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Monday 22 October 2012

Art School -- could boost or bugger you

Art School my Eden
playground after sixth form
wild, chaotic, spin drum of a place,
mangler of a self still waiting to be formed
in which I lost my innocence.
No longer one
to fit himself into the world, now out
to recreate the world
in my own image. God-play. Hard dice
beyond what I'd thought possible.

This was a world where I was in control.
What was impossible before
was manifest.
There had to be a catch - I'd long been warned:
forbidden fruit somewhere about!
And there it was...
The life class with its one constraint
the only stricture I could find
in the whole place:

All else was laissez-faire
but this was not a Biblical encountering,
here were no stirrings
of the flesh, we wanted only
a forensic scrutiny
to take the world apart, to find
the building blocks, the forms
that crop up everywhere. We were
no more than cooks; the world a meal
gone slightly wrong and we would rescue it.


Elephant's Child said...

And no doubt some days it could both boost and bugger you.

Elephant's Child said...


The Weaver of Grass said...

I love this Dave. It was a world I knew as for a short while I was an artist's model. There seemed such freedom about it and it was a freedom we had to learn to handle.

Brian Miller said...

and did you rescue it....ha...was an art student way back down the line....and we see the world a bit different...break it down to those distinguishable parts....but no touching...ha...yeah well there is that....

Mary said...

And, aside from the obvious I could comment on.......wasn't it wonderful, just for a while anyway, to believe then that one really COULD recreate the world!!!

haricot said...

Happy moments for painter.I can guess but I can't realize the world. It looks special for me...and I long for.

Tabor said...

Watch that God-play. It is addictive.

Anonymous said...

You know I never took a figure class, or any drawing class, actually though I loved doing art when I was in High School, and of course, I love drawing now. I missed that though - and you make it sound wonderful - and I do understand the headiness--I was married to a very serious painter for many years = at that end of it - the New York art scene, it is kind of awful, but the studio world part of it is magical. (Which you've captured = and the messianic quality.) k.

rallentanda said...

Do Not Touch...
What? the Models?
I went to a few life drawing classes and I know some guys went to salivate over the models...I stopped going.

A Cuban In London said...

To paraphrase Larkin: it f***s you up, Art school. It shows you the fruit, but doesn't let you eat it.

Great poem. Although not a visual artist myself, I can relate to it through the experiences of some of my friends.

Greetings from London.

Rachna Chhabria said...

Another great poem, Dave!

Tommaso Gervasutti said...

The force of memory, another great work. "Mangler of the self..." splendid choice of words.

Gerry Snape said...

gosh this brings it all back...I was warned about the later but chose not to believe it...left after the first term of the third year...enough pushing me in directions that I never meant to go in!! great poem Dave.

Eileen T O'Neill ..... said...


I felt a sadness after reading your poem...It reminds me of those times, which we did not realise of course back then; were indeed the very best of times!!!
Those times of innocence and temptation:)

kaykuala said...

We were no more than cooks; the world a meal gone slightly wrong and we would rescue it

That's right! We are not to throw spanners into the works. We correct the wrongs that we see as concerned citizens. Nice thoughts Dave!


Cloudia said...

"Art School my Eden
playground after sixth form
wild, chaotic, spin drum of a place,
mangler of a self still waiting to be formed...No more than cooks, the world a meal."

You capture that age- and my own distance from it, in a way so excellent, that you tug at my heart.

Warm Aloha from Waikiki
Comfort Spiral

> < } } ( ° >

> < } } (°>

Ygraine said...

An artist does indeed have the power to play God:
can manipulate the very foundations of being in his Otherworld;
can make the ugly beautiful, the beautiful ugly.
Yes, I can see how it could bugger one!

Dave King said...

The Elephant's Child
How DID you know?

The Weaver of Grass
Yes, that was certainly so, in my case.

True... we did see the world differently then. I tend to think more truly in some ways.

It was, and I do think the belief was justified. We can to an extent reinvent our world. That's what anu artist does.

"It looks special for me..." that's the artist talking. You've changed it a bit already.

It is addictive - but we shouldn't let that be the cue to be weaned off!

I understand how you miss not having had that in your life - the way I miss not having gone to university, and what a shame the N.Y. art scene is so awful. It wasn't always and sometime - et's hope soon - it will not be again. Thanks for a fascinating response.

Yup! The life models!

A Cuban in London
Er, well, in a way you can eat. I remeber students saying they didn't do sex - they kept it for their painting. And it showed, to be truthful, though not as one might imagine. The way it shows, say, in a Stanley Spencer - not that anyone could have accused him of restraint!

Thank you so much.

Thanks. Yes, I was quite pleased with that!

Thanks Gerry. reall appreciate this comment.

Innocence. Yes, that has been the great loss. Thanks for your kind words.

True anough. We'd never have thought of sabotage. Everyone keen to help.

Thanks Cloudia. Yes, I felt the tug, too, writing it.

Yes. Over ambition, I suppose -- another name for greed. Thanks.