wanted to do collaborative works, she could only do autobio stuff so I joined her.
So she’s to blame?
No , not really.
gs I blame woody Guthrie for bob Dylan
you liked the 60’s music didn’t yu Gilbert and you didn’t Robert?
Rc those strobe lights & the noodling guitars sent me to sleep.
Then they discuss the cover of Janis Joplin’s Cheap Thrills album.
Rc well they, CBS, wanted a cover quick, can u do it and get it to us by tomorrow morning? So I took loads of pills. Got $600 dollars, lotta money then. It sold for $21K. GASPS from crowd. Then it sold at $100,000.
You turned down the Stones cover?
I didn’t like them, (sings) Goodbye Roobie Toosday. So I turned down the album.

Asked about the Fabulous Furry freak Bros, what influenced him gs said
Marx Bros and 3 Stooges. It was a literary trick to have 3 characters. With my relatively poor drawing skills I had to create 3 characters who you could tell apart. Cicero’s cat was my hero as a kid so Fat Freddie’s cat was influenced by that. [he never hed a name did he].

crumgilb 6 ed smkb

Heck no, (gs then recites t s eliot’s cat poem, gets applauded) you never name a cat. I became infatuated with humor at uni. What makes people laugh out loud? I’m still looking for funny stuff.
When asked why they had dropped their high moral stance about being edited by working for the Cleveland American Greetings Card Co. rc went on a bit about needing to survive (which is ironic when people like OZ were stealing their stuff and not paying any royalties and they were skint). Then gs said he weren’t good enough drawer to get a job with them. So rc said, you weren’t good enough? Hell they employed anyone, they paid the lowest wages on the planet.
They are asked why they chose to live in France?
I (gs) used to tell girls I was in the publishing business rather than say I drew comics but in France they appreciate graphic artists. I read French comics to improve my French. The graphic Novel is going on now and the artists are taken more seriously. Mention of Hernandez brothers, they are good they agree
Then rc ses, Comic artists are Nerdy. You sit in your room and draw comics. They did a retrospective of my work in France. Found hundreds of my originals. Hell I did a lot. Had my day. A lot of ink has gone under the bridge. I got arthritis. Enough already. I should retire. Wife calls out ‘Look after the grandchildren’. That’s Aline. I’d be dead without her.

Conversation ends and then the stage turns to the Oz trials.

crumgilb 14 chas s-m ed sm kbCharles Shaar Murray Oz Kid

Fascinating stuff but I shall leave that to someone else.They had brought in the late Feliks Topolski as expert witness to help define what is ‘art’ which is a word Bruce McLean so disdains anyway, ‘It’s what Saatchi deals in’ he said in a recent conversation. I was lucky to meet and draw Topolski several times, I love his drawings and he quite liked what I do.

feliks topolski sketch smkb

Except a mention another Felix (Dennis, om mani padme hum). I met him several times. Once when I was at college in the 70’s and wanted Oz to post my Apulhed comix but he said they only ripped off American stuff. Sent me thru to a room where Jim Anderson was sitting cross-legged on a carpet. He said they’d like me to write for them. I said, no, no comics no write. Several years later when I were a grown up I returned to see Felix and he let me take this great photo.

felix dennis sm kb©pete kennedy 2014

By then he had made a fortune bringing Kung Fu comics from the states and publishing them here in UK. He then went on to do Maxim and Poems.
He kindly told me about the search thru history by artists to find ways to print the range of tones from white thru grey to black. Nice one. I went away and drew my 1976 comic Appleheadman Lives. After that I stopped doing comic and started doing more paintings and photos and writings and all. I was bemoaning my demise, or apologising to bryan Talbot for not producing much more and he so kindly pointed out, ‘But you are busy doing other things Pete’ and I was. Hunt Emerson didn’t like the first 4 pages of Appleheadman Lives but after that he said, “Whooosh, takes off”. But that was me, as a burgeoning comic artist telling the story of a group of travellers going west. A spoof on Hermann Hesse’s astounding novel, Journeyers To the East. One day soon am doing an artists book based on that Appleheadman foray in which I shall use the best of my drawings from then and add lots more I dun since. But, like I say, Felix influenced my tinking there. I tried lots of different mark-making techniques. I knew it would lack cohesivemess. But I didn’t care, I was paying for it. Still got lots left.

