Tag Archives: art History Apulhedman

Twinkle Toes Walker goes Walken

Chris-Walken

Watch this GREAT dance by Christopher Walken https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M6ta5Y3xAhk

“I tink OI’ll do dat dance misen.”

step dancer2

And here’s me old mate Duncan Walker mimicking him.

Twinkle Toes Walker does a Walken.

a tinker sm

Then advises me,

“Nah then lad, tha’s gottu git thar olde buk owt.”

OK 19.4.16

So we all experience self-doubt and of course as I work thru the final prep of the final version for print of the SI sometimes I wonder if it’s worth continuing? My old pal IEPWoolard says, “Yes, you have to Pete”. Another friend, whose opinion I take very highly, talks of the ‘yes to carry on’ but also the need to make sure that when copies are ‘thesis-bound’ that there is also some stitching along the bound end to preserve it for not just 20 years but for 100 years plus when, ‘It’ll be of even more interest (because of its context)’. That’s not to say he’s saying my ‘writing’ is of a great importance, no, it’s the statement/evidence that the work brings with it of a time, a time in the early 1970’s. Now, that time is already gone, it’s history and my ‘book’ is (further evidence) of life then.

19.04.2016

I had a nice little fillip today when a member of the staff at Firstsite said of my Outlaw Pete gig, ‘It was an out of body experience.’ She had not watched my whole gig. Said what she saw was very strange. I retorted, ‘That’s good cos I never want to be perceived as ‘normal’.’

20th April 2016

I just laid page 70 into my Quark* layout for my ‘Shrewd Idiot’ (SI) buk. It happens to be 3 drawings I done back in 1971 (December) of the character I had realised that I had just ‘invented/created’ AppleHeadedMan aka Apulhed. Well in fact two of ‘him’ and one of PearHeadedWoman. The sketches fit nicely over the two pages of the SI manuscript which lay over one page of the new version. There’s lots of different links there, including the visual link of the two intersecting on the page. In fact I never again drew Pearheadgirl, never ever even to today, which is fascinating, cos Applehead could have had a constant ‘fruity’ companion thru the past 40 years. In fact in the notes on that same page I am forlornly saying that my then erstwhile girl-friend was not replying to my letters and that when we were to meet up again, as planned around my 21st birthday, it would only be ‘as friends (not lovers)’. In fact we never were to meet up again, not so far anyway. Maybe the slipping away of Pearheadgirl is a living analogy of that aspect or sequence of things which happened then did not happen in my life? [An analogy is ‘a form of reasoning in which one thing is inferred to be similar to another thing in a certain respect, on the basis of the known similarity between the things in other respects’.] The disappearance of Pearheadgirl is synonymous with the non-re-appearance of ‘Rose’ in ma life.

Quark* is one of the two big packages which offer design strategies for print layout. Although I found them difficult to make contact with I went up to their address in London and did find a human being who was very helpful. So much so I have decided to stay with them and move to their new ‘2016’ version despite the fact that my printman’s company uses a rival design package, which will cause some difficulties because one system is not compatible with the other. I am relatively unschooled in ‘graphic-design’ and have a lot to learn but I always did find ‘learning on the job’ my preferred route to skills and knowledge. Creating this new version of my SI buk is arduous, mostly because I insist on using scans of typed script from the 1980’s manuscript when re-typing it into a modern digi-form would be much much easier. All my life I tended to do things the hard way, as my SI buk still shows. Its form & content show an idiot (idjet) at work but he end result he knows will be, well let’s just say, very different. And ‘all me own original werk’.

The Way I Tell ’em!

The Way You Do The Things You Do.

03.45hrs 28.3.2016

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).

SI littul buks

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…

S I title an image
my 1980’s design for the cover.

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.

A1 bakover
Back cover of Apul-One, little has changed since.

Now the words I created years ago have become images. Most of the book is made up of images of the typescript 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.

just jimi sm
Oil I did of Jimi.

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.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A11RUploW6g

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

And ere’s a littul poym fer yor kerlecshun:

 

I’ve always bin abit diffrunt.

I was always out of the norm(-an-wisdom).

I meyd sure o dat

All wheys.

 

An now am sixty fibre

And I steal got no-wur man

Still at th’botham off the heath

Anni dinna care

 

No matta worri dun

Dint seam to werk

Always told me

That I wer a burke

 

Never not no gudenuf

To brake doon the gardenia

To redibrek the camel hea

Always keept on nokkin…anni cunt cum in

 

e e cummons came and wint

I surely did ma stint

I paved me clues

And I never tuched Dora

 

I wiz der runt

Of za litter azure

Like me ole whaka

Kennet Patcha

 

(hey thet rymed and thus not allured

D’y meen allowed?

No am never a loud

Man)

 

Ex hippie-pete, ‘It’s the way ah tell ‘em’.

 

This blog is ©pete kennedy 2016 (Nobody else would admit to creating the tripe on it any old how!)

Yes Am luckier than I thought

Building up to my next book NewSI.

pk as si smThe Shrewd Idjet c. 1979

This book is about those heady days when the creator of Big ‘Ead (at junior school age 10)

big ed 1st frame 1960Big ‘Ead drawn in year 5 at Tod Road primary school

and dreamed up Apple-Head-Man (in Bournemouth aged 20)

ahed burnley surfer

and whose Celtic name meant Ugly Head odork sheriffwent to college from his 18th to his 22nd year in the very early 1970’s. He began in the 3rd class carriage and by his graduation had scurried into the 2nd class seats. As he watched his fellow travellers he realised that despite his best efforts he was still a complete idiot, so that’s what we’ll call this first part of The New Shrewd Idiot which is going to be released in a series of short sections.

(*I may even call it An Altered Shrewd Idiot ?)

