Thursday 24 September 2009

Handel Evans: Artistic Roots

I was recently asked if there were other artists in the family. My second cousin once removed was an accomplished artist his name was Handel Evans (3 April 1932- 5 January 1999) in his lifetime he created an extensive body of fine paintings, etchings and drawings. That moved from figuration to abstraction with a figurative element. Though success in Britain eluded him he had greater successes overseas, particularly in Germany. I never had the pleasure of meeting him but I was able to learn a great deal about his work through his mother, my great aunt Marian Evans-Quinn who passed away in 2006. Two years before she died she presented me with a catalogue documenting Handel’s work that I will always treasure as she had written inside;
“ Arfon, this clever and very delightful artist to whom I am dedicating Handel’s catalogue of three decades, will live from strength to strength through his chosen career”

Handel Cromwell Evans was born in Pontypridd, Glamorgan Wales. He was named after the famous composer after his father Joeseph had conducted the Messiah a few days before his birth. Joeseph was a licentiate of the London College of Music who had descended from a family of singers and was said to have had a baritone voice. He had however failed to win a scholarship for his singing in 1934, prompting a nervous breakdown and vowed "never to sing another note in my life". His mother was a designer and fitter from the West End couture houses. The love of music was passed to Handel at an early age and was taught music. He passed his piano exam at the age of four, he was so small he had to be lifted onto his stool by the examiner!

Despite his skills in music he decided to concentrate on his art he studied painting at Cardiff collage of Art from 1949 to 1954, taught by David Tinker and Eric Malthouse. His early works ranged from carbon portraits to gouache. He never strayed from music however as he became a licentiate of the Royal Academy of music. Mentoring under Clifford H. Lewis, who urged his parents to sell everything if necessary to fund his study of the Alexander Technique, to improve his posture.

'The Vaults' by Handel Evans © University of Wales 1989
Having completed his studies he later moved to Grenada in the Caribbean and from (1959-61) where he developed his style and taught art. Producing such complex works as 'the Caribbean Village'. He avoided the 'Avant Guard Hype' He later held a one-man exhibition at the institute of Jamaica, in Kingston in 1962. After his return from the Caribbean, his work changed direction. He was fascinated by the technological advances that had been made while he had been away. The increasing interaction between man and his invention intrigued him, believing that it had become the characteristic phenomenon of the 20th century, and with its formidable potential for good and evil was presenting a great dilemma for our age.
He produced a series of 100 drawings entitled 'Employees' demonstrating sympathy for man's machines and also man's rejection of them. After a period in Germany and Italy he attended the prestigious British school in Rome until 1963. After further painting in the West Indies, London, Italy, the US and Canada. 1968 he had an exhibition at the Lyford Clay gallery in the Bahamas.

From 1975 - 76 he studied etching with Stanley Williams Hayter at Ateleir 17, in Paris. In 1978 Dr. Eugene Garfield founder of the Institute of Scientific Information (ISI) in Phildelphia, commissioned a portrait. Handel created'Interpenetrations'. A study painted in oil and canvas Handel remarked that the painting was a,"visual metaphor of the relationship between mind and information"

"lnterpenetrations" by Handel Evans © University of Wales 1978
He then moved to Germany to be close to nature and its respect for the arts, as his work never really ‘took off’ in Wales, the galleries were never interested in his work. And being in the centre of Europe meant he could keep close contact throughout the world. He was fluent in German and would make puns from English/ German vocabulary. In 1984 Handel exhibited his work at the kleine gallery in Cuxhaven, and was firmly established in Germany by 1990. Still keeping close contact with his mother whom made all of his clothes. Handel died at the Thanet hospital on January 5th 1999 and was buried on Febuary 27th at Ramsgate Kent.

Shortly after his death a memorial show was held at the Korbach Museum in Germany. In 2001 he was posthumously awarded the first Contemporary Culture Award by the National Welsh-American Foundation. In 2004, The Handel Evans Collection, Archive and Trust Fund was established at the University of Wales in Aberystwyth ‘Interpenetration’s was donated by Professor Eugene Garfield and added to the archive of a thousand items ranging from paintings and drawings along with his two pianos (One believed to have belonged to a high-ranking Nazi Party official).