van tong & lion roarsm kbvan as a lion

Like Robert said, we comic artists are nerds, I sit in my room going thru every one of the 10,000 copies I got left. I don’t got the Midas touch, everytin I touched terned too cold. Boom Boomp. Worth a fortune wenni pop me clogs.
Anyway, after a difficult start to my day in London I just got lucky. Gilbert & Bob had vacated the building pretty fast without the normal books signing session which comic freaks are used to. I stood around looking at characters who might have been drawn by Gilbert or Bob, some of whom themselves being ‘comic’artists. I looked at my watch it was 9.22 (ta Chuck Berry, another comic artist) so I too quit. Then to my delight just outside in the street were the great Gilbert & Bob hailing a taxi. I put on me paper artsi hat and got a couple of nice shots

crum an gilb dehors 29 smkb

which I fully intend to pull together in a new Kennedy comic (car-tune) about two of the best, who stood the test and all the rest. Watch this blArty ting.

Bruce McLean: Not Trendy But Twitchy.

jonni ray tichet

As we embark on our ‘careers’ there are no guarantees, especially in ‘art’, a term Bruce dislikes. He prefers ‘sculpture’ or ‘painting’ which he taught at the Slade for 20 yearns. And our Bruce has balls. Lots of them, Scottish balls at that, like mine. The cheeky chappie type Rod Stewart always hankered after. Bruce had a better grounding than most having spent most Saturdays in the Glasgow School of Art when he were a laddie. Rather than choose the obvious easy route to become one of the Glasgi Boys he took the long road to London, partly cos he never did like following the expected way. He was lucky to arrive in London in the middle of the 60’s revolution with his teachers the likes of Caro already breaking the mould.

On page 146 in his ‘Acid Test’ book Tom Wolfe talks about (time)’lag’s: There are historical & social lags, where people are living by what their ancestors  perceived, maybe 25, 50 years or centuries behind, and nobody can be creative without overcoming those lags first of all.’

I (Apulhed) see it as my mission to leave behind those lags and break new ground, all my days I have tried to do that. I found however the danger is that you leave others behind, they cannot catch up, you run too fast. A lot of my life I been slowing myself down. Only now 39 years after I compiled Apul-One are people catching up. Bruce McKlean is such an artist. He was lucky to be in the groups who broke free from the lag. The sixties spawned lots of folk kicking against the lag. I was a late-comer. My work started in about 1968 when I wer 17. A lot of (now) famous folk like Bruce, and David Bailey, Jagger, Lennon had kicked off the traces long before I started. That’s one of the reasons it’s so good to have Bruce in Colchester. He was an innovator, and still is pumping against the lag.

He jumped right on in posing as Henry Moore’s Fallen Warrior wearing a tin hat he’d bought in a second hand shop on the way. ‘George from Gilbert & George reminded me I used to do impersonations of Moore’s sculptures in the dining room at Central. So we did them.’ Or as Elvis in Jailhouse Rock as part of a gang of 4 or 6 or maybe 8 now and then, the first, maybe the last, pose band, Nice Style. He still does a good pose, posing like Forsythe his namesake at the drop of a het. ‘This is ‘it’ poses hands up. ‘Johnnie Ray created a myth. I’m still trying to do it…Failed miserably!’

Inspired like Brucie by Frankie’s Rat Pack too. Impressed like Elvis by Johnnie Ray’s screaming and crying about Bruce told us his mother took him to see rock and roll’s first wild man Johnnie Ray falling over in Glasgow, ‘First conceptual singer (he couldn’t sing) first action singer.’ He also had a bad experience in the company of Eddie Cochran, but I shall let him tell you abart that.
He’s made a massive impression on all the staff at Firstsite, they all grown to love him with his quick wit, charm and considerate ways. Despite feeling a bit ‘twitchy’ with pre-match nerves before he appeared in front of probably the biggest audience ever at firstsite (hooray at last, maybe they all thort johnnie ray would come and cry all over them?) he even went out of his way and consented to come meet Rachel mcGivern who’d spent all day showing little kids how to make their own mcLean sculptures. She were made up girl, well pleased, star stricken too.

bruce an rachel

John Woods had flown in from Leeds (ain’t not got no football team never) after getting to know BMc during a show JW had curated at the Henry Moorish centre up there. He was the master of ceremonies questioneer cos Bruce Forsythe could not be there to say ‘Nice to see ya, Bruce from Olde Brucie’, art as pose.

