Tag Archives: St Lukes College Exeter

An idjet suckseeds!

At last I did ma Shrewd Idiot & The Three Graces gig in front of an audience (of 22+ cos some came in came out as you’re allured to do in Live Art pieces, altho one or two walked out before I began!) and I finally discovered with a little ‘elp from ma frend (see below) why I do it. At the Arnifini in Brissole in their wonderful Dark Studio. It had been suggested that nobody would have the energy nor drive to wend their way up there at 5pm on an afternoon but beautifully every available seat was filled and the witnesses seemed quite attentive, nay near mesmerised.

at BABE 2017 crowd GREAT sm

Much to my delight, as I had practised the ting and planned it over so many weeks without knowing if I’d be talking to myself alone on the day. I wantu thank my friend Dave who was first to say how much work it needed just six days before the event. Then my friends Max, Linda, Christine & Tom who said it really needed some big changes just five days before the event. I applied their advices. Christine did a lovely print & fold job on some words for me to hand out as folk arrived from which I read my ‘intro’ before I began the real ting.

Three old college mates came and it was wonderful to see them. Each of them features in ma big new deluxe book The Shrewd Idiot based on my thoughts & activities at St Luke’s College Exeter between 1969-73. My mate Gus was joined by his daughter Hannah who also does Performance Art and wasn’t even born in the time the books are about!

Tanya came to see what my fuss was all about. I’d like to thank them all for coming as well as all the other folks who came along. The gathered presence really inspired me to rise out of my fears and let the whole ting ting along well and it seems they all enjoyed it, especially the ones I mentioned above.

So what happened?

a PAPete shows Ahed Sees sm

First I shewed ma 3 new books (quickly as I was told this gig should last just 15 minutes).

a PK reeds da poem

Then I read from Christine’s handout.

a PAPete68 mask BEST sm

Then I got into character for the first few movements. The mask was taken from a painting I did back in 1968 which was exhibited in Burnley Artists Annual summer show that year. It was a face which represented the 17-18 year old me-myself-I, which is what the books appear to be about. It is also the first page of the Shrewd Idiot book printed on Zander’s Translucent paper so you see the title page beyond it as a sort of palimpsest. There’s 10 images on Zander’s Translucent in the deluxe A3 version each of which brings a palimpsest quality. For me it is a metaphor which signifies that life is not just what we can see and touch, there’s lots of other ‘stuff’ behind the veil. The painted face becomes another form of veil too, my mask. I always work on hunches in most all of my creative endeavours. I had a hunch these masks would be powerful, and they were, or should I say, ARE. I hope to have many opportunities to use them again and in fact I hope to make some 3D wraparound masks for future appearances as Apulhed & The Shrewd Idjit.

I did a couple of crazy dances meant to show what a ‘wild one’ I was when I left ma home toon to find ma way in th’world. The ting got serious when I told them I’d found a new girlfriend (Rose) but (rather carelessly) lost her at the bus stop. Van D. Man brought me a Beautiful Vision of her. After I lost her Lady Gaga had me howling at the moon in my doldrums.

apul 73 prays BRILL sm

Suddenly, out of No-where, came a Stranger with an apple-shaped head and he seemed to want to help me. But he was a new arrival on this plane and he was somewhat perplexed by the sad things mankind does to humankind. He almost set off back to whence he came without giving me (and you) the benefit of his shrewd wisdom. When I did my first ever Performance Art gig using his visage on masks in Exeter in 1973 he seemed to see a shaft o’light thru the haze and so he stays but he said, ‘Man must mend his ways, starting with YOU!’

Then Van sang Warm Love bringing back memories of the time we had together, a memory I chased and tried to cling on to. But I returned to my old wild ways, by now I was making a Cry For Love, aided by Iggy & Bowie’s song and ma new mask.

a PAPete coxie begs sm

I’d almost given up hope when this beautiful woman (Camellia) arrived and gave me a present I didn’t really deserve which Iggy Pop told the story of.

