The Staggering Effulgent Effrontery of The Frockwearer Man.

Today I made the Beatles age of 64, never thought that song may apply to moi! I am posting an old foto of this old fart wherein I still got as much hair as I want and all me tooths, that’s the tooth. As reglia followers of this blArb know, I don’t look the same man now!

pk larfin birtdae bouy

Pete aged about 22

Also, on me boithday, I had choices and I chose to do my classes as usual; I got a great mat for doing Vinyassa Yoga with Sam in th’morn, she really push us thru our paces but so gently you hardly notice what yer doing til you suddenly find your left toe in your right ear and Master Ch’n returned after several weeks away to try teaching me Tai Chi. His patience with me is astounding as I am such a thick-head when it comes to taking in anything which is repetitive and ‘form’. But they say it’s good fer ya as ye gits older and older, Tai Chi that is. It’s a funny ting but when i try persuade my kids in their mid-twenties to take on the challenges and benefits of tai chi & yoga they just mock me. They don’t know what they’re missing.

SEEE– The  Staggering Effusive Effulgent Effrontery of Grayson Perry and His Smashing Pot on Channel 4 really impressed upon me this week in the ch4 show wherein he talked to several people who had had life-altering activities in recent times. I must apologise for grouping him, in a recent blArt, alongside Ermine & Berst, I was really really wrong, he is an extremely good artist which I already acknowledge (even though he draws unwell or rather ham-fistedly his imagery is ‘different’, it is worked and it is interesting) but the sum of his output, which must now include being a television presenter, is quite stunning. His broad reach of technique (and his knowledge of different arts and cultures) is impressive. His way with people and his calm questioning of their motives and self-view are also highly informed and seem very natural, maybe coming from his real-lating-ships with his cross dressing and his sessions together with his wife’s psychotherapeutic knowledge?

I done a phew wrong tings this week like on Thursday I posted my first video on utube http://youtu.be/OUkrryYo8AU and getting excited at actually having done it I then posted two more before gaining reaction to the thirst. Gavin said, ‘There’s a thin line between deep & dull’ and my videos aim to be deep but came over rather dull. No bounce, no dance in the words as I read them with some difficulty. The words in the poems are put together and re-manipulated over a prolonged period of thinking and study and consideration and changing and re-moulding and all. the video was slapped together impromptu-ly and doesn’t do justice to the words. However, I must thank my friend Dave Doughty for pushing me into doing the thing to the ultimate aim of posting up on utube which now I have cottoned on to how to, I shall do it some more. Whether I need to use utube or not is a different question? I can probably upload video to my blArtspot on wordpress, we’ll have to see. I don’t think my utube video is about to get as many hits as Susan Boyle did, is it. Her voice on the first day after her stunning performance on X Factor was a revelation, my voice on the vids is just, dull. I have sent it out to about 20 folk and the resounding silence seems to say sumptin to me and I shall be back, that’s not a threat it’s a promise, am working on them, I tink I know watti need to do. My old mate DW has made it very clear.

As it happens I got a copy of Jackie Leven’s The Mystery Of Love Is Greater Than The Mystery Of Death cd http://www.discogs.com/Jackie-Leven-The-Mystery-Of-Love-Is-Greater-Than-The-Mystery-Of-Death/release/1106041 with the beautiful track Inside This Clay Jug on with Robert Bly, American Poet, reciting Kabir’s poem. NOW THERE’S A VOICE! WOW. Bly tells the poem in such verve & enunciation, so articulating the simple words, so describing them with his mouth instrument. There’s something to live up to, to aim for to aspire to and I have a very very long way to travel. I cannot even recite my own words, the readings had no life in them. I hope, like when alcoholics realise their dependence, now I have realised my crap skills I shall begin to rectify. Watch this space if you can bear it. watch this too for a lovely mention of the three harmonious faiths of China; Buddhism, Confusianism & Taoism. I sometimes, recently, have wondered if i am barking up the right tree with my new works on the clay jug theme. this wonderful trip down the yangtse says YES, yse pete you are on the right trail.  http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b04mj989/sacred-rivers-with-simon-reeve-3-the-yangtze

They say Wilko Johnson has had his cancer taken away, ‘Big as a baby’ he said the growth was. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/entertainment-arts-29727632 They had only given him only a few months to live then Addenbrookes found it was a rare form which they could cut out and they did. Hoe excellent is that, int that gud? I took some great photos of him back in the late 70’s, in Chompsferd of all places!

 wilko hands in waistcoat sm

Also Simon Bacon, whose sculptures have been on at Sculpt Gallery Tiptree and with Debra at the Affordable art fair in Londres is gud news too. Simon did his MA at the same time I did mine and I loved his work then. I am so glad he’s started to sell.

