On the blog pages I began to dig into my creative work a lot of which has never been shown before. I try to make it, hopefully, entertaining rarther than technical. The blog pages content contains items old and new , past and present, of my the things I’ve worked on. As you scroll down the blog page you will find items about painting, creative writing! songwriting, lyrics, and poems. Please feel free to leave comments so that I can improve.
In Comprehensive school I began writing stories in an exercise book with imaginary Elizabethan adventurers and sad tales about dogs. The English teacher made me read them to the class. Nothing was said about being serious writing so the discovery came to nothing. Then one lonely bed-bound day off school recovering from blood poisoning, a cousin, Elsie or Jennifer, dropped by with her tattered book of nursery rhymes to occupy my time reading.
I discovered drawing at Busil Jones primary school in Bloxwich. I had to paint a rainbow sky in watercolour, the teacher liked my effort and surprised me by putting it on the classroom wall. I also won an award for an art project for which I won a ladybird book. All that the teachers taught about art was that Leonardo da Vinci was a great artist, it felt unfulfilling to me at that age. I never saw any modern art, not even the Impressionists. At art school in Walsall in 1969 they had dreary history of art lessons about the Renaissance but little about modern art; not even contemperary movements like American Abstract Expressionism and Pop Art; and I only learned about Picasso because of an article in the Daily Mirror.
While I was at Art School I wrote poetry about my new life there. They were published in two booklets, “Poems Found Hanging in a Wardrobe” (Published by Outposts) and “The School” (Published by Aquila). Some say that Outposts, was a vanity publisher, (advertised in a daily paper), but there is a history of even famous poets publishing their own collections of poetry, Outposts helped hundreds of people to get started when there was no other obvious path to publishing their own work.
Awards and things
I won a Millennium Award grant to do a series of paintings about Limehouse Chinatown, shown at Oxford House in Bethnal Green and the Local History library.
Its been a challenge to consolidate what I experienced through the 60s, for since the end of that decade it has become increasingly conservative, controlling and complicated.
The first change that affected art and myself was in about 1970. Up until then if you could draw reasonably well and had some work to show at interview you would probably be accepted into art school. Then the government clamped down on this tradition and decreed that you should have so many O’levels to be accepted. This made it harder to get in to college and also meant that art theorists and intellectuals had a better chance of being accepted. I hoped for student outrage and demonstartions in the streets but no it was just another day at the office. For me this explains why mainstream art went from being exhuberant and colourful to being conceptual and downbeat.
Motto: To respect women and children; to be kind to animals and to love God