The time for my launch of my new (set of) book(s) on the theme of The Shrewd Idiot looms ever closer. Anyone who can get to the Colchester Arts Centre[It’s in the street behind The Mercury Theatre, you can park across the road at St Mary’s Car Park.] would be welcome at 2pm Sunday November 5th. entry is free I’ll be talking about my books and doing some zany Performance Art (PA) pieces which emanate from the pages of the books.
The Shrewd Idiot book isn’t entirely chronological, there’s flashbacks in it and altho I wrote it in the 70’s, I completed it in 2016 adding a final layer of comments from this man in his mid-sixties to the younger self. In this PA I have a dialogue with my younger selves too. Some of the exchanges may cause ripples of smiles because the young Idiot involves in activities the old Idiot would never admit to, would he?
Back in the early 70’s Neil Young was flagging up the issue of ‘Mother Nature on the run’ and his song After The Gold Rush depicts his dream about contact with other life forms which fits well with my work from around that time https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jKM5dIANXE8 so I’m featuring a rendition of his song performed by my friend Richard Spencer.
I shall talk, mime (badly), dance (not quite so badly) through the hand-made books’ content and have a Q&A session at th’end.
As is the ‘won’t’ of many a big gallery they wouldn’t allow photos so I drew them! [altho’ you’ll see I couldn’t remember Geumhyung Jeong’s name as I sat drawing illicitly on the floor of Tate Mod.
That’s the trouble wit big galleries, they’re buying into PA but they have no idea what the drift of PA is! PA is an open field in which anything goes. Please bring yer camras and click away madly at my gigs.
I also have Richard Spencer to sing a little at the beginning Bless his cotton socks.
Other artists who help my script are Lady Gaga, Van the Man, Iggy Pop and Bruno Mars.
The Shrewd Idiot book will be on sale in different forms; ‘The A3 deluxe version’, ‘The A4 Perfect Boundversion’, The Appleheadman Sees book (A5) and the ‘A3 deluxe PK 1968-73’ which is 27 picture I did tween 1968-73.
I created Apulhed (aka Appleheadman) in 1971 and he has had many many different looks in different media like comics, children’s drama (I did a big show with 14 Children playing my characters when I was the first artist of the new millennium to have an exhibition in Colchester Library), books like my Apul-One 1975.
Here’s a cover with newly done colours of the 1979 Happy Apulhed ‘comic’.
In this gig Apulhed will make a special appearance in a beautiful guise created especially for this gig and that I have never before used, I think it will cause quite a stir. Doors open 13.30 hrs, PA starts at 2pm (14.00 hrs) ends at c. 3pm. Then there’s 30 minutes in which I shall be around to sign any copies of the books you buys and answer any questions about my works.
Now I’d like to reveal my new ‘book-box’ with various parts of the Inside This Clay Jug project on display in it.
[I do not expect it to sell in fact on the contrary it is my own personal gallery space in which I can house an important show about a vital phase in my output.
I have had many ‘shows’ of my output since leaving college in Exeter in July 1973. The leaving of college, like the leaving of school is an important juncture. Leaving school was for me as being born (again) when I dropped the manacles which had gripped me since first entering school aged 4.
The first hint or ‘show’ of my output was my buk Apul-One which said (to my school) “You no longer manacle me, I’m free as can be. I no longer had to acquiesce to the norm”, I could do it my way and I did, for example with the personalised phonetic (fonetic) spellins. As it happened in 1975 I couldn’t exhibit (in my ‘gallery’, which Apul-One was) the beautiful use of colour which my ‘art’ employed as that was too costly but I was able to use my B&W works. Those colours are now available in my ‘Shrewd Idiot Series’ of books recently self-published (2017).
The Inside This Clay Jug project is vastly different to the content of Apul-One & the ‘Shrewd Idiot Series’ which both appear to reflect my own journey through the early 1970s. Inside This Clay Jug exhibits and reflects upon my acquisition of knowledge in, what may be best referred to as, the realm of spiritual contemplation, my thoughts on the deeper aspects of my existence and my investigations into ideas and concepts a little deeper than the surface level at which most of us conduct our daily journey.]
The book-box is circa A2 in size & about 25mm in depth.
There’s a copy of each of the books; G BATCH, Inside This Great Pot, Inside This Earthen Vessel (PK version), Inside This Earthen Vessel (DJ letterpress version) and the full set of 6 etchings from the G Batch master drawings plus the original poems printed on Japanese paper AND the tiny version of DJ’s ISEV.
