Tag Archives: Leap of Faith.

A Moanie Lisa me

Careering t’ward th’end of an era for me.

Still straining after all these tears trying to gain a foothill in the crevices of th’Arts and not sucking seeding cos the doors of the glass bead game are firmly closeted. Nobody let me in. How many times did I knock on Cork Street or Burlington house or Millbank or anywhere elsa the lioness? And really I don’t have time for calling and for crawling and for holding my hat and I couldn’t afford a hat to get a head. More often than not I refuse to knock on wood Otis nor Eddie Floyd can make me. and even when I knock on wood doors, or is it wooden skulls? And I say let me in , or gi’e us a show etc, they just laugh in ma face and say, ‘Who, just WHO, do you think you are to come rattling at my door after 47 years of making art etc? Go away and don’t darken this hallowed step no more no more no more no more’ and I say that is rather rude and they say ‘RATHER lather larder dear, shoosh!’

There’s a warning here to all the kids who enter the ‘art college’ DON’T DO IT ! th’bastewards won’t let yez in, there’s no moom in the gym. THINK very very care-fully before embarking on a career in art as ‘making it’ in ‘art’ is nearly as hard as making it in football. You can only do it fer love of the game! I don’t like artball, i loathe it. Hee Hee silly mee.

Most of the time I just made art. But, I knew early on that without outlets it wer like hissing into the wind as Rich Hamilton http://www.tate.org.uk/art/artists/richard-hamilton-1244 said in his catalog to the 1983 print show, ‘a mass of paper is likely to accumulate which, without an outlet, would soon clog the place up. it couldn’t be produced without an assumed public and an efficient distribution network’. My ‘studio’ and other outbuildings are crammed with my ‘pile amass paper accumulate, papa (hey a new movement, PAPA, with it I shall strip bare dada’s bride!)’ Pete’s PAPA pile of junk assaults th’art werld, fart werld is inundated wit a heap o stuff, fert wold is Annie Hi Elated, it is no more, it is defuncted and it is the ‘late’ artwoild.

Diter Rot said in 1966 decided to ‘stop being an artist’ he turned down an offer from gallerist Bruno Bischofberger of a show because he had ‘given up painting’ and was ‘sitting in a tiny place with a tiny table and am writing’. Of course it was a ruse. As he knew and stated in his bok Mundunculum the eyes have it, the eyes think they see the lamp, or the sign, ‘lamp’ for the lamp we ‘see’ is called lamp cos its tag is ‘lamp’ its sign. But what Roth says is the ‘lamp’ is itself ‘pointing’ the sign, it signifies the sign of ‘lamp’. So we are all artists, those of us who can see visually, even those who cannot ‘see’ with their eyes, because when we look we ‘see’ things; a ruler, a book etc, blind people ‘see’ a concept they have gathered for ‘book’ ‘train’ etc. But what is ‘seen’ is, Roth says, the ‘object’ sending a sign. I suppose that in reality, even Buddhist notions of ‘reality’, the object, is in fact not what it seems, it is in fact just ‘energy’ which manifests in the forms we read the signs for. Rot was well into Wittgenstein when he created Mundunculum, but he was also into satire.

But anyway, like Rot and Ernst before me am stopping being an artist, why, becos

I embarked on my ‘career’ (careering?) as a committed artist 47 years ago and really I got NoWhereerehWoN. I never broke through the barrier into ‘earning, selling, being ‘shown’ or even just bought, except for tiny sales. I am not in any books, except my own. It seems clear to me that I failed. Any ‘success’ in any future would be by proportion to my years of ‘trying’ only piddling, not even fair to middle in! My output failed to assist my progression; it has not paved my way. I started as a poor boy with no money and after 47 years am still poor, yet my output and my certificates are abundant and so are the 20 odd solo shows I have had in Essex since the late 1970s and a big yun in Burnley in 1981.

“So I have proved it cannot be done. I spent 47 years forlorn hoping I could break the code of silence, break through the boundaries & barriers ‘the art world’ fabricates and defends but I failed to do so. So bollocks to all of those people and institutions that have ignored scorned or overlooked my work. I shall give up trying. They’ve had 47 years to ‘catch on’. So sod it. The life of an artist is not so good I can tell you that for sure because I know because I have lived it. AND now I see the light. The artist is like a cursed spirit that ‘clings on’, it’s part of being an artist. Now I understand that’s not too good. The real trick is to stop clinging, to stop trying to capture image, memory, dreams etc. the trick is to just BE. And that’s what I am going to be, me, just BE. I know I failed as an artist, infinitely more than Van Gogh or William Blake. But as an educator I know I succeeded. And as an observer I did not fail, for the observer can observe without judgement. Observation is but observation, witness, at best. And I have been witness to my lack of progress, the art world and a few other things which I elucidate in my ‘blArt’ which stands for ‘a blog about art and all that stuff’.

25.12.14

So I admit it. I was a failure in my attempt to make a mark in th’art world (thart wouldnie, fart woodna, tart wooargh) altho I created hundreds of images & words in all sincerity, even when I were taking the piss I were sincere. Even my jokes were sincere. Sincerity got me not very far. I don’t mind now. I learned that success isn’t everything and it only breeds more success then you get to worrying about who’s gonna target your expensive car house jewels etc so I never had to worry, about them things. Then if you get famous etc you start to worry about your reputation. Never had to worry about that neither. So I guess I got lucky never ‘making it’. I decided to stop making new images etc but I shall allow myself to manipulate reprise etc my existing bank of images & words. The dream is over like Lennon sang then lived, or rather, died. He had seen thru the illusion. As did George Harrison. I shall present all the books I worked up since 1969. I shall use many of the images I created or ‘took’ with cameras of all types including photocopiers. I still have a lot to do. Just remember to enjoy doing it; like the man walking up the mountain needs to learn to enjoy the trip up, the trip down may be faster than he anticipated.

