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The Peace & Freedom Magazine Peter Gibbs Interview
Poet and artist Peter Gibbs interviewed by Paul Rance for Peace & Freedom, No. 1, January 1985
The scene is set with Paul Rance interviewing Peter amongst a pile of paintings and drawings -- amid dust and disorder. Peter genuflexes... "Thank you Paul for coming down to interview me... Did you find a space for the Roller?... Please excuse the state of my dilapidated mansion."
Your artwork is very variegated -- is that deliberately contrived or just your natural inclination?
You are terribly observant, Paul. If one studies art, as I constantly do, then one is bound to be influenced by what one sees. However, most of my work is original. The public must understand that all artists are greatly influenced by other artists. The same applies in all things in life.
Beardsley and Blake you have a high regard for -- who else in the art world?
I am an artist of great feeling and hold the recognised masters in high esteem. These include Constable, Gainsborough, Rossetti, Burne-Jones, Stubbs, Samuel Palmer, and the greatest genius of them all -- in my opinion -- J. M. W. Turner. The above were, of course, British artists, but I have great admiration for the foreign masters such as Rembrandt, Claud Lorrain, Delacroix, Durer, Michael Angelo.
As a poet as well, what would you describe yourself predominately as, or do you consider yourself to be in the Blake/Rossetti mould -- poet and artist?
Although I've just recently had my long hair "mown", I guess I would describe myself as a "biggy-wiggy" prophet. I mean, Paul, I've made some predictions in my life and with astonishing accuracy they have been fulfilled. There's a bit of Blake in me in as much I've great tenderness for people, also I am a peaceful revolutionary as indeed Blake was. Yes, I suppose I am a poet/artist, or more to the point, a lyric/artist.
Your art is very imaginative -- where do the ideas generally come from?
You'd be surprised! Most people seem to cross a "frontier" and unfortunately then lose forever their innate imaginative powers. Luckily, I've retained my image-forming faculties as indeed William Blake did. Also I have a natural gift for fusing my deepest thoughts to my "tuned up" imagination, which then conjures up weird and wonderful images, which I then translate into drawings and paintings. Being highly sensitive helps too, as do the images, which crowd my mind whilst I dream. However, I do experience "high flying". images, which seem to come down to me from the blue. I mean, how often do you see fairies floating up out of tulips and goblins riding seagulls? (Pete is not on an LSD trip I'm reliably informed -- Ed.) I similarly possess a wonderful sense for the manipulation of colour and schemes. I know I'd do extremely well in stage-design, etc. As for my many ideas for lyrics, well, I get them whilst out walking.
Do you have any exhibitions planned, and if so, where?
Yes, indeed, I do. I have applied for a stand to exhibit my work in London's Bayswater Road. If any of my fans wish to come along and view my work then they are most welcome to do so -- Sunday's only, I'm afraid. I once suggested to a fellow artist that a joint exhibition be held half way up the M1. The idea was to peg our drawings on a clothes line and hang it across the motorway. But I don't think the "fuzz" would have bought it. Please forgive my Milliganian sense of humour (Ed. falls off chair in laughter -- well, nearly). Seriously, I have other exhibitions planned for 1985.
Where has your poetry been published?
My poetry has appeared in "The Black Hole Poetry Booklet"; in "Harmony Magazine" -- and more recently, in an anthology of poetry entitled "The Open Minds". Also, several American publishers have expressed a genuine interest in both my poetry and lyrics. Do you realise the ball is beginning to roll and that I am slowly becoming famous?
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