Camellia also brought her highly intelligent rational skills with her which I celebrate with The Waterboy’s song Whole of the Moon. Sadly I couldn’t keep hold of Camellia at the time and I was on the road again alone and missing her.

apulama implores sm

Once again after the moon enter Apulhed-man.

a PAPete in hat glances sm

This time lifting me up onto a higher plane where I was again joined by Van. He sings about being a Dweller on the Threshold, I tip toe across the burning ground and kneel down by the water where the lovely song about spirit leads me away, to delve into the mystic. “I looked at the swim and I dived right in!”1 apulama astoundin electric DARKA sm

To find the truth you got to look inside.

apulama & me contemplates sm

Meditation helps you to do that.

a apulswalo outlineI actually had picked up the wrong mask for my final fling so my Apul-Swallow mask insisted he be photographed outside of the Arnolfini as a goodbye gesture.

a beautiful winners + stars in ma eyes sm

And all my friends came too…

The feedback has been good too. One friend said he remembered that I always liked to dance, another said she thought I danced beautifully which came as a pleasant surprise. My old mate from Enfield said ma gig was ‘…very moving and affecting…’

This was also what ‘James the tech’ in the Dark Studio said, ‘I was strangely moved by it.’ I am so pleased that it came over that way.

The Enfield Man (EMan) later wrote me saying, “…we had a chat afterwards about your performance and books and we reckoned that, based on what we saw, your books together with the performance was the best thing that we saw at the event. What you did, in my opinion, was to say, “look artists’ books are really different“…they are not just books with the limited and specialist vernacular that goes with the production of a “book” for a literary audience …artists’ books are a completely separate art form. Your performance really adds to your books as works of art. ” Also- “…The Shrewd Idiot book has a wonderful feel and special value attached to it just from a “laying on of hands” point of view…”

That’s exactly what I hoped I would achieve in my works, altho’ it has not been easypeasy. Sometimes I have wondered whether I been forever Barking up the wrong trees, ‘Am a long way from home (my comfort zone). How did I get here?’ It is so gratifying that am getting such lovely reinforcing comments.

ps I am working on a smaller version A4-ish) of The Shrewd Idiot which should have much of the ‘feel & look’ of the bigger (A3-ish) deluxe version but will be a tiny proportion of its cost.

Talking about ‘the feel & special value’ of real books my downunder friend Fiona Dempster did a blog – https://mail.google.com/mail/u/0/#inbox/15b43ee869fd87b2 on th’smell of the buk.

This coincided with my friend (who I met at BABE four years ago!) Susan at Bound’s tweet: https://twitter.com/boundbyhand/status/850335549034561537

An Incredible Coincidence

Ma next blArt will be about the poet Pessoa and my being caught between Bookartbookshop & The Poetry School on Thursday 6th April.

Yes am lucky

iepw clematisclematis (c) by IEPW

Yes am lucky being alive!

Cos am nearing sixty five

My generation has been able to strive

Cos our fathers were able to survive

That heinous conflict known as the second world war

And in a way we owe it to them to do a bit more.

When we were young, in our 20’s at college, we all thought we were bullet proof, we never thought one day we may get older and prone to all the challenges a human life will put in the way. Now I look around at the friends I made in college in the early 1970s and I see some have had strokes, one had a massive one, several have had heart attacks and some have fought cancer whilst I battled a nasty disease called rheumatoid arthritis. Most of us who have survived did so as a result of help from the much maligned NHS and in my case I’ve gotten so much better that I can grace the world with my dance(s). One  northern contemporary of mine was heard to exclaim on seeing my recent performance filmed at BALTIC, ‘I thought he had r. a.?’ Well he did too and you wouldn’t want it my old friend. It’s a basterd bhugga I can vouch for that. Constant medical intervention by my consultant and G.P. pulled me thru the worst part and came early enough to stem its development. My wife was astounding in her support she never stopped paying attention to my needs and she altered my diet so I ate no crap. Then at Benton hall I began to swim a length a day, then two, then more and now am quite a good swimmer but not as good as Erica. Add yoga with Gareth Chandler, tai chi with Gareth’s Master Ch’n and Zumba with the Townshend Twins, Frances, Laura and last week with Lou to the mix and that’s what has made me able to do my dance. Add to that my natural gall, my attitude that if it’s hard I want to crack it, if it can be done then I can do it has brought me through. But this blog’s not about my small discomforts I want to celebrate my old friend Ian and his battle with recovery from the big old stroke he had.

