my caricatures old & Knew

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my rework of last week’s cover of Time mag

I have to thank all the folks who visit my blArts and have to tell you that a tweet I did this week has made a mark in Tweetland! It’s ‘viral’ for any of my stuff! here’s some info:

pete kennedy @petekennedy5  Feb 17@Bonn1eGreer here’s a variation on th Time cover Bonnie! @ChiaraAmbrosio the man is a menace blame the USA voting process, we move same way? pic.twitter.com/IvbiUfxi2j {Clik to see the tweet! may need ctrl + clik

In one day (Sat 18.2.2017) 4,572 (number of times viewers saw this twit)

347 ‘interactions’

7.6% (of 4,572) ‘engaged’ with the tweet

Prior to this activity, related to my re-framing an appropriation of this week’s Time mag cover image of a noisy man purportedly elected to head one of the world’s noisiest countries my ‘organic impressions’ on twitter averaged about one a week!

The man who I believe ‘the man is a menace’ was of course a totally ludicrous figment of my imagination (because if I invented him nobody would take me seriously would they) called Bonard Crump. IF fame is what am after I’d do lots more caricature, wouldn’t I?

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my Valentine this year with all ma love

Talking caricatures I did one of Nixon meets Mao [which you can see in my new (facsimile) book based on some screenprints I did. I don’t expect this to go viral cos they’re both unable to do any more damage cos they’re dead, not just brian dead!] in 1972 called Appleheadman Sees. I had created Appleheadman (aka Apulhed) in Bournemouth in the previous summer after which I spent 3 months in Tregony near Truro in Cornwall so it was not until 1972 when I returned to college in Exeter that I was able to embark on my first ‘serious’ art project using the personage. I wanted to imagine what the human condition may appear like to an entity from ‘somewhere else’, say, another planet or dimension. And it didn’t appear good. Funny, a little later in 1976 Nicholas Roeg (don’t worry am NOT saying I influenced Roeg, he lived down under and was out of reach of my activities in Exeter!)  did his take on alien visitation starring another alien, the late wonderful David Bowie. https://www.timeout.com/london/film/the-man-who-fell-to-earth

I shall be in Bristol on April 1st at BABE in the Arnolfini (5pm in the Dark Studio)  where those who can get there will be able to see Appleheadman Sees and of course my new Shrewd Idiot book in its deluxe version. I shall be doing my Performance Art Piece (PAP), a 15 minute ‘gig’ wherein I shall try to represent all the issues in the work of my college days…phew, that’ll be easy…won’t it? Well am working on th’music for it now, and the dance, and the masks, and the costumes etc

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a new ‘Shrewd Idiot’ book

Here’s a sighting of ma new Shrewd Idiot book during the binding at Sullivan & Son.

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It’s A3 size, that’s with two A4 type-written (By Jill nee Williams in the late 1970s) sheets on each page. There are 13 ‘big’ images at A3 size potted thru the script along with lots oif little doodles and some nice images dropped into the typed pages. There’s lots of alterations and corrections through the document because it was originally meant to be a manuscript to attract a publisher deal. In the 1970s the publisher would take this document and hand it to the typesetter who would follow the instructions which I had put over the type and any which were added by the publisher. This ‘manuscript’ was never intended for public consumption hence the need at one point to go through and change all names when I thought maybe I’d self-publish as a normal book which would be typed into a modern form where all the corrections and changes could be implemented so the viewer never see them. However, I decided not to have it re-typed, that would have made my job a lot easier so it was a must to avoid, NO, better to really really struggle with the original typed pages, scan them in then alter them as required in photoshop then design the layout in Quark (I know, Quark is so out of vogue now and it’d be much easier in Indesign, so I stuck with Quark, you know me.

So, there we have it, the book is now printed and with my binders who have now debossed the actual cover cloth with my little drawing of the Shrewd Idiot pushing his barrow of books, well one BIG tome anyway!