Described by close friend, professor of Art in Wales Dr. Alistair Crawford as a "tall, erect, elegant, handsome man with a well groomed beard. A charming, debonair man with an inner attraction."
Fondly remembered as an artist often having spurts of vegetarianism, who would ask for the return of his packing materials, often hiding his strict personality. A ruthlessly self-obsessed man, sometimes bitter about 'celebrated' artists. A closet workaholic, driven by obsession, a highly disciplined artist, and an absolute perfectionist.

© Arfon Jones 2009. All images are copyrighted throughout the world.

Friday 18 September 2009

Published Works

This was a very exciting week as we saw the releases of ‘Sarkylocks and the Three Bears’ written by multi-award winning comedy writer Dean Wilkinson and illustrated by yours truly. It’s always gratifying to see ones work in print and this was no exception. Sarkylocks and the Three Bears is the first title in 21st Century Fairy Folktales series. Short, illustrated, comedy books aimed at 9+ readers. They are modern re-workings of traditional tales, each with a social message.
The book teaches us that ‘It’d be a very boring world if we were all exactly the same, and one young girl finds that out in this hilarious new take on the classic fairy tale. Sarkylocks comes to realise that it’s wrong to lower someone’s self esteem by making jokes about them just because they’re different to what you think people should be like. Sarky learns that differences are to be celebrated, and you yourself will feel a lot happier and more confident if you make someone else feel the same way. One nice word is worth a million nasty ones. The book can be enjoyed at home or in a school environment as each story has it's own set of free lesson plans and lesson fillers for teachers on-line.

Dean Wilkinson has a long successful career writing for British television comedy he was the creator and writer of CBBC TV’s Bad Penny and the smash hit sketch show Stupid. His writing credits include The Big Breakfast, Zig & Zag, Byker Grove, Timmy Towers, Comic Relief, Harry Hill’s Shark Infested Custard and Planet Sketch to name but a few. He was Ant and Dec’s writer and scripted the multi award winning SMTV Live and Chums and he also wrote material and Stephen Fry’s scripts for the Sony game LittleBigPlanet. For more information about the book and to order your copy please visit wilkinsonpress the book is also available through Amazon.

ChinaBridge 2009 by Lindenblatt, Gunnar was also released this month a fascinating inter-cultural guide to investment between China and Central Europe (Austria, Germany and Switzerland) As the book explains that
China is the “workbench” of Europe. Following the big industrial enterprises, now more and more medium-sized companies are locating into China. For years, the Chinese economy has been enjoying annual double-digit growth rates. Conversely, Chinese business people are dealing more confidently in the European market and introducing their own brands. The question remains for those yet to make such a leap weather to conduct a business venture across the divide or not? The first part of this book answers this question and gives specific instructions, not only regarding economic issues but also covering cultural differences, providing knowledge which may be essential to the success of such a venture. Examples of successes and failures in China/European business relationships are found through the publication with many key analyses of the positive and negative aspects and experiences covered. The second part lists companies and institutions, which have already successfully finished the “bridge building” between East and West, from banks to export companies to suppliers.
Also available through Amazon.

Ancient Lights By Sir Patrick Moore
Written by legendary Astronomer, National treasure and all round gentleman Sir Patrick Moore when he was just twenty years old but remained unpublished until now! A wonderful adventure yarn set in a bygone era. Published by STAR-Distribution only 500 were printed each serially numbered not available in the shops only available through STAR-Distribution

© Arfon Jones 2009. All images are copyrighted throughout the world

Thursday 17 September 2009

Cerebration and Celebration: Off to the Asylum!

Organised, by the Victorian Steampunk Society The Asylum was the first Steampunk Convivial in the United Kingdom. Held at the Lawn in Lincoln a former psychiatric hospital opened in 1820 the event promised an entertaining weekend Steampunk-ness and they certainly kept their word!
On the Saturday morning I unveiled my latest invention and entry for the grand exhibition’s contraptions contest ‘The Cellular Condenser Ray’ specially constructed to help the naturalist to decrease a dinosaur in its tracks! Once the animal has been reduced it can be contained in a brass cage (also included) assuring high number of live specimen at a fraction of the storage space. The gun seemed to go down well (helped partly by the caged demonstration Tyrannosaurus Rex).