IEPW delphiniumgladiola of the most beautiful shade of peach (c) by IEPW

Ian is one of life’s obsessives, he did everything he chose to do to excess. He never drove a car in his youth then when he got one he had to strip it down to bits and rebuild it himself, most of us would have taken it to a garage or sold the thing. He abstained from sport for let’s say ten years from around age 18 to 28, then he started doing marathons and swimming hundreds of lengths. Most of us would have walked and maybe dipped our toe in the sea.

IEPW delphinium2creamy yellow gladiola (c) by IEPW

It’s OK swimming many lengths fast when you’re young but not so good as you approach your sixties and you got high blood pressure so most of us wouldn’t challenge a youngster to a race in the pool but Ian did. When they pulled him out they thought he was dead. He’d had a massive stroke. They took him into hospital for over 10 weeks and did what they did and he began to recover, then he added his natural inability to give up and his recovery has been quite remarkable even though he can’t feel the left side of his limbs and his leg feels real heavy he’s learned to use mind over matter to make them move. And he gets by. He used to run around his adopted town training for marathons and all the bus drivers and taxi men knew his face. When he didn’t turn up on the roads for months one bus driver turned up at his house and asked after his health. He did try to runs slowly around the streets again but it proved too danger-full so now he pushes his limbs on a bike machine to do more miles in a week than I would do, and I’m nearly normal! ‘Life is for living’ is his mantra.

iepw autumn leavesspringtime acer leaves (c) by IEPW

It was Ian who taught me to take and process photos, in the day when you had to do it wet. I got quite good and took some lovely photos of people but Ian did the best.

john st Field smmy sketch of john st field world’s fastest guitar slinger

Have you spotted Apulhed? He sneaked in everywhere.

His photos of a man we knew in the early 70s as John St Field that I did the drawing above from, who later became known as Jackie Leven, are astounding and one of the last things Jackie said to me was ‘tell Ian I want to pay him for those photos cos they were great’. Recently he photo’d prima ballerinas from Japan and wild animals at London zoo and the flowers photos are his from the flowers he grows, with the help of a strong young man who digs the earth for him.

tut close up specs smauthor artis bloke when he were studying intensely for his first degree

In about 1972 when I used to work into the night to create my early comics, something outside my college work, he came round and photo’d me with my comic of Tutankhamun reflected in my specs! It took him hours to capture the image which he had seen in a flash but had to work to capture as I continued scribbling with my rotring pen. I find a mention in my notes from back then which I am re-presenting now for my new Shrewd Idiot artisbuk.

I guess I am lucky too cos this blArt gets folk coming to visit every week and this week i had some hits from Russia, Georgia and even from Kazakstan.  I wonder how they find my stuff?  And in the first hour this one went up we had visits from Greenland, Morocco & Russia. I know who it may be in Greenland, and in Morocco but have no idea who it is in Russia. Namaste to yez all.

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.

And that’s why am doing this now. (What is original & what is quality? Part 1)

What is original & what is quality? Part 1

all art and words (c) pete kennedy (except the hands of Leger pic which is not my copyright)

I know my work has originality within it. I think it has good quality within it. But, ‘how good?’ is another answer, one which I am in an impossible position to say because I cannot be objective about me.I can of course be relatively objective about all other human beings (hubeings…ube-ins…ubeans) but only relatively cos I have my own experience, knowledge AND prejudices. Objective is hard to define (in the arts) as there are few accurate measurable. They say to get 100% in a Maths ‘A’ level is do-able but it’s more difficult in English because the latter depends on subjective decisions. Most people believe that science is a ‘fixed’ or ‘set’ field of knowledge, within which Maths may be included(?) but it is now known that science is an open, moving, field, not so fixed. There are frequent discoveries & realisations. Similarly in history where they thought the bronze tool was first made 4,ooo (4K) years back until a man was found in the Alps in a very well preserved state with a bronze axe and a stone knife and he lived 5K years back so the acquisition of working bronze was pushed back a thousand years. In almost every field of ube-in* endeavour there are shifts both small and substantial. So, let me like Paolozzi said, return to my original obsession, art(s).