macleen dancing

Now am gonna just type up me notes, all 10 page on em, cos they say all that BM said yesterday:

An image of the London ‘pose’ event High up on a Baroque palazzo goes up on the screen and JW says it has some resemblance to the scaffold in Jailhouse Rock, this prompts BM to say, ‘The work was the set BEFORE the action, nobody saw that’ meaning the set was constructed and photographed before any audience arrived and those photos were the piece, ‘I’m a Minimalist’. Referring to his relationship with the then prevalent ideas of Minimalism where it was often the idea, the record (usually in writings) the concept which were deemed the real nub of the work. Language art. Art’s the problem. People identify what they do as ‘art’ when really, it’s painting or sculpture.’ (It seems most everything is sculpture for BMc). ‘Performance art, that’s a term of the Arts Council. A 40 page form to get 30 quid. “‘Art’ is something Saatchi deals (with). I think I’ll be a merchant banker. I wanted to be an architect. My dad (who was an architect) said you’re too small to be an architect. Artist, tap dancer etc, you’re ok for that. I tried to join the Ballet Rambert at 21, big turbans & red lips, they said, you can be with the Modern contemporary Dance lot but not here. ”
BMc realises the audience may fall asleep when minimalism is mentioned and asks, ‘Are you finding this interesting…or not?’ and frowns. Audience giggles, he’s got them. ‘We had dress suits (& bow-ties) on, with padded shoulders. Bump. They allowed us to go BUMP into the wall or scaffold’. ‘How about that?’ he motions, Bump. JW had arranged a re-enactment in 2012 and one of the posers hadn’t been able to come., ‘Paul Richards said it’s such a bad idea, let’s do it. Robin Fletcher had a bad leg and didn’t turn up to the re-union.’
Image of Victor Mature. ‘Victor Mature is a hero, 1st conceptual actor in 150 films.’ Then he starts talking about Mussolini as a waiter in one of the pieces they did and Hitler as a house painter. ‘A nod and a wink can change the world’.
‘Slade was influential early on. The pop group I mean (not the art school). We supported the Kinks at Maidstone college. We used mirrors on the audience, blinded them, creating johnnie ray hysteria’.
JW- you met Eddie Cochrane didn’t you? ‘I ran away’ laughs. ‘No really I was scared. I was taken in to his dressing room and he stood there screaming, ‘Bring me horse!!!!’ Well, you know heroin is horse. I thought what the hell? He was actually calling for whores, I ran’. Reflects. ‘Wish I’d stayed in the room.’ ‘saw Gene Vincent play to 15 people in Putney, the great rock & roller, then we went over to the Spotty Dog and got pissed.’ ‘I never saw Barnet Newman (best Abstract Expressionist) singing in Glasgow, saw Liberace tho. I have this idea for an opera, Liberace meets Barnet Newman. Elvis turns up and pushes him off the stage.’
Image of poster for Midnight Cowboy starring John Voight & Dustin Hoffman goes up. ‘We became John Voight & Dustin Hoffman for a week.’
He goes on to talk about his dislike of dishonesty. With BMc what you see is what you get. This reflects in his work. There are no cover ups, no second goes, he draws it and it stays drawn, there’s a spontaneity in his pieces. He can’t understand why in Hollwood they used stands in for ugly people or in Mario Lanza’s case he was replaced by the non-singing unknown Edward Purdum who mimed to Lanza’s singing. Same with the use of the tall Jose Ferrer who knelt down while taking the part of the tiny Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec in Huston’s Moulin Rouge. ‘great film…for a six year old’ (when his ma took him.) BMc made films which often take the mick out of existing iconic films. This prompted one of the audience to say he was a good film maker. ‘Film is more interesting cos it’s cheaper to make. You can switch the camera on and off.’
He loves Tony Hancock’s film the Rebel, says ‘it’s still like that at the RCA schools, nothing’s changed in 60 years, still sitting in black suits talking bullshit.’
His film Urban Turban was dissed. It’s a parable of the D’Offay gallery, based on the Rebel only artist wants to become banker.
A shot of a BMC posing as the Moore Fallen Warrior in 1969 goes on screen. ‘Hey, what about if he misses the plinth? Falling Warrior misses plinth. How come they always fall spot in the centre of the plinth? I once went to Much Hadham to seek work with Moore. He came out to see us, ‘Turned out nice again’ he said. I expected this guy to say something profound not ‘Turned out nice again’, offered us four shillings an hour, half what Bill Turnbull was paying I got back on the bus. Bit tight! I come frae glasgi and I know what tight is’. Bill Turnbull made me think this whole (art) activity is fraudulent.
Image of Irina Moore standing by a construction Moore had erected around a big sculpture to protect it as he fabricated it. Did that influence your constructions? ‘Yes well, I liked his constructions, they were good but a lot of his sculptures were sloppy when he put them out for others to do them. I liked the ones he did himself.’
Image (apparently) photo of a sculpture in a plate of soup goes up. ‘That was a collage, the sculpture was a photo, not real, which I filmed. ‘Waiter waiter there’s a sculpture in my soup.’
Art history should be taught backwards. I’m trying to do the sculpture that I didn’t get done. I’m a Minimalist. (I don’t want to make things accessible, too much of this bums on seats. Let’s keep everybody out. Went to the Tate’s Matisse cut outs, you could smell the sweat from all those people, I had to get out for some air. I like making invisible sculpture. I found one I lost. I couldn’t actually find it. Audience titters. It’s there. It’s gone. Is that a sculpture? It might be. Where is it? Does it exist. It’s gone. (BMc is on a roll here) Am using old stuff, but am not re-making it. Look, photocopies of (his old late mate) Flanagan’s Hare –cheap to make.