As the public viewed the inventions Beth and I attended two fascinating lectures presented by Physicist/ Astrophysicist Dr Emma J King PhD entitled ‘Electromagnetics: The Science and Mystery of Electromagnetism’ and ‘Only Forward: The Physics of Time Travel’. We followed this with a spot of lunch as we watched other attendees play croquet. Having perused the Bazaar Eclectica we then ventured outside and discovered The Sir Joseph Banks Conservatory named in honour of the great British explorer/ naturalist. A truly wonderful place to visit that offered us an excellent opportunity to photograph our costumes in a tropical environment! A cup of tea beneath the palms proceeded with a stroll around the green and then a rest under a Horse-Chestnut tree. We managed to tear ourselves away and enter the hall for the costume competition I did not envy the judges, as they were all amazing.

We all reconvened at 7:30pm to attend the Empire Ball. Everyone dressed to impress attractive ladies wearing beautifully made dresses and ball gowns accompanied by gentlemen wearing equally impressive attire as the writer Robert Rankin later commented that we were the best dressed people in the country! Greeted by the organisers of the event and we then took our seats for an evening of live entertainment…and a few glasses of wine. The winners of the Contraptions Contest were announced and I was awarded the Brunel award for Ingenuity (of which I proudly excepted!) I wore my medal with pride as I waltzed with my beloved to the music of Ghostfire before the night drew to a close. And so ended a truly spectacular weekend of art, science and technology! Surrounded by likeminded folk, history and creativity! Met lovely, interesting people saw amazing works.

© Arfon Jones 2009. All images are copyrighted throughout the world

Operation: Bath Duck

The idea I had back in 2002 was a simple one. 100 plastic bath ducks complete with a web site information dropped into the sea where they would be carried by the current and would eventually be washed ashore at a different point on the globe. Anyone that discovers a ‘scout duck’ would then log on to the address provided were they would learn of my work and then ‘register’ their duck on the web site. I would have a business card with a difference, one that grants me world-wide adverting. “Why a duck?” I was asked well. Aside from being buoyant a bath duck is also ascetically pleasing guaranteeing that a member of the public would notice it on a beach pick it up and take it home with them a sure way to prevent polluting the beach it was washed up on. Two ferrying companies were contacted and asked if they would participate in the experiment allowing the use of their vessels to introduce the ducks to the ocean. Both declined, expressed concerns about “dumping” plastic into the ocean (although, they would not object if I were to throw a bottle) I pointed out that a member of the public would pick up a duck. They didn’t want to know. The experiment was put on hold.

2009, Operation: Bath Duck was still an idea on paper. On reflection I had grown concerned of the environmental risks poised to marine life, which may try to eat the ducks before they made it ashore. Having reviewed the experiment I was confidant that that a bath duck would be taken home if located so I decided that the ‘scout ducks’ would instead be strategically placed around the globe. These were ‘business cards’ after all, and business cards are usually left or given to another! Now living in an age were we all have cameras in our phones and photos can be uploaded to computers I decided that having discovered the duck the new owner could also submit a photograph of the duck’s new home when registering it. Operation: Bath Duck was in effect!

The success of the experiment depended largely on the internet, I decided to use the social networking sites and invite people to vote for the most eye pleasing colour for a bath duck, this being an important factor as they needed to be noticed by a member of the public. The colours were ‘classic yellow’ or ‘green’ interestingly the winning colour was green. Scout Ducks were to be green wearing a tag with the experiment written out on one side, contact details on the other with a serial number located on the base.

That was 2 months ago, Operation Bath Duck is in effect. 4 Scout Ducks have reported back. Images are being uploaded to the gallery and a group has been set up on facebook allowing its members the opportunity to monitor progress, and upload other photos of their scout ducks adventures.

© Arfon Jones 2009. All images are copyrighted throughout the world


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