*Hey, I’m tinking about this. Why not call them ‘ubes’? “I am a ube, or more corectli “I Am an ube’” the strange creature on planet earth said when we interviewed it.

I mentioned Hockney wat is about 10 years older than me in my last blart. He was ‘a precocious talent’ at school for sure, considered to be brilliant at the what-was-considered-then-to-be ‘good’ art. I was apparently not, altho this can be debated…when I about 13 I did a still life of some woodwork tools in pastel shades of yellow and with an expressive brush-stroke. Eye (oops, Freudian slip) I let loose, making the surface of the painting throb with texture and vibrancy. The teacher who triggered my effort was about to depart the school appreciated my efforts but Bennett the incoming guy did not and my expressive skills had to be put on ice only to be re-awakened when I discovered a chap called Van Gogh in the biggest retrospective of his work ever to be held in London when I was a sixth former visiting the capital during the first half term about 4 years later. I knew I had found my master. But before that my art floundered as I was pretty useless at the normal for those days requirements. My mate Steve Hezzlewood, everyone knew, was like Hockney, a genius with the norm gaining a grade 1 at ‘o’ level with me a close bottom of class with a grade 6, the lowest pass. I should have dropped art, it was my worst grade by far, but being me I chose it as my main focus for life. Silly me. So, with my gradesix in the bag I decided I was to be an artis. But, as I entered the 6th form art class everything for me changed it did. (ta Yoda) In Padiham town hall I saw a Gaudier Brzesca pastel sketch, Alan Smith another art s precocious talent with a grade 1 from the local sec mod school joined our class making it tree and persuaded me to accompany him to a little southern town called Londres during the October half term in the first year sixth where I saw the big Van Gogh show. I took the bit and I bit very hard and that’s why am doing this now.

 

However, as I said in a previous blart, altho he loved my work and said not to do a Fine Art degree at Leeds cos it would stiflekill me but to go down the road to the art college and mention his name I ignored Quentin Bell’s advice and did not go to art school, whereas Hockney had gone to first Bratferd then the RCA colleges. Hezzy had joined the police cadets cos he thought he wer Barman and wanted to chase criminals, and after gerrin a good grade at A level I went to ‘Teachers’ Training College’ in Exeter. And that’s why am doing this now. So, I enter St Luke’s college and by now I am the precocious talent. I took my wrapping paper off my stuff wat mi mum had packed for me to leave home with, lots of different shades of green an brown and did an abstract like wat Matisse did . Immediately the 3rd year who had taken me under his wing said don’t let the art dept see that or you’ll be kicked out. Boom boom, ‘they shot me down’ said Cher. The course at St Lukes was overseen by Dereck Lawrence R A and was quite old fashioned by 1973 standards. By the end of the 1st year they’d invented a new grade for their 3 most vociferous ‘rebels’, me, Charlie Kavanagh a ‘mature’ student (they were drafting all the folk they couls get into teaching then) and ex-army PTA and a girl with lots of talent called Siobhan Kelly, an E minus grade. And DLRA aksed me to please leave ‘As this is not an art college this is a ‘Teachers’ Training College’, go and do an art college course as you’ll never make a teacher. But that wer a red rag to a bull, I had to stay on and become a teacher even tho I knew he wer right. And I stayed on, to the bitter end, And that’s why am doing this now. Only a handful of the other forty odd students could draw, but that didn’t matter if you wished to be a teacher apparently, you just had to shut up and do what you were telt. And he had this irritating habit of giving out sweeties to the good obedient students, I never got one. However I did become a star there at the end of the 3 years and Ruskin Spear RA said my work was good but to be careful not to get stuck in a particular era. My art had a ‘pop’ feeling to it, so I said not I won’t but my art will define an era. Then at the end of the 4th year the Prin from Brum Art College wer my external and he said I should apply to do an MA there, but I dint and that’s why am doing this now.