 2si 5

On Sunday I popped into Londin toon and did a dummy run for when I have to get to the RA for 08.30 hrs in November. I dropped into the Poetry Library, Southbank, London (they recently bought my latest book and one I did in collaboration with the world-renowned author on ‘typo’ and a mean letterpress printer himself, David Jury) and I checked out some E E Cummins. What I find interesting, altho I know little about his background I expect he must have been fairly well off to get to Harvard in 1911, what I find interesting is that I (who were poor) went to college for 4 years and in a way I was therefore given the time to think and write. Which would have been a rare commodity to a working class boy back in the time of WW1 & 2. So, in the 1960’s when there seemed a lot of hope that our world would grow out of wars and become a better place, despite Vietnam, I was allowed to stretch my mind in philosophy and art etc. I retired from my day job in c.2009 and have since returned to my dreams, as a writer artist (altho I must say I never stopped ‘making’ my outputs). The reason I mention it is cos therefore, I had similar opportunities to much more ‘privileged classes’ of previous generations. I think my book of 1975 was in fact a pioneering piece;

ap 001

totally my own work, self published and with altered spellings. The pioneering was not so much in the content as in leading the field in artists book, I published around the same time as some significant players whom those who study artisbuk  in the States will be aware of were self publishing etc.

I used altered spelling in the above book (1975) as you can see from its title attached, the yellow cover, title in handwritten ink. Recently I have returned to use altered spellings, which in my private journals I never stopped doing, but I now find that there is a whole range of possibilities with its use. Miriam Patchen commended me on that book, made some reference to her friend E E Cummings. If you go into my ‘about’ at the top of this blUrt you’ll find her comments.

Watch out for my next BLART, it’s gonna be a big appropriation from Neil Young, John Peck and others. the ubu site is all about appropriation nowadays but Picabia appropriated Neitzche in the early 20th century and i appropriated Picabia in the recent collaboration with David. Hee Hee.

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The Metamorphosis of Duncan Walker – Releasing the Spirit

No. 1 in a series of the work of pete kennedy, artistwriter bloke, b.1950

Painting by Pete Kennedy

With notes by PK & DW

So, I am starting the offering up of my images from 1968 to now for y’all to see. I shan’t be so mundane as to put them in chronological order. There’s so many of them and the quality is not dependent on age, neither mine nor the works. Some of my best work was done in the first few years of my life after I made a conscious decision that making my art in my own way, or so I thought. My output was often then and still is now really effected by my circumstances. So, the availability or lack of availability of resources would temper my technique. Time has been a big element in my output, for all the reasons you may imagine. (If you click on the images they will pop up bigger so you can peruse them better.)

Duncan and the cosmic egg

This portrait was created at the height of my ability, it is undoubtedly one of the best. The sitter, Duncan Walker, I had known since we were thrown together in the first team in the first week at our secondary school. We had drifted in and out of each others lives. This was me deliberately creating something which held all my values and skills in one image. It’s a triple portrait. A photo which I took and developed and printed, an oil in my style which had taken several years to reach and a ‘squidgerat’, one of my weird creations which were often an insight into a sitter’s deep essence. There is also an appropriation of a Dali egg cos I knew DW had in one stage of his development really loved Dali’s work but more importantly it signified the crack in the cosmic egg, something which we would have discussed during our alcohol filled ‘discussions’. That search for meaning behind life’s charade had been going on for both of us in separate ways and this was a coming together.

 dw paintd

 The figure on the left is Duncan in intense meditation, looking inward, considering and knowing the other stages in his life. (I sometimes see light hitting my images and adding more to them than I had put in to them in the first place. One day I shall incorporate light into finished works physically.

 dw foto sm

The figure in the middle is Duncan enjoying worldly delights, with a mischievous, knowing smile about his inner self. (Note the notes in handwriting collaged onto the image!)

