Category Archives: Books Artists Make BAM

My Fear Of Failure…I Don’t Do Fear Of Failure.

Someone had been looking at this blArt during this week so I thought I would kind of ‘update’ it and make it available again.

apulhed tinking

first ever prizeWay back in 1960 when I wer 10 I won my first prize, maybe my last too, in a flower show. I came 4th in a scone cooking competition. Above is an image of my tercificate. About 50 years ahead of the game what with all these celebrity chef tings going on nowaday. I never won nowt since, but I may still win sumting, never give up hope do ya?

Sometimes I do ‘get lucky’ and today I found out Red Lion Bookshop have extended the exhibition of my work until next Saturday. (see flyer below) And another ting, I had my first visitor to my blart from Russia today. Welcome comrad.

It wer all downhill after such heady heights, I just knew it would be because like Seasick Steve, I can’t lose what I never had! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C3Iam7JELDM

Failure is a familiar friend, but not too familiar please.

‘don’t…

View original post 2,361 more words

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MY VINDICATION Springs to Life.

 

'crash canvas' cover + title sm
This is the top half of the A3 book with its ‘crash canvas’ bookcloth cover. And the raffia rim which actually covers over the stitches top and bottom. There’s 37 images within on Zanders translucent.

There’s a spring in ma steps now and I am certain I know why that is the case.

It’s because when I got on with creating the final layouts of my book(s) The Shrewd Idiot, I often wondered why I was doing this ‘labour of love’? I knew I was driven by something inside. Now I understand why it drove me. Doing the book(s) up to publication helped me ‘square the circle’. Now I feel complete.

The three books which make up the deluxe version are all now ready to go out to anyone interested in making a purchase. The latest, the last, (the late one), the A4 ‘perfect bound’ edition is in the ‘print to bind’ stage and should be ‘on the shelves’ ready for buyers in the next couple of weeks, it’s designed & ready.

This has been a project which has drawn out over the past 48 years but it’s been well worth the weight. And weight is the correct word as it conveys so much about the book. Wait is what I did to find the time and skills to complete it and it is a heavy tome(s). There are burdens within it too, it’s not all pretty and sweet as sugar candy. Some of it is decidedly sour. And ugly. But it’s a pretty true reflection of a part of a life of an early 20 year old idiot who was embarking to become shrewd and his errors are manifest as he trudges and bludgeons and blunders and bluffs his not always so merry ways. Often you see him travelling the length and breadth of England, from Lancashire to Devon and back again and again on his thumb, hitchhiking lifts in sometime dubious company. The end is not neatly wrapped and ‘happy’, the end is the beginning. And without doubt the book is honest, some may think to the detriment of this writer, not I. I reveal myself back then, warts and all, because we all live in the illusions of our lives that we create in order to cope with the illusion of life. By cutting thru the cord of my illusion by revealing ALL of my self, even the bits I would most definitely edit out now as a clickerty clix year old shrewd cookie, I break some of my self-delusion. Many of you who knew me may have seen thru my vain attempts to hide the real me back then, some may have not.

“Honesty matters. Vulnerability matters. Being open about who you were at a moment in time when you were in a difficult or an impossible place matters more than anything.” Neil Gaiman in in his foreword to All These Wonders: True Stories About Facing the Unknown. He continues … “the gulf that exists between us as people is that … we can’t see, the stories…once we hear each other’s stories we realize that the things we see as dividing us are… illusions, falsehoods…”

The book(s) is the start of more books to follow which follow the idiot (shrewd or not so shrewd, it takes a long time to prove) from an 18 years old just left school so proud of how he came from nowhere in Art to gain the top prize at the end of his time there and the books are peopled by some of his works from the pre-college era.

But don’t get me wrong, there’s lots of beauty in the book even if it’s just the incredible binding done by The Sullivan Bindery. The book is not a bind, it is in fact a release, a realize, my ‘real eyes’ are opened during its pages and the life as this artibloke is truly embarked. They do say I was embarking mad don’t they.

 

The book taught me many things about my life and myself, not to mention my indebtedness to many (many) folk out there, bless ‘em all, the long and the short and the Tall. Wherever they may be. We are indebted to each other all ways.

I shall say no more than the fact that NOW, I FEEL VINDICATED the books vindicate me, especially for the time conveyed in the book when boy did I need vindication. At the time I were looking for acceptance and acknowledgement, I was even looking for love but I would never have admitted that cos even when I found it I hardly accepted it.