He mentions Walter de Maria (that shows how far out I been, never ever heared of him.And he seems important, how did I live this long sans eering abart him?) .
BMc and me do have a shared appreciation of Barnet Newman! One ting is BMc has carried out the images I have only thought of doing tham!
He goes on, ‘ It was there it wasn’t there. Shadow obsesses me, am going to Spain to find some good shadow. I WILL find one.
Curtain. Audience invited to contribute.

I offered him a drawing i dun back in 1994 at Tate. He graciously accepted one. then he posed wid it with some blArty bloke what had a rod (stewart?) thru his neck.

apic o me a pic o brucefoto (c) CC (ta dancer)

A plug for his return in conversation with 4 of his ex students on Sept 17th then One of BMc’s ex-students suggests artists have become the bankers now. Says, yes the egg stain in the trousers is now considered art. And if you are looking for a good shadow- Hank Marvin. On that note I am posting this.

bruce amung sculpts


I have now been able to watch Bruce’s film on the three screens in full. It’s a fun ting and it refers back to many of McLean’s moments of creativity in his oeuvre. He throws in some gratuitous nudity, art has always had the attraction of nude models. In 1969 when I attended a all boys gwamma I was attracted to ‘art’ night classes becos there was a lady sitting naked as a jay bird posing for us to aspire to be little leonardos. I had never seen a woman naked and althoshe looked more like Edna Everidge than Kate Moss I was trapped into ‘art’ for the rest of my days! The bait has reeled me in, once an artist (an incredibly poor one at first, some say that never changed) always an artist. Anyway, there’s a nice young woman in bruce’s film with all her kit off except her cowboy hat. The music by Dave Stewart is strong, bit like a second rate Philip Glass, gets a bit mesmeric and a bit tedious to. But I like the overall effect of the film with all of its references to the corruption in the world of art. The very best bit for me is the bit where three men dance but you can only see their legs. It is wonderful. Not cos of the legs, (am no gay) no it’s just wonderfully irreverent. I like the woman in the tall hat, well the hat at least. And Bruce’s drawings on the wall and in the little £5 book about its planning. Good that.

Also Venue done a little but very positive mention of the show:

Norwich University for the arts for the day

writing, except beuys bit, is (c) pete kennedy, images are (c) individual artists.

