The world’s wound or the world’s wound up.

I am doing this blArt about rejection in honour of Solzhenitsyn and all those who have been incarcerated unfairly.

I awoke 0n 6.9.14 thinking of Solzhenitsyn and his Nobel speech. In searching for it I found this quote:

“Men have forgotten God”

Regarding atheism, Solzhenitsyn declared:

Over a half century ago, while I was still a child, I recall hearing a number of old people offer the following explanation for the great disasters that had befallen Russia: “Men have forgotten God; that’s why all this has happened.” Since then I have spent well-nigh 50 years working on the history of our revolution; in the process I have read hundreds of books, collected hundreds of personal testimonies, and have already contributed eight volumes of my own toward the effort of clearing away the rubble left by that upheaval. But if I were asked today to formulate as concisely as possible the main cause of the ruinous revolution that swallowed up some 60 million of our people, I could not put it more accurately than to repeat: “Men have forgotten God; that’s why all this has happened.”[63]Wikipedia (from his Nobel Speech 1970.

Rejections, I had a few, but who am I to moan? Mine are nothing compared to Solzhenitsyn who was sent to the Gulag Internment camps during the rule of Stalin in Russia. That meant total rejection, and death for many. Solzhenitsyn survived and was allowed to leave the USSR but eventually returned to see his days out there. I was never exiled as such. I may have left and never returned but that was my choice (most times). I have been turned down, not accepted, ignored and even told by Turnstone Press (Britain) c.1980 that with the shortage of trees it would be a crime to use paper to print my writing on. I’ve been made to feel unwelcome, not wanted, not part of, but most of us have experiences of that ignominy, haven’t we? I’ve also been made welcome, even hankered after, I’ve been invited, accepted and have even had articles published. A little ‘success’ and I quickly forget most of the turndowns. I’ve even continued to turnstones looking for opportunities. Which funnily enough I was doing as I walked around the Art Fair at the Business Design Centre near Angel tube station yesterday where many galleries were selling their wares. My mate Dave and I saw work very reminiscent of my paintings of the 1980s using liberal but controlled brush marks and brilliant colours, like my ‘Van’ a van detail& ‘Seb’ oils, on display. AND SELLING WELL. It seems I was after all 35 years ahead of the field.

sebperfec close upjpg

Seb Coe looking a bit like Goya’s Saturn!

One Word of Truth by Solzhenitsyn delivered at the Nobel Prize ceremony, published by Bodley Head, talks highly about the place of art in human endeavour. ‘But Art is not sullied by our efforts; it loses nothing of its lineage, but every time and however applied it grants us a share of its own secret, inner light.’

a sol bi topol sm

Solzhenitsyn

by Feliks Toploski (thanks Caryl)

Solzhenitsyn is an example of a man who was hounded by the Russian state which it seems has now returned to habits we in the west hoped that they had abandoned. Their ‘leader’ Putin is KGB trained etc. who, unfortunately, has returned the modus operandi to the sad ways of pre-Gorbachev. His idea that he wishes to embattle, at various levels the ‘west’ and others, is a sad retrograde step for his (?!) country. It is based in ‘feather-displaying’ like peacocks and other birds do. He needs an ‘out’ of the sticky mess he has gone into. He needs to be given an out, a chance to climb down, to admit a mistake and a chance to heal the damage, before it escalates into a catastrophe. The ‘world ‘leaders’ are complicit. They are in danger of engaging in a 3rd ‘World War’. STOP. See the comparison between Ukraine 2014 and Serbia 1914. Be very careful.

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At the risk of being ridiculed

I know some parties who read this will look upon my suggestion as an object fit for only ridicule, I am writing this piece and am asking for a BIG space in a gallery to show my work from the past 48 years. It is going to be a BIG exhibition as I have enough output to fill a gallery… (like First Site* in Colchester for example).