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This red image is only half the cover, it sits to the right hand side of the cover making it look like the fool is pushing his barrow off the book.

Everything about the book is not exactly what it seems at first glance. It looks like a story about a young bloke who left his home town and travelled as far away as he could to get an education and how he was initiated into all those things young fellas need to be initiated into. But it’s not about that at all. It’s about awakening, awakening of consciousness and the acquisition of skill to carry the revelations that an awakened consciousness finds in a pretty uninterested world. By the end of the book the idiot has a lot of disappointing outcomes but they are just more revelations about how hard life can be especially when you have a penchant for making life difficult or finding the hard way to do the easy things.

In the end the book is not about that fella back in the early 1970s, it’s about his older version now in his mid-sixties and how he never gave up on his dream of showing folk the quality of what he found in all those initiations and revelations and how it took more than forty years to bring them out in a public format. You’ll see as soon as you open it that it is not what you thought it was as the opened book shows, it has a beautiful feel to it and again that’s an acquired sensibility from over 40 years of continuous effort and striving to achieve.

And the best is yet to come because this is just number one in a whole series of publications which this guy has been preparing over the past. But there’ll be no more quite like this, I’ll find easier ways to do the design and layouts. Watch this space.

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the original face of Apulhed when he saw mankind’s inhumanity all over the planet Earth

The book plus a sister publication of 37 A3 images should be available by the end of February 2017 and hopefully a facsimile publication of the famous concertina ‘book’ called ‘Appleheadman Screams’ which I did in 1972. Nothing has changed, the things he screamed about are still going on…and on…and on. Apulhed shows a perturbed visage but he won’t accept the original face of Apulhed when he saw mankind’s inhumanity all over the planet Earth, he decide that rather than flee this realm he will stayy to spread happiness and compassion, slowly but surely he knows that humankind will return to peace.

I am doing a launch Performance Art piece at the Arnolfini during the BABE book event on Saturday 1st April. Watch out cos that’s not what it seems either, whereas if you can get to it you’ll see what looks like a Clickerti-Clix year old bloke prancing about with words and masks and dad-dancing (not! I do Zumba once a week don’t you know), it’s really an introduction to the Shrewd Idiot book with all its ins and outs. More about that in my next blog.

Gee Vaucher/Penny Rimbaud/Firstsite

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This is my first blog of 2017 because I have been so immersed in making my new Shrewd Idiot deluxe edition which I shall talk more about in the near future but now a long overdue look at the work of Gee Vaucher & Penny Rimbaud which has resounded around Firstsite Gallery in Colchester since last November and will continue to permeate that space until sadly on 19th February the show(s) will end.

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I have been thrilled by the breadth & depth of their works and will try to exhibit some kind of overview here. If you have not seen the show of Gee’s imagery get down to the gallery and don’t miss an incredible show. This is what I believe that gallery was built for. I believe that Gee & Penny are both native Essex folks who have been steeped in ‘art’ all their adult lives and both made considerable contribution to the fields they have ploughed, sown and harvested. I’d say this could take the prize for the best show so far at Firstsite being at least as good as their wonderful Bruce McLean show (but I still cannot afford the catalogue for that show at £25!). The ground covered by the Vaucher & Rimbaud collaboration is vast and I have struggled to get the words down to cover the bits I have seen and witnessed because there’s been so much going on. Gee became involved right from the hanging and with all of the planning of various films, workshops and concerts which have accompanied the show.

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I missed the open evening and the first event I attended was Gee’s film called ‘Angel’ in which a 14 year old girl stared into the camera for a long long time.

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Gee Vaucher with Angel in the post film talk.

It is a powerful piece which grew out of Gee’s several images of childhood painted onto large canvasses which you can see in the exhibition.

Gee was interested in the loss of that innocence which occurs when young girls get to an age of transition from primary to secondary schools when they just have to toughen up to survive. Angel was a good model. She was able to sit still and in contemplation despite her old sister being in the background as a distraction. Angel is several years older now but this was her first viewing of the film and a sort of propulsion into a star position which she took with poise & grace.