The second A3 book, PK The First 5 Years [Art Work] which accompanies the A3 Shrewd Idiot is now also completed as a bound deluxe edition of 10, but unlike the Shrewd Idiot there’ll be no A4 version. Sullivan & Son once again have bound it beautifully to my requests. I’ll let it speak for itself:

open at black board block burgundy sm
This image shows the lovely black ‘board blocking’ & the title page.

Now I think I should have entitled it “The Shrewd Idiot Works” with ‘works’ having 3 meanings

  • The Works
  • He works
  • It worked.

To celebrate this new outcrop of my publishing arm here’s some lovely Snaps Of Spring Blossom and I hope their beauty seeps in to the pages of my publications by some magical osmosikal method…[methodological osmosis]?

What’s in a name?

What’s in a name, Everything & Nothing?

Naming things also means everything & nothing like the famous conundrum about a doctor:

A father and his son are in a car accident. The father dies instantly, and the son is taken to the nearest hospital. The doctor comes in and exclaims “I can’t operate on this boy.”

“Why not?” the nurse asks.

“Because he’s my son,” the doctor responds.

How is this possible?

The answer is in the ingrained assumption that the word ‘doctor’ denoted a male practitioner which in the ‘old days’ it usually did. The assumption was ingrained over centuries of the ‘male-dominated’ world which allegedly no longer dominates the ‘norm’ but in the collective mind it seems the natural assumption falls to the male interpretation. Now this is not an article about doctors nor prejudices, I am merely pointing out that altho a name is important it often misleads our perception, even when there is no intent so to do.

I mention this because I have been involved in making art & books all my adult life which is (on paper) 50 years, in fact 56 when you take into account I made my first book as a ten year old (of course I weren’t a adult then tho) as an end of summer term project at Tod Road Junior School and my first comic, Big ‘Ead was in that book which had old wallpaper as a cover. In my first year at Gwamma Skewel (as an ex pupil of the old grammar school system I firmly believe that they are a relic of a past (male dominated) culture, so no don’t bring them back, but you’ll ignore me anyway, won’t you Tess?) I made more sophisticated books with bookcloth spines and all. In my 6th form I made my own sketch books, had to cos I couldn’t afford to buy one. At (teachers’ training) college I made several books for projects and did my first concertina book with 6 screenprints in which I have just ‘published’ in an A5-ish book.

apulscreem 2017 cover sm
‘Apulhed Sees’ is on sale at Bookartbookshop.

Then I taught how to make books to the kids in my classes but didn’t make my own again til I embarked on my MA course in my sixties after retiring hurt from my role as a ‘teacher’. You may ask, “What’s he on about?” well my answer is I’ve always been making the contents of books and sometimes the books themselves book I am not a bookbinder per se. Many of my ‘books’ tease and stretch the definition of ‘book’ which takes me back to my point at the head of this piece, What’s in a name?

Artists’ Books?

There’s a term ‘Artists’ Books’ which is quite popular nowadays denoting an infinite variety of ways to make and stretch the curve in what a book can be. There are a growing number of Artists’ Books Fairs or markets etc. I’ve frequented a few but my work doesn’t sell in droves so I cannot really afford to have a stall unless I wish to make some new (networking?) links thru meeting new folks and advertise my wares, basically I have to tell myself, “This is like a holiday Pete. You’re running a table during the day then ‘after hours’ you can take a look at a place you wouldn’t necessarily visit, like say Oxford, Newcastle or even Edinburgh. Recently I was able to walk around the Bristol Artist Book Event (BABE) [wearing my new Apulhed mask] and witness the wonderful atmosphere and the way so many folk of like mind share a big space and fill it with beautiful artistic output. I spoke with a couple from Kent but have forgotten their details, so if you’re out there I’d love to connect up and discuss making 3D masks! The people who make the books are very talented and ‘artist’s books’ are a wonderful vehicle for all manner of ideas and projects and many of them are beautiful objects. Some of my work falls under the category too but I prefer the term ‘Books Artists Make’ (BAM) for my works.

I know that not everyone involved in artists books claims to be a artist but I did before I realised am not a artist, I am a man, I am me! But all my adult life I been involved in ‘art & writing’ but once again, What’s in a name? What does ‘art’ mean? What does ‘writing’ mean? In my case they both often meant under-mining or undermining or under-mine-ing. I would undermine my own stuff, I would often do something real good then undermine it with my next work.