But my aim is not specific to First Site, no I want to be shown at BIG galleries in major cities too. I don’t mind smaller galleries and I have done about 25 solo exhibitions since 1977. I understand their (the ‘established’ places) problem, it also applies to commercial galleries like those in Cork St., you don’t get a look in unless you and your work tick some boxes, many boxes like; right college, saleability, reputation, articles about you, fame, and you know all the rest. I happen to not tick any boxes and have made it a mission to untick any that were ticked. I am an old fashioned player. Some trendys would say I am a Modernist and the same folk would say this is the Post-Modern era, well listen, it’s not, ask Wil Self who will tell you it’s too soon to change the name.wil an gabr wil an gabr2

And to place the word ‘post’ in front of anything is rather lame; Post Impressionist, Post Structuralism, Post Haste, Post Card, it doesn’t change anything, at least they were more imaginative early 20th century; Fauvism, pointillism, Cubism, Futurism, Vorticism but all of them are really part of Modernism as is post modernism and Modernism is the era that followed Classicism, the latter going on for thousands of years.

I believe an artist, with a brush, with a ball, with a voice, etc has to be individual, original and be saying things few if any have already said in ways that others would not imagine to say them in. Well, I tick all those boxes BUT, nobody except people with imagination and independent choosing can see the quality in my work, and there’s not many like that in the gallery world, is there?

Martha Graham, the woman who helped develop ‘modern’ ballet out of the old style ballet, said, “There is a vitality, a life force, an energy, a quickening, that is translated through you into action, and because there is only one of you in all time, this experience is unique. And if you block it, it will never exist through any other medium and will be lost”. I have been aware of that for many of my 64 years and maybe that’s why I have always carried the torch for ‘art’, or rather my particular version of the arts which I developed thru years of study, hard work, experiment, getting out there and showing it, putting it into my books and all. I am happy, like Blake (Wm., always William, only William is worthy of the name!), I know my work is unique, unicorn, one corn, corny, crazy like O’Dorkey. But I’m not your ‘normal’ artist, or anyting for that matta, (Matta is anudda great artis) I am ‘off the wall’ (well maybe that’s why they wouldnie hang you on the wall at all?) My arts never fitted no box no never not at all. even when at school learning my trade I zoomed thru taking on influences, devouring them; Van Gogh, Gauguin, Matisse, Soutine, D D Watkins Scarfe.

mags dots

 my fauve sister c. 1968

I had more than one ‘style’, I had the painterly bit after heroes like El Greco, Rembrandt, and Grunewald, then I had the comic pArt after Steve Ditko and e Jeffries e jeffreys toby twirl

Even when I went ‘full time’ artistbloke tween 1976 – 81 the arts council wallers couldn’t fathom where I wer coming frae nor going to, I even had writing in my locker and that wasn’t allowed in ‘art’. Yet early on my talent was recognised by David Wild, Quentin Bell, Ruskin Spear and the Principal of Birmingham College of art who on assessing my Bachelor’s stuff in June 1973 said I should consider applying there for an MA. AS I wer £80 overdrawn, a lot in those days, I took a job teaching and got drawn in to that gulf. I decided to follow my own canoe down the rapids of my life and never had time to court the galleries and forgot about the MA. Sadly I waited 40 years then chose to do it at a college with issues and without facilities and vision of how to treat ‘adults’. But I met David Jury there and also became acquainted with the world of artists books which in many ways leap frogs the ‘art world/gallery’ fields and as most of my ideas will go into books albeit some will have to be a bit big I can live with that.

I am an original and the trouble is if you are the first to do it ‘this’ or ‘that’ way, few will ‘get’ what you’re on about and most will call you a madman, or woman if you are the other gender. Which brings in the agenda, yes there is and always has been an agenda. The modern ‘art-world-market’ started in a gradual stunted way with a few proprietors trying it out with artists like Gauguin. A crop of gallerists opened in France (Ambroise Vollard , Daniel-Henry Kahnweiler Léopold Zborowski) and they sold works and this spread to other countries and it caught on. Some of the early artists didn’t tick the boxes but the world was young. Gradually some became ‘established’ and one of the boxes had to be you were ‘established’. BUMPH that cuts out the majority of us artists, don’t ya. (Actually, I am established but only in a small field, actually it’s not even a field, it’s a shelf tucked away on the end of Wigan Pier) And how do you get ‘established’? You have to be chosen. Of course this choosing goes further back, back past Josh Reynolds and further back to les Louis the Kings of France (they were all called Louis for a while til that one was topped, then it stopped. So Picasso was chosen by Gertrude Stein. Etcetera. Etcetera Etcetera

