Category Archives: the shrewd idiot

Talking To The Moon.

a fulmoon 6sept17 4sm

There was a full moon tonight and I awoke at 2am to take some photos of our nearest neighbour, some may tink am a bit nutty?

You’re not going to believe this but I am already preparing for my Book Launch at Colchester Arts Centre (CAS) scheduled for November 5th 2017. Apart from my books and artworks being there I shall do some Performance Art (PA). I know the things I’d like to do and with the ambience and assistance at CAS I am certain that it’ll be the best venue so far where I’ve done my PA stuff. I shall use this Bruno Mars Talking To The Moon piece https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J9pXeziqdLc in my The Three Graces (see below).

However. Whatever I plan at the moment may change dramatically as I am about to go to Germany to spend time with my PA heroes Vest & Page (aka Verena & Andrea). This is a link to a trailer of their 2016 film, ‘Plantain’ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vS80Ki-T9bI   Their workshop is phenomenal like their work and I shall leave it a different Performance Artist to the one I am now. Hopefully a better one, of that I have little doubt. The last time I did PA in the company of V&P I poured wine over my head, I had pancake dough plopped on it too, leaves and grass all over my body and the gathered onlookers were laughing at my antics which, I must warn you, only encourages me to do more!

pete & jamiephoto ©jurgen fritz 2015

For those of you who need to know more about what PA is I can say that it is whatever the PA artist decides it is (Jurgen Fritz said in 2015, “Pete does what Pete does and that is what it is.”). PA can be very short, just a few minutes or very long, several days non-stop which is called ‘durational’ [or endurance, for the person doing PA and the potential audience]. You won’t have to ‘endure’ mine as am only planning on 3 pieces each about 15 minutes long.

The link below will show you some very differing PA pieces with a go at describing the form that is PA in the first para. :

http://www.complex.com/style/2013/04/the-25-best-performance-art-pieces-of-all-time/pandrogeny Two of my favourites are Oskar Schlemmer and Laurie Anderson.

There are ‘purists’ who tend to prefer not to use music, dance, or spoken word and like to do intense, mysterious-meaningful actions which may be about political or ethical issues. I am not a purist. I like to use music, dance, spoken word and changes of garb. I like to tell stories through movement & masks in my PA, stories about myself and the state of the world as I find it now and how it was when I moved through the years I have lived. Not a lot has changed over the years, the rich get richer and the rest of us just have to muddle on doing the best we can. I need faith hope & love to carry on pushing creative outcomes which make people think and maybe even entertain for as long as I am able, I am just so fortunate to be able. Ability takes years to accumulate and it can disappear in the blink of an eye so I make as much use of my time as I can.

a smsi cova wordsThis is a cover I designed but did not use for the book.

So, at the moment the stories I shall focus on will be taken from the book I have just published called The Shrewd Idiot. I knew the idiot well and I feel for his inability to get things right in his life. At the time portrayed in the book (1969-73) he didn’t know his ass from his twits. He was in fact a very lucky man with many friends and some were very close to him yet he often went out searching for more. One thing I know now, after all these, was that he rarely felt or showed any sense of being ‘worthy’. He didn’t comport himself with the pride and feeling of value that many of his achievements warranted.  Once he had achieved some good accomplishment he never rested on his laurels, he moved immediately on, to the next challenge.

When it came to his relationships with women, like many men, the one he was with was rarely the one he wanted to stay with and he was always looking for a better model. The idiot never understood that ‘a bird on the handle is worth two in the brush’ or summat like that. So, in almost all he did, and he did a lot, he was never satisfied. And one reason he couldn’t get his head together and think straight was cos he spent a lot of his evenings under the influence of alcoholic beverage. “Pissed all th’time”, some were heard to say when asked about his state of mind.

His drinking sprees will not be the subject of the PA, but his relations with women are in a piece called The Three Graces (about the 3 women he actually liked to be with…most of the time). Between 1969 and 1973 the idiot had relations of quite intense quality with 3 young women (these didn’t overlap…much) but lost all 3 because of his inability to show commitment. Actually he could commit. He committed to being Social Secretary at college, to playing football for the 3rd eleven at college and to ‘making art’ but that didn’t help his relationships in fact it very much undermined them. So The Three Graces is about the idiot’s feelings of loss after they had all wandered away from him.

Sounds really sad dunnit? But no, it was not only sad, it was uplifting, the idiot had to look at what he did and change for the better, which he did but it took decades and the help of a good woman to bring him through to a better place. Her identity is not evident in The Three Graces PA, but she was there for him as he managed to settle down, have a family and eventually stop savouring the evil brew.