I saw a film the other day o boy, the film being A Pigeon Sat on a Branch Reflecting on Existence which is about two men who spent their lives going round selling crap artefacts like rubber masks of a one-toothed man. I see this as a parallel to my going around trying to foist the world with an Apple-Headed mask to the sound of the Doors song,

Life is strange when you’re alone

When you’re strange

Faces come out in the rain

When you’re strange

No one remembers your name

People are strange when you’re a stranger

Faces look ugly when you’re alone

When you’re alone

Women seem wicked

When you go walking

You’re unwanted

Streets are alive when you’re alone.

It was interesting talking with Saradha Soobrayen in the Poetry Library at South Bank this weekend and she has this idea about ‘The Long Poem’ which is not a long poem like say Hiawatha but more a lifetime’s effort on the part of the poet, to find the voice and realise the potential. My NewSI ‘book’ is such an effort. It began at the beginning of my self-writing and continued throughout the next forty odd years as I wrote and learned about writers & writing. The resulting work, which is still in process, will be the long poem in the way Saradha is thinking, I think. I am excited by the possibilities. I just need to discipline myself and put them together for real rather than just in my mind’s eye.

And the long poem also includes the artworks and the ‘performances’. They add to the words with a moving feast, oh yes and the dance, which adds the moving feet. I dance because I still can. I LOVE those old films of those ancient blues dancers doing the soft shoe shuffle which prove to me we should shuffle as long as we can. Life is a dance which the words, images and ideas just feed. Two perfect examples of this ‘long-poem’ are the life works of Patti Smith and Leonard Cohen.

And I saw the big show of Joseph Cornell’s work. Cornell influenced a lot of ‘artist’s book’ makers in recent years was himself influenced, like me, by key dada artists like Max Ernst who I believe to have been a greater creative thinker and practitioner than the much vaunted Marcel Duchamp. Another big influential European who taught in the States Moholy-Nagy did his early creative experiments in poetry rather than the visual arts which flags up the cross fertilisation between the arts, so much so that I now see that my own writing, painting, drawing and printing along with performance events are interlocked for the past 40 odd years. Like Moholy-Nagy I was effected by ‘Dada’s irreverence which aimed to offend middle-class notions of good taste which taught Moholy-Nagy [and moi] to refuse to accept the limitations of the traditional definitions of art’.

And my ‘art’ encompasses many media, many ways of saying the thing.

I know we live lives capable of

Belligerence

Underestimation

Misunderstanding

but

Let us find The Lion Inside– (hear Sir Van Morrison on utube).

Inside This Clay Jug– (listen to Jackie Leven Inside This Clay Jug).

Buddha Nature-Tibet

Our True Selves- Hindu

Hidden Essence-Sufi

Matter, Energy, Meaning-Bohm*

Let us avoid Infinite Confusion (My Quagfog^) and live in Peace-Full Earth Together Endlessly.

*See Sogyal Rinpoche on David Bohm pp356-9 in The Tibetan Book of Living & Dying where he’s writing about ’An Unfolding Vision Of Wholeness.’

^ I coined the word Quagfog in my writings t’ward The Shrewd Idiot in the mid1970’s. It means that dark space we inhabit when we are down, lost and unsure where to head. Our feet seem to be bogged down in a quagmire and our heads are seemingly in a fog.

To Celebrate 40 years of Apul One

To Celebrate 40 years of Apul One

I just realised it is almost exactly 40 years since I created my first artist’s book Apul One in 1975 so there must be cause for some celebration. I was talking to a late friend’s son on Friday and he said that he had taken Apul One to university had read it several times and it had been a bit of a cult ting there. Wish I had known at the time I would have gone there and done a talk etc. Strangely it’s not the first time the book has had ‘cult’ status. Lucien Nunes once told me he had done the same at the Haberdasher’s school. Those of you who know it will know it’s a bit of a strange book. It’s not at all like what a book should be. But it’s me, or it was me, then. I produced it as a kind of scream in the wilderness after working my balls off at college to gain my degree and then beginning to approach the galleries only to find a blanket total non-interest. I predicted accurately as it turned out that that would continue through my life. So I created my own gallery in the shape of a book, or buk as I called it. It could only have b&w images cos colour were too expensive and even then I spent all my savings on ‘publishing’ it. If you want one I shall be at BABE in April and maybe at Baltic in July and I am tinking of creating the long delayed publication of the follow up The Shrewd Idiot in time for the autumn, or Fall as you acrosst the Atlantic would say. I am going to chat with my printer today as to how he can print my plans for it. It’ll be an artist’s book and probably on semi-transparent paper so the pages show thru each other.

Here’s some images of the making and publicizing of Apul One in 1975-76.

The first cover

a1 orignl cova

The wrap around cover front

a1 wrap front

The wrap around cover back

a1 wrap back

The wrap around cover front & back original idea

a design fo A1 wrap cover

Sketch for the image of Apulhed on front cover.

apulpol

Write up for Apul One by Peter Andrews

a1 PA rite up

 

Underground poster for Apul One

a1 tube poster

Point of sale poster for Apul One

a1 is shop poster

John St Field aka Jackie Leven 1972

jacky leven 1972

Now funnily enough in one of the ‘comics’ in ApulOne there’s a sketch of Jackie Leven. It’s incredible to think that it was a song by Jackie Leven which triggered all of my recent books about ‘knowledge’ in pots in the last few years. Jackie sang ‘Inside This Clay Jug’ by Kabir

.