You can see a record of what I did (mostly my writing and shows, not my artworks), over the years at:

https://apulhed.wordpress.com/about/

 

*First Site is a much maligned landmark gallery with wonderful potential STILL which this county of Essex England needed for decades and now it has been opened the folk of the local area have taken a very poor opinion of it. This is mostly because of the fiasco over its build which should now just be a historical fact rather than a vendetta against the people who run it. I have spoken up about the gallery and the work it has already done. I even applied to be an associate artist but didn’t get selected. I wrote a small article which got published in a magazine about arts from Cambridge called Venue putting a very positive light on the gallery. Yet I know for sure they would never see me as an artist worthy of a major show, or any show for that matter. They have a view that only internationally recognised artists, even if totally obscure to the local population, are worthy of hanging on their walls. And that is very sad especially when there are several colleges within 25 miles with many people involved in art. I, who am steeped in art and who taught it to almost every age from 0-90, have learned a lot from the shows at First Site. They’ve had some great shows and some great talks, but not a lot of people attend them, partly cos many would feel threatened by the attitude that seems to prevail. There’s an aloofness, a separateness, a communication-less-ness. The space has rarely felt welcoming. They are revamping it right now, I hope the revamp leads to a better atmosphere and that it becomes a popular place, like Tate Modern did when it opened, a fact which was by no means guaranteed.

 

ps I don’t mind if I never get another venue to show at cos it’s quite hard work showing.

pps I forgot, that’s an age thing, no it’s not.

 

Poym of the week

 

I shud av gon far

Wid my repertoire

In my old car

(Twer a ford Pop-(u)-lar)

 

Burri got stuk in th’moat

In a ricketi boat

And am barely afloat

Tanks to a singer of note-s

Cos that’s wat he wrote

 

His name you can’t guess

The the ansa to thes

His name is not Jess

(This poym is a mess)

 

I’ll let him fini the res-t

The clue’s in the the

Why I say it in jes-t

Will u pass the test

 

 

Here’s a couple o dames who nearly gave up, listen in: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XJUk1UklklE

The Fraudulent Moons revealed

T

H

E

a dork on da moon

Fraudulent Moon & Me.

My self reflects from the Fraudulent Moon which shines so bright from the dark night sky lighting up all who see it, like my life work, I said to myself. Then I realised the work of ‘others’ shines far brighter than mine*. Pales mine into a dim light. Like the largeness of the moon compared to the tinyness of the stars which glitter far away. In reality the moon is rather small. And some of those glinting dots out there make our own sun pale by comparison.

*’others’ fall into two categories both shine and some of them makes more noise, like a hollow tin can rattles down the road when you kick it, some ‘shine’ like the moon others glitter like the stars, I list a few and make no judgement, you can decide which are the moonies: William Blake, Damien Hirst, JMW Turner, Tracey Emin, Frank Auerbach, make your own list.

 

Some of em are genius

Some of em are not

Some of em

They don’t know didderli squat

 

Sometimes I have a gurt notion

That I know quite a lot

But really I know littley liddle

Now strike me dumb

There’s a riddle

 

When you don’t succeed…

CRY CRY again!

I tried an  tried an tried

So

I cried cried cried

Again again again

No pain no gain

No gain but plenty pain

 

Even a Strictly Prancing Pixie Lot

Before she got ‘biffed off’

Had gotten farther than I

Ever did

Cos to get biffed offof it

You gotta been on the train

When a dork on a heap

Nevertheless

Not to worry

I think I found my answer

It’s in Tai Chi

All my life I felt I needed to fight to gain any ground for fear of failure. Through Tai Chi I realised that so often I was battling when I had already won. Tai Chi is based on no force; your Yin becomes your Yang. Negative force replaces positive. No resistance wins the fight.

Instead of putting my mits up, instead of “Straighten Up and Fly a Right” my new mantra is let go, relax, come down off your perch and if there’s no resistance there’s nothing to fight.