Oh, I fergot to say- neither walt Disney nor pixar nor bart simpson nor speilberg nor lucas ever needed the ‘art world’ (I shall call it fartwerld frum now on) nor the ‘gallery’(maybe I shall call it the Ghouleree or Goolierie?), did they? Time for me final poems of this year:

I’m rolling down that river

(Starts to the tune of The River by Joni Mitchell.)

I’m looking for the answer

Tho I know I can survive

I been searching thru the questions

Hoping one day I’d arrive

 

Am rolling down that river

And I’m still alive

 

I been struggling to get thru

Now for many years and more

I don’t really know why

Because I know the score

 

Am rolling down that river

And I’m still alive

 

No matter what you do now/ give her

Offer four and they want five

I been swimming up the river

And am continuing to strive

 

Am rolling down that river

And I’m still alive

 

There’s no need to worry

No no need no more

There’s no need for any hurry

No am not knocking on the door

 

Am rolling down that river

And I’m still alive

 

Waiting at the tunnel’s end

I been pointing to the light

It’s hiding round the bend

Just watch you may catch a sight

 

Am rolling along that river

And I’m still alive

 

and anither y’n

Just cos it rhymes doesn’t mek it a poem, duz it?

Just because it rhymes

It’s not necessarily right

Even then sometimes it may be

Shite

Just don’t darken my door

With your doubts

I don’t wish to hear them

I am no longer listening

To doubts and bouts of gouts

And shouts

Of words

That are glistening

(what rhymes wit words?

Dieter Rot would say turds*)

Ta ra diddli um dum doo

Boo boo to you

I

Am

Out

*(I wouldn’t, too rude)

 

 dan odork on mi gmail accntapuldan odork

ps I may look glum but really I am very happy, the glum look is my age, when you get to my age your face just looks glum. Glum’s a good word, I never thought of it before. No, I’m happy cos wanting to shoe in the ‘gallery’ hangs over the head of all artists like a yoke, believe me that’s no joke. Not being ‘shown’ etc seems to be a big failure. But I know my work is popular from the reactions of over 25 solo shows since 1978. I know how people react to my work. It’s just them that organise the galleries don’t, and/or they don’t care anyway, why should they. They got plenty o meat to sell. My gallery is my books. Yet I also challenge the concept of the ‘book’. Mind you so did Roth and keifer and and and, oh shurrup Pete, while you still can.

pps if you turn the image round, upside down, you’ll see an image of Apulhed, screaming.

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The Metamorphosis of Duncan Walker – Releasing the Spirit

No. 1 in a series of the work of pete kennedy, artistwriter bloke, b.1950

Painting by Pete Kennedy

With notes by PK & DW

So, I am starting the offering up of my images from 1968 to now for y’all to see. I shan’t be so mundane as to put them in chronological order. There’s so many of them and the quality is not dependent on age, neither mine nor the works. Some of my best work was done in the first few years of my life after I made a conscious decision that making my art in my own way, or so I thought. My output was often then and still is now really effected by my circumstances. So, the availability or lack of availability of resources would temper my technique. Time has been a big element in my output, for all the reasons you may imagine. (If you click on the images they will pop up bigger so you can peruse them better.)

Duncan and the cosmic egg

This portrait was created at the height of my ability, it is undoubtedly one of the best. The sitter, Duncan Walker, I had known since we were thrown together in the first team in the first week at our secondary school. We had drifted in and out of each others lives. This was me deliberately creating something which held all my values and skills in one image. It’s a triple portrait. A photo which I took and developed and printed, an oil in my style which had taken several years to reach and a ‘squidgerat’, one of my weird creations which were often an insight into a sitter’s deep essence. There is also an appropriation of a Dali egg cos I knew DW had in one stage of his development really loved Dali’s work but more importantly it signified the crack in the cosmic egg, something which we would have discussed during our alcohol filled ‘discussions’. That search for meaning behind life’s charade had been going on for both of us in separate ways and this was a coming together.

 dw paintd

 The figure on the left is Duncan in intense meditation, looking inward, considering and knowing the other stages in his life. (I sometimes see light hitting my images and adding more to them than I had put in to them in the first place. One day I shall incorporate light into finished works physically.

 dw foto sm

The figure in the middle is Duncan enjoying worldly delights, with a mischievous, knowing smile about his inner self. (Note the notes in handwriting collaged onto the image!)

 Dw squid

The figure on the right is Duncan’s inner self, achieving a crack in the cosmic egg of worldly reality, at the point when his spirit is flying out at the top of his head from a lifeless shell.