I thought I wer good in some limited ways BUT I had already missed the first big boat- my days wer filled with Art but also Philosophy AND Education theory & teaching prac with other distractions like photography (wet) graphic stories (comic) and reading books on the supernatural & spirit like Paul Brunton, J W Dunne and Joan Grant. Had I gone to art college my days would have been filled with (just) art. In 1969 a good art dept would have fuelled my fires whereas Lukes doused mine, even a new box of matches had difficulty re-igniting it. It didn’t help when I was in the 3rd year, using the second rate facilities in screen printing when I paid a visit to the RCA’s print dept Final Show. The talent there with their access to much better resources became vividly apparent. I saw work there which made my meagre efforts look like a toddler’s work, I most certainly was not meeting his standards in my best work. I wish I could remember the name of the artist whose degree show in graphics blew me away, burri can’t. His work made Hockney & Hezzy look like Alfred Wallis. But all was not lost. I always seem to rally round in the face of adversity.

 Image

My appleheadman comics were certainly different and I was incorporating ideas from the likes of Alfred Jarry into my work, very strange. I thought IF I can’t join em beat em with knowledge. By being informed by the history of thought and ideas I could do stuff which was conceptually ‘out there’ on its own.my character creation was weirder than wierd. I mean, a talking apple with ears? One guest editor at Sennet the college paper I put Apulhed ‘comics’ in said Hell, what drug is he on? When he saw my strips. My ‘originality’ was based in the surrealists, dada, Gerald Scarfe and others if that can be called ‘original’ (see next blart)

I was different and some of my product may have been considered excellent but I was leagues behind the stuff I saw at the RCA. My lack of access to good equipment didn’t help, ours at Lukes was primitive BUT that did me good as I had to learn to produce quality out of nil resources, a lifetime habit it became said yoda. I was very hands on with the techniques I was using, I could smell the ink and feel the textures. So when in 1973 I saw Dieter Roth’s work with screens, his constant shifts and changes, instead of doing 100 edition all the same, I loved them cos I wer already doing the same as he. Then the books he made subliminally led me to do my first book, ApulOne in which I was showing my body of work was not opuscule!

Image

I had spent about seven years dedicated to improving my skills as an artis and my knowledge but the galleries were locked to me as player, stable is full, I heard that so many times and ApulOne was my way of saying, Hey, I’m here, notice me I’ve arrived and I am not going to go away. I’m an artis. The next few years saw me trying to break into the art world to no avail. I failed to see my buk had done it already, I didn’t need to fight to get accepted I just needed to do more buks. I did write another book several years later when I realised I really was an artis, but that like so many of my scripts awaits publication. I am plowing thru them, slowly. I sed plowing not pluffing. You know plough, rough, trough, all spelt same all sound diffrunt.

 

So what is an artis?

Well look at me for one. But they are hard to define. It is a state of mind, It is a state of mine. So, a politician is not an artis, no way.

I wanted to be an artis all my life and one wonderful day back in the 80’s I realised I could stop striving to be this artis I wanted to be becos I had ‘become’ that artist. It was not a case of trying to be (good enough) it was in my case I was one. I had been in this constant internal mind stretching bemused state, ‘How can I prove to the world I am an artist (of worth)? Then I realised (enlightenment in the arts) I already was and that ‘I’ did not have to ‘prove’ anyting. I had my grade six be blowed. The art you make/produce is that, just that, the art you make, nothing else. How the art you make is received, accolade, put down, ignored, praised, prized, honoured, given noble piece awards woteva, that’s down to those out there but wot yu produce, that’s wot meks you a player. and they can’t stop you.