 Dw squid

The figure on the right is Duncan’s inner self, achieving a crack in the cosmic egg of worldly reality, at the point when his spirit is flying out at the top of his head from a lifeless shell.

This is the story of releasing the spirit through a dual life of the meditative inner self and the electric worldly extravaganza of his outer being.

dj hopi cava

And about the same time as I did that portrait I wrote and published my little book, The Dull Jodrell. This was an account of some of the writers who had impressed me like Gurdjeff and Hesse. It had quite a bit about ken Campbell in too and accounts of my stays with DW in his ‘London’ house. The cover is a remake of my illystration of Hopi peoples dressed in their kachina outfits standing on the rock dwellings at Mesa Verde. In the book I talk a lot about the ideas of the pre-colombian populations of the Americas. The character in the centre at front of the cover is ‘Lighteyes’

lite eyes sm(this is the original sketch)

one of my squidgerats who I drew before I came across the Hopis who in fact have a character in their kachinas with almost identical stance to my man, uncanny! The Hopi kachina which is so similar to my Lite-Eyes was a human gifted with god-like characteristics whose previous human status is represented by him having cross-legs. The round thing on the Hopi character’s head is repeated almost identically in the round thing on the head of my Liteyes. I drew him prior to seeing any Hopi images, ever. It is truly uncanny to me. The strange head gear, which again, was drawn with no reference to Hopi, I had not yet heard of them, also bears a remarkable resemblance to some other Hopi headresses.

dj squigs in dj

The book also had some squidgerats drawings in as well as some I did of Ken Campbell.

ken campbell sm

This book and the image of Duncan show how my progress thru life has been accompanied by my ‘researches’ into real life characters and thru readings of books on Hopis and Gurdjeff which still continues today and indeed my recent work with the Jug poems is only a different way of trying to present my discoveries to a wider audience. Below is my new image of Duncansquidgespirit zooming across the lake next to a slow swan.

a duncan twa

Thank you DW for instigating this first of many(?) reports on my images & artefacts, and tanks fer the fotos of the work.

Footnote:My previous blArt aboot Oxferd toon got SIX ‘likes’, unprecedented in the history of this blaggArt! It sure signals up that some folks are getting someting frae the werds & images of this clown. Also you know if you press ‘follow’ you’ll get notified (not certified) of all my future blArty bits. Tread carefully won’t you. It appears 34 folks out there follow this  heap o’ thorts. Tank yez all, makes me feel good too. Makes me feel that all the effort what goes into doing this weekly blarting is getting thru, at least to 34 folks in this wide wonderous werld.

And finally, nobody, yet no-one, ever ‘comments’. I can only assume that everyone agrees with all I say OR, more likely, all who dip into the blArty Bloke unexpectingly are numbed into a somnambulant state and then wake up several hours later wondering what hit them?

When I went doon to Oxford toon

Just gate-crashing two ‘parties des chimpanzes’ doesn’t make me a member!

 I give up. No, that does not mean I am giving up but I am stopping chasing & struggling to get ‘noticed’, the forlorn hope of breaking thru into the in crowd (who wants to rub shoulder with the likes of Blokeney, Ermine, Buerst and all?) in the ‘gallery’.

In 1975 when my assault on the walls began I could maybe have been called an angry young man cos they wouldn’t give my work the light of day even tho many folks loved my product. Then, over the tears you realise ‘they’ don’t know more than nor even as much as you, they just (maybe, probably) went to the right school, just like the politicians who run the show. And talking about the right schools. I have a bone to pick with the Bodleian. (Ian Watmore on leaving his post of CEO at the ‘dysfunctional’ F A is reported to have referred to it as a chimpanzees’ tea party, which is similar to what I saw in the two Oxford places I visited this weekend. Only chimps are invited to tea, not chumps like me!)