So now the book is in the British Library and the Bodleian along with the national libraries of Wales, Ireland and Scotland because it has an ISBN number, nevertheless if you can’t afford the extortionate price I charge feel free to aks for it there. And I could have represented all the home nations at sport IF I had been good enough at anyting! However it’s in the Tate Artist’s Book Archive on merit having been chosen by Maria White in 2008. My old mate DW did loads of searching yesterday and found all sorts of link to ‘apulone’ on the internet, ta Dunc. You can find Apul-one
Standin on the Bannista Contemplatin the Ways of the Werld & the Farting Donkey

at:

Word Power Books:

 

http://www.word-power.co.uk/books/apul-one-I9780950426709/

 

and

 

WorldCat:

 

http://www.worldcat.org/title/apulone/oclc/16287781athenk

and finally here’s the badge, you know the saying ‘got the badge’!

At the risk of being ridiculed

I know some parties who read this will look upon my suggestion as an object fit for only ridicule, I am writing this piece and am asking for a BIG space in a gallery to show my work from the past 48 years. It is going to be a BIG exhibition as I have enough output to fill a gallery… (like First Site* in Colchester for example).

But my aim is not specific to First Site, no I want to be shown at BIG galleries in major cities too. I don’t mind smaller galleries and I have done about 25 solo exhibitions since 1977. I understand their (the ‘established’ places) problem, it also applies to commercial galleries like those in Cork St., you don’t get a look in unless you and your work tick some boxes, many boxes like; right college, saleability, reputation, articles about you, fame, and you know all the rest. I happen to not tick any boxes and have made it a mission to untick any that were ticked. I am an old fashioned player. Some trendys would say I am a Modernist and the same folk would say this is the Post-Modern era, well listen, it’s not, ask Wil Self who will tell you it’s too soon to change the name.wil an gabr wil an gabr2

And to place the word ‘post’ in front of anything is rather lame; Post Impressionist, Post Structuralism, Post Haste, Post Card, it doesn’t change anything, at least they were more imaginative early 20th century; Fauvism, pointillism, Cubism, Futurism, Vorticism but all of them are really part of Modernism as is post modernism and Modernism is the era that followed Classicism, the latter going on for thousands of years.

I believe an artist, with a brush, with a ball, with a voice, etc has to be individual, original and be saying things few if any have already said in ways that others would not imagine to say them in. Well, I tick all those boxes BUT, nobody except people with imagination and independent choosing can see the quality in my work, and there’s not many like that in the gallery world, is there?

Martha Graham, the woman who helped develop ‘modern’ ballet out of the old style ballet, said, “There is a vitality, a life force, an energy, a quickening, that is translated through you into action, and because there is only one of you in all time, this experience is unique. And if you block it, it will never exist through any other medium and will be lost”. I have been aware of that for many of my 64 years and maybe that’s why I have always carried the torch for ‘art’, or rather my particular version of the arts which I developed thru years of study, hard work, experiment, getting out there and showing it, putting it into my books and all. I am happy, like Blake (Wm., always William, only William is worthy of the name!), I know my work is unique, unicorn, one corn, corny, crazy like O’Dorkey. But I’m not your ‘normal’ artist, or anyting for that matta, (Matta is anudda great artis) I am ‘off the wall’ (well maybe that’s why they wouldnie hang you on the wall at all?) My arts never fitted no box no never not at all. even when at school learning my trade I zoomed thru taking on influences, devouring them; Van Gogh, Gauguin, Matisse, Soutine, D D Watkins Scarfe.

mags dots

 my fauve sister c. 1968

I had more than one ‘style’, I had the painterly bit after heroes like El Greco, Rembrandt, and Grunewald, then I had the comic pArt after Steve Ditko and e Jeffries e jeffreys toby twirl

Even when I went ‘full time’ artistbloke tween 1976 – 81 the arts council wallers couldn’t fathom where I wer coming frae nor going to, I even had writing in my locker and that wasn’t allowed in ‘art’. Yet early on my talent was recognised by David Wild, Quentin Bell, Ruskin Spear and the Principal of Birmingham College of art who on assessing my Bachelor’s stuff in June 1973 said I should consider applying there for an MA. AS I wer £80 overdrawn, a lot in those days, I took a job teaching and got drawn in to that gulf. I decided to follow my own canoe down the rapids of my life and never had time to court the galleries and forgot about the MA. Sadly I waited 40 years then chose to do it at a college with issues and without facilities and vision of how to treat ‘adults’. But I met David Jury there and also became acquainted with the world of artists books which in many ways leap frogs the ‘art world/gallery’ fields and as most of my ideas will go into books albeit some will have to be a bit big I can live with that.

I am an original and the trouble is if you are the first to do it ‘this’ or ‘that’ way, few will ‘get’ what you’re on about and most will call you a madman, or woman if you are the other gender. Which brings in the agenda, yes there is and always has been an agenda. The modern ‘art-world-market’ started in a gradual stunted way with a few proprietors trying it out with artists like Gauguin. A crop of gallerists opened in France (Ambroise Vollard , Daniel-Henry Kahnweiler Léopold Zborowski) and they sold works and this spread to other countries and it caught on. Some of the early artists didn’t tick the boxes but the world was young. Gradually some became ‘established’ and one of the boxes had to be you were ‘established’. BUMPH that cuts out the majority of us artists, don’t ya. (Actually, I am established but only in a small field, actually it’s not even a field, it’s a shelf tucked away on the end of Wigan Pier) And how do you get ‘established’? You have to be chosen. Of course this choosing goes further back, back past Josh Reynolds and further back to les Louis the Kings of France (they were all called Louis for a while til that one was topped, then it stopped. So Picasso was chosen by Gertrude Stein. Etcetera. Etcetera Etcetera

You can see a record of what I did (mostly my writing and shows, not my artworks), over the years at:

https://apulhed.wordpress.com/about/

 