I attended a little show Thursday back and I had two pieces on show. I thought as usual my work was good. And there was a young lad whose little drawing appropriated from a manga page wer also on show. And he wer proud of it. And he wer an artist. When you look at a copy of a manga sketch you may tink oh that is easy, anyone can copy that, and it may be so. But that lad had done it and it wer a stage in his development, like the first 5metres you swim is the start of your swimming life. Good for him. Being an artis is not subject to any assessor, it just ‘is’, like Joseph Beuys said, everyone is an artist (if they wanna be) altho I don’t agree cos a politician is not an artis. Funny cos Beuys was a politician, he wer a politician on the Eur-Asian world stage and he stood up for the environment and all that. Funny too cos by saying watti jus said above, I too become a politician, in the game of who’s who and who’s good (enough) etc. So as a politician, by the rule I created above, I cannot be an artis, which shows how stupid rules are even mine and of course rules are made to be broken. And I do…break rules.

One rule I broke was to write about originality in this blart, so just wait for the next blart when I want to talk about Maclean, Smithson and Maria Popova’s article on originality.

pps I wish to mention an English scientist whose work was ahead of his time but who (allegedly) gave up because of adverse criticism. Born on November 26, 1837 in London, England John Alexander Reina Newlands was a British chemist who noticed the repeating pattern of elements arranged by atomic weight where every eighth element had similar chemical properties. He called this the Law of octaves and was a major contribution towards the development of the periodic table. Because he then tried to explain his idea using an octave on a piano the hundreds of scientists present at his talk ridiculed him and he never recovered Mendeleev, the Russian who is credited with creating the first real periodic table of the elements, where trends (periodicity) could be seen when the elements were ordered according to atomic weight, was able to move into the gap Newlands left. I point this out for two reasons. The men who laughed at Newlands did so out of ignorance, they just couldn’t understand where he was coming from, they didn’t have his insights. The fact that circumstances pushed him to one side and allowed Mendeleev to ‘shine’ through is either fate or an accident of history. But for me it shows that we (ubeins) cannot ‘know’ evryting. Newland’s giving up allowed another man through and in a way Newlands has a right to be proud of his achievement/failure. I was shortening words, spelling them differently partly for speed writing back in 1973. Many thought I was (just) a fool. Nowadays hundreds of thousands of people are shortening words, spelling them differently partly for speed writing on mobile devices, it’s called text talk. I didn’t ‘give up’ writing, altho when I left my teaching job in 1976 to write a book based on Apul-One I did spell the words in the more normal way, mostly.

Footnote & fancy free: Wattan idjet! I apogolise to all (3) of my readers. In my last blart I said I wert inking of entrin this years RA show. Well it’s too late, entries were closed in feb this year. Maybe that’s a good thing? I shall save the money and avoid the hassle. BUT I do need to put my werk ‘out there’ so I AM looking for spaces to exhibit. The 1metre by 1.39 metre version of my Venus Stares image arrived this week and WOW it is stunning even if I say so myself which I do. It’s the best ting I ever done. And there’s several key images from my oeuvre (posh way of saying output) ready for similar treatment. I am ready for a big show so c’mon you gallerists, who’s up to the challenge? Look, like the kids at the Pentagon in 1967, I’ll hit you with a flower http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flower_Power_(photograph)

 a pete wit flowa power

This is part of the big one.

I can see the headlines noo. ‘Unknown artisbloke becomes good at last!’ and ‘Overnicht success fer artis wat struggled with farty yearns’ artis says, ‘I all ways wanted to suck seed. It were hard But I did it at last before I quit this this owen coyle.’ Critics say, ‘He makes it look easy. In fact he got others to do it fer him instead of keep doing all that usual crap like screenprints and lino and etchers and lithography by hand, he just told his printer to print it BIG’ I don’t blame him.’  ‘Why bark when you got a dog what’ll do it fer ya?’ Radial Berst, Britpack artis was heard to have said.

leger flowa sm kb

WOW, I must share this with youse!  I bought a book awhile ago from the barbican on Leger cos they wer selling em off cheaper after a show with his werk in. I like his werk but I always had him in the second tier, not up there with Picasso and Miro et al. I may be wrong. I know he influenced the likes of Roy Lichtenstein. I was tinking that my new Stares pic had a need for a stronger, but not as strong as Beckman, outline. And I had not looked at the Leger book awhile. Then I thought, Leger does tick lions around his images. So I pulled it oot and there on the cover was a hand holding a flower which is SO like the flower in my Stares pic! I am pleased abart that.