This is the story of releasing the spirit through a dual life of the meditative inner self and the electric worldly extravaganza of his outer being.

dj hopi cava

And about the same time as I did that portrait I wrote and published my little book, The Dull Jodrell. This was an account of some of the writers who had impressed me like Gurdjeff and Hesse. It had quite a bit about ken Campbell in too and accounts of my stays with DW in his ‘London’ house. The cover is a remake of my illystration of Hopi peoples dressed in their kachina outfits standing on the rock dwellings at Mesa Verde. In the book I talk a lot about the ideas of the pre-colombian populations of the Americas. The character in the centre at front of the cover is ‘Lighteyes’

lite eyes sm(this is the original sketch)

one of my squidgerats who I drew before I came across the Hopis who in fact have a character in their kachinas with almost identical stance to my man, uncanny! The Hopi kachina which is so similar to my Lite-Eyes was a human gifted with god-like characteristics whose previous human status is represented by him having cross-legs. The round thing on the Hopi character’s head is repeated almost identically in the round thing on the head of my Liteyes. I drew him prior to seeing any Hopi images, ever. It is truly uncanny to me. The strange head gear, which again, was drawn with no reference to Hopi, I had not yet heard of them, also bears a remarkable resemblance to some other Hopi headresses.

dj squigs in dj

The book also had some squidgerats drawings in as well as some I did of Ken Campbell.

ken campbell sm

This book and the image of Duncan show how my progress thru life has been accompanied by my ‘researches’ into real life characters and thru readings of books on Hopis and Gurdjeff which still continues today and indeed my recent work with the Jug poems is only a different way of trying to present my discoveries to a wider audience. Below is my new image of Duncansquidgespirit zooming across the lake next to a slow swan.

a duncan twa

Thank you DW for instigating this first of many(?) reports on my images & artefacts, and tanks fer the fotos of the work.

Footnote:My previous blArt aboot Oxferd toon got SIX ‘likes’, unprecedented in the history of this blaggArt! It sure signals up that some folks are getting someting frae the werds & images of this clown. Also you know if you press ‘follow’ you’ll get notified (not certified) of all my future blArty bits. Tread carefully won’t you. It appears 34 folks out there follow this  heap o’ thorts. Tank yez all, makes me feel good too. Makes me feel that all the effort what goes into doing this weekly blarting is getting thru, at least to 34 folks in this wide wonderous werld.

And finally, nobody, yet no-one, ever ‘comments’. I can only assume that everyone agrees with all I say OR, more likely, all who dip into the blArty Bloke unexpectingly are numbed into a somnambulant state and then wake up several hours later wondering what hit them?

Amalgamations and Collaborations

A week in the life of Blarty O’Dork

My Six Vessels Artists Book’s progress.
My new artist’s book, Inside This Earthen Vessel which is a re-write of the poem in my earlier book, G Batch about six men I call mystics, is nearly ready to go to press. I have set the ‘poems’ in Quark in the shape of pots or ‘vessels’ which makes them like concrete (or rather, ceramic) poems. I think I shall call them my ceramic poems. Concrete poems started by the likes of Apollinaire and Alfred Jarry are set on the page in various shapes rather than the traditional set in normal typographic layout. A friend of mine who has been big into typo for ages liked them so much that he suggested we do a collaborative publication in letterpress later on using the poems. I shall keep you posted on that progress. My version is all but completed ready for my printer to run off 50 copies, which is a mixed blessing cos I am going to be doing all the trimming and folding and that’s no easy task. Here is the first one.
INSIDE THIS EARTHEN VESSEL
Destination Dust
Dhona the Brahmin was a mendicant
monk….. Who asked Siddhartha (Gautama
Shakyamuni, Tathāgata) “Are you human, one
from Gandharva?……… Are you a god or maybe a
Yaksa?” “Brahmin everything that’s created passes.
Strive diligently into your transition, go peacefully to
ward your destination. Escape from the Spinning Wheel
of Samsara.” During dispute when Guatama passed away
Brahmin Dhona, intervening, did say….“The message of the
Blessed Buddha Is still peace & forbearance today.” Thereby
the Malla chieftans of Kusinara….. On whose soil Shakyamuni
had died. Reluctantly released the relics to be divided into eight
domains….. Thereby each claimant built a monument……Which
every time turned to rust Confirming Siddhartha’s message that
Every… thing… passes… to… ashes… and……………. dust
Up on the road near Montagnola… A Wandering Writer named
Hesse heard the tale from a Mendicant Monk…………….Then he
recounted the story to you and to me In a book which he called
‘Siddhartha.’
Tathāgata shewed how to escape the Swamps of Samsara and
Suffering. Tathāgata said “Namaste. The Light
in me Greets the Light in thee. I Am a Buddha Brahmin,
I Am a Buddha Now.”

The ‘a’s with the little ting on top just happened, so I have left them as I really like them.
Copies of the book should be available before the end of August. In time for the Oxford ‘Wayzegoose’ book fair where I have gotten a table near my birthday in October. “ Will you still need me. Will you still feed me. When I’m sixty four? Ba bum boom, les Beatells.” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fDt26gJYVB4
The new book has several mentions of key belief systems but it’s not any way a religious book. It’s about looking at the wonders of existence on this little globe using the insights of some men who spent their lives dedicated to trying to help human beings see more clearly, the six ‘thinkers’ (or maybe better called ‘tinkers’?) in it being:

G.iorgi Ivanovitch Gurdzhiev

B.euys Joseph
A.ngeli Silesii
T.enzin Gyatso
C.arl Gustav Jung
H.ermann Hesse

The first letters of each name give the title of my Introduction to the project in an earlier artist’s book, G Batch.I could have included others like William Blake, but my time was limited to one year to complete that project and I had to be selective. The nice ting is this new book and my collaboration both grew easily from all the work I did at the time. There is even a wider scope book in there but Thames & Hudson’s reader in ‘Spiritual’ etc books couldn’t imagine that anyone out there would buy it in big enough numbers. I believe they would, it’s just that the publishing world has little imagination, like the art world- galleries etc. I approached the Museum Of Modern Art NY with my image called variously Venus at the Stairs or Venus Stares because they own two of the images which inspired me to do that image, Schlemmer & Lichtensteins, but they send a rather rude and ignominious reply to anyone who has the temerity to approach them:
Sirs and mesdames,
at the end of April 2014 i send a package with my image of my picture to see if I could galvanise an interest on your part to buy one. I sent it by air mail to: The Museum of Modern Art
The Department of Painting and Sculpture
11 West 53rd Street
New York, NY 10019
In the light of not having gotten a reply by today, 16July 2014 should i take it that your gallery has no interest?
Hello.
Thank you for contacting The Museum of Modern Art.
Please note that the Department of Painting and Sculpture’s acquisition and exhibition programs are developed from within the Museum. Due to the large number of unsolicited submissions we receive, we can only respond to those which the curators express an interesting in pursuing.
Sincerely,
The Museum of Modern Art