Here you can see the Jung & the Silesi etchings which are printed in sepia colour and have a tilted diamond shape.
here is the PK version of ISEV resting on the DJ one, with a colour photo of one of his chases.
a closer view of David’s chase for the Silesi letterpress print
the other photo (we only recorded two) of the Beuys’ print chase. All six chases were dissed on completion of the set of prints.
All wrapped in ribbon with DJ’s folder full of letterpress prints at the back
Possibly most beautiful of all?
A simulation of my two Leaf Books inside the book-box!
This juxtaposition may never occur, or I may make a book-box specifically to hold them together altho’ of course they must be sold separately because they are very expensive.
The 2 leaf books each contain six etchings from the G BATCH master series along with the six early poems about the ‘wise men*’ on Japanese paper.
Well it were a toss up between that and The Wise Fool. Shrewd- astute, penetrating, artful and crafty- (I tink) shrewd entails ‘wise’ altho that in fact in the definition relates to money… The Shrewd Idiot aka Pete Kennedy is (or was) that- an Idiot in a lot of his habits BUT he always knew there was a wise part in the mix because he had conversed with it on occasion; in lucid moments. “From early on I knew that ‘life’ was a serious game but I soon learned to make light of it. I frequently played the fool. Apart from rock music and sport my great loves in life have been art & humour [altho’ this tome is not (deliberately) funny], my great heroes include Groucho & Harpo Marx, Spike Milligan & Tommy Cooper.”
Another title could have been A Lucid Tosser or Lucid Idjet…L I, or Li bringing in a zen feel to it.
There’s also another possibility in David Pierce’s book, Reading Joyce where on p. 316 he says, “[the surname] Glue is in fact from Old English gleaw, meaning wise or prudent.” So The Gleaw Idiot? Maybe not. Altho’ I was born in Glesgaw…The Glesgaw Idjet… The Glasgae Idiot?
Anyway all this is too late, the books are named.
So the ‘hero’ of the buk reveals his self, warts & all. There’s big honesty, an honesty which may seem unpalatable to some but it’s part of his idiotic nature- he cannot tell a lie or be clever for the sake of deceiving.
Gail Cher wrote in ‘One Continuous Mistake’, “Fleeting thoughts … quietly shock our being. You think one, sometimes you don’t even realise it’s there…it has been…your mind contains the memory…your consciousness is no longer the same….you keep track of your philosophical thoughts, your spiritual thoughts, your pecuniary thoughts, thoughts of your loved ones…”.) Gail Cher might have written those words for the doltie/dorky hero which is my because those are the kinda thoughts he notes down throughout the book(s) named after him!
Apul-One (original cover A5)
My old Burnley secondary school friend John Walton told me after he had read in 1976, ‘Pete, you write the thoughts we all have and think we’ll write them down but never do…’ Writing was his trade and I took that as a gentle compliment.
The Shrewd Idiot (cover A4 version) Portrait of the Idiot As A Young Man
So it is not a normal book. It’s written in the first person and is purportedly about the first four years of my life after I left school nearly 19 years old.
It’s not an autobiography because it doesn’t outline my successes in life, rather the opposite, it settles on my many doubts and failings (like frequent self-abuse). It features my anguishes rather than my triumphs, not the stuff of autobios. In my life I had many and regular successes and achievements, most of which don’t make it into this rather voluminous moan-ologue. But the fleeting moments do and I believe it’s those fleeting moments that mould the person, that’s why they’re featured. It’s the challenges, the overcoming the doubts and deficiencies that maketh (wo)man. I hope I’m correct cos if am not then this is 300 pages of unadulterated drivel, but don’t worry, be happy that I wouldn’t do that to you. Over 40 years since I first set my pen to paper writing this tome long-hand from the journals I kept tween 1969-73 and after spending months doing final edits and the layout for the book before I published it I am sure there is a story there, in fact several stories within the main momentum which follows me from a green horny youth through days of satisfaction and later of loss. The book shows many relationships beginning and moving on and some ending (prematurely) with some continuing way past the book’s end.