The idiot eventually did be shrewd and now he has published some memoirs. And the whole idea of the book launch is to encourage folks to purchase them in the form of a beautifully composed book. There’s two or three to choose from at varying prices, but you’ll get to see them on November 5th.

asus update sm

Have been having trouble with my Asus pad of late. The touch screen has been playing up. It was needing to be re-started several times before the touch worked. The solution offered from ‘help’ made it worse after a factory re-set (and installing a system update din’t help) so it was deemed that it must be a hardware fault BUT it appears that this is a well known problem with these units. I googled the problem and found many people are experiencing same. I think they should overcome the issue with a downloadable mend-patch as it seems to be very common. Mine will work if I do a reboot instead of a normal entry but that’s not the most reliable way to operate, is it. If anyone out there knows a good solution let me know please. Once the touchscreen works the pad’s very good.

Finally watch some incredible movement here:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9ms7MGs2Nh8 a Swiss man doing butoh PA in Japan

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Inside This Earthen Book-Box Part 2

ITEB 2

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.]

1 isev buk box closed sm

The book-box is circa A2 in size & about 25mm in depth.

It is a ‘unique object’ which has the same cover design & material as the bound book version of ISEV, see ITEB1 in https://apulhed.wordpress.com/2017/07/09/inside-this-earthen-book-box-1/ .

1 isev buk box with open contents sm

Inside my ‘book box’ are lots of goodies.

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.

1 isev buk box + 2 etchings sm

Here you can see the Jung & the Silesi etchings which are printed in sepia colour and have a tilted diamond shape.

1 isev buk box +sm isev sm

here is the PK version of ISEV resting on the DJ one, with a colour photo of one of his chases.

1 isev buk box sma closer view of David’s chase for the Silesi letterpress print

1 isev buk box +sm isev smthe other photo (we only recorded two) of the Beuys’ print chase. All six chases were dissed on completion of the set of prints.

1 isev buk box just open smAll wrapped in ribbon with DJ’s folder full of letterpress prints at the back

2 'Leaf Books' in isev buk box smFinally.

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.

G BATCH=*

Giorgi Ivanovitch Gurdzhiev

Beuys Joseph

Angeli Silesii

Tenzin Gyatso

Carl Gustav Jung

Hermann Hesse.

g batch vase sm

Explain The Shrewd Idiot

Who is a The SI logo  ?

Why is it The Shrewd Idiot?

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 IdjetL 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 a just SI logo because those are the kinda thoughts he notes down throughout the book(s) named after him!

a1-buk

Apul-One (original cover A5)

My old Burnley secondary school friend John Walton told me after he had read apul001 logo 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.

A4 SI front cover sm

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!

pete self P veriveri best veri sm
I painted this Self Portrait in 1968 when it was exhibited in the local Burnley Artists Annual show. The local Burnley Express hailed me as a good colourist. This image features in the book.

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”.

a The SI logo 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 a The SI logo 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 apul001 logo 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.

a screem31
an early oil painting of Apulhed

Everyting cums to hee hee what waits! a pk logo yello

Bath Spa ‘Beyond Words’

‘Making Beyond Words’ Symposium at Corsham Court 16-17th June 2017

kayla rose

Dr. Kayla Rose said, “I want to take this opportunity to thank everyone for their participation at Making Beyond Words at Corsham Court [Bath Spa University] this past weekend. It was a great day for us, with an incredibly high standard of work from our speakers and exhibitors, as well as fantastic engagement from all who attended.

Creativity and collaboration are at the heart of what we do here and we are inspired by your passion for word, image and concrete poetry.” and

“Thanks to Michael Pennie, who, along with Fiona Cassidy, put together an absolutely fabulous exhibition.”

a programme

I loved the wonderful programme booklet designed so exquisitely by Matthew Robertson & beautifully printed by Ripe Digital. I adore the way the numbers have been placed on pages, will use that in ma work one day. I love the black, grey and orange used to print the words and the layout with all the white space. Quite simply, it’s beautifully designed.