We had to go to the University of Norwich art college in this week to see the work of a friend, Jack Cornell, who had entered the college with some trepidation 3 years ago and ended up getting a First and several prizes for his efforts. The trip was a revelation. The college seems to emanate a good feel. Most all of the students I met seemed very happy to have gone through the various courses there and their output looked to be of a very high standard generally. There seems to be a very positive and non-threatening attitude emanating from the tutors down to the kids. This group seems to have been one of those ‘good’ yeargroups, altho the college may say that to every year group to give them the lift which brings them up to high standards. But the evidence was there, there on the walls in the halls and the floors and the ceilings and in the books and in the illustrations. I even bought a t shirt, and I am mean with the money cos I ain’t got none.
I shall put some of the best examples that I saw below.
It seems that the students are actually encouraged to develop work that my college in the 70’s would have told me to throw away! What I saw at Norwich was wonderful for me. In my life I had to do my graphic pages/comics after midnite, burning the late nite oil. My early Apulhed comics were done way into the early hours and I never could have handed them in as part of my assessment. Yet, here in Norwich I saw the work of Ben, Benjamin Keable. His work was comic. He even mis-spelt werds delibritli like watti do.
ben an is werk
That’s him in the distance.

He aksed me to insert his contact details, little does he know there’s only tree of yez out thur:
Another chap had done a book which featured the spell-fairies in which he had also played with mis-spellings in a humourous way, forgot his name. Sorry. The typo and layout were good tho’.


Other favourites were the bookworks of Natty Peterkin with its lovely free use of line and splodge.

best buk sm kb


And the exquisite imagery of Charli Vince with her phenomenal drawing skill and vivid colours.

bone fush sm kb

In photography there was a wide variety of takes on the world. Sam Fry had studied the bad consequences of war with photos of the physical trauma suffered by some service personnel. In her work Charlie Bryan showed she travels a lot and not in a war zone. Her 3 exhibits were relatively small and very dark with lots of atmosphere.


” When we see a part of the moon covered by a cloud,

or a tree, or a weed, we feel how round the moon is. But

when we see the clear moon without anything covering it,

we do not feel that roundness the same way we do when we

see it through something else.”  extract from Old zen poem.

Pride of place went to Jack Cornish with his stunning seemingly abstract images created from strange coagulations from the ‘unpredictable nature of materials’.

jc 1 sm kb

He’s also interested in alchemy which means we have a lot to talk about as I have spent 45 years trying to turn lead into gold. Lead being the art world’s reaction to my work, gold being my work and Joseph Beuys’ face when he told the dead hare about the meaning of pictures:
“For me the Hare is a symbol of incarnation, which the hare really enacts- something a human can only do in imagination. It burrows, building itself a home in the earth. Thus it incarnates itself in the earth: that alone is important. So it seems to me. Honey on my head of course has to do with thought. While humans do not have the ability to produce honey, they do have the ability to think, to produce ideas. Therefore the stale and morbid nature of thought is once again made living. Honey is an undoubtedly living substance- human thoughts can also become alive. On the other hand intellectualizing can be deadly to thought: one can talk one’s mind to death in politics or in academia”
‘I know how he feels, I bin squawking to a load of dead hares in Cork Street, Burlington Gardens, Millbank and all over for the past 45 yearns. I’m not bitter, I stopped drinking some time ago’. Oh shut up Blarty pants.

So we were forced to pop into Jamie Oliver’s restaurant where we were lucky they have reduced the price of all the pasta, fresh made each day, to try to attract more footfall during the week. The food was really tasty.
I then popped into thebookhive an independent bookshop which has a vast collection of all sorts of books where I happened upon Niki Medlik and a series of synchronous events. I was splurting on about my recent forays into publishing and she said, you didn’t do david jury’s book course did you? Yes I did. I worked for T & H as their chief cover designer and I designed his new book cover on . She then said maybe her old friend who is in charge of T&H spiritual books would be interested in my theme of ‘knowledge left in pots. I thought, well that’s nice I was thinking of approaching T&H as I had seen some books from that section, then she gave me his name and contact details I thought at last I’m ‘in’. Sadly he reacted to my pitch saying they only take on books which will attract a wide public interest, not mine then.
Yesterday I attended the day run by ENAS (thanks Jane Morrow), Royal Opera House and Essex county Council on ‘social media’ and gaining grants. Again, my work is not of the type worth wasting my time applying for Arts Council grants, my work is all singing and dancing. But the girl from ROH gave some wonderfully useful tips on upping my profile on social media, so watch this space.
Tomorrow am going to see Bruce McLean talk at firstsite about Johnnie Ray being no good, we will no doubt argue on that, doesn’t he know Elvis watched Jonni and stole some of his best moves, that’s why Jonni were crying.