BUT, apart from the overt stories, there’s the covert revelations. It reveals my initiations, realisations, and most of all my growth from a punchy teenager to a more reflective early 20 year old who has no idea what his future holds but knows he’s at least prepared with his accumulated skills and learnings to face most of what life normally throws at a person and from experience knows that he can cope with some of the extraordinary things that crop up now & then.
The ‘punchy teenager’ taming was begun by the first of 3 women (The Three Graces) who had a major impact on him in those 4 years. Her name in the book was Bluebell, in real life it was Cath. She was the first woman I ‘went out with’ after I left school and in effect she saved my life. She gave me hope for the future and I still received her Christmas cards until a year or two ago… they seem to have petered out now despite my writing to her Australian address to tell her I’d like to send her a copy of the SI(A4). The second grace, Rose, real life- Jane, drifted rapidly then slowly out of my life but she taught me to value patience, although it’s taken 40 years for the lesson to kick my ass. The third grace, Camellia, whose real name I cannot reveal cos she’ll bat me, is still teaching me how to behave. She’s still got a lot of work to do. So as a result of those 3 gracious ladies I became less punchy, despite for a while taking on karate (I’m yellow!), I now learn Tai Chi with Master Ch’n Lay Seng, and the last thing you do in Tai Chi is get punchy!
The other revelation is of course the art that I produced. Much of my best work from 1968-73 is displayed in the book(s). One of my greatest thrills is to have found an outlet for the imagery which otherwise would have remained in my drawer until after my death* when it’d be taken out and revealed as the work of a wonderful undiscovered talent and then sold for millions of dollars, yen, euros but not £s cos an artist is never really recognised in his home town, are they? But I no longer care that for the past 40 odd years I was unable to find a market for the works I turned out with never ending enthusiasm. Most all of them end up in my big plans-chest or a hut in ma garden and remain unseen, so the SI buks are, for me, a comprehensive solo exhibition of those works. In the A4 version you get 25 images on translucent paper (tracing paper for want of a better word) which gives what I refer to as ‘palimpsest’ views through the parts of the paper which contain no image.
*Spike Milligan said, “I’m not afraid of dying, I just don’t want to be there when it happens”.
buks have been my vindication and I am so proud to present them to the world. The A4 version of The Shrewd Idiot can be bought (£45 rrp) at the Whitechapel Gallery bookshop in London. The British Library will receive one copy but the other national libraries won’t as I only made 50 copies and at that price I cannot afford to give em away.
I have now firmed up the date with Antony Roberts at Colchester Arts Centre to do a ‘launch cum celebration’ event around books. The date is Sunday afternoon at 2pm on 5th November 2017, just 9 days after ma 67th boithday. So there should be cakes and drinks and maybe me doing a couple of the performance art pieces (paps) about the books, inc The Three Graces). I must say, I’ve waited almost 40 years to do something there, I first approached the centre in c.1976 shortly after its formation, the then Principal of Colchester Art College (Atkinson?) and Tim Holden interviewed me, the former saying he thought was good but the rest o ma work didn’t strike a chord with him. They laughed at me when I said I wanted to do a show there, they’re not laughing now!
Congratulations to Sally Shaw and all at Firstsite for getting that BIG arts council grant. The gallery has moved a long way since its near demise a couple of years ago.
It was great to see Firstsite humming with at least 3 simultaneous activities last Friday night when I was lucky to be invited once again by Jim Pey at Educaid to read one of my pieces. I did a 2017 poym inspired by my 1972 set of screenprints ‘Appleheadman Sees’ which I shall read again on the 5th of November with a little brushing up. In fact I’d love to do my PA version of the song called ‘Brush’ by Colin Lloyd Tucker too too.
WOW! Burnley Ballerina gerl Sophie Hitchen gets a Bronze as the first ever Brit Hammer medallist! Whilst Burnley Football Club had two FIRSTS at the weekend; their first game back in the Prem and their first defeat in 2016. If they’d have been given the penalty they should have got then maybe they’d have drawn to continue their 8 month unbeaten run?
OAS- Olympic Athletes Supreme- This time round at the Olympics Mo got Gold, Jess took Silver and Greg managed a Bronze on a super Saturday. What a feat by Ennis after having her son and all that entails and there’s no shame being beaten by a youngster who did a personal best in most of the 7 parts of her heptathlon. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/olympics/2016/08/13/jessica-ennis-hill-rio-2016-olympics-heptathlon-live-updates/ In fact Thiam had knackered her arm and only managed ONE javelin hurl and it was again, a personal best. Then on th’Sunday Max got TWO golds in events no Brit had ever gotten any before, Andy fought and gained Gold again against a battling smiling tiring Del Potro who was such a sportsman.