It set the scene as John Strachan opened the symposium and Stephen Bann delivered the Keynote lecture on the late Ian Hamilton Finlay’s work in Concrete poetry and other forms. https://www.theguardian.com/books/2012/nov/16/ian-hamilton-finlay-concrete-poetry

The following day was full of good talks, the great exhibition in which was my poem cycle ‘Inside This Earthen Vessel’ letterpress printed by David Jury and referred to in the programme by Michael Pennie amongst ‘the other treasures’, [thanks Michael, and Josie Reed and Fiona Cassidy for the hanging with the lovely cover page looking like a nose!]

isev at corsham court 2 sm

Our prints were hung alongside some of the ‘greats’ in the field including Dom Silvester Houedard, ‘…the leading theorist of the concrete poetry movement’ and b s johnson, what an honour.

a houedard + basho sm

 Now let my photos take you through the days;

 charles vereyCharles Verey

Who is working towards a biography about Dom Silvester Houedard (aka DSH) did the first talk and began to fill in my missing knowledge about the man who said

‘a poet is someone…

whose art matter is LANGUAGE…

communication by the ‘langue’

the tongue…

by any means WHATSOEVER.’

[Which would by corollary include spoken word or even sound, like the sound poems of Henry Chopin & Kurt Schwitters. /sonic experiments like http://avant.org/artifact/liz-phillips/%5D

viv

Viviane Carvalho da Annunciacao talked about the work of  The Noigandres group in Brazil and its relations with Scottish poetartists like Ian Hamilton Finlay & Edwin Morgan. [The Noigandres group, which takes its name from a neologism* found in an Ezra Pound poem, was formed in 1952 by the Sao Paolo poets Haroldo de Campos, Augusto de Campos, and Décio Pignitari. * a newly coined word or expression.]

nicola simpson (4)

Nicola Simpson

Talked about Houedard’s collaboration with students at Bath Spa uni. On how she has found some of the beautiful work done back then tucked away in people’s garages.

mitch

Tim (Mitch) Fletcher

I had a nice chat with ‘Mitch’ before he spoke and it turns out he values the work of Henri Chopin https://www.theguardian.com/books/2008/feb/05/poetry.culture    whose work was beautifully displayed at Firstsite in Colchester some years ago. Mitch thought that Ingatestone is out in the sticks like Camulodunum but I informed him that no it’s a Ingatestone’s throw frae Londinium.

He gave a great intro to the work of the much missed at this symposium John Furnival which has come not a moment too late to flag up the need to rescue so much of the work done by the early practitioners in Concrete poetry and related media.

Whilst Chopin was creating his merveilleux (marvelous) Typewriter poems (also known as dactylopoèmes) Furnival & Davies were making ‘Feelie Boxes’ which are kinda scary cos they put stuff in boxes into which you couldn’t see but were asked to place your hands to discover ‘things’ with differing surface texture. There was nought sinister about em, they were in fact reminiscent of surrealist boxes like those of Max Ernst and Joseph Cornell (who died in 1972). Furnival & Davies also collaborated on electro-acoooustic music and unusual score-sheets after the style of John Cage.

My immediate feeling for music of any kind is that I love to hear much of it but am no ‘player’, however Cage mage it possible for anyone to ‘make music’. [Did you know that Velvet Underground’s John Cale spent time working for/with Cage?]

I missed the Roundtable discussion because I exercised my right to go out for walkies to a second hand shop I saw the night before and I bought a beautiful Corgi toy car model of the Vanwall racer http://www.grandprixhistory.org/vanwall.htm which Stirling Moss drove in when I were a youngster. As I walked down the road I thought to myself that exercising this privilege was not my habit in my college and school days, but I wished I had, then I may have missed many a boring lecture some of which are mentioned in my new A4 Shrewd Idiot book which is about my student days from 1969-73 exactly coinciding with much of the early work discussed and treasured by this symposium. I was touched, nay tainted, by many of the influences that the early concrete poets were looking to. [I had to mention it (A4SI) didn’t I, cos I can! Much more about it in ma next blArt. Like Neil Young, “I’m still living the dream we had, for me it’s not over.”]

Leandro Maia

Did a great talk assisted by his own song and constant movement about the influence of Concrete Poetry on popular Brazilian song. I loved his solo rendition of Palavra Nao e Coisa. I took a copy (which am yet to pay for, it’s very good, am hearing it for the first time right now, then I’ll get in contact with Leandro to settle up) of his Palavreio cd on which he shows his virtuoso skills on instruments, voice and electronics. I’d like to get access to those footpedals he uses, one records it live the other puts it on repeat and projects the sound…wow, let me get my hands on one of them!

leandro Maia gear tiny

I’m afraid I am going to flash thru the last couple of talks as my time has run out.

mike collier

Conor Wilson

Did an interesting talk on how the maker & audience might become an object among objects…’ and how his poem, A Game of JUG is influenced by the image-text-ground playing field of concrete.

conor wilson

Mike Collier

Did a talk on how he walks the ‘urban Edgelands’ and has created WALK-‘Walking, Art, Landskip & Knowledge’

tom clark

Tom Clark

Gave us more info about subtle use of positioning words & white space on pages of books to create different interpretations.