I went into a dream, I drempt I was with old friends from college, at some big event. We walked out onto a place and I saw a bird, the feathered kind, and my mate Lemon he just extended an invite with his hand and the bird jumped onto it, just like that. And I thought of Leo in the Hesse book called Journey to the East, one of the best, if not the best of books. Lemon was my Leo. Then I was with Lemon, Avocado and Camellia and we were walking, Lemon had written me his number in case we got separated. Just then some goofball in a BIG (1950s) American car came zooming by and I jumped in for the ride. Soon I realised I was lost. We went over a bridge and my American friend showed me his latest trick which was to spook the jersey cows that basked by the river. I was asking to be let down so I could contact Lemon who by now would have been driving ‘back home’ but awaiting a call from me to come pick me up. I had some kind of mobile phone but it must have come from a lucky bag cos it hardly let me key in the numbers from the bit of paper that Lemon had given me. Then I lost the paper. Now I were really ‘lost’. I asked to be dropped off the train I was now on by some strange logic. I was dropped off at some obscure station in Geordie land, near where me old late mother had been born. So I was madly trying to go thru all my pockets, like you do, turning out all the tut trying to find the number, ‘Ricky don’t lose that number it’s the only one you…need.’ Then I realised I had some money, I mean notes of a pretty big denomination which I never had in the early 70s when I used to hitch hike all over the country. Once I were lugging this massive case thru Accrington at about 10 o’clock at night having hitched several hundred miles from Exeter with only about ten miles to go to get home and they were spilling out the pubs and this old geezer saw my plight (I had no dosh) and pulled out an old ten bob note (that’s equivalent to ten pounds now) and said, ‘Here son, take this and get a bus’, I been a fool a long time and I said back then no thanks and walked on like a character out of Beckett leaving this generous man standing dumbfounded as to why this bloke had refused his generosity. But the fool continued his journey right up to now. At 4am in the morning I woke up and needed a cuppa tea. I went to my window and looked out to see white clouds with dark black breaks. I thought of my cloud of unknowing, ‘I’m in a cloud of unknowing, but wait a minute that’s a book by a mystic monk innit?’ So, hang on a minute can I see any stars thru the gaps? The moon was there gleaming in its reflected glory and there thru a teeny weeny gap yes I saw two minute (that’s mine-newt, not minnit) stars and I thought you know you know nuttin at all boy. And I realised if we know everything we can possibly retain and access with the human brain, like what say Einstein did in his field and Picasso did in his that is a minenewt aspect of it all. we are not capable of knowing much. But if we are lucky like me we get to try and I been very trying long time aks my wife.

After all is said and done I’m a poet and I know it. I’m a writer not a fighter. Walk away walk away. Renee. Renascence. Renaissance.

 

“Love, Light & Peace” was the final goodbye Spike Milligan wrote in his last letter! What more could humans ask for? Maybe a bit more genius from Spike Milligan?

The True Artist Will Never Be Satisfied.

D’Arcy Bussel, the beautiful ex-dancer with the longest legs, said, ‘The true artist will never be satisfied.’ Which I have found to be true, then she adds, ‘But you know when you come close to perfection,’ myself, I don’t know about that. Well actually I do, am just not saying nowt.

In my last (Moanie Lisa) blArt I were moaning about my never making hay from my crop o’ crap done over 47 tears. Well, the new year has brought a new insight. I don’t need to ‘make it’, a fact I knew instinctively over the years, just look at the debris left by many of those who did get fame & fortune. If you don’t got nuttin yerse got nuttin to live up to. Don’t ya? To add to D’Arcy’s view (Hey I live near D’Arcy, Tolleshunt D’Arcy, I wonder if they’re related?) I was reading a book by one Duncan Regehr who says he’s an artist too, as well as an actor and a poet, but I like this what he ses, ‘I am more aware of art-making as a constant state of becoming- a way of life where the growing up never ends’, like him, I’m still growing up. On reading Duncan Regehr I realise that my never having sold hardly ought in 47 years stands for nothing, or very little really. Obviously my pride and my pockets have suffered by the void, altho my pockets have been less worn, but I still own 90 odd per cent of my output so in a sense I am well off. even if every one of em is only worth a £ or a yankee dollar or a yen then. More importantly I have my vision(s) and my accumulated skills that I’ve acquired to render them in various media. I’m still growing up, I am unsure if I’ve even come of age yet. My work has passed thru several phases and, as in yoga or Tai Chi, there’s still a lot to learn left. Maybe my most creative and productive was my Nonogon phase which was heralded in Colchester but elsewhere few have seen it. Few have seen my work from any period and am using this blArt to get some out to places like Argentina and Vietnam, I know someone in those countries has been in and viewed my blog of late. I heard someone in the Hermitage documentary say that art is more important than property or money. I tend to agree, but when you are ‘groing up’ thru life, when you have a rent to pay a wife and some kids to support and all it don’t seem that way. Most of us, even Richard Hamilton and Albert Irwin and L S Lowry had to hold down a day job too. So we all had two jobs. No wonder I look tired.