OFF- Olympics Fall Farces –
some sad things at the Olympics too:
The 10.000 m open water swim is so full of stupid pushing and kicking and the end is so stupid! The Greek bloke who won it didn’t hit the board correctly so he was only given second. The Brit was disqualified on the finish yet he had been battered so much on the run in.
The young Irish lad who pasted the Russian boxer in 2 of the 3 rounds only to find the judges gave it to the Russian.
And finally the farce that was the start of the Keirin cycling was better than watching Groucho and his Marx Brothers run riot.
OAP- Old Artis Pete- Has a new logo
And gets born again in Colchester Art Society’s beautiful Exhibition in Colchester’s Minories gallery! It appears that the old school has taken a deliberate step into a much more adventurous future and I think they have mounted a tremendous show, good for them.
PK takes (his own) Bronze in the shape of Lorryhead which you’ll see in the glass case as you turn right into the first room.
[You don’t see Lorryhead like this cos he’s sitting in a lotus position (what I cannot do, yet) in the glass case.]
The opening was good with Robert Blythe (of Akenfield fame) giving an inspired speech.
Jamie Dodds got the inaugural medal for his contribution to CAS. And I had the pleasure of meeting Volker from Dusseldorf who likened my painting of Ken & John to his German great artist Max Beckmann, that’s a first.
I thank Paul who took some great snaps of me in front of my pic with the dog licking me.
I thank Liz for making the music so well on her sax. It was lovely when she played Moondance after I had been ranting on about Van! Later she played Procul Harem’s great tune Whiter Shade of Pale.
I also learned that 3 copies of my 1975 artist’s buk Apul-One have sold in the Firstsite Gallery down the alleyway from the Minories, they never informed me though (we know that communication has never been their great forte) but thanks to a front of house girl named Alice I found out because she bothered to investigate. THANK YOU Alice.
And that would be Poet Pete has just watched this speech by Len Cohen, it made me cry, like Len does. But I think it’s beautiful, it says it all.
and here’s another bit of Len which reveals more about the way we win & lose in life’s lessons. Like Dylan sang, ‘I once had her in the palm of my hand’, I think Len is singing of his old love, a love that never dies and the need to treasure things whilst we have them because everything is fleeting and eventually everything returns to the source.
So, if you love someone, tell them, tell them right now. That reminds me it’s my 37th wedding anniversary on the 18th August. I remember all those folks who travelled from the length and breadth of this old country to honour me & Polly with their presence. As it happens you think it’ll go on forever, that all of them will be there so you can see them again and again but life goes on and off and many of our dear friends are no longer padding on this terrain. I loved you all and thank you for all you brought to our wedding way back then. And, you can be assured, I am still trying!
My (vast?) knowledge of ‘art’ became (apparently) irrelevant overnite becos they (purportedly) moved the goalposts when I must have had my eyes off the ball (or maybe the Jasper Johns/Pop Art target?) by their declaring ‘post’-Modernism’ which supposedly super ceded the Modernism & Classicism that I had studied and played a part of between 1968 and when the pMT (post-Modernis Tings) began (date unsure, a bit hazy and for me irrelevant).
I don’t believe ‘post’-Modernism’, it’s a crap idea which seeped down from architecture into some folk’s view of art. Whatever it’s purported to be (a shift, a change, a re-direct) it isn’t because the history (of art) is a continuation. As part of the continuity we have learned that the media we can utilise is not just the old fields of oil paint, water colour, bronze and wood altho I have loved working in all of them. Nowadays it’s ok to use ANY material to create art and all sorts of differing environments. Latterly I learned that as I manipulate the words as words and image on my computer design package that’s just as relevant in making (my) art as was once my manipulation of oil with turps on a canvas.
So. My books are art and always have been. I used to feel an odd sensation when I looked at say a photo I had done or a presentation with masks and feel…t that they weren’t ‘proper’ art. My ‘pop’ art drawings/comix with Apulhedman were just as relevant as my oils of my wife. So, all my activities which I used to put into a number of pigeon holes have now become my ‘art’. They are all one. They manifest from my observation, imagination and skill.
