The sixth of this series, the first finished this year. Tricky customer this complexity in abstraction. Not as tricky as life nowadays though! Welcome to 2021…hopefully it will improve!
I first came across Billy Jenkins as part of Burlesque, a band playing support to the Kursaal Flyers. They were the most anarchic and surprising rock act I’d ever seen, and Billy was the focus of the most bizarre aspects of a fairly weird outfit! Sadly neither of their albums could properly capture the live act. But some years later I came across his early jazz recordings, the first I purchased wasUncommerciality vol. 1and I became an occasional follower though being both busy and out of London observed live performances were very few. No matter…Billy’s work has always been brilliant, full of character and joy, sometimes more ‘difficult’ for some but never dull or unforgettable. I’ve been catching up with the more recent stuff over the past few days including those episodes of The Billy Jenkins Listening Club I hadn’t got round to. These ‘snapcasts’ are excellent giving both a flavour of the man and the music. I also went online to pick up his most recent outing Ghost Music by BUYING IT. I say this loudly as I’m firmly of the view that artists should be properly paid for their work! I don’t know Billy personally of course but I’m pretty sure he’d like (or maybe it was his doing) that when I put the downloads into iTunes his album came up as ‘Unknown Genre’. Magnificent! I’m thinking my artwork (if it ever sees the light of day again, postviral) should be tagged with the same epithet!
“He always maintained that you’ve got to be able to play straight to really play wonky”
Beowulf “Wulfie” Mayfield, discussing Billy Jenkins musical philosophy in Episode Six, Series Two of The Billy Jenkins Listening Club
and what a grand day to be doing so…hard to believe it’s still early February. But we (being my pal Simon and myself) got stuck into the latest instalment of the seemingly endless task of visiting every place listed in the various District guides for the county of Leicestershire. As it happens we haven’t yet completed Melton but a new year gets us out into Harborough (we polished off Charnwood some time back and I did NWLeics years ago). The point of the exercise for me is to assemble a collection of small (40 x 50 cms.) paintings each representing, albeit very abstractly, every location visited. For Simon it’s the photographs themselves and, as I’ve said here before, if you want top quality images his blog is where you should head off to!
The paintings are invariably derived, very loosely, from crude collages of images taken on the journey. So here we have one such…using two snaps made in Thorpe Langton, one of the Langton’s (there are five in all) in the Welland Valley. Actually the Harborough project is a rather tricky blighter…the previous three guides elided the places on the map contained within the guide and the ‘biogs’ of places therein. But this one doesn’t – some places are on the map but not discussed and vice versa. What to do? choose one or the other or do the lot? A question that won’t need resolution until I get around to the paintings stage and that will be a ways off as Charnwood still has 18 canvases awaiting completion whilst Melton still hasn’t got its full set of collages.
Meanwhile other picture making continues apace…another canvas from a newer series that has a putative title to be announced here soon… This one is The Approach, acrylic on canvas, 80 x 55 cms.