And from a gallery in Germany which happens to be having a Schlemmer show right now, a fact I was as usual blissfully unaware of when I suggested they buy my pic:
Dear Mr. Kennedy,
Thank you for this information on your work inspired by Schlemmer. However: as you may presume, our exhbition is already fully set and it is a retrospective on the artist Oskar Schlemmer only.
Sincerely,
I.Conzen Kuratorin für Klassische Moderne
Staatsgalerie Stuttgart

I remember back in the early 80’s on their first(?) album Mark Knopfler of Dire Straits mentioned a friend who had made it, ‘In the Gallery’. At the time I was an ‘artist-bloke’ making and teaching art and related skills and I recall thinking well am not ‘In the Gallery’ yet, maybe one day? That never happened. I’m flagging up my chagrin cos it’s no good me saying in 20 yearns time ‘Why did you not let me in?’ and you telling me you didn’t know I wanted to be considered. In fact, my old mate IEPW has reminded me that ‘galleries’ are commercial enterprises, they are never going to let anyone in who isn’t ‘recognised’ and/or in one way or another, famed. So, I am barking up the wrong tree again. They are never going to let me in, in fact my biggest claim to fame is my ‘originality’ and that my friends is exactly what they do not want. They want the things which have been tried and tested, vetted and decided upon by key decision makers like Saatchi, the money, the last ting they want is someone who is always changing tack, always searching for the new.

There are those who tell me that being in the gallery is not all it’s cracked up to be (whatever that is; being ‘seen’, bought, considered, added to the list etc). Like Lucy Lippard who started, after gaining a degree in curating (?), at Momany and spent much of her life advocating being ‘outside the gallery’, I heard her say it in a talk a year or two ago, albeit from the stage in one of London’s ‘important’ galleries.

VIP I have to correct the mistake above. Lucy has gently informed me that she got ‘just an MA in art history’ rather than curating. I had carelessly assumed her degree to be in curating from her early role at MOMA. (As you will suspect I am trying to avoid digging a deeper hole here when I say) I have only respect for Lucy and her long standing relationship within and without the world of art. I first came across her writing in relation to Eva Hesse, an artist whose work I love and of whom Lucy was a friend and advocate, I think…be careful now…take nothing for granted Pete. Since then I have studied, slightly, her work in relation to the likes of Robert Smithson and her Numbers Shows. I was lucky to listen to and draw her at the Whitechapel gallery a couple of years ago. When I say I drew her it was without her knowledge or consent as I draw folk when the institution dis-allows photography so I have a visual record of a person at an event. As you may guess visual memory is important to me.

lucy for blog 29714 smkb

I’m a sad bastad me. Sad cos I tried so hard to break through into the world ofart, I mean you gotta be sad to even try, why not get a proper job?

What’s interesting is how tings move on. I never used to see my ‘writing’ as part of my ‘art’ but recently I have learned to understand they are one. In the same way, for many years I saw my ‘comic’ or graphic drawings (of Apulhed and Friends) as separate from my oil paintings and now I understand they are one. I used to wonder how I could amalgamate one skill or form in with another across a wide range, then I realised they are not separate, they are one. In my last blog I did a newstyle ‘comic’ in which I began to incorporate the photo-image with the drawn image. Expect to see more amalgamations, and collaborations, as the stopper is out of the champagne bottle.

A Blake workshop
On Saturday I went to a workshop by a Blake scholar whose prints from his own re-makes of Blake’s copper plates are in every important Blake collection all over the woild. The workshop ‘Printing in the Infernal Method’, led by Professor Michael Phillips, took place on Saturday 26 July 2014, at Morley College. Michael explained the mystery behind Blake’s method of creating the prints for his books. He dispelled myths about Blake’s techniques. Fundamentally Blake could mirror write on the tiny plates (c.70×112 mm) from his youth. Michael carries his own little bottles of pigment, limited to the exact colours Blake used, and linseed oil. He mixed the ink to its optimum mix. He then applied the ink to the small copper plates which he explained were created from a number of sources close to the original plates all of which are lost. He told us of a little boy who Blake taught how to make a plate.
http://williamblakeprints.co.uk/making_the_plates.html

michael phillips daubing

Michael the master Blake printer daubing delicately.

Luckily for posterity the boy had kept what was a postage stamp sized plate in his box and it passed to descendants. On the back of it was an old Blake image which has given Michael an exact measure of the depth of cut Blake used to incise the image then use two dips into sulphuric acid. 1.125 mm deep is all he did. Michael scotched the rumour that Blake had used rollers to ink up his plates, no because they were not invented whilst he was working. He used a leather dauber. We were allowed to have a go and man is it difficult. I used my most delicate touch and that was too much, I got well told. Then Michael did four prints from each of 5 plates each diminishing in tone until the final pull, which now had 3 mini-blankets on whereas the first pull had one, was almost inkless. I learned so much from Michael and have to thank him for his patience and knowledge.

blake chimney sweep print smkb

The Chimney Sweep.
You can see how kak-handed my daubing was where the grain shows in the ‘white’ areas.