They represent me. They re-present the ‘me’ what lives and breathes in ways and materials, some of which will outlive the entity I call ‘me’ by many centuries…
The book I am working on or ‘compiling’ at present, The Shrewd Idiot (SI), has a LONG history. I left my teaching post in 1976 to format it from notes I had written, drawn and photo’d in various journals and sketchbooks since 1969. I had done my first self-published book, Apul-One (1975), from the same sources and SI was to be a more ‘normally’ spelt version of same. Its initial version was completed by 1978 and then I started sending it to publishers, two of whom (Wildwood House, then Calder), considered it for publication but eventually both dropped it. I have re-approached it several times in the intervening years and the newest version will have evidence of interventions from different times. It was never a ‘literary’ work. It was always a collection of some thoughts, observations, hopes, fears and images of one individual.
Now the words I created years ago have become images. Most of the book is made up of images of thetypescript typed up mostly by Jill (nee) Williams and boy was she tolerant of my stupid words. Drawings and other forms of image-making are a vital part of the book and that was the rub in the 70’s and 80’s when print was difficult concerning the placement of word & image in a book. Nowadays the two can sit well together and gone are the days when publishers considered it impure to set image and word together. In a way the world is ready for my arrangement of the material now but is it ready for the content? It matters not really cos am doing it anyway. But I am only going to make about 10 copies initially, mostly to give to some friends who moved thru the period it covers. The content will either fascinate or bore potential observers, I say observers cos it’s not (just) for readers in fact it may not be important to read it at all, I wish you wouldn’t cos it’s embarrassing in its revelations. It is not even state of the art in layout & presentation when you think of the beauty which David McKean brings to the page. I am deliberately not using digital layout packages, except for part of the book, becos am determined that Jill’s typing is the image of the main body of the words I wish to convey. There is a ‘story’ or ‘narrative’ which in fact continues thru all my life cos it’s uncompromisingly about the person that was me at the time (1969-1973). Altho in fact it’s like looking in a mirror cos the artist or writer sees themselves on the page as they see themselves in a mirror, unreally. (In my case somewhat unruly too) I can never see the me that you see, I only see the me that lives inside me and he hides a lot of his real self, even from me. In fact this book reveals some parts or thought of that self which maybe should be left in the archives but in the name of honest ‘journalism’ I include most of them even tho some are excruciating in their pomposity and vanity. In some ways it’s a personal writing plus images, in other ways it’s universal cos it is about one man’s efforts to come to terms with his world and find roads to explore with newly acquired abilities to add to what he brings with him to the time of the notes.
It’s all to do with The Way You Do The Things You Do, or as one old comedian used to say in a thick Oirisht drawl, “It’s the way ah tell ‘em”.
Here’s Jerry Garcia’s band doing the Temptations song The Way You Do The Things You Do.
It’s all to do with the way you do the things you do. He plays his guitar in this like Jimi did, and the Temptations were trying to emulate Jimi when they brought the guitar solo in.
Jimi had a long history as a band man round America before he cut loose as a solo artis. He even cut some music with Arthur Lee’s band Love.
Jimi and Janis Joplin died aged 27 only a few weeks apart. I watched a great documentary on Janis on Beeb 4 and it wer great the way she picked up influence from seeing the best like Otis Redding perform. She took his repeated word phrasing and made it hers. And how. How does a little lady from Port Arthur, Texas do that ting?! It’s to do with letting go into the…mystic, or whatever we call that energy level which seems unreachable to us mortals. https://www.nytimes.com/books/99/05/02/specials/joplin-obit.html
They said it when I was about to leave college in Exeter where I had developed various formats of Appleheadman/Apulhed (I actually invented the character in Bournemouth) and he’d become a bit of a cult figure in the local student population thru the graphic-strip I did in Reflex, the student newspaper in Exeter. The they said it when I self-published my buk (short-named or ‘sub-titled’) Apul-One* in 1975 when not many were selfpublishing with its personal-phonetic spellin when not many were doing shortened spellins. To be ‘famous’ didn’t serve much attraction to me even then. I wasn’t striving for fame, apart from the potential freedom it might bring with an alleviation of my financial needs and maybe some call for my work. As we all knew then cos the beatles told us so, money can’t buy you love, and I had lots of that, even if I didn’t always reciprocate fully nor appreciate it. Indeed I had a built in mechanism to flee from it at all suspicions that it was looming about. It took decades for me to learn how to accept praise and appreciation even tho I werked so hard to gain it. One of the tings I love about PA is they clap you when you finish. Maybe that’s cos they’re glad the thing is done? Only jokin. I think.