*First Site is a much maligned landmark gallery with wonderful potential STILL which this county of Essex England needed for decades and now it has been opened the folk of the local area have taken a very poor opinion of it. This is mostly because of the fiasco over its build which should now just be a historical fact rather than a vendetta against the people who run it. I have spoken up about the gallery and the work it has already done. I even applied to be an associate artist but didn’t get selected. I wrote a small article which got published in a magazine about arts from Cambridge called Venue putting a very positive light on the gallery. Yet I know for sure they would never see me as an artist worthy of a major show, or any show for that matter. They have a view that only internationally recognised artists, even if totally obscure to the local population, are worthy of hanging on their walls. And that is very sad especially when there are several colleges within 25 miles with many people involved in art. I, who am steeped in art and who taught it to almost every age from 0-90, have learned a lot from the shows at First Site. They’ve had some great shows and some great talks, but not a lot of people attend them, partly cos many would feel threatened by the attitude that seems to prevail. There’s an aloofness, a separateness, a communication-less-ness. The space has rarely felt welcoming. They are revamping it right now, I hope the revamp leads to a better atmosphere and that it becomes a popular place, like Tate Modern did when it opened, a fact which was by no means guaranteed.

 

ps I don’t mind if I never get another venue to show at cos it’s quite hard work showing.

pps I forgot, that’s an age thing, no it’s not.

 

Poym of the week

 

I shud av gon far

Wid my repertoire

In my old car

(Twer a ford Pop-(u)-lar)

 

Burri got stuk in th’moat

In a ricketi boat

And am barely afloat

Tanks to a singer of note-s

Cos that’s wat he wrote

 

His name you can’t guess

The the ansa to thes

His name is not Jess

(This poym is a mess)

 

I’ll let him fini the res-t

The clue’s in the the

Why I say it in jes-t

Will u pass the test

 

 

Here’s a couple o dames who nearly gave up, listen in: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XJUk1UklklE

William Blake ‘The Master’s Eyelash’ at Ashmolean, Oxford. Part 1

Michael Phillips attention to detail is such that he said the bristle from a brush he found on a Blake print in an American collection might have been one of Blake’s eyelashes, then he extemporised, “Wouldn’t it be good? They could then extract DNA from it and behold, LITTLE NEW BILLY BLAKES!” Am not sure if they let even one more William Blake loose in the modern world it would be a good thing? I think the one and only did leave enough for us to ponder upon ad infinitum, and we still won’t squeeze it dry of the Inspiration & Imagination the great man passed down to those of us willing to try to walk the path awhile with him. And as all who have trodden the path all know Blake is both hard to understand and greatly mis-represented but for those who walk with him and his spirits of fleas and Albion the path is full of surprising little miracles and revelations. Phillips has walked a long way with Blake and has found out a great deal about the master’s methods which in turn he is keen to pass on to us lesser mortals. For myself I am willing to drive to London or Oxford to hear him and watch him demonstrate Blake’s techniques because I believe an artist learns more by ‘doing’ than just watching. Ever since I caught the Art-Bug aged about 17 in the late 1960’s I have always created art of my own and made my own paltry attempts at ‘writing’. My efforts opened many doors for me and one day my own ‘doors of perception’ may be flung wide open too. One man in the audience asked Michael why folk like The Door’s Jim Morrison didn’t know about Blake being the source of Huxley’s quote about the doors of perception, which I think belittles the Door’s frontman unnecessarily as he too wished to be seen as a poet of note and is by some. http://zoamorphosis.com/2011/03/how-much-did-jim-morrison-know-about-william-blake/ The reason for the link to Huxley was because Aldous was known to have taken some hallucinogenic substance (of which Blake also almost certainly partook?) and written a vivid account of his experiences whilst LSD etc were in vogue when Morrison was writing his lyrics for the Doors. http://healthland.time.com/2012/01/24/magic-mushrooms-expand-the-mind-by-dampening-brain-activity/ the American erstwhile Punk princess Patti Smith too is a great fan of Blake as she recounted and demonstrated when she read and sang some of his poems along with her own at an Annual lecture of the Blake Society.

michael phillipshands

I have been going to Exhibitions like the massive show at Tate (now Britain) in 1978 and this exhibition for me equals if not betters that show with its scope. I’m no aficionado and there’s much I need to read in his own write and about him but this exhibition is the best I’ve seen on Blake. Phillip’s insights grounded in his working knowledge of Blake’s printing techniques underpin the theme of this literally wonder-full show which both informed me and clarified some things and has led to a breakthrough in my understanding of Blake.

It has to be said that the first room of the show seemed dull to me but it became apparent that it was there to illustrate the feel of the time when Blake entered the hands of Benjamin Malkin who, in the spirit of the recently formed Society of Arts, opened doors for Blake the son of man from ‘the middle ranks, a hosier’. He entered the Par’s school of drawing in 1767 whilst still only 10 years old and was encouraged to attend auctions at Langford & Christies and view the works ‘to become familiar with the different styles of the recognised masters of the day’ (like Durer’s engravings). Blake also collected books and prints cheaply and was attracted to satirical books printed in unorthodox styles like George Townshend’s ‘Political & Social History Of 1756-7’. Although the norm was to print words and images in separate process he probably decided, early on, that he wished to print word (letterpress) & image (engraving or etching) at the same time in one pull/take.

 press

The next room sees Blake taken on for an apprenticeship by James Basire in 1772 where he learned the ‘Secrets’ of the engravers’ techniques, the tricks of the profession and saw pencil copies from Raphael & Michelangelo that his master had done in the Sistine chapel & St Pauls.

By 1783 Blake’s first letterpress book of poems revealed his ‘absorption in …the bible, Shakespeare, Jonson & Milton’. Blake indicated early on that he was not afraid of courting controversy and challenging society norms when he empathised with the disgraced poet Chatterton, whose had tried to pass off some of his own compositions as 15th century poems before taking his own life thinking his pursuit of recognition was in vain.

