Y is for “you might not want to read this if you are a writer, musician or artist”

Y for Twitter

It is very hard being a writer, a musician, or artist…what are the rewards?  Unless you make some dramatic breakthrough, you are stuck in some kind of limbo…among many others just like you.

A writer’s objective is to be published…you send your precious manuscript, you have slaved over, perfecting each chapter, each sentence, each word, far and wide.  Rejection letters arrive on your doorstep, unwanted like a bout of flue, each one like a stab in the heart, each one drains away your self belief in your work.

At last a window opens, a small publisher says they would like to publish your precious manuscript…but this is only the start of it…If you are published but nobody is paying any attention to your book what then? There’s depressing reading seeing your Amazon ranking…Favorable book reviews give you a lift, but to get genuine readers to give a review is hard going.

Being a musician to be heard you don’t necessarily have to have a record contract, you can post  your songs on soundcloud or similar sites.  You can do gigs, but then only a handful of enthusiastic friends show up…but will they come to your next gig, friend’s loyalty can go far, but even this has limits. All those hit songs, you thought you had written, you are confined to anonymity.

As a painter, you love painting, it is almost a necessity for you, but when your paintings are finished, what to do with them?  You need to find a gallery owner who is interested in your type of work.  You can post images of your work on facebook, start a website with your work., but your work gets put in the back of a cupboard,  soon to be unseen and forgotten, a film of dust gathering, as they fester.

Whatever form of creativity you are into, unless you are blessed with good fortune,  are miraculously discovered, your lack of recognition will remain a constant thorn in your side

Francis H Powell is a writer. His recently published book is Flight of Destiny, a book of 22 short stories.

http://theflightofdestiny.yolasite.com/

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S is for Salvador Dali and sex

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Salvador Dali is known for his surreal paintings, as well as his exuberant wild personality.  He was also a man who experienced a lot of sexual torment, with  profound sexual-identity confusion from his bisexuality . He was also a man addicted to masturbation. In his autobiography, he claimed he kept up the practice well into adult life, often in front of a mirror. Masturbation, at the same time, filled Dali with fear because it was at the time believed to cause impotence, homosexuality, and insanity.  Dali’s father also seems to have played a negative part in formulating Dali’s perception of sex, by  leaving out a book which contained explicit photos of people suffering from advanced, untreated venereal diseases.  We can say that Dali had a complex relationship with his father.  Dali on one occasion exhibited a piece in which he had written “Sometimes, I spit for fun on my mother’s portrait.”  When asked to apologize publicly by his father, he declined. Later on, Dali mailed a condom filled with his own semen to his father and a note reading; “This is all I owe you.

The photos of grotesquely diseased genitalia both fascinated and horrified the young Dali. He began to associating sex with putrefaction and decay, themes that would later appear in many of his most famous works.  With “The Great Masturbator,” Dali’s first significant work, we see a woman believed to be Dali’s future wife Gala rising  out of a downward-facing head, which is suspended over a locust swarming with ants. The positioning of the woman’s mouth next to a thinly clad male crotch suggests fellatio, while the trickle of blood on the male figure’s thighs reflects Dali’s castration anxiety.  As a young man, Dali had a strong relationship with Spanish poet Federico Garcia Lorca,  how far this relationship went is open to question, but the poet apparently was filled with disappointment when Dali, set his heart on and  married Gala, who  was 10 years Dali’s senior and apparently a far more experienced lover than the alleged virgin Dali. It seems that Dali, who felt  totally inadequate sexually chose to marry a woman who apparently  as writer Ian Gibson put it “her appetite for sex…was so overwhelming that it verged on the nymphomaniac.”

salvador painting

Apart from being the great masturbator Dali also was a  passionate voyeur, this  involved holding weekly orgies, which apparently, Dali himself didn’t participate, (he couldn’t bear to be touched) choosing only to watch.  Renowned British Art critic Brian Sewell said Dali once asked him to take off his clothes, lie down in front of a statue of Christ in Dali’s garden, and masturbate while curled into a fetal position.  The art critic surmised he was not the first to be instructed  to follow such bizarre instructions.  He was  a man who revealed his sexuality in his work and shared his obsessions with very few people.

Francis H Powell is a writer. His recently published book is Flight of Destiny, a book of 22 short stories.

http://theflightofdestiny.yolasite.com/

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This article is part of a blogging challenge,

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http://www.a-to-zchallenge.com/p/sign-ups-for-2016-to-z-blogging.html

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N is for nudity!

Serpent and Apple

 

One strong memory of my time at Art school was life drawing classes. There was the atmosphere, a fraught, tense stifling atmosphere, filled with deep concentration, you felt as if you were in a library or in a sacred church. The student’s eyes were fixed on the model, nobody spoke much, if at all,  there were unwritten rules of how somebody should behave in this environment. Students would be religiously measuring proportions of the life model with their pencils. The tradition of using a model in drawing classes goes back hundreds of years.

What of the life model’s perspective? It’s undeniable  we live in a society where nudity is a big deal and does have a stigma.  The first time a model poses in front of a bunch of strangers, it must be very daunting…when it reaches the critical point when the Art teacher says “ok can you take your robe off”. This all sounds totally ridiculous, we all undress every night, it is totally natural…

Imagine in this day and age in the western world  a “fat” competition! Men from the Bodi tribe pride themselves in being fat and  consequently they drink a mixture of blood and goat’s milk to fatten up quickly and win the “fat contest” in their village. The winner is not awarded a prize but is afforded a heroes status for the rest of their lives.