* I been working on the follow up, The Shrewd Idiot for forty years and it should be ready to launch sometime soon!
Sometimes some folks says I sometimes writes well sometimes and that sometime soon enough I may make it big as a writer. Well I cannot await sometime to happen. I did wait sometime. I started writing sometime ago (1969). It’s taken some time to get this bad. I guess I got sometime left, or right, write. But I not got some ting to prove cos I done all that some time back.
I saw this great couple o folks there and aksed if I can use their image in ma blog and they say ok dokay
There was so much to do I had to wend ma way back again on the Wednesday to go see the exhibition preview at Marsden Woo gallery where they had some beautiful readings to give the launch a real whumpf.
“An evening of performance, poetry and text works curated and lead by SJ Fowler in response to our current show, Alida Sayer’s Lexicon,
took place last night at Marsden Woo Gallery. It was a fantastic event, with new work by diverse and talented poets being seen and heard for the first time. Many thanks to all involved!”
I also visited the Rebecca Horn section in Tate Modern because I had seen those wonderful feather head-dresses she did and wanted to find out more. RH was and is one of the world’s great performance artists. Her work hinges, literally sometimes, around the ‘props’ she manufactures. I learned a lot looking at them, very inspiring.
As I was searching the net for stuff about RH I happened upon some incredible work by Helen Chadwick which in terms of old style virtues in art blew RH into a feathered hat. HC was a very earl exponent of woman in art and I love what I found.
On Friday night I went to the launch of Colchester firstsite’s new Warhol show which was peppered with females making great stuff. Camille Walala has done some wonderful abstract images on a wall which I never even dreamed of filling and made it look great.
Hattie Stewart, ex-student at Sheepen Road college has a wonderfull show wherein her work, which takes inspiration from the likes of Disney, Keith Haring and Rick Griffin’s walking eyes, really lights up the gallery. http://hattiestewart.com/
And finally there was little Georgie who did these wonderful spirals in the mock ‘Factory’ which firstsite has set up for folks to do prints in during the Warhol show.
Aside- David Bailey: “Visually, Picasso was definitely the most important person in my life. When I discovered him I realised there were no rules. I didn’t go to art school, I didn’t even know what art school was, but the teachers who taught drawing always said, ‘Oh, you can’t put a line around things,’ and I thought, ‘Well, Picasso does, stained glass windows do, so I don’t see your point.’ Obviously, they were wrong.” I didn’t go to art skewel eether David.
I hope youse all got down and di some yoga on the longest day as it wer internatural yogic day! I did. I did my first ever solo on me own alone astanga session and i nearly got into the balance position in a head stand, not quite, still work to be done, isn’t there always?
here’s Apulhed doing yoga, getting down to do ‘child-pose’.
In my past two blArts I went on abart Firstsite Gallery Colchester’s new beginnings under new appointee Anthony Robert’s leadership. Am sure they’ll fare better in his hands but now I return to my own progress thru mi arts.
Before going any further I must say am living on ‘bonus-time’ when am 64. I attempted to ‘make it’ as a artisbloke between 1969 and 2015. I amn’t ‘trying’ to suck seed any more. If you don’t make yer fist million by the time yer 30…40…50…60, yer not going to mekkit, are yez? So am not making it but am still proud of my lifework which is by no means Opuscule. I been lucky too; Van Gogh, Watteau, Modigliani all died before they were 64, as did D H Lawrence.
A lot is happening in the second half of 2015. I shall be 65 in October and could just retire to ma garden, which is Hugh, but you know I won’t. Ting about my garden is I get down thur and I tink about say Lennon or some other rich bloke what ‘made it’ but they never had the time like I do just to pull up weeds in their garden or chat with a little robin.
The good ting about not ‘making it’ is my time is my own and I do what I choose to do for my ‘art’. There’s no expectations.
In just under 3 weeks time (soon!) I shall be at Artists’ Book Market at BALTIC where my major work, Venus Stairs, will be on display and I’ll be doing a ‘talk’ about it. I did offer it to some other galleries but BALTIC are the first to take up my offer. And they have been great in the run up. They’ve got a good venue in which to do the show, complete with AV facilities and the promise of back up for technical tings. Like James Brown did before me, I Feel Good. (but Ed Sulliman don’t look too good now do he?) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t08ejaQqWjY All I got to do now is; make the new book for that fair, work out my routine for my ‘intervention, practice it, hone it, get the powerpoint done…not much then, no pressure.