Basire sent him to draw the tombs and sculptures of dignities in Westminster Abbey which were then printed and we see some of the results in this show. He would have been allowed to peruse illuminated manuscripts in the Abbey. Blake learned to write backwards/words with facility like the engravers of his day and the exhibition shows his delicate effort to move from individual letters to cursive style. He learned to master both engraving & etching but that was not the end of it. He created a form of printing totally original to himself so that he could put his words and images onto one plate and print it with one pull. (Phillips is going to be demonstrating these techniques at the Ashmolean on Tuesday thru Thursday 9-11th December {check times} on a press similar to the one Blake would have used. His demos are very insight-full!)

michael phillips

This was probably because for Blake print was only a means to an end, the end being to get over his thoughts, ideas and dreams, whereas most others in the print trade were craftsmen paid to do the work of others. Blake called his new method Illuminated Printing not only in a nod toward the Illuminated manuscript but also, as Phillips pointed out, because of his use of pure pigment and the type of paper he used which allowed his early books to reflect light through the inks not just back off them thus giving a look of illuminated light, much as we see on the computer screen nowadays.

Blake sucked in ideas from all the sources he revered and his fertile imagination kept on developing both him and his ideas as his own personal view and vision grew exponentially along with his consummate skill. Because he was not from an aristocratic or high society background fashions had no hold on him and he would not conform his ideas to suit anyone. He was a grafter who came from a working class tradition of dedication to task yet he had been allowed in to a world of the privileged and on entering it had the penetrative eye of somebody untamed by societal convention and expectation. Blake, like Leonardo, was to experiment with methods of creating his imagery throughout his life. Unlike that other Renaissance master, Michaelangelo, Blake could draw the female form with consummate skill showing slenderness and grace.

plastic box ad

There is still much more to say about the Ashmolean show, the things it has re-awakened in me and also inspired but for the sake of you who have only limited time to peruse blogs I shall finish here and continue this Blakean piece in my next blArt! If you wish to see the next installment just hit the ‘follow’ button and you’ll be sent notification when i post it. Namaste.

and a big thanks to all the folks who have already ‘liked’ this post, the best is yet to come (I think)

Drawing on Rembrandt inspirations

I done a flurry of London visits & reported them in my last couple oblArts; Poetry Library (A Happy Man) & Keifer (Books of lead fly in the R.A). This week I saw the new Rembrandt show at National Gallery (which was the first London gallery I visited as a kid of 10 years in 1961 and I sent my dad away so I could just sit and look at the Leonardo cartoon fer an hour or so). Of course I love his self portraits but the best in show are the etchings, the way he works the surfaces of the different takes and the surprise that he printed them on Japanese paper which was being imported by the Dutch East India Co. in the 1600’s! despite her overt military history epitomised in their fascination with the sword there’s been ages of producing beautiful pots, paper & calligraphy there. For me Rimbrandt is unequalled in the fields of oil paint & etching. F H Haagensen was a great etcher who was probably inspired by Rembrand’s technique, as was most certainly Picasso. Funny how ‘great ‘ artists get access to collections of work that many of us never see. Auerbach  http://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/2014/aug/29/frank-auerbach-painters-painter-freud-tate-retrospective  and Lenkiewicz http://www.plymouthherald.co.uk/Robert-Lenkiewicz-s-estate-settled-decade/story-17699462-detail/story.html in their separate ways took inspiration from the Dutch Master too and so did I, take a look at my Van von Maan painting below

van on sax oil sm

Van von Maan

 keifa hd

keifer

k c bloova

ken campbell

herman hd

josef herman

We live in an age where the ability to ‘draw’ is almost scorned (by some prevalent ‘successful’ artists and their agents) but it is deeply embedded in my psyche and I love drawing in the different ways I do. Over the years I’ve sat and drawn Keifer, Josef Herman, Steve Berkov, and others with Lord Bath, Feliks Topolski and Ken Campbell amongst my ‘sitters’. Oh and by the way, I do love rembrandt’s self portraits which put him up there as probably the best chronicler of the process of aging with their insight into his very soul, that goes without being said, burram saying it. And you know i do a fine line in self portraits misen th’ knows:

d’y mean pete kennedy?

best self portrait
this is ma best self portrait innit, catches the spirit widdin!

The skill was hard earned and am reluctant to desist. I shall draw til I die (drawing?) I draw cartoon like with my Apulhed-man, in surreal sketches with my Squidgerats. I draw inspiration too from the work in many media by those who have achieved before me. So I read folk like Philip K Dick, Vonnegut, Mervyn Peake & Brautigan in the hope that some of what I see may rub off on my outputs.

And it’s the same with poetry, although I write my ‘poems’ from a deep sense of apart-ness I don’t try to write ‘like’ anyone (else). But I am inspired by some. I write intuitively I write what comes and I don’t try to write in any grammatically ‘correc’ way. Interestingly when I wrote the ‘poems’ for Inside This Earthen Vessel they had little or no full stops nor commas. As I began the collaboration with david Jury some punctuation crept in but often I do not have it in my writing (like I do not adhere stricktly to ‘correct’ spellinks). Both of these avert-tions allow me to be free(er) and (more) inventive.

I am reading Beckett’s translation or transmutation of Apollinaire’s poem ‘Zone’. I don’t exactly agree with his changes, great writer tho he was, but I do note that Apollinaire has used no punctuation. A WRITER WRITES WORDS. So my punctuation in  Inside This Earthen Vessel is the gaps I left. I write this thought then I stop & drop to the next line. Often in poems they start each line with a capital. OK that’s fine, that’s OK, I can do that, but sometimes I refuse.wrtiting for me is to do with the jist, getting the gist, of things (tings) of ideas, notions, suggestions… my writing is not scientific like Wittgensteins is was etc.