I have this penchant for undermining, reaching under, looking past, looking beyond. I think it came from doing ‘History’ with the late David Clayton at school where we were encouraged to question things and this continued in my Philosophy tutorials with the late Bill Josebury at St Lukes. I hated the art dept at my college so I did everything I could to undermine the tutors. I disliked the politicians in the early 70’s like Thatcher who did her infamous cuts in Education then went on to destroy mining communities so I did scathing cartoons about their lack of consideration or conniving. One of Thatcher’s best buddies was Pinochet and she must have learned a lot from his methods, he, like other dictators smashed the poets, artists and educationists. So when it came to undermining the book, wow, I was in heaven.

Which brings me to the work of Tim Hopkins and his subject Fernando Pessoa’s The Book of Disquiet. Tim  has a day job, but when he gets home he must work thru the night on his little Adana press. http://britishletterpress.co.uk/presses/small-presses/adana/

Tim has produced a wonderful box of prints, which may be called an artistsbook of The Book of Disquiet. https://twitter.com/halfpintpress a bk o disquietLaunched on Thursday 6th April it’s on display in the window at the Bookartbookshop  near Old Street station, London. It’s difficult to describe but it’s very beautiful. Fernando Pessoa wrote his book (never published in his lifetime) during his final days on lots of ephemera and Tim has printed Pessoa’s writings onto many ephemeral objects like beermats, pop bottle labels, stamps, pencils, lolly sticks. This is a labour of love. He did 50 boxes/copies for sale and sold out almost immediately! I bought two packs with for pieces in each and they seem to be beautifully printed but Tim’s attention to the detail of Pessoa’s writings is astonishing.

a Pessoa

Pessoa had a strange view of What’s in a name?, he invented what most of us call alter-egos but he coined the term, ‘heteronyms’ to explain his use of a myriad of ‘characters’ in his writings who spoke with different tongues and names in his work. Fernando Pessoa says ‘my habit of placing myself in the souls of other people makes me see myself as others see or would see me…’

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7816.Fernando_Pessoa

and well done Tanya for arranging the show!

By strange coincidence I had come across Pessoa’s work for the first time ever a couple of weeks before this launch at Bookartbookshop as I was doing a poetry workshop (the same night as the launch!) at the Poetry school in Lambeth led by Saradha Soobrayen:

Session 4 Pessoa Task (for Thursday 6th April): Describe and create heteronyms to unlock hidden parts of your writing…

Pessoa’s on his term ‘heteronyms’. “A pseudonymic work,” he explained in a 1928 article, “is, except for the name with which it is signed, the work of an author writing as himself; a heteronymic work is by an author writing outside his own personality: it is the work of a complete individuality made up by him, just as the utterances of some character would be.”

Now you know my tendency to undermine don’t you? I’ll finish this blArt with my own slight consternation at Pessoa’s notion that a writer can, ‘write outside his own personality’? I tend to agree with this comment from the goodreads link above, that Pessoa wrote from 4 differing aspects of himself. ‘It is sometimes said that the four greatest Portuguese poets of modern times are Fernando Pessoa. The statement is possible since Pessoa, whose name means ‘person’ in Portuguese,…’

 

 

Wonderful breaking news about the book.

PK 68-73 cover front sm

Wonderful breaking news- I picked up the first copy of my second book in my series about my college days from my binders Sullivan & Son, Colchester and it looks beautiful. I’ll only have one display copy for BABE but it’s a great sidekick to my Shrewd Idiot book. It’s got 37 images on Zanders translucent paper and is bound in an unusual way inspired by a little book that Rauschenberg made about 1954.

After my last blArt about nearly being marmalised by my big book I received several emails from folks out there showing how my stupidity generated lots of mirth, and sympathy, including one from my blogger friend Fiona in Australia.

‘Pete, Not your brightest moment right?  Nonetheless I totally understand as I often think my way through things like that – only to realise I have forgotten one important element of the process that could cause my downfall!

The book is looking brilliant – when I first read your email I thought you had made some super stupid mistake with the book for which you were kicking yourself; but in a way I was pleased it was ‘only’ a glancing physical blow… Glad the nose is the only damage done. Fiona.’

Fiona, I love your bit about I maybe ‘had made some super stupid mistake with the book’. Super Stupid is one of my stop off points.

