Sure ting

The only ting am sure about is I’m unsure. I was certainly uncertain in my notes what I wrote in the early 1970s and it’s not a lot clearer now. I have had moments of clarity which I hope to capture in my new version of my old manuscript working titled ‘The Shrewd Idiot’.

pete in a1


Since my last blArt, where I saw that it’s been 40 years since I ‘published’ Apul One and it’s darned time I produced Apul Two, I been searching for and thru my manuscrips, typescrips, editscrips and all. WOW whattalot I got. So much that it engulfed me awhile but am thru the rabid rapids now and am in clear water I know wattam gonna do. Put them away til after BABE cos they dragged me away from my prep for BABE. Blew me off course. Not a bad ting tho, I needed to step back. Now I have a strategy and a plan for the 2015 edition of the Idiot who was never very Shrewd. I am going to take the words as they exist and re-present them in a way that should garner interest from future ‘readers’, what may be you! So, my task would be to put the source material down on paper in stimulating ways that I have seen or learned in the intervening years. I found some incredible images and words. In the 70’s I didn’t know my ass from me heed. I didn’t have the insights of having lived 64 and a half years that comes to me now. I had experienced life, quite a lot really and, coming from ‘down in the boon docks’ I were poor, I’d been to college and had some doors opened allowing me to peep and then they shut and said go out and find some work poor man or ye starve etc. But the doors of my mind had opened and I was chasing something, I knew not what though…and the search continued and took me to some very strange places. I found some drawings which I did as preps for the images in Apul One, bloody weird stuff, even for my output. Now I look at them and wonder. Is these the work of a deranged mind? Maybe. But I was tapping into my sub-conscious looking for material to work with and boy was there some strange stuff down there. Think of Dali and go deeper and I was plummeting a bit deeper, partly cos he and his like, Wifredo Lam, Victor Brauner, Maxt Ernest, they had gotten deep but I were going to go deeper. See illusn.

swim 2 venus sm

Also I were lucky cos I carted my little old Nikon F everywhere I went and then processed my own B&W photos. I did some incredible shots at the roundhouse in Camden of French dancers and actors which I would shoot on slow exposures so the images came out ‘moving’. These would make incredible big pictures, prints or oils etc.

 bolero dancers

Watch this space. More images and artists books….

Now I’m Dancing with a wing and a prayer on the ledge with Mr G(urdzhievjeff) again, on the tip of a leaf with Rabindranoth Tagore. Practicing for BABE Sees ja thur!

To Celebrate 40 years of Apul One

To Celebrate 40 years of Apul One

I just realised it is almost exactly 40 years since I created my first artist’s book Apul One in 1975 so there must be cause for some celebration. I was talking to a late friend’s son on Friday and he said that he had taken Apul One to university had read it several times and it had been a bit of a cult ting there. Wish I had known at the time I would have gone there and done a talk etc. Strangely it’s not the first time the book has had ‘cult’ status. Lucien Nunes once told me he had done the same at the Haberdasher’s school. Those of you who know it will know it’s a bit of a strange book. It’s not at all like what a book should be. But it’s me, or it was me, then. I produced it as a kind of scream in the wilderness after working my balls off at college to gain my degree and then beginning to approach the galleries only to find a blanket total non-interest. I predicted accurately as it turned out that that would continue through my life. So I created my own gallery in the shape of a book, or buk as I called it. It could only have b&w images cos colour were too expensive and even then I spent all my savings on ‘publishing’ it. If you want one I shall be at BABE in April and maybe at Baltic in July and I am tinking of creating the long delayed publication of the follow up The Shrewd Idiot in time for the autumn, or Fall as you acrosst the Atlantic would say. I am going to chat with my printer today as to how he can print my plans for it. It’ll be an artist’s book and probably on semi-transparent paper so the pages show thru each other.

Here’s some images of the making and publicizing of Apul One in 1975-76.

The first cover

a1 orignl cova

The wrap around cover front

a1 wrap front

The wrap around cover back

a1 wrap back

The wrap around cover front & back original idea

a design fo A1 wrap cover

Sketch for the image of Apulhed on front cover.


