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.

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