For me writing is communication, getting what’s in my mind, spirit, soul, experience or view over to others. Some may say that I might communicate better if I spell by convention, punctuate & grammaticise my pieces. OK you’re entitled to your opinions and your conditionings. I am free of those constraints. And I hear you laugh or snigger and say ‘Yes, free of income, free of distribution through official channels, fields etc. But see this face, AM A BoVVad.

 

NEY*

(can’t he even spel nay reight?)

he neighs like a donkey

do they

neigh

nay not never

nay mare

nay

tha’s not ritten

an udda poym

lad

?

who fetched the cow?

nay not eye

norri

nor I

 Next weak am in Oxferd to see a bloke gie a tork abArt William Blake, now there’s a proper poet bloke man. And an etcher?

*I bought an lectric typewriter t’other day, I just decided that this will be the first poem I type using it. I thought I’d try my fingertips at tie pin sum concrete poyms. Just like what Henry Chopin and his lot did. Vache dis spaced oot.  https://apulhed.wordpress.com/2014/05/01/henri-chopin-and-others-who-got-forgot/

It’s my Blart and I’ll try if I wanna.

BlArt & BATCH Explained?

It’s a New Dawn.

I have decided to re-blog this old blart cos it sort of explains some of my ideas, where they arose and all. I am lucky to have been given a 20 minute slot at BABE in Arnolfini Bristol next April http://www.arnolfini.org.uk/whatson/babe-2015-bristol-artists-book-event during which (4pm on the Sunday) I shall be doing one of my little ‘talks’, which are not talks at all but some form of performance. I have done that kind of thing since 1973 when I did the first Appleheadmasked-Event. I reserve the elephant of surprise so I don’t tell what am going to be doing to nobody but believe me I plan these tings well. I make it look like it just happened, but it didn’t, in fact I awoke planning the ‘talk’ fer nex April at 6am today, I don’t plan to plan it just appens. The lovely ting is, Chris Leonard, who was instrumental in getting me to do the 1973 ‘Apulhedmask-In’ has already expressed his intent to attend! Nice. I look forward to seeing you Chris.

chris leonard

However, this reblog, as there’s a lot more traffic on my blart nowadays I thought I would just let you see why it’s called my blArt. And why my book about spiritual tings is called a Batch, which in fact does no justice to the content and several people have arsked me to re-name it, which I may in a reprint.
G BATCH contains the initials of the men I call mystics inside the book, G is for Gurdjeff etc. I also like the reference to ‘batch’ which for me is a group and in digital spiel is also used for a group. Funny that. Oh and don’t worry about my ‘talk’ being too serious cos it will be, and it will be funny too, I call them seriously funny, or they’re just funny, seriously. Namaste.

apulhed tinking

I’m Bloggin, just Bloggin and I Know you like blogging it too! Thank you Bob Marley. (In about 1972 we stood and watched him at Rolle College Exmouth play about 3 hours before he became ‘famous’, there were about 30 of us. We were lucky, I just kept downing my pint and wiggerling to the sound, went to the bar, gorranutha pint, wiggled back to Bob and his wailing alongsters. I never thought to bring my camera nor invite him and his boys to play football in the afternoon. Talk about missed opportunities.

Now I am taking the blog line, I still take photos but I had to stop playing football about five years ago. Not before I had the chance to play with my veteran side against Jobserve at Upton Park, twas like playing on a billiard table. Lovely.

Now am changing the name of what I do in…

View original post 2,021 more words

Meet my top ten artis at Comica Fest comic market last Saturday.

The featured image at the top is from my 1976 comic, Applehead Lives which i used to sell on markets and all but had to give up on to tek a ‘day job’ to survive in the rough old werld out thur.

Necessary disclaimer note- I did not have time to gain permissions for the illustrations below that are not mine. Actually I have not included any yet, gonna aks permissions. All mine are of course (c) pete kennedy 2014.  I hope you people I have borrowed them from don’t mind as I am using them to advertise you. IF anyone objects get in touch and I shall take them out.

I felt like Owlsley at Kesey’s place when I was at the British Library Comicon market on Saturday 16th august. Owlsley was a chemist who had made millions of & from LSD tabs in the mid-sixties. When he turned up at the Merry Pranksters, (upon whose escapades in their magic bus and on various hallucinatory drugs the Beatles film Magical Mystery Tour was based), place nobody recognized him. But they soon realised he was the real ting. I felt like he must have felt when he first showed up. Like him I have spent years working in a vacuum creating magic. Now I am back with my work in what is now called ‘artists book’ form. I showed my ApulGold book

bak pages

to a few stall holders and they all seemed to love it. But originally, mid-70’s I wer publishing my own ‘graphic novel’ and comics in the shape of Applehead Lives and Happy Apulhed.

ahed burnley surfer

I stood selling them on Camden market and down Earl’s Court at the Stones’ concerts In 1976. I had faith that by ‘doing my own ting’ I would ‘make it’ but I had to retract for a while (28 yearns) to gerra ‘day job’ to keep the wolf frae th’door.I was a pie on y’ear back in the day when not a lotta people were doing that. Now there’s hundreds on ‘em. And they’re doing fine, on cloud nine. Next year I shall start bringing out my new set of ‘books’ based on my working titles, ‘Don’t Give Up The Day Job’ and next month am bringing out my new publication, Six Earthen Vessels. I must try set up a shop here so yez can perchance purchase them.
The standard of art and quality of publications now is incredible altho like Peter Stanbury said to me there’s something really nice about the old comics we did on cheap paper which was all we could afford. Nowadays with modern print we can have our work printed at a fraction of what it cost me to produce Applehead Lives in 76.

kachinas on cliffHopi kachinas

black&white images were all we could afford back in the 70’s!