Write up for Apul One by Peter Andrews

a1 PA rite up


Underground poster for Apul One

a1 tube poster

Point of sale poster for Apul One

a1 is shop poster

John St Field aka Jackie Leven 1972

jacky leven 1972

Now funnily enough in one of the ‘comics’ in ApulOne there’s a sketch of Jackie Leven. It’s incredible to think that it was a song by Jackie Leven which triggered all of my recent books about ‘knowledge’ in pots in the last few years. Jackie sang ‘Inside This Clay Jug’ by Kabir


So now the book is in the British Library and the Bodleian along with the national libraries of Wales, Ireland and Scotland because it has an ISBN number, nevertheless if you can’t afford the extortionate price I charge feel free to aks for it there. And I could have represented all the home nations at sport IF I had been good enough at anyting! However it’s in the Tate Artist’s Book Archive on merit having been chosen by Maria White in 2008. My old mate DW did loads of searching yesterday and found all sorts of link to ‘apulone’ on the internet, ta Dunc. You can find Apul-one
Standin on the Bannista Contemplatin the Ways of the Werld & the Farting Donkey


Word Power Books:





and finally here’s the badge, you know the saying ‘got the badge’!

getting ready for BABE.

So, getting ready for BABE.

You have a new ‘book’ Inside This Great Jug out in time for BABE, why?

pete's earthen vessel

Well, I wanted to complete the cycle of artist’s books which emanated from my love of that poem by Kabir Inside This Clay Jug. It’s the third version of the poem(s) and the last changes which I shall ‘publish’ as an artist’s book in an edition of 25. Although the Beuys’ poem I shall be doing at BABE has already been changed several times since I completed Inside This Great Jug. I have a version which I intend to use at BABE now and that is it! No more alterations or ‘improvements’! And I am shewing that to nobody before BABE, except in spoken form, in practice.


So it follows on from and develops the poems in your second book in the series, Inside This Earthen Vessel. What then is Inside This Earthen Vessel (ITEV) about Pete?

 itev cover

It’s about spiritual harmony, peace on Earth, goodwill, humankind(ness). It’s about some (6) humans  who sought to find harmony & answers then share their ideas (whose names make up the title of an earlier book in the series G BATCH)

g bat cova

G Gurdjeff


Angeli Silesi

Tenzin Gyatso

Carl Gustav Jung

Hermann Hesse

(As it happens only one of them, Tenzin Gyatso the Dalai Lama, is still living in his human body, the others still live on in the ideas they left for us).

ITEV is a search for peace and harmonious existence. It shows six men who pursued practices which encapsulated a vision of what life can mean and how to prepare for leaving the mix of sorrows and joys of this mortal coil…foil…toil…. Coiling, swirling, twisting, trickstering, mysterying, and most of all it’s about dancing to the sound of the Cosmos, to the sound of one hand.

I have made the words in the new version, Inside This Great Jug, are a bit easier for the casual onlooker to understand which will be important if I am going to read any of them in the Arnolfini to people who may never have met me nor seen my work before. The images are also a bit brighter in Inside This Great Jug as I’ve made the portraits more colourful. Whereas ITEV is a more complex package with the layouts of its poems being in the shape of a pot and the pages remain unbound but kept in a little folder. Inside This Great Jug is a concertina folded book with a cover. And it’s a dinky tiny thing which people seem to like and they are calling it ‘pocket size’.

I notice there’s one poem which is very different from the other six?

Yes well that’s from the collaboration I did with David Jury who took the words from ITEV and reset them in his letterpress version. We edited the poems and even added a subtext. That odd one out is from that version of ITEV. It’s handy really because I chose to have it in this new book cos am doing a reading of it in the ‘talk’ at 4pm on Sunday 12th April. Most of that ‘talk’ will feature the life and work of Joseph Beuys because he is the most artist-like of the six men in the poems and of course it’s being done in an art gallery. I won’t be ‘talking’ all the time I hope to be able to answer any questions that folk bring up although it’s only scheduled for 20 minutes. Then I guess they’ll be rushing back to pack their tables if they are fellow stall-holders. Visitors should have an hour to make final purchases and walk, float or fly out of the gallery, depending how they feel after watching my gig! They may even dance all the way home.

My old mate Duncan recently sent his summary of my Clay Jug Project. I chose to emphasise the words which are emboldened:


I’ve been thinking about where you have arrived at with your Clay Jug project ……

You are now presenting and embracing a set of representations of communications of knowledge from six chosen mystics.

In the beginning was the word and yours is represented by the Jackie Leven chant of Kabir’s Inside This Clay Jug , a memory of the oral tradition of conveying knowledge.