byron streetmy very own Lowry

Just to finish, that old curmudgeon Samuel Beckett was writng about his gravestone when he said:

In ‘First Love’ Sam writes:

“Personally I have no bone to pick with graveyards, I take the air there willingly, perhaps more willingly than elsewhere, when take the air I must…Yes, as a place for an outing, when out I must, leave me my graveyards and keep—you—to your public parks and beauty-spots. M[y tomb epitaph] I composed long since and am still pleased with it, tolerably pleased. My other writings are no sooner dry than they revolt me, but my epitaph still meets with my approval. There is little chance unfortunately of its ever being reared above the skull that conceived it, unless the State takes up the matter. But to be unearthed I must first be found, and I greatly fear those gentle¬men will have as much trouble finding me dead as alive. So I hasten to record it here and now, while there is yet time:

Hereunder lies the above who up

  below

So hourly died that he lived on till

  now.

The second and last or rather latter line limps a little perhaps, but that is no great matter, I’ll be forgiven more than that when I’m forgotten.”

Some artists are harder to please then others. The nice ting is we artists are always creating new stuff. So below are some nonogon nomads and a new creature in wood what I made, it’s be nice to make it in bronze, or even in lead, or maybe in chocolate like me old German mate Diter Rot.

SquiKg b an wNonogon Master

bvwB V Wise 1

draghedsholda maskDragonhat

knut O2Knewt Hoboken

liteyesLite-eye

ernstlog smernst log

Happy New Yearns 2015

My old mate DW who has been watching my arts grow up since 1961 sent a comment in today about my new blArt. You must remember that wee come from the same northern toon, we seen the same stuff over the years (except I wer a bit quieter and more controlled then im). So, when he mentions the Lone Ranger, he’s talking about the one we saw in the mid 1950s on B&W tv. His observations are very informed as he has been to many of my shows over the past 30 years. Also, he has supported my development, my growing up, in many ways, more than most any of my old mates frae that Northern Town. Ta feller. He said:

“But, I as a viewer of your art, Pete,  am very satisfied. What a great exhibition on your blart, today, they are lovely works.

I love the Dragonhat, it has an energy in the pen strokes and is as striking as a Dürer  soldier, but more alive. Knewt Hoboken is fearsome. Lite Eye I look at again in detail and I wonder are the pipes in the face, pan pipes; Is the halo and rotating bank of stage lights; Is the mask like the lone ranger; is his top of head a revolving whirly top you got in lucky bags. The Nonogon Master has all the mystery of a shamen and it’s dark colour reminds me of a dark etching a bit like your Hopi indian drawings. Ernst log must be triggered by Max Ernst texture paintings.
 
It would be interesting to give a short synopsis of each subject matter, who the characters are and why, how and when.

I like what Duncan Regehr says  ‘I am more aware of art-making as a constant state of becoming- a way of life where the growing up never ends’. I have used the phrase ‘creative process’ instead of art-making to best describe the driving force  in my life, it applies to all my passioned activity through my career and life. I am attracted to that aspect of artists like yourself, I can sense it very easily, it is the spark that drives the art making in some.
 
Keep showing your works Pete, they are fantastic.”
It would be interetsing to hear from some more of youse out thur, maybe you from Argentina? or one of the other many places where my ‘views’ and occasional ‘likes’ come from.