And colour is no longer astronomical. So, I may soon make some of my earlier work available in ‘full colour’ as colour was always my ting and I could never afford to produce my stuff in colour. So when I flood the market with my work from the past, blame Paul Gravett for inviting me up to see Comics Unmasked! Thanks for your kind hospitality Paul, the show were gud.

I know you shouldn’t have ‘favourites*’ but I am choosing ten from so many I saw and met and squawked to at the Comicon market on Saturday. Cos I couldn’t possibly cover all of em.

In reverse order (but that’s not a value judgement folks) here is my most favouritest folks what I met Saturday:

10. Gareth Brookes the Black project . Gareth is a man and woman after my own heart. The man in him does lino cuts and his female side does embroidery. His startling combis of the two old fashioned methods has led to quite a magnum opus. http://appallingnonsense.wordpress.com/2013/07/19/the-black-project-now-exists/
9. Vincent Hunt (Red Mask). Here is a young man after my own interests, extra-terrestrial possibilities. His red mask is an alien what lives on his main characters face. My aliens were just visiting, not living on my face. Altho I did transmogrify into a Squidgerat in my First Squidgerat Show at Brentwood Theatre in the mid 90’s where I wore a mask, but it didn’t live on my face.
squidgerat kin smkb
8. Christian Jelen does stuff close to my art with a lovely little book about the thoughts of the Dalai Lama which was picked up by DL’s team and printed in India fer dissemination to all of his fans. He also does lovely characters what are sitting in lotus positions, reminiscent of Robert Crumple’s Mr Natural in a moment of meditation. I luv all that and I too do yoga and tai chi and all them tings too.
7. Seeing Poetry twas lovely to see Louise Crosby’s work much of which seemed to be in answer to the poetry of Clare Shaw. Good collaborations here. Then I found that Louise comes from near Hebden Bridge, one of my most favourite-est haunts in the whole of England. http://www.lindenartstudio.org/artists/louise-crosby/
6. Yi-Miao Shih http://serrashih.prosite.com/93592/1030542/portfolio/a-tale-of-a-disappointing-truth I liked Yi Miao’s rather quaint drawings and in the link above she even draws an apple like what I first drew the apple what became Apulhed! And in fact if you look at her work in her tumblr site it is as if she has stolen hundreds of my drawings from the 70’s and put her own slant on them. We must have been sawn from the same block(head?) http://astudyincharacter.tumblr.com/
5. Geeked Mag http://www.geekedmagazine.com/ Just shows how silly I am. I really loved the magazine and chatted up the ladies what runs it giving them all the patter about my being a real good artist and writer and all o that saying why don’t they ask me to contribute and they played along with this old fella and said maybe they might and then I see their website and see it’s a feminist ting? Can I still play if I bring my feminine side girls?
4. iella http://iellas.tumblr.com Iella does wonderful stuff. She shows me how I can bring together all my differing sides because that’s what she has done with stunning effect. Love the murals. Love the mixing of say pencil sketch with acrylics.
3. Amber Hsu http://tinypencil.com/artists/hsu-amber/ what an astounding and unassuming woman! Such phenomenal talent and it says on her site- Amber Hsu is a Chinese-born, US-raised, UK-based writer and artist. She is a graduate of Central Saint Martin’s College of Art & Design. She also has a degree in Biophysics, a minor in Classical Studies and a Masters in Comparative Literature. I would love to have just some of that talent and track record! And she thanks me for the postcard swop, wow. I wouldn’t have dared suggest a swop if I had known how good she was.

ambr hsu pdf copyThank you Amber!

2. Atlantic Press do some of the best artist books I have seen by any publisher. They have a keen eye for originality and give the artists’ work beautiful presentation in lots of differing ways. http://www.atlanticpressbooks.com/shop_book_store.htm

I tried to send a link to this to Philidda but it failed. Tell her I told DJ about her quoting him and he were happy about that.

1. Andy Barron is making simple but beautiful little books called ‘om’. I see them a link to the profoundly wonderful work of rick Griffin in the 70’s. http://andyillustrates.com/The-Feeding He has put loads of ‘comics’ up on the net foe all to see. It seems that is the way to go nowadays.

andy barron om frm pdf

this is Andy’s lovely screen printed cover

Thank; I must thank Qeurstret for all her advice on setting up shop, one day I shall do it.
And all the lovely folks I met, including Dr Martin the inventor for all their observations and suggestions. Oil Bee Bach!
*In teaching we all learned not to have favorites, treat em all the same they said at St. Lukes, and I did try all my teaching life to do that though usually it wer kids at the two ends of the ability range I (secwetly) favoured; the best and the least best, particularly if they were trying their best. My next blArt is not so much abArt art as about bad teachers a kind of part 2 to my blArt before this and it’s got some negative stuff in it, so don’t look at it if you believe evriting should have a positive take. That’s just a warning.

I were a teacher once but am recovered now I met R. A .