The wayzegoose book fair was a pretty useless flop for me and Wendy, except for an opportunity for me learning what i need to do to improve etc, no sales.  Overall Oxford trip wer a good experience really, with some downs. Had to fight toot & tail to get into Bodleian on a reader’s card. And altho there are Kafkaesque aspecs to the Bod set up, once inside the Bod I was treated really well by the librarians who ran around showing me how to find things. I also have to thank Alan Brown for all his help getting me information about the collections and the way in! I LOVED seeing some of the Rot then Keifer buks, I now KNOW where my main thrust must be in future. Collaboration with DJ will no doubt bring more out of me in that ‘ancient’ vein if he can stand the strain of working with this idiot, but my next few buks are a return to my theme of original, surreal and unsettling subversive stuff. I see myself as an under-miner, a sapper really, but do those I sap see me as a sop? That’s good cos i can catch them unawares. Funnily i got 4 ‘likes’ overnight (6 now, thanks to all of yez that ‘liked’ this blArt!) for a pretty wingey blog, plus one ‘follow*’, all of which adds to the circle I am creating of interested parties. Thanks Maureen for saying this is humourous & informative too!

* You know if you press ‘follow’ you’ll get notified (not certified) of all my future blArty bits. Tread carefully won’t you. It appears 34 folks out there follow this  heap o’ thorts. Tank yez all, makes me feel good too. Makes me feel that all the effort what goes into doing this weekly blarting is getting thru, at least to 34 folks in this wide wonderous werld.

http://www.southbankcentre.co.uk/whatson/the-material-word-the-6th-poe-86763

The Poetry Library at Southbank will be displaying the collaboration book in November. Altho there is a question flying around, can you see it? Is it a book? Is it a Blogger? Is he a Flybyniter? Or is he just a Fly Writer or a Flawed Bloke Flying by the Seat O’ his Pants? Well, the question whether my book of poems done with DJ is a book or not is surely already answered in the article I did for The Blue Notebook Vol 8 No 2, April 2014 Lucy Lippard’s Activism and Artists’ Books Activate Me. ‘To codex or not to codex’ that is the question Lucy Lippard’s loose leaf catalogues helped me solve. The article considers the need or no need to bind sheets to make a book. It comprises a brief summary of Lippard’s talk Exhibition Histories on 11.04.13, a consideration of B. S. Johnson’s book The Unfortunates, the work of Don Celender in the BABE show in Bristol’s Arnolfini in April 2013. Also, an introduction to some of my own artist’s books some of which incorporate loose leaves.’

My boxed artist’s book called Apul-Gold Metamorphosis with careful attention to font size as well as considering paper, dimension and feel. It has alternate card and semi-transparent pages. The box is black with gold around the edges resembling an old bible but when opened it is more like a jewellery box with felt surrounds and gold ribbons.You can turn the loose pages which are, ironically, sequential because the holes in each page grow gradually to reveal a golden (moulded plastic) page with words on sculpted from twigs making the ‘word’ material or ‘real’. Behind this sheet is the final surprise, a sculpture of Apulhed.

jo 080Left- concave sculpted face, right- word as material object, on penultimate page.

Also my most recent book adorned with castor oil leaves on front and back which opens like a ‘normal’ book but inside houses seven prints in a pouch which are ‘bound’ in place by two strips of leather. All of the materials used were carefully considered to show textures and colours which resonate with the subject matter inside- the story of six mystics and their words (which is a precursor to the new books ‘Inside This Earthen Vessel’) kept in a pot like the Nag Hammadi scrolls .

bukartobjet 002

Both of my bookartobjects were made with the clear belief that books do not have to be bound nor sequential which Lucy’s catalogue laid the foundations for with Johnson’s book adding more weight to the idea being published as a book in 1969.