Also
I love the work of Stephanie Wright http://www.sculptgallery.com/item/single/2282/stephanie_wright_compot which i saw in the new summer show at Sculpt gallery near Tiptree in Essex. Her pots cum found objets sculptures are refreshingly original and humour-filled. If you care to go to her website she does quite a range of ceramics but the ones in this gallery are my favourite.

Subtle Pull & Push of the Printed Surface Permeates this Potential Masters’ Degree Show, IMPRESS, at Courtauld’s Gallery.

First I want to note how nice it was to receive a note of appreciation on twitter from somebody at firstsite for my blArt last week about Bruce McKlean’s show there. This blArt is about this week at Courtauld’s wonderful new exhibition. The Courtauld is held in high esteem and I must say i have always been impressed by their collection and particularly by their library which is set in astounding spaces underground. They have a box with a collection of my artefacts in as part of their massive library on most every artist that has ever done anything of worth. I watched the interaction between the students and their tutor guides and other curators and was most pleased to observe a wonderful sense of trust and honesty there which I am certain is the foundation of their great reputation. These attributes are a great asset and they should not be taken for granted as they are not present in all establishments. The exhibition by the students is locked in to a bigger show about the Institution’s large print collection although many of the works accessed by the students for their show came from elsewhere.

a trip to the courtauld sm res

A trip to the Gallery

http://www.courtauld.ac.uk/macuratingexhibition/

Did you ever ponder upon the process of making a print? These MA students have advanced the idea of the imprint for me. The impression left by someone’s hand in the fabric of the settee inspired them to search for evidence of the clever ways people impinge on surfaces to impress so subtle ideas on varying materials for us to enjoy in such abundance. Carefully selected and placed pieces thrill your tactile sensitivities.

 

The sheer plane of a photograph on an aluminium surface in the late Donald Rodney’s ‘In the House of My Father’* is placed next to the weighty black bolster sinking into the soft white pillow. Matt Collishaw’s blind embossed letterpress page from D H Lawrence echoes the UNO City impression by Langlands & Bell. The image of the chair next to its cane impress on handmade paper is juxtaposed beside the colourful soft flesh photo-etched buttocks which may have sat on it by Tim Mara in an exquisite display of his dexterity in several print forms on one small surface. The fine sand in Mona Hatoum’s dual between positive and negative forces as the wheel in time first creates then flattens furrows in her ‘+ and –’kinetic sculpture. The form of the human torso tattooed totally in taboos and traditions by Edward Lipski. I could wax lyrical about the whole show but the truth is you must see it for yourself.

* Donald Rodney inherited the blood disease sickle cell anaemia from the house that was his father. This he illustrated beautifully in the print of an enlargement of his own hand in which you see his fingerprints and on which he has created a small paper house. This is a wonderful visual analogy of his predicament which he must have created in full knowledge of the inevitable outcome and gives us an insight into another form of edition, the evolving human being.

a follow me said Stuart the pied piper

Pied Piper of Courtauld Gallery

Young Stuart Moss called us to attention, well he tried to but as we were all chattering away he could not do so without doing a little dance, then we all followed the little pied piper into the main gallery to listen to the grateful speeches mostly attributing praise to the eleven relatively anonymous student curators who did show their hands when requested to.

mad 073

Martin Caiger-Smith teases the MA curators

(Head of MA Programme: Curating the Art Museum), Martin Caiger-Smith’s talk was gentle and inspired with humour, (forecasting the demise of the England team which was being marmalized & condemned to world cup oblivion by Louis Saurez as he spoke), with sympathy and appreciation about the team of graduates who had worked well together to prepare the exhibition over the past six months.

a mad talks to senior curator sm res

student in conversation with senior curator

The encouraging mutual affection between teachers at the Courtauld and their students is admirable and deserves notice. This mutual respect generates an atmosphere of trust, support and the expectation of high standards, which are evidenced in this sensational result, an exhibition of the highest calibre which I recommend wholeheartedly that you visit. It stands alongside the present feature of ‘From Bruegel to Freud(el)’ curated by Rachel Sloan,  a show of the continual re-invention of print-making, at Somerset House until September 21st. It is well worth a visit if only to catch a glimpse of a beautiful artist’s book by Oskar Kokoshka.

I never knew the great man began as a printmaker!

http://www.artandarchitecture.org.uk/insight/klein_kokoschka.html

 

Don’t be fooled like I was by the Day at the Races print either, I assumed wrongly it was another Degas, but no, it’s by Toulouse Lautrec, the boy was good you know!

http://galleryblog.courtauld.ac.uk/2014/06/18/bruegel-to-freud-prints-from-the-courtauld-gallery/

A small concise well designed booklet accompanies the show contains well informed descriptions of the exhibits by Jack Shepherdson, Charlotte North, Jazia Hammoudi & Madeleine Kennedy. I found the glossary of printmaking quite enlightening and useful for an introduction to some print processes, although the work in the show incorporates more advanced methods too. The students were allowed to choose prints from any source that they thought was appropriate to their theme and their choice of exhibits shows great understanding and appreciation of the subtleties of the ways people make marks in edition or continuities.

Finally. The welcome we received with constant provision of light refreshments from another fine team was likely to IMPRESS even the coldest heart.

a service with some smiles

 

R.A. r.a. Ray…the SHUN-shine of my life?