Happy in my own skin.

fish montage sm kbI looked at a man called Charles who was talking to me on a London bus, that is his job, talking to passengers, and the more we talked the more relaxed he became and the simple thought crossed my mind that he was, ‘Happy in his own skin’, his happiness, or relaxedness was contagious which can only be good for London transport’s passengers. Now Charles’ skin happens to be black, my skin is termed white and we were getting on like a house on fire and I believe that is not only the way it should be but it’s only natural. We are two men inhabiting the same planet with very different histories but more likely than not we are descended from the same woman who roamed the plains of Africa over 40 thousand years ago. So why do we ‘look’ so (apparently) different? Well of course, skin colour. According to internet sources:
‘The skin is the largest organ of the body, with a total area of about 20 square feet or 2 square metres, it protects us from microbes and the elements, helps regulate body temperature, and permits the sensations of touch, heat, and cold.
Cells in the deepest layer of your epidermis , (the outer, nonvascular, non-sensitive layer of the skin), divide constantly to make new cells. The new cells are pushed towards the surface of your skin. They eventually die and become filled with keratin, an exceptionally tough protein. Keratin provides your body with a durable overcoat, which protects deeper cells from damage, infection and drying out.
Cells on the surface of your skin rub and flake off steadily and are continuously replaced with new ones. About every 30 days, your body produces a totally new epidermis.
Skin colour
Your skin contains specialised cells called melanocytes are located in the epidermis, covering the true skin or corium. They produce the pigment melanin, a brown substance, which absorbs some of the Sun’s harmful ultraviolet rays. Fair-skinned people only have melanin in the lower layers of their epidermis. People with dark skin have larger amounts of melanin in all layers. Freckles and moles are nothing else but small patches of skin with more melanin than in the surrounding area.’

I love all that. In those words from the Net are so many levels. The ‘outer layer’, that is what we see and seeing is not understanding, in fact really seeing is a form of mis-understanding, or pre-conception. You see, the skin which covers Charles and me is only temporary, it changes every 30 days. Now his and mine genetic and ‘social’ history do not change, they stay where they were, our ancestry and the trail our predecessors traipsed is written in the sands of time, or more legibly and often mistakenly, in the ‘his-story’ books. History is frequently written in a skewed, one-sided way, often to give a slant to show the superiority of one group over another. So, for example, the imperialists we refer to as the ‘Romans’ re-told or rather, re-wrote, the recent history they ‘re-membered’ and like previous ‘empires’ they put a slant on things. They omitted the Hannibal’s lot, probably because the Carthaginians (Hannibal (247-183 BC), Carthaginian general, son of Hamilcar Barca*, whose march on Rome from Spain across the Alps with his 90,000 infantry, 12,000 cavalry and up to 40 elephants remains one of the ‘greatest feats in military history’) gave them such a fright they couldn’t bring themselves to remind themselves of how close they came to being totally defeated in 217 BC rather than 500 years later. *That’s interesting, Barca being the name of Hannibal’s dad. BECAUSE they always say they don’t know where the Catalonians came from and there it is the answer. Hamilcar Barca’s family came from Carthage and conquered Spain! From there they were able to take a pot at Rome. But it’s not such a big leap to see how their descendants took over the ‘Barca’lona area, is it? Now the Carthaginians were descendants of the Phoenicians who were once a great powerful group in the Mediterranean who spread culture trade and the alphabet we use. They too were written out of history, this time by the Greeks who only overcame the more cultured and powerful people of Crete and Thera after a cataclysmic upheaval in 1420 BC totally destroyed the latter and brought the Cretans to their knees so the Mycenaen Greeks were able finally to overpower them and take their craftsmen, including metal workers who designed great helmets and suits of protective wear for battles, into slavery.
So, the outer layer of his-story is merely that, a layer. And it rarely goes deeper than skindeep. Skindeep is really only another word for prejudice, preconception, misconception, misinformation, misunderstandings. And, I believe, the trick is to look inside, to delve deeper than the outer skin to perceive the human being there inside. Things are frequently not what they appear to be and this appears to be a blog about skin, colour and all but in fact it is really about my visit to London last Saturday. Charles also told me that he had seen the Christian and Muslim faiths from each inside and now claims no religion except a certain benevolence toward his fellow humans. It was refreshing to meet Charles as I wended my way back home after a day built around a little workshop in print at the Courtauld run so well by MA student Marian Casey and RA schools tutor Hen Coleman.