So am trying to say the codex ‘bind’ was a late entry, there were other forms of bind long before it; potis, copper rings (we used brass rings to ‘bind’ the new one at Whitechapel), scrolls, metal amulets, steles just to name a phew!

bod wow cloud

The Bodleian is an amazing ‘national’ collection not open to hardly anyone, not even scholars like myself unless they can prove they cannot access the stuff they wish to see anywhere else. Now there’s a ting. If you have an ISBN on a book you have to send a copy (free) to the Bodleian (and several other libraries), but we (plebs) cannot gain entry to the Bodleian yet it houses an uncanny stock of mint condition books, as you can imagine, cos if you have an ISBN on a book you have to send a copy (free) to the Bodleian! So the Bodleian houses several books of mine yet under normal conditions I cannot access that library. I did after several phone calls and lots of bits of paper manage to gain entry for two days which was the saving grace of my weekend in Oxford. So after all I am pleased I left a donation for their collection of my new book, Inside This Earthen Vessel, although I really wanted to show it to Alan Brown first before the woman who allowed me a 2 day pass whipped it away rather hastily before telling me that I had to pay for the privilege of entering the collection. Now my book sells at £15 and I tink she was after £6, and I pointed out that there is a hardship clause in the rules and I am hard-shipped (I have no wage, no income source, that’s not a weep it’s a fact). “Do you have evidence of your benefits, entitlements & allowances?” No cos I don’t claim any but all I have is a small pension, which in fact obviates any entitlement i may have. I wouldn’t wish to have a state handout any how, I prefer my freedom to be poor yet not have to look over my shoulder to see if any ‘benefits spies are watching me. As it appens, Citizens Advice worked out that because i have a small pension I would only  be able to get £12 a week from the state even though I was eased out of my 10 year job cos my body had contracted RA, no not the other chimp’s party at the Woyal Acawemy, no I got Rheumatoid Arthritis and after its worst stage was over and a series of heinous drugs had given me ‘remission’ I would not be able to hold a teaching job with all its stresses and strains and i wouldn’t get one anyway cos am too old and am nearly 64 which made me not old enough to gain a reader’s pass free umph, am not bitter I stopped drinking 3 yearns agonow am back on dandelion & burdock. “Doesn’t count cos here its 65 and I can see from your d o b yer under age you’re only 63”. Well am 64 in a couple of weeks. “Doesn’t count”. So I said maybe I should charge yer fer me buk? “But you just gave it to us”.

pk selfizeebugthe bug in me

However, I spent several hours perusing books which very few had looked upon, so I s’pose I should be happy. For example, a 1966 copy of Dieter Roth’s Mundunculum, numbered 1 of an edition of 122, seems like it has never been opened. Intriguingly this copy has been given a dark blue traditional hard back cover, so totally unlike anyting Rot did, so far out from his way of working that it’s actually good! It’s a bit like be-knighting Michael Jaggerd. You see, Rot is his name and Rotit is his nature. Rot the lot of it seems to me to have been his modus. He undermined everything, even his own work. Picasso did the same. Only Rot’s Progress was unchecked. His earliest work was exquisite, much like Vasarely, with words as concrete poems thrown in. Not a lot of people know that, or care, cos as time went by Rot’s own denigration thru his work of his work stuck and others, those who decide the canon, couldn’t ‘get’ him so they ignore him, so you don’t tend to see Rot next to Appolinaire and Picabia in the annals of concrete poetry(?). And anyway that’s the way he would have wanted it, I tink. He undermined, he dug the dirt, he pretended to be ‘logical’ like Wittgenstein but in fact he was being anarchic like fluxus.

ox logic

mind Rot don’t trip yu up doon Logic Lane

His Mundunculum says it has a correlation tween sign & letter, but does it? And when it does he undermines that too by giving it extra layers. I think I know what drives an artist tinker to be so unhelpful, I do it myself, we don’t wish to be understood I think I know what drives an artist tinker to be so unhelpful, I do it myself, we don’t wish to be understood and if in a moment we feel some are understanding it we shift. I know it’s stupid but I can’t help it. It is part of my personal insecurity which is part of my inbuilt nature acquired from my infanthood when tings were not so good I know Freud would have a field day but there it is. So in a way the artist is getting his own back, saying, well you made it damned hard fer me so I shall do the same fer thee. The role of art-Is is to question, but where the physicist and the mathematician will question with logic the artis can question with illogic. There is a history here, as with all things, nothing comes from nothing. I suggest Tom Phillips wer influenced by Rot and I see now, looking at Schwitter’s Merz werx, Rot wer influenced by Schwitters.