As I had a heads up from John Strachan that Tom Clark (Thomas A. Clark * http://www.scottishpoetrylibrary.org.uk/poetry/poets/thomas-clark ) is ‘one of the best’ I took notes during his talk.

He began showing a fairly traditionally layed out poem with ‘default set at left margin justified’

‘writing is a fluid ongoing activity, making is a static process’

He shows a four line poem, ‘distributed or constellated in space which can enter intimately into the whole sense of the poem’, then he shows ‘extensions of the stanza break(s)’ with ‘space & Time for perception’ where ‘the (white) space is of value’. So we see two double page spreads with the firsthaving a blank page left and the four line verse top of the right hand page, then the second spread having (say) a six line verse to left and a 3 line verse to right side.

He then showed a book with a poem in which comprised double spreads with just one word to right hand page, ‘flowing’ and the poem was about a river which flows, indicated by one word every other page.

“My (Moschatel) Press has been an investigation into presentation as an aspect of form.  A book is as a glade, a bright space in a forest.” He mentions his publishing of post card(poem)s. Talks of the no need to ‘Blow a whole poem up big on a wall’ Because, ‘You only misunderstand the opportunity…No…Only use small texts’. I think he means that postcard size is just as, maybe more, powerful than making BIG for the sake of it, just because you can.

http://thomasaclarkblog.blogspot.co.uk/

“In 1973, with the artist Laurie Clark, he started Moschatel Press. At first a vehicle for small publications by Ian Hamilton Finlay, Cid Corman, Jonathan Williams, Simon Cutts and others, it soon developed into a means of formal investigation within his own poetry, treating the book as imaginative space, the page as a framing device or as quiet around an image or a phrase, the turning of pages as revelation or delay.

From 1986, Laurie and Thomas A Clark have run Cairn Gallery, one of the earliest of ‘artist-run spaces’” Scottish Poetry Library.

christina slade2

Then John Strachan invited Christina Slade to close proceedings and we had to scarper the premises so that the peacocks could return to their peaceful haven uninterrupted.

a trampled liceSadly this ancient resident was trampled underfoot in the haste to leave.

m pennie + fiona cassidy maybe

(Photo of Michael Pennie & Fiona Cassidy is not mine I am grateful to the Net for it.)

Michael Pennie

Altho Michael Pennie did not speak from the front he spoke eloquently in his selection of the works on display in the beautiful exhibition [which must be the shortest lifespan of any I have ever witnessed (about 2 hours)] and which Fiona so ably assisted with the hanging.

I was so happy to see David’s wonderful letterpress prints referred to in Michael’s note in the programme as one of the treasures. He also made very affirming noises about the bound copy of the prints which I was showing Josie Reed. Thanks Michael, and Josie for suggesting our work to him.

Finally- During one of the morning talks I saw a slide which showed some old letterpress prints in which the maker in attempting to illustrate how the ‘sublime god displaces man(kind)’ using ‘disorientating typographical design’ had created a diagonal dagger like shape in a piece about, ‘the panther profecy’ (his spellin). I saw an incredible affinity between that print and the one David Jury had done of my Beuys Poem in our collaboration, Inside This Earthen Vessel.

dj's diagonal2David created the diagonal on his set up using a metal rod and he sawed the wooden letter in two to add to the concept of the jug being split asunder as it hits the floor a direct comparison with Beuys’ alleged crash. I was happy to see Josie Reed also noticed in the same panther page a synchronistic link to my Earthen Vessel analogy in the words ‘a Potter’s wheel’ printed some 100 years ago.

peacock majestic

And thanks to my long standing friends Gus & Linda Fraser for once again giving me a place to stay so I could attend this wonderful event.