Your presentation contains the vocal tradition through poems, complemented by spiritual dance and music in order to enhance the meditative experience; this is a time before the word was conveyed by writing.

Your clay jug containing scrolls represents the first forms of conveying words.

Your self-made books are a next step in the man’s way of representing knowledge, illustrated by drawing and symbols.

Then, you move to type-set books and try and preserve the original energy of the dancing communications, through layout and emphasis.

Even though you can view this as a historic progression of representing the written word, you are trying to maintain and enhance the meaning and rhythm of the original thoughts and vocal communication of the mystics in all its forms together.

You can view your project as a complete set, with no linear sequence, of the different forms of conveying the knowledge of the mystics, they are presented all together and intertwined, so giving more emphasis to the wisdom of the words and the form does not detract too much from the words.

Your presentation and artefacts created, deliver a dancing pageant of art representing the communication of the knowledge of the mystics through the changing forms of communication.

Duncan Walker (14.2.15)

Duncan has been a friend of mine since we met while playing football for the school team in 1961. He has kept a close eye on the way my art and ideas has developed since we were at school. Another old friend who I met in 1969, Ian Woolard, tried to put a comment on this blog last week. He filled in the form on the blog and pressed send, but it never came through. I wonder if that happens often? I mean, there was about a 20% return in ‘views’ from the folk I notified last week, which is great, but never do I get any comments, which should be coming in if only by law of averages. IF you have commented on my blogs and never got an acknowledgement from me then that would be cos it never showed up in my domain. So, you should make comments in emails maybe, then if you wish me to add them to the blog just say so and if I can bear the view expressed I shall add it in. Ta.

New portraits for BABE

New portraits for BABE #BABE2015

I’d like to thank all of youse what has been and ‘viewed’ my blArts in the past 2 years and we have now racked up 6,060 ‘views’ as we speak. That’s a goodly number despite my making it difficult sometimes with the ‘altered spellins’ and ‘the wingeings’ (which is not an age ting, not a grumpy old fella ting, no cos I always been a grumpy clod. Then I go out and do tai chi or ashtanga or swim or gym and then am too knackered to be an old curmudgeon am just little old me-myself-I. The next phew blArts are going to be in prep fer BABE the book fest at Bristol run by UWE which is such an exciting prospec and I must tank Sarah Bodman and the team for giving me the opportunity to make a bigger fool of myself than I already do in this blArt! It’s funny really, I don’t like bigging misen up, I like to come in over the horizon quietly and take the place by storm before anyone realises it’s happened. However, I realise there is a need to flag certain intentions of mine up, to give folk a chance to decide for themselves if they’d like to see and hear what I am up to. Little do the visitors know that the doors will be locked (not really) at 4pm on the Sunday and everyone will be led into the meeting room to see me do my ting! Well no not really, I get scared in crowds, I get agrippafobia, so I have akesd that the meeting be curtailed at several hundred guests, well in fact not hundreds just tens, actually to be truthful (to tell the tooth) up to ten, well I do know there’ll be at least 4 people there cos they told me, that is unless of course they get ill or have an important dental appoinkment.

 a dobbo

 Now am going to go back, right back to a time when I sat drawing Mr Dobson a bit of a strange old English teacher in 1966. I was about 15 and just starting to be a artisbloke and ‘doing portraits’ was my ting.

OK so I am a portraitist. It began in earnest, (actually it was in Brunlea), back in 1968 when I was learning how to paint by going to night classes with David Wild (DWi), Slade Prix de Rome winner. He was brought up on the William Coldstream technique at Slade and became influenced big time by Cezanne whose technique is like a natural progression from Coldstream (even tho he pre-dates Sir William!). Also when Alan Aldridge invited every artist on the planet to illustrate the Beatles lyrics and gave each a page he gave David  5 pages for his drawings of the men who made up the group. Sadly (for David but luckily for moi)  DWi returned to live his days in the northern town thru which the River Brun runs (where I wuz dragged up). So off the beaten track that his career in ‘art’ was effectively curtailed but he became my most important teacher who gave me the method and the confidence to get started and never prevented me going off an experimenting with the techniques I found in big shows I had hitchhiked to visit down in London by Matisse, and later de Kooning. I used to suck in the influences voraciously.

self portrait as an artist

Self Portrait c. 1968

David never said ‘no, stick with Cezanne’ he just encouraged me to experiment. After ten years playing with my techniques I did one painting of my wife which opened the floodgates for me onto a wilder style of work.