http://www.moma.org/interactives/exhibitions/2013/dieter_roth/works/mundunculum/

 drot mun numbd

But it was a revelation to me. Roth was working on this form of book in the 1950s and it seems significant that tom phillips called his book humument http://www.tomphillips.co.uk/works/artists-books/item/5286-a-humument

Then it got worse. I had booked a table at the Wayzegoose book fair in the ill-conceived idea that my collaboration with David Jury over the summer and the wonderful book he produced would steal the show. But no.

ox table corn sm

They stuck us up in the furthest corner of the event to which very few punters came (it doesn’t seem to have been advertised) and only a tiny percentage got as far into the bowels of Oxford Brookes to even realise our table was there hidden behind a big advert for another stall which was better placed anyway. I sold two postcards. My colleague, Wendy Allen, who made two tiny but beautiful letterpress books sold didderly squat (not a lot).

ox 010

So I learned a lot, mostly, that you got to be selective, very. Just don’t go to a place thinking you can change the scene. If they specialise in old school then they don’t want to see new stuff, do they, well at least they didn’t there.

 bzb light sm

Talking about new stuff, I have been producing what I call ‘original’ stuff since 1969, stuff what is new to most of the known world out there cos most of it only ever reached a radius of about 10 miles from wherever I lived. From now on in this bollogart artis blArt am going to be presenting, or re-presenting, my endeavours from the past 45 years. I shall upload images and ‘stories’ and views of others so you can at least see my work.i gave up pursuing ‘publishers’ years ago and did my first self-published book in 1975, a practice I intend to step up now. But don’t expect me to do beautiful books like Chris Rushton at Hadleigh books does. http://www.chrisruston.com/ No am not able to be so meditative in my production. My next few books will be bringing the backlog of book ideas I bin developing now since 1972; Apulhed, Squidgerats, Nonogons, Venus Stares, and all. Altho I do have one clever hexagonal ‘shaped book’ in mind as a development from the Inside the Jug series.

All images in this blog are mine except the copy of the book by Dieter Roth, I hope that his foundation do not mind me putting it in as it is flagging up the wonderful work he did.

 

Oxford town Oxford town am going down to Oxford town

My words letterpressed by David Jury adorned one wall of the gallery upstairs at Whitechapel just like Mel Bochner’s did a couple of years ago the differences being his were mundane and mine profound, his were a blaze of colour mine were just black & white, with shades of grey. And mine were free to view. OK so the next book fair I am going to is Wayzgoose next weekend in Oxford. http://www.oxfordguildofprinters.com/  ‘Wayzgoose’ means ‘an annual printing house works outing’ altho the Oxford Guild of Printers holds their big wayzgoose bi-annually.

I shall be taking David’s prints to see the reaction of the letterpress folks to his efforts. Then I don’t intend to participate in any more fairs until BABE, Bristol in 2015. So, I shall be able to start working on some backlog books. These are queueing up to be designed and printed from existing material; writing, images and bookforms. I intend to do at least one new one before BABE based on my weird drawings what I have done since the late 1960’s. So below I want to introduce you to ideas on why folk might be interested in the work of this nearly unknown artisbloke.

I had a thought as I was moving wood and compost around ‘You know, I never wish for nor expect any reward for working in my garden, apart from whatever I achieve and the joy of doing it and being there with nature, no ‘reward’, no prize, no pay etc’. Then I thought, ‘I do my art, have done so for 45+ years now. I enjoy doing it, mostly. I often create the idea, the challenge etc.

I ask myself why not develop the one with the helmet, why not add big wings? Either, painted, printed or crafted like those Robert Allsop.’ The very idea to add wings to my BIG images of Michael McKel bare from the waist up with some sort of helmet on his head (it was to represent my ‘character, Knewt Orion, Knut as some would see him, Warrior knight of the Nonomads) is a real shift in my creative thinking.

knewt winged

Not many folk would know or care about that, I do, cos I have watched my progress over the last 63 years 11 months and some days and I know how far I have come. I couldn’t draw fer toffee aged 16, never had an idea in my head aged 17 and now am full of em. I do it cos I cannot stop myself, so why should I expect to be ‘recognized’, given a prize etc for the art I create.