 

Now I have a surprise for yez, a little private ‘seekwet’, a little ray of Sunshine (not). I have to introduce you to my ‘littul helpa’, Daniel O’Blarty (Dob for short) who, I have to admit, has insisted on having some input to this blog since it started. Because I wanted to bask in all the glory misen I tried to keep the sekewut between him and I. But like me old mum used to say, ‘the truth will out’ and his mam would have said ‘tha troot weel oot’. The fact is O’Blarty is a distant cousin of mine from the olde country of my predecessors. He arrived for the weekend a while ago and has been here ever since. I have avoided making his contributions known for fear of contravening some recent rule about residence, entitlement to dole & housing allowances or payment of bed-rheum tacks. Oops there I go again, I’m afraid his influence is insidious, creeps up on yez it does. He is the same character that I wrote about in my tome with the working title, I Told You I Was A Genius where I disguised his identity with an alias, Rhody O’Dourke (O’Dork for short, Dork for even shorter). [If we can be bovvad to put his two monikers together and we have Dobdork!] or even Dork de Dob etc.

It all came out in the wash after the recent floods. People have been asking (he’d say aksin) why do I mis-spell words (werds) well truth (troot) be known that’s him! Sometimes as I’m writing he takes over my very pen and I’m too care-full to prevent him for fear of contravening some rule on political correctness or worse, race relations. I have to admit that I’m glad to have him around sometimes as there is a long tradition of great writers from the Olde Country; Jonofpen Swift, Dylon Tomas, Bendarn Behine, Rabbie Sideburns & Oscar Tamed were all frae Celtic soils. So from now on you’ll be able to tink to yourselves (yersens) or say out loud even, even unevenly, ‘Oh now I Understand, that’s not Pete (da Feat) who’s mis-sphelt that or said that profane ting or gotten it totally out of context, it must be his (illegal) immigrant helper Dan O’Blarty otherwise known in the Anglicised version of his moniker Dan Blarty or as they say in the Olde Country, Damien Blasterd?’

Author’s note. There is a long line of word changers, Shamans o’ de Pen including Flan O’Brien, Jimmy Joyce (as he’s known to his mates) and Georgie Herriman

http://www.old-coconino.com/sites_auteurs/herriman/mng_herriman.htm

whose Krazy Kat is for me the greatest komix ever by an  Arizonan country mile! Although Sheila Hodgett’s Toby Twirl illustrated by an e. Jeffrey is a stunning second for me published between 1946 – 1958 when I wer a lad.  http://www.tobytwirl.co.uk/

e jeffreys toby twirl

So. They invented characters, which is what the artist/writer artisriter does. In their day Krazy Kat and Toby Twirl were hughely popular which is no longer the case. Blake went the other way, his stuff was not popular in his day but has now got an international acclaim. Me, well I invented Apulhed, well at least once upon a time i believed i did. In 1971 I was a 20 year old student from Exeter working in Bournemouth for the summer when I drew my first apple with a face on adding things in its mind so you could see what he was thinking.

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 At the time I was very interested in extraterrestrials and whether they had ever visited planet Earth but soon I came to realise he was not extraterrestrial, he was from another dimension. Then I found an etching which he did where he was drawing me!

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And his tutor was looking over his shoulder saying, ‘Look at what you gone done now. You do know that somewhere, in another dimension, that monstrosity will now come into existence?’ He created me! So he drew me so I could draw him. Later on when I created the Nonogon Nomads I pondered on whether or not they merely used me as a vehicle through which to manifest in this dimension. They are avatars. They each represent a human psychological attribute. They may even all be different aspects of my Self? Then I created Rhody O’Dourke, alias Daniel O’Blarty. Or did I just realise them? However, words and imagesare (only) symbols for ideas. Ideas are representative of concepts. Concepts are attempts to convey ‘real’ or imaginary perceptions. So (I invented) Apulhed and most of my ‘characters’ to convey ideas, concepts, perceptions & notions, from my understanding and experience. Together I use them in my (sometimes) rather pitiful efforts to convey stories, true or false. But that is what artisriters do. We (humankind) rely on them to ‘think outside the box’ to ‘create’ new worlds or new views on our world and other possibilities. I for example look to the likes of Hundertwasser, Alan Davie, Kurt Vonnegut, Philip K Dick or even Philip Glass to create inroads into other dimensions of thinking hearing and seeing. Then, when those artisriter-musiciens raise their heads above the parapet we often shoot them down and say hey you, how dare you say you are good? We desperately need your input but don’t expect any reward, just keep on doing it til you disappear off this mortail coil and then we will say wernt he good now we can sell the work he left and line up in our thousands at variouarse citidals of fashion and say hmm this was a good one or this was not one of his best and all the rest of that carp.

I’m not a bitter man, in fact I don’t drink beer at all. Am stopping here, believe it or not this has taken days to write and you need a rest. I shall try to arrest you again with a follow on in a day or two.

also (Ah So!)