I had a couple of hours to spare before I joined the group so I wandered down Charing Cross Road peeking into the bookshops. To my delight I found a pop art book (T&H) edited by Lucy Lippard about whom I wrote an article in UWE’s recent Blue Notebook for a meagre £5 which I could afford. Saw a book of poems by Peake which was £20 but resisted it. Then popped into a rare books shop where I found a copy of Bukowski’s poem, ‘Crucifix in a Deathhand’, priced at £650. It’s a very beautifully made book from an edition of 3100, signed in dayglo ink by Buko himsen. Listen to this, Tom Russell’s rendition of the poem.
Strange, Bukow is a good poet, he cuts thru all the crap and even throws crap at you. My most popular blArt is the one I posted on Bukowski. Seems to attract visitors from all over the world. Buk is truly not what it seems when you see pictures of him, read his writing etc, by all perceptions he’s an ugly brute, yet no, within his poems often there is a deep humanity and understanding of the human condition. Interesting he uses crucifix…Roman empire crucified tens of thousands, but only four or five are remembered, Spartacus, Jushua Ben Genasareth & Barabas who was a Zealot- a freedom fighter v Roman occupation to name but three. The Roman Empire had an horrific track record in uman rights, yet those same nerds who denigrate Buko worship their ‘Classical’ lit etc. Whereas, Carthage, and Crete both produced stuff far superior to Rome. Not a lot of people know that.

fish wet sm kb

not alot o peeple know this song by the late great jackie leven

I love it particularly when the poet David Thomas comes in with his strangely sad tale of the fishes’ tail, ‘the bridge is too twisted I’ll fall off the side….’ Beware next time you look at koi.

The lovely ting about the Courtauld doing tings like dis print workshop and another poetry one soon is revealing how that institution is itself not what it appears to be at first sight (which reminds me, Bruce McKlean (who won the John Moores award for his painting of koi, which he told us took him about half an hour to paint, maybe my 14 years spent on my new work of Venus  Stares is a little excessive, never mind, i just won a prize on wordpress which was the honour of being allowed to answer a question which was would i recommend wordpress to others? well I wouldn’t use something I won’t recommend, would i? and there is a fish or two in my picture too, luckily it’s swimming under her arm)

venus an some fishes

is at first site gallery in Colchester on Saturday July 12th). It’s not a staid place at all, it’s brim full of life and activity. Anyways I found myself joining in with all the others who were inspired by their new MA show (see my previous blArt about the pull & push of print)

fish polystyra sm kb

this was a print made using the mould material to take a mould and then printing from it. The idea of taking a pull from a surface was inspired by the work in the MA show.


and suitably provoked into running round the Courtauld making rubbings to make prints from. I had snapped some beautiful images of Koi in a park nearby on the way in so I found various fish like shapes in stone, wood and metal and did a montage of the results. It makes me feel very happy in my own skin too.

fish rusty sm kb fish wood sm kb
ps I know this blArt is being posted a little later this week but I bin bizzy an oi? We also went up to Norwich to see the Art BA shoiws and I shall do a little blart abart thart too soon, like and interim blog (sumtin abart a bog in Jamie’s place there).

I wanted to be an artist but I’m alright right now, right. (What is original & what is quality? Part 2)

Since I wrote dis blArty ting a lot of water has splashed on my tree. I met Bruce McKlean and saw his work from past 50 years in Colchester at First Site. Right now I am preparing a new book of ‘poems’ on six mystic men which I intend to launch at 2 bookfairs in the south of engerland in September. And it looks beautiful even if I saw so misen. It’s called ‘Inside This Earthen Vessel’. Bye fer no…ooooow.

apulhed tingling

Did you hear the joke, ‘Once I was a werewolf, but I’m alright No…oooow!’? Well once, only once, I wanted to be an artis but I’m all write No…oooow! In fact my art is my right, I have a write to be an artis. OK, back to the real.

On Originality. I want to mention Maria Popova’s stuff, she writes well, I could do an analysis or commentary but that would take ages I have not got and my fingers would wear out typing it in, so, you can take a look at her stuff here:

She quotes  Twain, “Substantially all ideas are second-hand,” Mark Twain observed, “consciously and unconsciously drawn from a million outside sources, and daily use by the garnerer with a pride and satisfaction born of the superstition that he originated them.” And she often refers to this ting called,

‘The power of the synthesizing mind…

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