Just creating it is for me a blessed ting.

So then what is my work about? Why do what I do? It’s partly to get you to think outside your box. We all get into ‘deep-rut thinking (see Guy Claxton), its natural cos we have to learn to cope with life from our parents; how to eat, clean, maintain, progress etc and LEARN. Ironically schools begin the formal learn process AND cap it by putting stops on the extents of learning merely by limiting the ‘languages’ they introduce (for example, in some ideologies the language of ‘art’, or the arts,  is not considered a real ‘subject’ like Maths & Science. This is a misconception which I find ludicrously ignorant but it prevails amongst the politicians from public schools who ‘run’ Britain, they have had limited coaching in the depths of insight and knowledge art brings, the ability to ‘see’ from differing angles and to tink outside the challenge to come up with solutions and choose to ferget how much money the arts brings in to the GNP http://www.museumsassociation.org/museums-journal/news/07052013-arts-and-culture-make-up-0-4-per-cent-gdp ). And for a more detailed view see http://www.artscouncil.org.uk/media/uploads/pdf/CEBR_economic_report_web_version_0513.pdf

Education, to be thorough, needs to be well rounded with a good grounding across the whole range of human endeavour and ‘subject’ are so interlocked it is moronic to try to rate one as more meritable than another.

See the most watched talk ever on Ted, http://www.ted.com/talks/ken_robinson_says_schools_kill_creativity?language=en#t-910593 watched by 28,823,325+1 people. And his follow up http://www.ted.com/talks/sir_ken_robinson_bring_on_the_revolution Ken talks from the hip, doesn’t plan every bit of his speech, talks from his own knowledge base. He is only saying what folks like myself, my wife and many others from our generation say about education. We were ‘educated’ to educate the individual. And later on in my career I came across the ideas of Carl Rogers who was the mind behind teachers as ‘enablers’. We create the conditions in which the learners flourish!

The art of illustration permeates the veins of every ‘subject’, indeed diagrams in geometry have led to beautiful results in art and language which are encapsulated in M C Escher’s work inspired by Moorish design http://euler.slu.edu/escher/index.php/The_Alhambra_and_The_Alcazar_(Spain) in the Al Hambra.

enea sign

Symbols are also another form of ‘art’ which permeate through society, by roadsides, in computer technology and in graphic design signs and symbols are valuable. The ability to write words on the page is use of drawing skill. The form of the letters we use whether by hand or by keyboard has been designed. The letters of all alphabets were designed over many years and new fonts move the designs on every day.

Attempting to separate ‘learning’ into subjects is a simplistic nay moronic way to go as knowledge and human development combine such a vast range of skills incorporating movement, mental stimulation and the ability to remember although nowadays, with access to the www we have the possibility to acquire information that once eluded us. The need for rote learning is nullified nowadays, that’s not to say there is no need to develop the skill of ‘memorising’ ideas, groups of facts etc but I know from experience that these skills are better encouraged by creating in the person a love for the things they are studying rather than a fear of being reprimanded if they do not learn a list. So, by example, I learned more French by living with a French family for two weeks than I did in a year in ‘French’ classes. Mental dexterity, the ability to take things in, analyse their relative importance, compute how they may fit into present understandings and how that may change for a new and potentially better state of being are skills to be encouraged. Love of learning and enabling that to happen are, for me, the stanchions which underpin progress. Maths and science are wonderful especially if introduced by enthusiastic and open minds. They are each a universe of interest, neither are set in stone, particularly science. All too often I see these areas introduced with so much baggage that ‘learners’ are scared off. Look at the writings of Feynman on science or if you were lucky to see Shirley Stewart in action teaching teachers how to teach maths in the 1980s and you’ll get examples of experts who know how to make learning interesting. Shirley was Advisor for Maths in Essex and I was uninterested in maths until I heard her speak about giving kids concrete examples to introduce maths. So I became fascinated with things like plastic building blocks & Cuisenaire rods and how they enabled us to compute number lines.  By giving a real understanding of the concepts like adding, subtracting etc we give children a firm basis on which to build maths knowledge and a love of numbers and all that maths relates to. I won’t go on, there are people out there much better equipped to tell you about maths which is much more than learning ‘times tables’ off rote.

