Making a name for myself.
So what is in a name? Everything? No, not really. A name is a disguise, a mask before the public/society/followers/denigrators… behind the mask the ‘star’ or ‘failure’ is of course an ordinary human albeit maybe with extraordinary quality +/or experience. I have worn a number of masks. Like my Apulhed masks, I have even worn a Pete Kennedy mask. None of my masks, except my teacher one, ever brought much income. Like thousands of other would be greats I seem to have failed in some of my mission, altho I am still pumping- my heart, my works, my buks etc. I even submitted an application to be the first ‘resident artist’ at Radio 2 on the basis of my track record meeting and photographing and painting some famous folk in the 70’s and 80’s. I have had the experience, I have the skills, but I didn’t make a name for myself as a ‘reporter/artist’ bloke. However only after I had spent longtime getting my bid ready complete with a treatment (of sorts) I noticed they had this clause in the form staing that you had to make more than half your income from your art. I don’t make any income!How dare they question my integrity as an artis-writer just because my work does not generate money. It certainly moves it out! My work takes time for the process, the making, the publication. The two most recent paintings I sold recently brought in just above the cost of the materials. My books have all cost more to make than the sales they generate, so far. I can’t help it if my works never commanded a good price, yet.my way of working and my output have integrity even tho ma income doesn’t. maybe my fame & fortune lays ahead when my work eventually receives attention. I vest a lot of effort into it without knowing if it will ever pay me back. Meanwhile I shall keep on trying. This morning I made a list of 15 artist’s books I have awaiting finalising and pushing thru. It’s not that I sit down and dream up new ideas every day, no, I am like George Harrison before he left the Beatles, all my work has been stacking up, now All Things Must Pass! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ebtC3ORg9fU
Unlike Robert Zimmerman I never ‘made’-up a name for myself. Maybe I should adopt my O’Ceinedegh monika? Or Pedro A. Pulman (Artisbloke) PAPA? It’s all in the name.
After going to the Saison Poetry library this week to see a talk about b s johnson’s work I tweeted
And a party calling themselves @BSJohnsonInfo retweetd it. I learned a lot about bsj, not least that he did a book named Albert Angelo in which ‘he cut holes in the pages pages, created a type character (sic) and arranged text in columns’ the narrator says in the vid and it seems this refers to concrete poems. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HDMV4UF_-Rs
Because he made his name as a renegade in ‘literature’ his books are not known as ‘artist’s books, whereas Dieter Roth, who did similar things in his books is known as an artist’s bok maker. It’s all in the name?
This song is apparently about bsj- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bexd18r6ZSU&feature=youtu.be
Here’s my mention of bsj from an article I did for the blue notebook
‘Whilst considering the bookness of Lippard’s Catalogues I should introduce B S Johnson’s book The Unfortunates which is bound, but not bound as one unit. (Johnson, 1969)
Picador’s recent reprint of Johnson’s book.
It comprises 27 sections each stapled separately held by a removable wrapper with two of the sections marked ‘First’ and ‘Last’. (At the Saison Poetry library on Wednesday 6 May 2015 I heard a hint that bsj lost a debate with his then publisher who wanted to have those two pages at start and end of the book, I suspect bsj would have wanted them free-roaming?) The reader is invited to read the rest in any order at random. I like the book because it is housed in a box covered in claret and blue, the colours of my home town team, Burnley who got to the quarter finals of the European Cup long before Notts Forest. The reference to football is not spurious as Johnson for many years reported on Nottingham Forest’s games for his local rag. Also there is a ‘report’ of part of a game in the back inside cover of the box which seems to reflect how a game can be a microcosm of life. I like the idea of the random order but the version I have seems to be of rather mean dimension and the font too small. It was not meant to be considered an artist’s book. It is however a writer’s experiment with the form of the novel, a step outside the canon contained in a box, which the publishing world of the day saw as subversive and the avant-garde saw as trivial. They missed the point Johnson was trying to make. He was attempting to convey the emotions he felt at the demise of a friend’s succumbing to a terminal illness. The loose leaves represented thoughts crossing as they do in life, not sequentially but at random.’
There’s a different version of the book on a vid by ‘mik krakow’ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NNk0kj0KwoU
I have referred to bsj in some other blArts:- https://apulhed.wordpress.com/2013/10/16/on-being-an-artist-or-not/
a slightly longer one- https://apulhed.wordpress.com/2013/10/04/what-am-i-doing/
this one has ref to bsj and my own work https://apulhed.wordpress.com/2014/10/13/my-gate-crashing-two-parties-des-chimpanzees-dont-make-me-a-member/
By the time I saw the book I had already made my boxed artist’s book called Apul-Gold Metamorphosis although mine was with careful attention to font size as well as considering paper, dimension and feel. It has alternate card and semi-transparent pages. The box is black with gold around the edges resembling an old bible but when opened it is more like a jewellery box with felt surrounds and gold ribbons. You can turn the loose pages which are, ironically, sequential because the holes in each page grow gradually to reveal a golden (moulded plastic) page with words on sculpted from twigs making the ‘word’ material or real. Behind this sheet is the final surprise, a sculpture.