One group of people who liked to flaunt their naked bodies were the hippies, in the 1960s. The West Coast America chose nudity to make  a political statement. Nudity in public became a form of protest, challenging social norms and supposedly conservative, constraining ideas of‘decency’. It was also liberating.

Have you ever had a dream whereby you find yourself the only naked person in a public place filled with clothed people? Apparently it is quite common dream. Dreaming that you are completely or partially naked is very common. Nudity symbolizes a variety of things depending on your real life situation. Becoming shocked at the realization that you are naked in public, apparently reflects your vulnerability or feelings of shamefulness. You may be hiding something and are afraid that others can see right through you.

I come from the UK,  a country known for its prudishness, the origin of this down to the the Puritans, or Queen Victoria by comparison across the channel, continental Europe has a more relaxed attitude towards nudity, I remember a place outside Vienna where everyone (apart from us Brits) was stark naked and thought nothing of this. Even Catholic Spain is less offended by breasts on the beach than Britain. You couldn’t enter a sauna in Austria or Germany wearing clothes. This bodily shame can be traced back to Christianity’s formation of the doctrine of original sin. Nudity, and nude photos, is the ultimate test of self-acceptance. Do you love yourself enough that you can go all the way?

Francis H Powell is a writer. His recently published book is Flight of Destiny, a book of 22 short stories.

http://theflightofdestiny.yolasite.com/

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E is for Egon Sheiller and Edvard Munch.

E finished and completed

Egon Sheiller and Edvard Munch, were not only great painters, their lives were fraught with difficulties, which no doubt had a strong baring on their powerful work.

Egon Sheiller, the Austrian painter  had a life tainted by  controversy, and caused uproar and outrage with his raw, universalized approach to the nude and his leaning towards highly erotic paintings, at a time when people were far more puritanical. He dropped out of Art College due to the fact he did not appreciate his tutors rigid approach. If you scrutinize his work it is evident he had a strident fascination and appetite for the female form.  Egon even landed himself in prison, accused of seducing a minor – the runaway daughter of a naval officer who had been seen, along with a number of other children, lingering outside his studio. Although the main charge proved unfounded and was subsequently dropped, Schiele was forced to spend 24 days in jail for exhibiting erotic material where minors were present. I guess even in modern times he would be seen a controversial figure.

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His time in prison brought about  twelve paintings, in which he expressed his trauma and angst of being locked up.  Concerning his erotic work he wrote in his diary, “I do not deny that I have made drawings and watercolors of an erotic nature. But they are always works of art. Are there no artists who have done erotic pictures?”Egon obviously packed a lot into his short life, dying aged 28 having contacted Spanish flu, his pregnant wife dying three day previously. A life filled with tragedy but an artist who painted great images and had a very distinctive style.

Edvard Munch also had an uneasy life, his mother died because she was infected with tuberculosis. Following this, his sister Sophie died with the same disease. Another sister of his was suffered from mental illness in the age of 15 years old. In the age of 30, his brother died because of Pneumonia. It is no surprise that his work began to revolve around sickness and death.  Munch was  in a constant battle to control his drinking problem and mental illness. Munch died on 23 January 1944 in Nazi-occupied Norway. Of course he is famous for his painting called “The Scream”.  It expresses something which we all need to do from time to time letting out all our anguish.

The Scream

Francis H Powell is a writer. His recently published book is Flight of Destiny, a book of 22 short stories.

http://theflightofdestiny.yolasite.com/

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This article is part of a blogging challenge,

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A is for Art and Art School.

A finished

I don’t remember the exact moment I decided to go to Art School.  I hated school so much my only refuge was the Art Room.  There were only a few artists in a school that was mostly filled with aspiring military types and future business types.  There was an artist called Jonathon Land,  who painted in the style of Salvador Dali. The artist that influenced me the most at the time was Wassily Kandinsky and his geometrical works.  

My first Art School was Eastbourne,  where I did a “Foundation Course” . Here I was to encounter not only a wonderful group of  students but also a an Art Tutor called Martin.  Martin’s teaching technique was to freak out us students.  He would occasionally use words to psyche us out, but often it would  be the silent treatment, frowns or disdaining looks, as his eyes surveyed our efforts to produce art of some kind of merit.  His method was to test our resolve, to see if we had what it took to get into another college to do a degree.

One thing I discovered while at Art College was that Art Tutors were often flawed characters as well as being alcoholics. There was one tutor at Wimbledon, where I  did an MA in printmaking who would traipse in late reeking  of alcohol.  Another  I recall when I was at Art School, in Cheltenham used to smoke nonstop, his hand would be twitching, he had all the hall marks of an alcoholic.  For many years I regretted my time at Art College,  as it led to a lack of career, no rewarding jobs.  I flitted from one job to another, until I landed in teaching.  Later on I began to cherish the time I spent at Art College, and some of the other students who I met along the way.  I realized that Art School  played a big part in the formation of my life and art a big resource for me.

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