 pol roses

[Actually this portrait was done in 1989 cos i can’t find an image of the 1979 one but there’s still that ‘Kennedy’ touch. I entered this for an RA summer show rejection, one of many. Even when my work sneaked thru the first phase of judges in 2005 and  TWO portraits of Ken Campbell  were ‘accepted not hung’ apparently an accolade, but not for me, nobody saw the works! I stopped entering after that, got better tings to expend on. In a way it was good to stop wasting energy adding money to the established gallerys’ coffers and moving over to the artist’s books world where there seems to be a much more open attitude. So, when you keep coming up against a brick wall what do you do? Change tack, come at it from a different direction. If your work is good and contains that special someting, you’ll get round the wall somehow. I realise now that I had been doing lots of work in the ‘book’ zone but I had not realised my book was art! Idjet.]

RA doubtful status.

My ‘style’ had opened up and I was now happy with what I produced. It was me and it held the qualities of all my influences which after I had devoured (Soutine soon became Munch and the German Expressionists I first discovered in an art history book by Werner Haftmann).

By the 1980’s I was producing work which the keeper of the modern collection at Tate referred to as ‘Very German’. I have always done portraits, probably cos am interested in ‘character’. In the late 60’s many were self portraits. Then I did loads of my wife which usually ended up making her look like a scary witch with blackened eyes. I always had a go at doing ‘famous folks’ and when I met DWi in the 1980s he only encouraged this saying keep doing them. I once bumped into Richard Harris outside the Nat Port Gal (which has several photos of my portraits in their archive collection, I’m in lots of archives, is that cos folk like to hide my work?) and gave him my card and said if he ever needed a portrait artist to get in touch but he was too busy rehearsing MacArthur’s Park to contact me. Here’s a ‘live’ version- and the studio version- which has loads of images of the great Oirish man who called me ‘Pete’.

I painted Feliks Topolski several times. Also Lord Bath and Josef Herman. BUT I gave up trying to gain a living or reputation as a portraitist as none of my work ever sold. Lord Bath said he liked one of my portraits of him but could not be seen buying it as then folk would maybe perceive him as ‘vain’ (sic). There’s only so long you can pee into the wind before you get sick of it. However I did continue drawing people and when I did my MA and wanted to do etchings of my six featured artists & writers I already had working drawings of most of them. Their faces are all full of character and my penchant for creating unique takes on faces enabled me to produce a series of etchings for my artist’s books on the Clay Jug theme. I wrote about it in G Batch. Then I created Inside This Earthen Vessel which only has one picture in it at the back of all six men with the writings about them being set in typography which takes up the shape of a pot. The pot shaped typo becomes the portraits.

a mask beuy pencil

Joseph Beuys, one of the six men mentioned below.

Now I have produced a new concertina book, Inside This Great Jug for BABE 2015 at Arnolfini with 6 illustrations in of the six men in fabulous colour because nowadays I can do that. With modern printing technology it’s possible to produce full colour images at prices which can be afforded. That was not the case in the first 20 -30 years of my output so much of my work was never seen in print.

At BABE I have been allotted the final spot on the Sunday afternoon to do a ‘talk’ about my recent work which is in ‘books’ of various forms. When I told a friend that I was to be the final speaker he said, ‘They saved the best til last then’. A nice idea but it’s not a competition, just a talk, well not just a talk actually. It’ll be a reading of and a couple of recitations of some poems plus one or two surprises. I never do ‘normal’, do I? There was just going to be one recitation of a poem by Kabir until my mate Dave said, ‘I think you shouldn’t read your poem, you should learn it and recite it’. With friends like that who needs enemies? On top of that I will be ‘just reading’ one of my poems from the collaboration I did with David Jury last summer, well I say ‘just reading’, because it is two poems morphed together so a ‘reading’ becomes someting else. Like I say I never do normal.

My old friend Ian Woollard sent this comment today, ‘that it is a lovely portrait of your wife’. This was further commented on by Sonia Palaver who said “I love the portrait of your wife, masterly!”

Their appreciations are much appreciated. So are the 54 ‘views’ today done by 30 visitors. I picked up my new book today and it’s really tiny and gently understated.

Babe buk

new book in foreground with a photo of my wife at the time I did the portrait featured at the top o this blArt.