Much of what I ‘appear’ to do is not what it appears to be. So, the Shrewd Idiot (SI) appears to be a story about a budding artistfella but it’s not, it’s about the advent, and continuance thru a lifelong period, of ‘creative consciousness’. Which led to my interest in Dalai Lama & Buddhist stuff including Zen, all of which I have not explored sufficiently yet. But I tink that skirtin alongside it has changed my life, given me more grace and satisfaction that I am on the reight track. (In Burnley where am frum we say reight rather than right!) [But we don’t say reight for write, right].

Finally, if you’re still awake, I am doing a 15 min live art ‘performance’ of the book at Sarah’s BABE and have learned to edit songs on audacity which I’ll use as backing for my piece and as you say…’as I often think my way through things like that – only to realise…’ there’s a beautiful line in a Iggy Pop (Up man) song Shades, “that may be something my mind had not followed through” (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ehABjBdTq-Y ) and that so applies to me so many ways! As far as the book’s concerned, after 40 years I think I thought of everything. It’s beautiful cover, the texture of the flysheets, and even the colour of the page marker ribbon. It is my masterwork.

About my gig at Arnolfini during BABE on April 1st.

As always I tend to do things which are considered impossible or inconsequential by ordinary folks and agreeing to do a 15 minute ‘Live Art’ enactment of the 4 years I spent at college in Exeter tween 1969-73 may seem to those who don’t know me as rather ambitious. Well representing 4 years in 15 minutes is not as daunting for me as galvanising a crowd seems to be. Those of you who know me well know too well how shy & retarded I can be so advertising myself is not an easy task but it just got harder. During last week I was taking a look at the Arnolfini website and its publicity about what’s going on around the BABE days specifically what’s on at that weekend-

“BABE 2017 includes a mini exhibition, performances, interventions, book making workshops and more! See the series of events happening throughout the weekend.”

which took me to:http://www.arnolfini.org.uk/whatson/series/babe-2017

So I contact the gallery and say that I find there’s no mention at all there of my gig and that I am getting worried as it’s a great deal of travel and organisation that I am putting into it,

“I am putting many hours into the preparation of the music, movement, masks etc and I find it quite upsetting that my Live Art gig is not mentioned at all.

Please can you flag it up, otherwise… I’ll just be doing it just for a couple of friends.”

attached two of the 6 masks I have prepared, plus a pretty detailed outline of the piece and that will also show that, although it is only 15 minutes duration, I am putting a great deal of effort into getting it well polished.

My concern elicited a reply which could be taken as rather disheartening although I am sure it was meant with the best will in the world, I am not disheartened, I replied,

“I understand your feeling that ‘it might just not be worth it this time?’ but I am getting a lot out of preparing it which I am sure will come in handy later, for more gigs to do with the books.

I was thrilled when Sarah gave me the spot…”

I cannot contemplate backing off now, anyway, many of my costs have already accrued.

I am very committed to this gig and I want it to enhance the weekend, to add another dimension, otherwise I would not have embarked on it. I shall keep in mind the possibility that, as the Dark Studio is such a lovely venue, there will be a few come to see me do it. They can stand up too if they like and one of the things about Performance Art (PA) is folk can come and go as they please, it’s not like a performance where people sit and watch, even endure, to the end, no PA is Live Art and the ‘audience’ can be as much part of it as the PA practitioner.

I know 2 people already who will be attending, another one and ‘three’s a crowd’!

As always, the show must go on. I learned that at the Arnolfini in October 2015 when I did a PA piece outside in the rain.

a pete in rain at arnolfini crouch sm

I thought nobody was interested but I continued doing ma gig and only afterwards found out lots of people were watching and enjoying it. OOZin Gloop liked it as did Paul Hurley’s friend. Nicole Murman a Swiss participant took the image above and about 80 more photos for which I am really grateful. PA is notoriously undocumented as a lot of it happens spontaneously. It’s very ‘in the moment’ and the best stuff often occurs when things appear to be going wrong, that’s when Vest & Page say, ‘It has begun’ or, ‘Now we begin’. Vest & Page happened to see me jumping in puddles with some childers shortly after I had finished the rain dance and Andrea said he thought I made a good clown, Verena said she were just getting her camera ready when the kids stopped bouncing and I bowed out.

