I’ve finally uploaded the song texts and paintings to my final autobiographical exhibition ‘Journeys End’ here on my website (it’s on it’s own page). The exhibition was held in 1995 after which I didn’t exhibit again; I no longer draw or paint any more for public consumption. At some point I will upload the audio recordings of the songs.
When I first began writing my autobiography I naturally began at Chapter 1 which is here on my website titled ‘Memoirs of a child in care’.
I wanted my story to be as honest as possible and so one of the first things I needed to do was track down my birth mother which I did to a small flat in Uttoxeter. Bizarrely she had quite a lot of photos dotted around the flat of me as a small platinum haired little boy and pointed at them saying ‘That’s Alan’. However she did have occasional lucid moments and during one of these I asked her why she had put me in a children’s home.
She replied that in those days everything was means tested and that she was only given eight Bob a week (40pence) to keep me. One day she walked into the Social Services office and plonked me on the counter. “I can’t keep him on eight Bob a week, you do it” she said, and walked out.
At the time of that conversation I was in a very different psychological place to where I am now; my sense of humour could be particularly cruel and to laugh at something like that then was a coping mechanism for me.
Naturally these days I wouldn’t see a scenario like that funny at all and as a children’s worker for many years I have often actively prevented adults saying things in front of youngsters that I feel may cause them emotional harm? This ink painting was how I coped with my feelings at that time.
Over the years I guess I’ve published dozens of books, some commissioned and some personal. As I’m still fighting my way through my back catalogue the little gems seem to keep turning up. As I go through my artwork I’ll be making new pages on my website to upload and showcase what I think may still be relevant or interesting to people. There may be an illustration you can alter in some way to suit something you’re doing and I don’t mind if my art is recycled, please feel free. I’ve already uploaded the illustrations from the red book in this photo onto a page called Community Development Art though as you can see I still have a way to go. There’s a couple of suitcases full of art that I daren’t even look at yet. Meanwhile, to all you Arty sorts…have a great day x
Ferreting through my back art catalogue (to see what I wanted to clean up and edit) I came across this little gem. Throughout my years in the Navy I would draw pictures for the lads to send home to their ladies and then in about 1977 (when we lived in Gibraltar) I began taking art a bit more seriously.
From about 1978 I got heavily into Van Gogh and studied him in depth. Of course I was no Van Gogh but what I gleaned from my reading was his passion for excellence which I began to adopt. Often I would spend days on a piece of work before ripping it up because I wasn’t satisfied with the quality.
At school in the 60s I failed art because I hated the syllabus and the drone like way teachers pushed students to be clones. I began believing all art teachers were failed artists and my respect for them went out of the window.
This tatty certificate relates to a wacky picture I did of over two hundred miners on the pit top in a sort of Heath Robinson style. I still have the picture but its so big I haven’t quite decided how to reproduce it in order to upload it but I will get round to it one day. The picture took first prize at Olympia, Blackpool and set me off on a course of becoming a freelance illustrator for the press. I’m quite glad I found this little memento of a sweet occasion in my art life and was able to photograph it before it completely fades away…..
I’ve just uploaded another ten (JL) cartoon strips -110 so far – for those folks who have been following the antics of my little tramp; you can find them on his page. Tomorrow I’m uploading the final ten in this series so if you want to see his finale watch out for those if you’re a fan.
If you haven’t met JL and his friends yet and would like to – just click the link or go to his page here on my website.