History. Our own and the times we live in is the curse or blessing I suppose of "getting on a bit".
Avoiding personal revisionist history, and at the same time having a a true sense of the poetry of life and having lived becomes a slow, steady fascination that grows over time. The two should in a good and decent world not be mutually exclusive.
This is about a certain moment in time that has been front and foremost on my mind of late.
I seem to remember, or wish to.....the details of periods of time like most of us one imagines are vague on occasion, being fifteeen-ish. Perhaps closer to sixteen. It really isn't a matter of absolute accuracy as much as the whole sense of that time in my life when I first stumbled into the orbit of William Blake.
I have often thought that he was either utterly, astonishingly sane, or beyond any definition of mad. It seems to me that any of those directions would lead without fail into the other. So, perhaps it's just a moot point.
The one thing I do know for certain is that for this frazzled, strange kid just beginning to understand the concept of art with a very, very big "A", his work was ground zero Hiroshima big.
Raised Roman Catholic and steeped in religious art as I was, what Blake did was tear the top off of dogma, my head, and my notion of what artistic vision was. It was damn scary that's what.
In the mid to late sixties when everything was questioned and summarily thrown out willy-nilly I was stuck in the past, even as I fought to claim my right to the future. Blake simply made sense in a way that was scary, current and antique simultaneously. Nobody had ever done work like this. As new as tomorrow, and as ancient as the stones of Jerusalem. This was no Royal Academe polite soap suds, rather utterly individual and entirely of its self.
Over the years, as I've learned more both about Blake and my own imperative for what I do, he still stands as a lone benchmark of what it really takes to go out there and never look back.
What profound courage he must have had.
There is a lesson in that I still remember, even as I wage war on the fear that maybe one day I'll go that far........and what it means to do so.
Be kind........kindness is the simplest thing to do that matters. And be brave.