So, moving away from systems which cap learning, box it into closed spaces, batter it into accepted shape or norms or canons, moving on, using my experiences. My work has (nearly) always been about questioning the canon & extending the form; the production, the way I do it, the subjects I approach, the mix, the taboos, the unusual, the difference. So quite quickly, like Picasso in the 1900-1910 period, I was looking at ‘other cultures’ (mine were Hopi, koko gn an yelloQuero & Tairona/Kogi).

So my ‘researches’ took me to folk like Gurdjeff, Hermann Hesse, Carl Gustav Jung who extended my own think as well as exemplarising ways of approaching ‘learning & investigation’. These guys may not have been ‘fashionable’ but fashion never overtly dictates to me.

 

And once on the path of learning the search for knowledge began to open up into new halls of knowledge, new paths to expression (although I avoided drug-propelled investigation, rightly or wrongly, for better or worser). Pretty quickly after leaving the known factors of my home/home town in 1969, (where I was always known as ‘Taffy’s son’), to live in Exeter in a college where I began to write and pursue ideas and practice in art and philosophy and teaching, I soon realised my researches were taking me apart from my previous friends & contemporaries. Part of me always wished to share back my discoveries and part wanted to present my findings in new and ironically, sometimes nearly incomprehensible ways (like in Apulone 1975 http://www.amazon.com/Apul-one-Standin-Bannista-Contemplatin-Farting/dp/0950426709 ) which subconsciously/deliberately created barriers to be clambered over thus making it difficult for even those who wished to see what I was getting at, and by corollary making my path more difficult.

 

My new books (Inside This Clay Jug series) are an attempt to re-connect or at least throw a rope to pull folk over the threshold of my now 45 years of searching and finding. Hey, my dad was in air sea rescue, get it, search and find! So communication becomes a feature, how to communicate effectively without being condescending nor belittling my own efforts. A compromise but also a skill. Most of us don’t know what the secret of getting thru or connecting is. Some have it others don’t. It seems my blog is doing it fer some, but not for others.

Latterly I decided to place much of my work into ‘books’. In my future there will follow many books within which shall be the images and ideas am attempting to share, or convey. My bottom line is, we are here on Earth together for a while. Life is a miracle, let’s attempt to share it amicably. Let’s ponder on the joys of life. Wonder at the coincidences of synchronicities. I wish to celebrate more with my books, some being unique one-offs, some limited editions, some may become ebooks and all sorts. But meantime continuing the search and finding more. I want to go to Sarajevo to see the books saved from the war recently. And to see the Nag Hammadi horde wherever that is and the Qumran lot and acrosst th’Atlantic to see the codices of the Mayans and back to wherever I can peruse the Sufi writers of old. Busy boy from Burnley travels like Walt Whitman who never left his leaves of grass.

a walt whitman as apulhed

Finally I shan’t mention the channel 4 newsreader 6.10.2014 what was grovelling round the feet of the infamous ‘professeuse de sketcheeng’ at the RA who cannot draw fer toffee in her new show because it’s beneath my Buddhist dignity to mock the afflicted. Sorry Sogyal!

 

The walls of my ears

Art filled wid tears

When my eyes see

Her sketches

Embroidered

By someone else

Of course

 

Watching her oo…oozin

On channel 4 news in

And him floozin

Around her feet

Made my sore eyes bleet

 

Ooh bitchy! Never mind, Rudyard telt me not to try to change tings what you cannot change, Ghengis can’t said only fools fight a battle they cannot win so let’s just listen to Millie (the woman with balls) Jackson on cheatin’. Don’t watch this if you are easily offended, she’s raunchy and she tells it like it …might be, I don’t know. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vjzny7SZY9U

 

See you down in Oxferd town, oxferd town , couldn’t get in cos (bob Dylan said it wer the color of his skin, http://www.bobdylan.com/us/songs/oxford-town

I tink it wer cos) he wer too dim.