IF you are in the Colchester area this Friday 30th June come and  join us at Firstsite gallery at 7.15 pm. I shall be reading a new poem based on my Appleheadman Sees screenprints from 1972. You’ll see that not much has changed, same old same old song of woe song of innocence song of hope.http://www.firstsite.uk/whats-on/reading-music-evening-educaid-sierra-leone/

apulscreem 2017 cover sm

A Dream of Journeys

a pete in hood

In the night I dreamt I was on a journey. I often have dreams of journeys, often a repeat dream where I am heading south to Exeter (I spent 4 years at college there 1969-73) but often I have nowhere to stay, often there’s a feeling of strandedness. In my lived life I sometimes did get stranded with no accommodation for a night or the beginning of a term. But these dreams are more than that; they’re a lifetime concern, a hope that we won’t ever get stranded (like refugees do). That must be one of a human being’s (I prefer my © words for ’em – Ubeen’s or Ubeings*) worst worries, to be stranded at all but even worse for long, indefinite periods.

*You see what I mean is, a Ubeen connotes that you have had a life, you been there and done it etc. a Ubeing is a you being alive Now! You being here, you being around and about. You being a witness etc.

Let’s make that official; ‘Ubeens’ & ‘Ubeings©Pete Kennedy 2017

There’s another dream repeats itself where am walking on country paths around a town which can sometimes be seen down below, sometimes the path gets clogged up, so much so it’s impassable. A feeling of lostness, permanently searching apparently fruitlessly, or with little hope of ‘finding’ the undeclared object of my search. And isn’t that a lot like life itself?

Life is like a dream anyway isn’t it?

9780950426730 sm

I have almost completed the A4 version of my Shrewd Idiot book, completed the refreshed layout and final edit and additional little bits that crop up, “Oh yeh, it’d be nice to include/exclude that this time”. It’s a story about someone who went to spend 4 years at college in Exeter between 1969-73, but the person in the book isn’t me, he does lots of things I would never dream of doing! There’s little additional comments added to the 1970’s text which may be me, the 66 years old fella, but the 19-23 year old in the story isn’t me. He had hair for one thing (or millions of things if you care to count them). He was rather footloose and fancy free and certainly not steady in his relationships, well that’s not me, is it!

9780950426730 back + spine sm

The back cover has some words from inside the book, shows me in all my uncertainty, prone to the wafting winds. BUT. The book chronicles my ‘growing up’ from a just left school 6th former to a qualified teacher with a honors degree. I know that sounds like the story of millions but believe me mine is not quite the same as all the rest. The book is not a reminiscences thing, no, it were written at the time, several times. I handwrote the first recording of my experiences between 1969-73 (tho not many are actually retold) in exercise books and scraps o paper. It’s NOT blow by blow accounts of day to day happening, the writing was heavily influenced by the likes of Sartre (Nausea), Henry Miller (NOT Artur!) and not his Tropics so much as his later more reflective philosophical writing, Joyce (I did read, if that’s what you can call going thru Fin Er Gain’s Waits and it DID have a massive effect on me. All of my altered spellin probli began with Fint Eee Gaga Awoke), Robert Walser and Albert Camus (Myth of Sysyphus).

The story is not crafted in the way a normal novel might be. The storyline is mostly chronological with occasional flashbacks. The whole book is propelled by copious images of many different sizes. In some ways the images are the ‘Shrewd’ part although one of the characters that I ‘invented’ may take the biscuit for the shrewdest of em all. The (anti-rather-chauvinistic) hero shows himself up to be rather less shrewd. Even to the extent that once he belatedly began to work his trade he didn’t realise that even labouring away 18 hours 24 seven wouldn’t get him his objective, his reputation had gone before him so in the end there could only be sadness. But he never even realised that as he ploughed on thru his days. And thru his various manuscripts of this book.

In 1976 he left his teaching job to be a artisbloke. Disaster. He did write longhand The Shrewd Iriot and took it to be typed by Jill (poor girl, it must have been hell). Then he tried various publishers with some degree of success which is chronicled in the Appendicitis at the bach. Then he hid it away pulled it out in the 80’s and added some hand-notes and re-put it away til in 2015 he decided to spend 3 months making it into a book. 2 ¼ years later, now, it’s complete and ready to be bound. On sale at £45 per copy on July 1st 2017, that’s when as kids our holiday began in Burnley. I should be able to retire on the proceeds of the sales, NOT, as am only printing 50 copies.

Below is a page from the book, it’s published like a typescript manuscript, cos that’s what it is. Am still looking for a big publisher, d’ya know of any?

Layout 1

Memoir

Why are we here?

To make a mark?

To make our mark?

To leave a trace?

 

A pretty face

Or

A Ugli face

 

My Celtic name is O’Ceinedegh

It means ‘Uglyhead’ you see.

