It’s not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change. Charles Darwin
Between 1989 and 1995 I went through a period of reflection during which I had quite heavy counselling; the past seemed to have caught up with me and I wasn’t in a good place. At the time I was well known in the press for my artwork and so my counsellor suggested I used my art skills to depict my feelings. Over a period of about a year I sketched at bedtime on bits of paper and the backs of envelopes and this collection is the result. ‘Private Journey’ became the first of three exhibitions I would stage, the second being ‘Journeyman’ and the last being ‘Journey’s End’ in 1995. I haven’t exhibited since. I deliberately haven’t given these sketches a clean up because I prefer them to remain in their raw, organic state.
Through my work over the years with vulnerable adults and children I have often encouraged people to use their creative skills as a way to address some of the pains they have experienced in life and have become a firm advocate of Creative Arts Therapy. As time goes by and I continue to develop my website I will, at some point, come round to uploading the other two exhibitions as (like Private Journey) they are a major part of my biography. Meanwhile if you would like to see this collection please click on either the link below or the one above x
With retirement looming it’s been really nice to have quite a lot of interest in my artwork (from around the world); having been a freelance artist for about 35 years I’ve always known I would never starve as long as I can use a pencil. Although I’m hoping (at some point) to upload all of my artwork here on my website much of my new art (for now) goes directly onto my Twitter account because of the ‘Arty’ connections on there. If you’re one of my Arty-type readers and want to see new art as it happens please feel free to join me on Twitter @AlanDDixon (or just type in Spailpinfanac into the Twitter browser). Meanwhile here’s a few pix to brighten your day x
Life is like a piano. The white keys represent happiness, the black keys show sadness; and as I’ve travelled life's journey I'm so thankful that the black keys make music too. She was 44 when she took me, a very damaged 7 year old, out of care and in 1962 that took some balls. Social Services in the North East in those days were a disgrace, I don't think I ever saw the same social worker twice in years and their main agenda was to put foster parents through as many indignities as they could with weapons ranging from criticising the contents of the pantry to openly suggesting there may be a better placement for the child in question. Not surprising that as an adult when I requested my case notes from Durham Social Services the hapless authority couldn't find them and so from where I'm sitting nothing much has changed - has it Durham? If readers (or Durham Social Services) detect a note of anger here they're right. Having worked in Social Services for the past 28 years they're welcome have a master class course from me any time on the importance of keeping good professional case notes, writing them knowing that the child is entitled to see them and respecting the incredible people that become foster parents. She was 56 when she died of cancer of the larynx by which time I was an 18 year old in the Royal Navy; they flew me home from Mombasa and for the next 17 years I made an annual pilgrimage to the cemetery to see the book of remembrance in its little glass box. I'm nearly 59 now and have already outlived my incredible foster Mam who passed away 40 years ago on 27 February 1974 - that same parent who put up with the criticism, sarcasm and interrogation of the social services; the same social services who had the audacity to suggest I would be better placed with other carers. As an artist I believe every picture tells a story and the three photos I've chosen for this post show my own personal journey; I suppose you could say they show my life. They show (1) me before I was placed in foster care (2) as a young adult in the RN after 12 years with my foster Mam and then finally (3) as I am today. To imagine what picture 3 would look like had picture 2 been different is unthinkable. On Thursday 27 February 2014 I will again make my pilgrimage to the cemetery to view the book of remembrance and say thank you with love to my remarkable Mam.
I’ve finally uploaded 120 of my (J.L.) cartoon strips and decided to leave that project alone for a while; there are many more but I want to look at what else is in my art collection to showcase a bit of diversity’
Pushing 60 I get the feeling that my rock and roll days may now be fond memories of the past and so I’m needing to focus on what I can feasibly do with myself in the future. Just digging through my back catalogue of art has been very inspirational, so much so that readers may see my website change to become a bit more Arty through the year; and without giving too much away I have to say I’ve begun sharpening my pencil because sometimes I get the feeling I know where I’m going.
Finally I’ve managed to upload the first 100 of my cartoon strips. The stories give a gentle, humorous insight into the quest of a homeless character (J.L.), and his friends, and their daily quest for survival. I created the strip in 1983 and there are still many more from that period to upload yet which I’ll add to the page in due course.
Currently I’m working on a new series set in the present day with life as it is now which hopefully will bring the little guy a new generation of fans,
If you’d like to see this collection please click the link
or visit page 21 here on my website.
I’d promised myself that I wasn’t going to delve into my old Art suitcase but curiosity got the better of me and when I opened it I found this little gem. It’s a piece of quarter inch plywood about eight inches by four inches, smeared with poly-filler and then scratched into while still wet.
I remember the day I made this clearly; Carol and I were youth workers and we took a group of disabled children to Chatsworth Park in Derbyshire for an art taster day. This activity was one of several we facilitated but the kids particularly enjoyed the tactile element – some used their fingers to make their painting..
Historically this art work is very poignant for me because it shows me that the idea for my cartoon strip J.L. was in my mind two years before I began to draw it. For those readers who haven’t seen that cartoon strip and would like to just click on the link below (or above) where I am uploading the stories.
Another 10 strips of my cartoon tramp J.L. are uploaded to his page on here; that’s 30/200…may take a while but hope you enjoy his adventures…