So this is the plan:
Pete Kennedy Performance 12 noon Saturday 11th July at BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art, Gateshead:
‘Venus At The Stairs’
Using my painting Venus Stairs (inspiration taken from paintings by Marcel Duchamp, Nude Descending a Staircase and Oskar Schlemmer, Bauhaus Stairway), my Big Clay Pot and some accompanying books Artist I shall be presenting a performance including Luke E Walker and others’ music, my poetry/senryu* readings & little dances.
I shall read a number of my Kerouac influenced ‘Senryu-Pots’ or ‘Haiku-Nots’.
*“…whereas haiku deals with nature & seasonal reference senryu does neither, senryu is specifically about human nature & relationships.” (Regina Weinreich). Kerouac wrote what he called Beat Generation Pops, hence my ‘Senryu-Pots’ or ‘Haiku-Nots’. Those who come to it can aks more questions then.
I shall bring my Big Clay Pot, which contains six etchings & poems on scrolls. The Clay Pot, itself inspired by the Kabir poem of the same name, is very important because a set of 4 ‘books’ on my table and much else in my body of work arose from it.
I have created, especially for BALTIC, a book, called Venus Stairs (which gives insight into the process and influences in the making of the Big canvas version of my Venus Stairs image), that will be available at my table with lots more of my recent books and ephemera.
What’s keeping up with the Broons? Well, one of my greatest graphic influences and inspirations is that phenomenally gifted and hard-working artist Dudley Dexter Watkins http://www.comicvine.com/dudley-d-watkins/4040-55871/ . Such was his gift that he was given dispensation during world war 2 to stay in Dundee so that he could continue drawing comics for Thomsons where he created Desperate Dan, The Broons, Oor Wullie and Jimmy & His Magic Patch. The latter is up there with Hermann Hesse’s Journey to the east as my greatest inspiration. I could NEVER ever deign to say I was ever any where near as good as him, he was for me better than Frazetta, and Frank Hampson the creator of Dan Dare http://frankhampson.blogspot.co.uk/ . For me only Rick Griffin http://www.myraltis.co.uk/rickgriffin/bio.htm who created the artwork for the Grateful Dead or George Herriman http://www.georgeherriman.com/biography.html can touch his robe. Altho’ Robert Crumb who uses similar technique to Watkins is good and I love his Mr Natural. I mention Watkins & Crumb as drawing influencers in my book Venus Stairs because when I was stuck and couldn’t work out the composition I decided in a moment of inspiration to let loose and draw like they do/did. It released me and I eventually cracked it.
Then there will be the book fair at Hadleigh (Sat Nov 14th) at which I am hoping to reveal my new version of The Shrewd Idiot to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the launch of my first artist’s book, Apul One. All I got to do, after Baltic, is cut down 300 pages of type etc into a beautifully designed and layout-ed artisbuk. No pressure, but the robin may be squeaking to himself awhile.
In the ‘Fall’ my article about the influence of 4 German practitioners is going to be published in The Journal of Artist’s Books (JAB) Chicago, thanks to Brad Freeman for his interest and patience. Work I done throughout my life has always had its precursors and inspirers many of whom turned out to be German, funny that. Don’t worry about my workload cos that article is ‘in the bag’ already.
Here’s one of my German influences what I drew at the RA, he’s holding ma drawings. I sent this to the RA but they sent it straight back to me saying they don’t look at unsolicited picture’.
Also, there’s going to be a new ‘illustration’ what I dun in Karen Dennison’s poetry&pictures call & reply book in autumn,The sequel to the Book of Sand pamphlet will be called Blueshift.
Then in 2016, wennam an OAP, am thinking of trying for an exhibition in Colchester Library to launch a artis-book am doing about my home town boys what went to fight in the Somme and most did not come back. The war to end all wars they said, just like they had said back in 1815 after Waterloo.
here’s Apulhed hoping beyond hope that one day we’ll all live in Peace.
Just off to get ma skates on.
The activities of Pete Kennedy, Performance Artist Bloke, Book Creator & retired artist.