 

My face has changed

It’s not what it used to be

It’s not young any more

It’s Old errrr

Now

Am even uglier than before

 

Age has taught me that

What you see is not all there is to

See

When you look at an old person

You see their age of course

What you don’t see

Is their whole life story

 

That old bloke

Was once a handsome child

A red blooded lad

A constant dad

 

You cannot see the life what he had

The joy that he saw

His merry go round

The life he see saw

 

Young (wo)man

Take a look at me now

I was once a lot more

But I’m not sore

 

And one great consolation

Is the wisdom from my days

Shrewdness took a long time to kick in

Now

Like the whiskers on me chin

It’s come right in

On time.

3 sculptors & me

A visit to a Giacometti and a Paolozzi show + Beuys book.

 

I was fortunate not to miss the Paolozzi (Paolo) exhibition at Whitechapel twice http://www.whitechapelgallery.org/exhibitions/eduardo-paolozzi/ because it was tremendous. Whilst in the bookshop there I succumbed to buy a book on Beuys which kind of added to the sculpture sweep because I also went on to the Giacometti (Giaco) at Tate Modern http://www.tate.org.uk/whats-on/tate-modern/exhibition/giacometti  which is even better but the two are linked because Paolo would undoubtedly have been aware of and influenced by Giaco’s incredible works. Each of the 3 artists I mention gives a perspective to ‘art’ worth considering and the 3 together for me give a broad vista of possible approaches which for sure inspire me a lot.

To me Giaco’s art is as pure as the snow that surrounds his home in Switzerland, his was a dedication to an ancient method, he worked and reworked his materials and models ad infinitum. Paolo also worked his materials and added new exciting dimensions to sculpture after he stopped merely mimicking Picasso et al. and of course the ex-Luftwaffe Beuy extended the possible materials and contexts in which we can work.

Personally I need no more than these three and I am inspired for the rest of my days.

  1. Giaco reminds me of my first aim when I decided to become an artist which was to perfect my abilities in paint, print & sculpture. Before I left school I had been taught by David Wild about the Slade school’s techniques of drawing in paint pioneered by Coldstream and also shown ways of applying paint to draw a model from life in a lively way influenced by David’s hero Paul Cezanne. My heroes at the time were Van Gogh & Matisse whose colour and flat fields infiltrated my own work which rapidly headed off into Expressionism in Kokoshka, Munch, Soutine, Otto Dix etc. but I had been schooled in the need to ‘draw’ and I drew by doing loose loose line and mark and colour then pulling it in like reigning a wild horse to regain control then off again on the rampage til pulling it back again. This led me to producing work some compared with Auerbach but I had never heard of him yet I had been influenced by his teacher Bomberg and a man called Haagensen. And of course Feliks Topolski.

Now if you take the last 3 and then look at Giaco’s works you will see why I consider him to be a painting master. He pulled the paint around as if it were clay and his move into 3D work was an organic shift where he merely continued to do in clay that which he was so adept in when painting- creating work which existed in the moment yet lasted forever.

  1. Paolo went to visit artists like Giacometti & Brancusi on his trips to Paris. Having met the likes of Topolski and Josef Herman myself I know first-hand how the older master can inspire confidence and point tward future potentials with just a few words. Paolo would have seen the collage work of the Dadaists, particularly Schwitters and Ernst which he picked up on and took into his graphic & sculptural works. The screenprints from the 1970s on display at Whitechapel gave me an opportunity to see first hand prints which had inspired me during my own student days. The prints which quote Wittgenstein were a logical conclusion of his cut and paste of 1950s comics & mags but altogether more sophisticated. Although I was rather limited by the rank facilities at my (teachers training) college and could not aspire to doing 20-30 colour pulls I did add silver & gold to my ink colour spectrum on my Henley series, which was also influenced by Richard Hamilton & Barnett Newman.

henli black silver sm

Altho I liked his robot like found object sculpture of the 1960s it was his later portrait heads that really blew me away. I loved the way he cut and pasted in 3D using parts of heads and jutting other shapes into them.

3 heads sm

Image taken at Whitechapel show

His figures take on a presence similar to those of Giacos.

a wite fig sm

Image taken at Whitechapel show

  1. I bought Claudia Mesch’s book about Joseph Beuys which is filling in lots of gaps in my knowledge about him. I love the way Paolo pushed the boundaries but Beuys went even further. Watch out because now my Shrewd Idiot series is about complete and ready for sales I feel the urge to return to my physical making of 3D objects. Starting with some reworkings of my head of my late father.a v gud bird an full jak sm

 

 

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…

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