However, my PA at BABE 2017 is well planned and I shall be rehearsing the moves over the next 10 days, this is my preferred way to work. Below is a very apt quote from Walliams & Lucas of Little Britain rehearsing: a lit brit quote

Mine won’t (‘flow slickly’) I’m sure! And neither will my costume changes, will they?

If you can spare the time and the effort to make your way up to the 2nd floor let’s prove that the Dark Studio can attract people* in for the actions of The Shrewd Idiot and his mates, The Three Graces plus the ‘spirit master’, Appleheadman. Nay, some folk may decide to come on April 1st just to see me make a fool of myself! A Wise Fool hopefully. A bit of a Clown, a Serious Jester etcetera etcetera etcetera…

Don’t be a Square, I’ll see You there. Get it or you’ll Regret it!

(*people who have, already, either been showing their wares all day or folks who came to buy their books)

Artist’s Book marmalises its maker!

 

I almost stoved my head in with my Artist’s Book, The Shrewd Idiot!

You are going to have to suspend disbelief in my idiocy when I divulge this tale of woe, you won’t belive me but believe me it is true. And I cannot for the life in me understand why I got myself into the situation where I (only) damaged my nose.

Let me explain:

You know I am like a dog with a bone when it comes to achieving the impossible, I don’t give up, as witnessed by the final completion of my tome The Shrewd Idiot. It’s arrival came after a journey of 40 odd years. During that time the (proposed) ‘book’ took on several different forms; the original ‘journals’ written by hand (often drunk) in exercise books and scraps of paper, the longhand 400 page 1st draft, the typescript, the physically cut & paste edited typescript, before the selected 200 pages being scanned then re-edited and layed out in the past 2 years. That Quark version was then transferred to pdfs and printed at my printers.

Several of the forms were recently housed in a pink box (pink was cheaper) with the intention of being archived and left for the foreseeable future now the book was finalised. The box + contents weighs 10 kilos (1 ½ stone!).

1 pink box + measures sm

You may ask what’s so dangerous about a box which weighs 10 kilos? Nothing. That is unless it’s in the charge of an Idiot. All my life I kept folk guessing which aspect of my character was the dominant type, the shrewd, or the idiot (idjet from now on, I like the sound better). Even I was never sure cos when I did something special which obviously proved the shrewd was apt I’d step in some animal dropping or a pigeon would crap on my anorak. BUT NOW IT’S OFFICIAL! The Idjet rules. How do I know?

Well afore I tells yeez I wantu show yers some of the stuff in the box, just to prove am a real writer bloke, as well as a artisbloke which you alredi knows abArt. So here’s the box open with the stuff showing, manuscrips of different varieties.

1SI stuff pink box sm

And below is some of the handwrit script. I know it reads like a load of old cobblers but that bit’s out of context…he says.

1 a s i hanritt p palimpsest sm

And here’s a sample of the cut & pasted version

1 si c&p in pink box sm

And here’s one image and a letter which got into the final book:

1 sibike mein pink box sm

With all that stuff it’s no wonder it took me 40 odd years to get it ready for print!

But none of this is ought to do with how I nearly stoved ma heed in.

That came about because, as you know, I am a bit stubborn.

tap bristan

To cut a longer story shorter I was trying to put a new washer into a bathroom tap because that tap were dripping. Simple job (in the old days), just get a new washer, and fit it. Done. Not nowadays. I went to a plumber’s merchant to get a washer and the guy said, ‘Here Pete have two new taps and just fit em both and job done.’ So I began to take the tap off BUT, the damned nut was (still is) grafted tight and secured onto the tap AND WON’T BUDGE. I bought an ‘adjustable basin back nut wrench for taps’ for about 25£. Easy peasy, but no, not Easy peasy lemon squeezy. Damned ting wouldn’y budge. So I bought a ‘Monument basin wrench’ and Easy peasy, but no not Easy peasy lemon squeezy, still dint work.