You know from my calling card that I was awarded Royal Akademy ‘Doubtful’ status in 2008. But there is another, even worse, RA in my life, Rheumatoid Arthritis. So, I have a swelling on my right mid-knuckles, it’s a rheumatoid factor, may be a remnant of when I was seriously incapacitated by my unwelcome lodger, Ruemore-Toad (face) Arthuright-ass. I had almost cleared every vestige of the damn feller, with the expert help of my doctors, Walters & Ovareachi. Plus an ever increasing schedule of light fitness training in Tai Chi, Ashtanga Yoga, Gym, Zumba and Tantricks Sex. I had rid mysen of most outer showings. Then recently a new swelling erupted around my middle knuckle. Being hypochondriatic I began to wonder what had caused this renewal. I went thru a number of possible causes. Then, as is my wont, I was reading Flan O’Brien’s book A Hard Life, as it happened, shortly after I had determined to discover the cause once and fer all. And there it was in his very words! Tha answer. On page 17 Mr Collopy is reminiscing on hurling sticks, ‘Many a good puck I had myself in the quondam days of my nonage. I could draw on a ball in those days and clatter in a goal from midfield, man.’(So similar to me on the football field but I used to punch the ball with my fist!) At which Mrs Crotty said bleakly, ‘Well it’s no wonder you are never done talking about the rheumatism in your knuckles!’ there it is, the cause. Recently I have been using a sledge hammer to hit some wedges into various sized logs to split ‘em. Sometimes the logs resist and take many blows which I knew had affected my ears cos my tinnitus returned (I never knew it had gone til it came back). But I was not really conscious of the damage it wer doing to my knuckles. I even blamed this typing lark, thought I may have to refrain from me blarting. ButNo, (me dad would have said ‘But no buttie’ as he were Welsh), I shall have to stop the splitting and hope the knuckles can recover. Funny that, I never did curling, nor cricket for thet matter and rounders, well I couldn’t hit an elephant’s arse with a ball hit from my rounders bat.

Guiding Lights.

Life is like a deck of Cards. It depends not so much on which cards you find in your hand but in how you might use them, or see them. There was a lovely song by Don Williams in the charts in the late 1950s, I was so much younger then, I Am older than that Now!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ydDv7gyotCE

It used to make me cry because of its triumph of fairness over apparent blame.It had a big effect on my view of the world. I loved the way the young private had remained calm in the face of wrongful accusation, I loved his explanation and the singer’s revelation at the end. As a young boy, about 11 years old when I first heard it, I was well schooled in the Christian faith in both protestant and High Church, I loved the smell of incense wafting around near the altar and remember going around fascinated by pictures of the twelve stations of the cross, I wanted to be able to make images like that one day. My first sculpture ever was a plasticine pulpit made to show I too could make a pulpit like the boy last week who’d gotten so much praise. I took part with other 11 year olds to help create a mural about Jesus and I still keep the wooden cross with the brass Christ on which I saved my pocket money to buy.

Later, during my 6th form RE studies I heard about how the bible had not been written down during Christ’s lifetime and about some mysterious documents which had been found in pots near the Dead Sea. I gradually became aware that there were religions other than Christianity which also advocated goodwill toward humans and I spent many hours reading on different beliefs from different parts of the world. At college in the early 1970’s I was into Eastern ideas, they had become fashionable and in the mid-70’s I had read Hermann Hesse’s classic called Siddhartha about the young man who later became renowned as The Living Buddha. Last Wednesday night (27th November 2013) I made my way with a companion across London to watch a man called Sogyal Rinpoche talk. I have read his book, ‘The Tibetan Book Of Living And Dying’, a couple of times and had found it an incredible help in my own take on the thing called death. Much better than my earlier reading of Evans-Wentz’s book ‘The Tibetan Book of the Dead’. The latter being written about Tibetan ideas by a well-meaning American and the former by a Tibetan brought up in and by their tradition. I had watched Sogyal on UTube and loved his relaxed way of conducting his talks and his apparent use of humour to lighten the load of the ideas he puts out. I was curious to hear him ‘in person’ in the same way I am sometimes curious to be there at a live gig by a singer or poet or actor etc. I feel I did learn quite a lot and felt some good feelings but I shall come back to that after my report on the rest of a very busy day.

At 11 am I walked into the Chelsea College Artist’s Book Archive to be shown some books by Gustavo Montero its chief archivist. I showed him some books I had made recently and he showed me some of Tom Phillips works. I had come to see the full hardback 1st edition book Phillips had made about Dante’s Inferno. Very impressive it was too. He showed me some of the various prints inspired from that book in small folders and several different versions of Humument. A new book for my delight is by George Brecht which composed of many different sized printed words and images contained in a box all of which for copyright reasons I am not allowed to share images of.

Whilst perusing these different ways of presenting the word the notion arose in me to ‘publish’ some of my 1970s writing in its original handwritten form, maybe even with added colour and various smudges, shifts and overprints which would make it illegible and obfuscate reading, more artwork than literary so the words become just shape and pattern like, say, a Mark Tobey painting. Then to make a legible, simply typed version available on an E Book. That would move my books even further into being ‘artworks’, but as there is always a text, a context and ongoing description it would be churlish not to let people find it in ‘readable form, whether they want to access it or not.

On hearing about the two short films, one describing the ideas behind the pot and its contents the other of my mask event talk with its famous scene of an idiot dancing, made around the time of the Final MA show Gustavo saw some stills and reckoned it would be a good idea to post edited down versions on U tube which I shall do when I learn editing. Of all the unique one off books and my new book ‘G Batch’ that Gustavo saw it was the concertina card book of the clay tablets in my pothi (Tibetan style book) which he liked most. He is into the work of Ed Ruscha who makes cheap, or did, publications in editions of c.1000 and Gustavo liked the ‘solution to the problem’ I had invented to get the words on my clay potis out to a public in a cheap accessible form.

So, back to Sogyal. Finding the Rigpa centre for the first time was quite a challenge but we arrived in good time. Sadly as we would need to leave to catch a train connection we would have to leave before the event concluded so we had to move from our cushions at the front to a place at the back. But Once Sogyal began to talk there was an amazing atmosphere of calm and serenity which he seems to generate. His talk has long pauses where he may be trying to remember what he had to say but more likely he deliberately slows things down slower and slowly slower til you are waiting expectantly for the next comment. He makes lots of jokes. He definitely doesn’t want you to approach serious subjects like death without a smile on your face. He talked about accepting death rather than fearing it and how serious life is but that there is a need for humour. It seems to me that’s a compassionate humour, an accepting what is was, what will be will come, Become. Be Calm & Carry on as my friend Colin Lloyd Tucker sings.

