My Life as an English Artist on a Greek island. Part One
Posted On March 3, 2021
An Odyssey is Born
weekly story -My Life as an English Artist on a Greek island. Part One
Lying in a bath with music gently playing mozart, a glass of wine and a smoke.This was ‘my time’ and usually on a Friday night. All forms of communication with the outside world was muted. The stage was now set for a good think about myself and my life.
It was one of these ‘Me’ nights that my Greek Odyssey took shape.
For almost a decade I’d been applying my talents designing. Eventually I formed and then ran a design company in a major UK city. My company became an obsession for me, but that wasn’t obvious or even seen as a negative by myself, for years. I was more interested in proving that a back-street inner city kid could make it against all the odds. On lookers thought I was working twelve to sixteen hours seven days a week, because I was chasing money and financial success, or perhaps to gain recognition by them that run the modern City business life. However, nothing could have been further from the actual truth.
“taught to react to a Bell.”
I began my life born into in a decaying Northern English Town in 1951 and even although I loved my family, I hated the place of my birth. I also hated the way in which the kids of the area were educated to a level which was little more than being able to sign their name and read a simple document. They were actually taught to react to a Bell.
The secondary schools took the pupils from 11 years to 15 years of age and from thereonin it was a simple skip and a hop to the factory gates and into a life of lower social status conditions. I hated the system controllers who were from the middle class managers and higher class bosses, who together and with a sort of social racism, maintained that unfair system. It was one that enabled them to profit excessively, from others, who without ambition, other than selling their labour for as much wages as they could muster.
“on the first rung of the English socially accepted ladder.”
I was lucky, I had a talent and at the tender age of eleven I was enrolled at an art school where the teachers were artists and the pupils came from mixed social levels. My peers educated me as much as my teachers. However fate played its hand. My father died very young of an untreatable cancer. I was fifteen and felt a responsibility to ‘earn’ some money for the family. I left art school and at first I worked part-time in any old job, but with my wider families help, I managed to gain enough qualification in art and design to get good job in the City – and consequently on the first rung of the English socially accepted ladder.
This proved to be an another education and one that was to provide an expansion of my mind. I used the new found intelligence to create a Company that had, at its core, respect for the workers it employed. A system which, at the time, was seen as ‘soft’ – Indeed, it was a word I embraced. Soft Sell – being my own ‘new way’ to gain work contracts and gain a reputation by treating people with respect, the same respect I afforded the Companies workers. Unque in a retail world of ‘Hard Sell’ and ‘Close the Deal’ tricks, my new way worked like a marketing man’s dream.
After a running start – I never stopped running. There was no let up. Continually working to improve my foothold, the more I worked the great number of people wanted to engage the company. I had changed my personality to match the Companies specialist art and design niche I had spotted at an opening in the interior design business. I took the example of David Bowie and created a character which changed as quickly as the customer base changed. I considered every detail, like how the client wanted me to think, and what they thought a designer should look like and how a designer should behave socially. I became androgynous in manner, appearance and speech, and was specific of who I should socialise with.
By the time I was 35 years old I had been working far more than 80 hours per week and increasingly felt the responsibility for the thirty or so individuals and their families, that the Company employed.
“Nobody knew the real me, not even myself.”
I was still relatively poor, although I didn’t look or behave poor. Always ensuring I worn the right clothes that best reflected the character I had created at any one time. I had a new company car of course and was invited to all the most important ‘evenings’ in the business and the social community. I was known as a design specialist and one with all the clever ideas (of the time) and a super staff all of whom could be trusted.
After reaching a point of no return in my marriage and subsequent divorce, I was also living alone in a small flat in an unfashionable part of the City. Nobody knew the real me, not even myself.
And so there I was on that special Friday night – soaking in a bath before I began working on the painting of my first born child, who’s mother asked me to stay away from the home, the one I had bought, whilst she stabilised her relationship with her new man. I had left her with everything including the house and a car. I had no regrets in that decision, for when we separated it was the best thing for both of us and my children.
“Friends said I had ‘outgrown her?
Friends advised me that I had simply outgrown my wife – Maybe so, all I knew was I had to change radically it was part of the process I had set myself as the important thing that needed attention constantly. I think I had this inner fear of living a whole life unfulfilled, perhaps ending up like as my two partners, whose main thing was how much money they could see in their private bank accounts and to be honest, very little else really mattered to them. They measured success by the factor of digits – not by any sort of artistic related integrity.
So – before I removed myself from my Friday night long soak in the bath, after which I would carry on working on the painting of my child, the one I had been working on for a few months – I began a serious vocal interview of myself. The first, and as it happened the last question, was simple enough…
”What is it that you want to do with the rest of your life?“ My answer “To Create Unique Art.” And the response to the answer was; “Then have the courage to do exactly that.”
At that point I signed a metaphoric contract with an invisible new employer.
Later I discovered, my new employer and fellow Artist was the Universal Creative Force – some humans call that God. The next day I informed my partners that I was leaving the Company to become an Artist.
My Odyssey was to become a reality and the story began.
Manchester Born the artist enrolled in the Manchester High School of Art at the age of 11 years old. After a succcessful career in design the artist dedicated his life to Art in 1988. First solo exhibition UK 1989. The artist has exhibited and curated Art shows since 1995 in Europe and the UK. His main studio is located in Southern Sweden. (studio 5).