2 renches

I got my mate Dave to hold the tap and we exerted superhuman force, still dint work. So I got WD40 sprayed it and left it and got my son what’s as big as a big thing in and together, nothing, no Easy peasy, lemon squeezy. Damned ting still wouldn’y budge. So we decide to call a plumber BUT unbeknowns to ma son and her indoors I was not going to be beaten because I had a ruse. All it needed were a little more WD40 and a special technique I’d been told works every time. So, when everyone was out (that’s important) I started looking for a real heavy thing (I know, a pink metal box full of book stuff what weighs 10 kg will do because it’s so big & bulky it couldn’t possibly slip thru the gap and hit me on the bonce) which would be wedged on the top of the sink and would stop the darned tap turning on itself, in fact would lock it and then I’d be under the sink (?) with me trusty basin wrench and Bob’s yer uncle man!

a sink stp

I don’t quite understand why I needed to be under the sink, maybe it were becos a friend had loaned me a torch so I could look up and see the nut as I wrenched it and of course the pink metal box would be too big & bulky to slip thru the gap.

a sink stp fr below

So there I were under the sink trying to turn the wench and taking the precaution to look up to ensure the pink box hadn’t slipped and tried to squeeze thru the impossible gap and then I thought I need to get a metal bar to get more torque on the wrench wench and I were about to git up an gerrit and almighty crash and pink box full of Shrewd Idiot stuff came crashing onto ma heed. Luckily, cos I done karate and have a strong nose like my dad I fended it off with me arm and let ma nose take most of the blow. Then I waited, to see if I was still alive, yes, good for that first test, are you unconscious? No I think am conscious because I can see the blood. The blood which is bursting out of my nose and running onto the mat at the base of the sink and the pink box is still on me head, bloody hell that’s heavy, why didn’t I find summat lighter like a few bricks?

ma dosey nose

Now am in trouble, her indoors is sure to notice ma dose is bigger and has a big old scar on it and can I get the blodd off of the carpet and look there’s some on me pink box, has it damaged ma manuscrips? which I don’t really need, so why don’t yu throw em away ya tart! Well am keeping them in case I need em int’ future like.

So I can see the headlines now, “Artist’s Book kills Author Artisbloke” and ‘PK once known as The Shrewd Idiot has been confirmed as just, The Idjet after being knocked into Kingdom Come by the book he had gently nurtured for over forty years. He tweeted from Kingdom Come, ‘If that’s the way the tome repays all my care and intention then I won’t ever spend forty years on a book again, never never no not ever’.

Watch out for me on the BBC Breakfast show on BBC TV! Well everyone who brings out a book, a cd, a tour etc gets allowed on it don’t they, and on the One Show, so expec to see me there too. One week it’s that lad what dives from the high boards (Tom Daily) doing a cookery book then it’s  that bloke wit the big old beard (Raggy Boney Men) what’s only Human and today it were Gary Brooker frum Procul Harem on Steve Wright in th’aftermoon! and now it’s my turn. I’m nearly human Afterall…or is that Afterthought?

 

my caricatures old & Knew

crumps-hairflying
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?

apulscreem-2017-nix-mao-sm
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

D. McKean is D. Best!

In the past two weeks I have been to the Imperial War Museum and the House of Illustration in London to watch Simon Armitage then David McKean talk about and show their respective works on WW1 respectively. Armitage in his poem referenced Virgil’s use of the bees and it made me think, ‘Yes, tings like bees would continue to try to survive despite human folly’.

McKean was altogether more comprehensive in his use of insects and birds in his INCREDIBLE graphic-novel-BOOK called Black Dog inspired by the First ‘World’ War and work of Paul Nash. I shall dedicate a full blArt on DMcK later when I have had time to digest all he said and created in the book alongside some great photos of his face and limbs moving thru the discussion of his work.

I must offer that Black Dog by Dave McKean is, for me, the best! It’s such a powerful piece, incorporating such hugh delicacy, that I feel as if I am in the company of a giant in his field who makes the BFG seem tiny. I have had long-standing admiration for the Underground comic art of Rick Griffin since the 1970s but this Black Dog has stolen his place at the top of my thinking. Here’s my rendition of D Mc in a drawing I did of him then played with in PShop.

DMc is D Best image-man
So, here’s me playing with a drawing I done of DMcK at the House of Illustriousness

I am busy working the photos I took into a series of ‘portraits’ which I shall add words I wrote taken from what ‘Dave’ was saying and hope it gives a graphic story of the evening worth looking at. Here’s another image I have worked up. At some time I shall print them off and work into them with other media like pen and paint, but meanwhile this is done in photoshop where I still haven’t worked out how to draw with the natural flair which comes with my years of crafting my turn of hand.