His message seemed to be about the difference between what we thing is real and what is really real. He used the story of the Tibetan sky as an analogy. He talked of the conceptual mind, the one we live with most of the time and the Buddha nature which is deep inside us. He likened the conceptual mind to the clouds furling and behind them the blue sky which is permanent [outer] space, infinity. He said to contact that real nature of mind we need to be natural [just] Be yourself. Whilst meditating don’t interrupt your mind with instructions just relax and allow it to be.

I believe that I saw some things during the session which I shall try to explain. I am using my way with words my play with words here, not Sogyals:

Realisation

Real-I-Say So On

It’s Real I say Shone

The Real I say shone (The Light)

So, I say I saw the light here, I sat there and saw sensed what I call ‘nuances’. These are my ‘beliefs’ or my considerations, not necessarily anything Sogyal said. I had been looking at ‘spirit’ over many many years. I did a comic which you can see in my book ‘Apul-One’ where author Paul Brunton was in the Great Pyramid overnight and he saw two lights coming toward him like sentient beings who spoke with him. And that was what I felt when Sogyal talked of past masters, buddhas, who gather round and watch [over] us. I call them the Wise Ones or the Watchers. There is a mantra, ‘Om Mani Padme Hung’, which if you say it , to yourself, or out loud or even in a group, will summon the community of buddhas to your side. I know some folk, many folk will be thinking that I am a poor misguided soul by now, but I really do think there is something in it. And my belief doesn’t hurt anybody, in fact I hope it can help somebody, me at least. Whether Brunton thought ‘buddhist’ when he ‘saw’ his watchers is debatable but I don’t perceive them as denominational! Spirit is much bigger than human divisions. So, let me finish before you go to sleep.

An Astounding Revelation arrives in the strangest of ways.

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I can see an incredible ‘spirit’ being in this painting/collage of ‘the Dalai Lama standing in front of a Tibet mountain’ that I produced which ‘appeared’ without my intervention. I am not going to point it out but it is there for those with eyes to see.

Sogyal was talking about what Buddhists call your ‘Buddha-nature’, about if you look inside there you can find your ‘real’ nature, the constant self, the one which is not blown in the wind nor changes with it. I scanned around the room, I listened to the silence which Sogyal could bring to the gathering, and I let my mind go…allowed it to think of the possibility that they were gathered and ‘watching’, the wise ones that is. They are there.                Forever.

I mentioned the watchers on the first page of my book Apul-One in 1975 when I wrote the last chapter which in fact became the first. I know I didn’t know then why I was mentioning them, I remember thinking , ‘you idiot, what’s all this about ‘watchers’ but part of me insisted on keeping it in. It was about a greater benevolence which watches waiting for me to tune in, to become aware and mind-full or rather, ‘void’- mind-less. And here I was on Wednesday 27 November 2013 sitting as cross legged as I can manage. In about an hour’s time my companion was about to get all esoteric on me when all of a suddy she said we are all air, water, earth & fire, but she hadn’t said that yet when Sogyal said something which resonated at a very deep level, a profound level which showed me his emphasis on humour is in fact so much deeper then we think. He started to joke about ‘guru’ the word which he said in Tibetan means ‘donkey’. Then he mimicked the sound of a donkey bray. He moved on saying about his words [to us], ‘A few droppings…and I want you to cherish them….relish them.’ He was still playing the donkey. He was giggling and waiting for us to ‘get’ what he was saying. I got it alright on more levels than he meant it, or did he? Obviously he was being self-deferential, kicking off any hero-worship, quite rightly and semi-ridiculing himself, and us for being there, so serious. And he is still playing the humour card. [Gurdjeff does it by saying we are all idiots and he, Gurdzhiev, is Arch-idiot, the King of all Idiots.] BUT, for me Sogyal had said something which in fact made profound sense to me and I think that is what enlightenment is all about. It Is very individual, it’s personal and this was so personal. He was talking of the donkey droppings being as pearls of wisdom.

The title of my 1975 book for which Apul-One is the sub-title is, ‘Standing On The Bannister Contemplating The Ways Of The World And The Farting Donkey.’

 I bid you good night.

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ps you can see my two books at my friend Kevin’s books site if you go in and scroll down about five books at

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Maeldune-Antiquarian/263122683823240

pps On Wednesday night Sogyal Rinpoche talked about the word ‘donkey’ being the Tibetan translation of the word ‘guru’. A donkey can sometimes (erroneously) be called an ‘ass’. An ass is sometimes (metaphorically) the substitute name used for ‘arse’. Sogyal said his words could be seen as ‘little droppings from a donkey’, which I compared to the original title of my first self-published book in which I reported I contemplated ‘the farting donkey’. So, IF you buy that book, what would that make you seem to be? Someone who likes listening to a man (albeit in his early 20s) who was talking through his donkey. And you know I keep saying I Am 63, old, now? Well age, like Einstein’s theory, is relative. Let me tell you a story which is sad but truly wonderful. My father was dying in a hospital and I was sitting around as he dozed and I could hear two ‘old’ female patients who didn’t know I was nearby, and didn’t know me anyway, they said, “ Have you heard they brought Odd-Job Jack in?” “Yes. They say he won’t recover.” “He used to mend my roof, he never charged very much.” “Yes. They say the good die young.” As I reflected on this chance conversation I thought how beautiful is that, they were talking about my dad. He was 73 year old.

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