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The Exhibition

Gee’s show on the walls is full of works done over the past 40 years with her extensive and varied media. It seems she excels at any medium she adopts. For those faint heart-ed-ones amongst you I should say that much of her work is challenging with little concern for any timidity. Gee ain’t presenting the human form like a Botticelli.

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She reveals all and cuts all into collages of bodies and animals which she extends into beautifully strange sculptures. I shan’t even try to explain in words what she does, just let her visual vocabulary speak for itself like she was outspoken in the 70s & 80s against the inconsiderate and/or ill-considered policies of the likes of Reagan & Thatcher. Her political satire is devastatingly cut throat on issues like the Vietnam war and the sending of Americans to kill maim and be killed and maimed.

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The Publications

Under the publisher name of Existential Gee and Penny have designed written and printed many books and small format works. As with all their work there’s a difference and a good quality that pervades. The exhibition catalogue with an intro by the new Director Sally is a snip at £15 I think.

 

The Events

I didn’t attend all and there’s still one or two left to go to but I was really impressed by the ones I got to.

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Penny Rimbaud brings commitment and a great deal of gravitas to his content and delivery.

I loved the ‘orchestra’ at his performance of his ‘Requiem’ poem. He once said in an interview, “Benjamin Britten’s ‘War Requiem’ is probably the greatest musical/lyrical influence of my life. As a young kid I was a chorister and met Britten when he conducted and I sung in what I think was the first British performance of his ‘Spring Symphony’. It was this event that introduced me to his music and it wasn’t long before I first listened to the ‘War Requiem’. It completely bowled me over. As a ‘war baby’ my early years had been filled with tales of war, all somewhat tinged with the ‘glory’ of it.  The ‘War Requiem’ told a very different story. Britten’s passionate  settings of Wilfred Owen’s profound (anti)war poems touched me deeply at every level and introduced me to ideas of pacifism which became so central both to my life and to my philosophy (even if at times I have doubted it!!). It was this piece of musical genius that taught me at a very early age that one could say ‘no’, and, indeed, had every right to do so.

In his ‘The Pity of War’, with music on cello by Kate Shortt and Liam Noble on piano, his reading of Wilfred Owen’s words was very powerful & evocative, sending me to read the originals where Owen compared the advocates of war and the victims of that cause to the biblical Old testament’s Abram and Isaac with a very differing outcome! When the god of WW1 gave the leaders the nod to prevent the Death throes, in Owen’s words:

‘But the old man would not so, but slew his son

And half the seed of Europe, one by one.’

Leaving the Ram of Pride triumphant and intact.’

The Discussion

A highly knowledgeable panel of:

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Brandon Taylor, at-gee-talk-brandon-taylor-2-sm

 

Rebecca Binns a-becky-binns-at-gee-talk-sm

&  George Mackay at-gee-talk-george-mackay-sm

discussed the different aspects of Vaucher’s works on 1 Dec 2016. Rebecca Binns is doing a PHD about Vaucher’s and she brought a feminist perspective to the proceedings. Brandon Taylor has written books which include observations on her collage, indeed in the French version of one a collage by Vaucher is used for the front cover. You missed a good debate about her work but I can show you some photos that I took of the event which was introduced by Firstsite’s new(ish) curator Stuart Tulloch.stu-tullock-sm

The Gallery

Gee made full use of the wonderful facility at The Firstsite Gallery with stunning red flags inviting visitors in to her really well hung and presented work throughout. Firstsite Gallery has a much maligned history and this series of events & the main exhibition ought to go a long way to establish it on the map of must visit spaces in this country. It’s a great gallery!

Sally Shaw, the new director has a healthy demeanour and a listening approach and I wish her and her staff well for a great future which the town of Colchester needs. Sally has said anyone with ideas please come forward and put them to her as the job is still massive to take the place forward.

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