I must tank DMcK fer allowin me to tek snaps and do ma skitches too whilst he tried to consecrate on his words & tings. Here he is troyin to concentrated milk:

d mac + mi werdz
The chance to carve imagery out of the great image carver was amazing for me

Now for someting com-peterly diffrunt:

Latest update on my Shrewd Idiot book:

I have now completed the layouts of my Shrewd Idiot book and in the good feeling that has dawned as a result of the culmination of what amounts to 40 years work I have been self-reflecting. My printman says he can give it his attention come august 22nd which gives me a bit of time to dig out about 40-50 images I am going to add to it in colour, the bulk of it is B&W wid justa modicum of red, on drafting film which wiil add both the images and a palimpsest [The noun palimpsest originally described a document, such as a page from a manuscript written on parchment, that had been rubbed smooth so it could be used again, with traces of the original writing showing through. The word still carries that meaning, but ancient manuscripts are rare these days, so you’re more likely to hear palimpsest used to describe something that has traces of early stages showing through…Vocabulary.com, which seems appropriate for my SI pages in which I am re-using (scans of) typed pages from my 1978 manuscript along with handwritten additions and alterations and a few comments from the older me what is now. In fact only a Stupid Idiot like what I am would bother to ‘publish’ the work in the way I have laid it out. It has indeed been a very arduous process in which I scanned the typing, then cleaned up every page so the cut & paste line didn’t show and dropped in copies of the drawings I used to do in my ‘notes’. It would have been infinitely easier to have had the whole of the words re-typed digitally and then worked into a new layout but I had to suffer for my art! Trouble is it’ll also make the potential reader/buyer suffer too and many will be put off by its form. I have chosen to ignore all those considerations, I’ve always been stubborn with an inbuilt determination to make things hard for myself, in the name of ‘authenticity’. I should really heed the words of Walter Matthieu (born Matuchanskayasky on October 1, 1920, in New York City to impoverished Russian-Jewish immigrants) in one of his final films, Kotch(er) 1971, where he says that sometimes it’s best not to be so honest and that honesty can be and is sometimes too brutal, but, I never learn do I?….Do I ? On the contrary, I am learning all the time; I take things into consideration then eject them for my better plan, which more often than not seems foolhardy, hence the Shrewd Idiot! I am hoping that the beautiful presentation of the book will invite scores of punters to pirchase it, yes that’s pirchase as in pirspire (try doing that without wordcheck killing it!). One of my heroes, Brian Clough, before the demon drink took his judgement, used the same strategy as me when he said he would

  1. listen to his player(s)’ points of view, then
  2. carry on and do what he intended to do before they expressed their differences of opinion.

Hero! He won the Euro-Cup twice with a load of  players most of whom had passed their sell by dates and a few greenhorns at Notts Forest. That was no fluke, Forest never did anything worthwhile after his demise.

So buy my buk you pirfec puntas cos I knows warramonabArt!

Postscript:

Choreographer Rosemary Butcher, who has died recently aged 69, once commented: “I’m not particularly interested in accessibility. Staying easy isn’t going to move anything.”

In 1965 the liberal arts college at Dartington, in Devon, launched a new theatre and dance studies course and she enrolled as its first dance student.

In 1968 she travelled to the US on a two-year scholarship and, studying at the schools of Martha Graham and Merce Cunningham, received a thorough immersion in the mainstream of American modern dance. But it was when she returned to New York and began working with members of the radical dance collective Judson Church that she found the aesthetic that inspired her own dance-making.

The Judson philosophy was encapsulated in the opening line of its manifesto “NO to spectacle, no to virtuosity … magic and make believe”. But, just as important to Butcher, the Judson choreographers were closely involved in the experimental strategies of new music, film and visual art, and it was within this crossover culture that she saw her own career taking shape, rather than in the world of pure dance. (Guardian 20 July 2016).

I was fortunate enough to attend a number of classes in the Martha Graham technique run by Molly Penn when I was looking for something to substitute for football at St Luke’s college in Exeter in the summer months of 1972. Molly accepted me in altho I was pretty damned useless. It did lead to her asking me to design the dance production of her take on Catulli Carmina wherein she used the same structure as the Black Mountain college had with 3 people doing the production; a artisbloke (me) a dance person Molly, and a music person whose name I forgits nah (Peter O’Brien you goofball). cf Rauschenburg/Merce Cunningham/John Cage. This event is chronicled in ma Shrewd Idiot buk and this will be one of the big images in it, innit!

cat car poster
my design for the poster created and screen-printed par moi in 1972