As we all know that some teachers are prats but I am not talking about them, they steal enough of our time as we live thru their dross. Not a lot of people know how hard it is to become a (good) teacher. I don’t  witch to go on abArt it but it is important because a good teacher begets students worth their salt in goldust. And on rare ocassions oops occasions (get it right!)  when the teacher gets it right the pupil improves on the teacher. The pupil goes far whilst the teacher (just?) teaches some more. My friend Ian,

PortrateMay2013Smf

he taught Rob in Art in Tamworth (of all places). Now Rob has gone far, very, very farout. Ian has been happy doing his thing whilst Rob was happy doing everbody like George Lucas and Kate Bush’s tings. And Ridley Scot and Dr Whose too name a fuse. Last week I wer lucky enough to get to visit Robert Allsopp at his workshop and what a revelation.

roba an the a sm kb

It’s like Willy Wonka’s Chocolate factory except for props for Royal Ballet, Star Wars and Ridley Scot productions like Gladiator. All these talented folk beavering away making moulds and takes then adding soft materials and wires to give effect so they remain light weight in feel but massive in impact. Whilst the other teachers in Tamwart were telling Rob to gerra proper job IEP Woollard were saying no Rob, you do what you want to do and if it’s making masks do it, and he did, many hundreds of them including Queen Padmé Amidala in Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace. When you see plastic masks and helmets and plastic wings  which look more real than the real tings themselves then it’s likely it’s rob wat dunnit, well Robert’s workshop has dunnit really cos Rob cannot do it all. There’s masks for several productions of ‘Wicked; London, USA, Germany etc and that’s a whole lotta monkeys. So Rob becomes the teacher and shows others how to do it for him.  Now we all dream, us artisfolks, of getting that big break and ‘making it’ and Robert went an dunnit. Like everyone who truly made it he knows it’s more to do with graft than inspiration. And a production line for all those performances from stage to 3D movie is more like a sweatshop than a sweetchop. Am not sure how far many of my ex-students have gone? Maybe youse could let me know? One girl I taught on Canvey and gave her the only 100% grade I ever gave looked like she would go far, but you never know.

I had to stop teaching because of my  r.a. condition and when that condition improved  I decided to return to my own education, which I been doing ever since but it started with a master’s degree course in Art & The Book under the watchful eye of David Jury what became my tutor.

portrait o DJ smkb

DJ, as we’ll refer to him from now on, had mastered the book in several differing ways introduced me to the ‘artist’s book’ what despite my 30 yearns in teaching I knew not a lot abArt, in fact nuttin atall. He shewed me how to do layout and typesetting using Quark quack, I say quack now cos Quark seems to have fallen behind in the race to capture the market in Engerland for design packages. But now I do my book designs on Quark as I cannot afford t’other one.

cover of six mystics intro
cover of six mystics intro

I wrote, designed and published a book (G Batch) to help folk understand all the ideas in my MA project about ancient writings in pots and on tablets. In it I had written a rather complex poem about ‘Six Mystics’ and after I became a (little) matster of bookish arts I decided to do some readings and nobody knew what I was talking abArt so I decided to re-write the darn tings so folks can understand em and I did and folk say they can. Then I decided to do them in the shape of pots, poems as pots not pots in poems, I know that sounds potty or poetry or prose. Call them what you want I don’t mind and everything I do is influenced, has precursors. My writings and my arts have both been inspired by folk who were inspired by folk like Jarry and Maxt Ernst, I like to call him Maxt cos a friend of mine called Chris(t) Lennard is a cockney fella and he always put Cockney ‘t’on the end on Max when he said it and I found that quite endearing so Max is now Maxt, tank yez Chris…t.

chri len maxt

Chris was in fact the person what made me do the first ever Apulhed ‘comic’. T’wer his Enfield mafia ting i couldn’t refute.

 But when DJ saw them he was writing a book about concrete poems, shaped poems and all. So he took a big interest in what I was doing and read them carefully. He loved the words and said could he do a letterpress version. Those words were heaven sent to me as I was wondering how I could ever get it done in letterpress. So now we are doing a collaboration. David’s print enhances my writings and my writings may help david to use wood letters he has collected but never used. And so it goes on, the student master ting.

So over the years this teacher (and it took 4 yearns on no pay to learn to teach badly some may say but I kep going on ‘in-service training to keep up and refresh although truly I been so immersed in seeing art and making art I didn’t need any art courses) has always made ‘art’ and stuff as an example of the creative process.

And it’s the same with Ian and David, they both do their art ting. Ian, what also taught me wet photography back in 1971-72 before he became a real teacher bloke, has taken some immaculate photos recently of the Japanese prima ballerina at Birmingham Royal Ballet and more recently of mountain leopards and tigers in zoos. David (DJ) does letterpress and writes books for T&H and udders and Artickles fer others and is presently working with his ex-student (what is moi) on a new letterpress book.

And then there’s my latest teacher bloke, Master Ch’n, Tai Chi Defence man http://clstaichichuan.co.uk/venues-classes/witham/ where I go to in my spare time when am not learning Ashtanga Yoga with Gareth Chandler, Vinyasa Yoga with Sam and Zumba what is taught by a load o young women, no, I want no sympathy, somebody’s got to do it.  Master Ch’n probably the most patient graceful person what I have ever met so far who is teaching me the ‘form’. Very meticulous he is. Starting again and again and again with the first steps. You repeat and re-peat  then re-pete again and again and again then some more. Now I never been into repeating myself (repeat pete, no!) except for football skills like kicking the ball against a wall fer hours and hours alone cos nobody else wer around, kicking against next door’s wall interminably, then heading it back and forth with the same wall, trapping it. I forgot I did do that. Master Chen is 69 now, looks about 50, has strong muscular back but no big strenuous musculature. He is calm and quiet. He smiles all the while and watches. Seems to have eyes in the back of his head. He teaches facing away from you, one to one, and he knows when you are standing wrong or getting the feet wrong, he knows without looking, seemingly. He has a permanent smile on his face, possibly cos he knows more than you’ll ever know about tai chi and all that stuff like push hands swords and sticks. I’m 63 now and I don’t tink I’ll ever catch up with Master Ch’n, in fact I KNOW I won’t. Cos a good teacher always stays one step ahead of the best pupils and I am nowhere near the best, that’ll take weeks. In Master Ch’n’s case it’s more like one lifetime ahead I tink, or should I say ‘tinker’?

Talking about Tinkers, me ole mate DW took the image featured at top o this blArt on the day the BIG old moom came closer to Earth than for many years.