15 October, 2007

Nick Bantock Workshop

...images that feel like a magic carpet ride...
In need of adventure. In need of creative energy. In need of inspiration...

So I have this list of people.
People I would love to meet, talk with, be in the presence of, etc.
Some I wish I could resurrect from the dead (a long Salinas Valley drive with John Steinbeck, or afternoon tea with E.M Forster would, for example, be faiiiiiiirly thrilling).
Some I would simply like to meet ever-so-briefly before I die... or before they die. Or both.

Danny Kaye. Bill Murray. Ages DeMille. Houdini. John Steinbeck. Gogol. Chekhov. Mark Rylance. Rasputin. Howard Barker. (I've actually already encountered a few people from the Living List-- Judy Collins, Sheldon Harnick to name two... not bad odds really...) And Nick Bantock (artist, author, 'imaginator'). He is, in fact, at the very top of the Living List. 

Look at my list of "Books." Go ahead, take a peek there on the right hand sidebar. Yep. They are peppered with Bantock's work. The Griffin & Sabine Trilogy, The Forgetting Room, Capolan, The Museum at Purgatory. I almost hate to sort of admit this, but I do suppose I collect his work ...No I really mean it, I am making this discovery rightthissecond. I am currently in the middle of realising that I go onto eBay and actively look for the rarer gems amoung his work and purchase it, even if it is simply for the joy of basking further into the intrigue and mystery and flat-out beauty of his books, his art, his postcards, and his address books as if they were remnants of some sort of ancient shipwreck or mythic treasure hunt.

It is difficult to articulate. Perhaps I even sound slightly unctuous and over-reaching. But in truth there have been very few experiences in my admittedly brief lifetime in which a person's work anonymously reached out from beyond the page, canvas, footlights, etc., and greeted me in such a disarming manner. Not simply because of it's content per se, but because of the effect the content had upon me.

Within the pages of the prose and gravity of the images, (and, truly, I dare not even assume such a grandiosity), I feel I recognise the person behind it all somehow. I am not saying that I know him, or even that I feel that I do on some secret level, that would be far too glib a thing to say (read: also far too teenaged and/or far too Sleepless in Seattle). No, it is recognition. That, even if it be a small similarity, in some key, important way a like-ness just may exist. It makes me feel sort of hopeful. [She pauses, aware that this all sounds odd but frankly doesn't really care]. Who knows. It is just an instinct, but I think the reason NB occupies this slot at the top of my Living List is because I would love to know if that instinct is accurate; and, indeed, if any of it is real. (And why not drink wine and make collages in Malaga while I'm at in, no?) This is not a high-stakes desire. It is calm. Certain almost. Just a curiosity. There and real and possible.

One might say that to have the opportunity to actually meet him, shake his hand, to have him possibly sign my copy of The Museum at Purgatory? That would be more than adequate for a lifetime, but the chance to work with him for a week in idyllic Spain? It seems beyond anything I could dream up...

Look what a casual internet search can do:

with Nick Bantock

‘Delivered by Accident in Twilight—The Art of Collage’
28 April to 6 May 2008

This is no ordinary workshop—we promise!
Set amongst the sweeping olive grove hills of Southern Spain, midway between Granada and Malaga this soiree is held at the beautiful restored mill, ‘El Molino’ and is, in truth, an excuse to relax, eat, drink and learn about the essence of creativity.
Hosted by Mike and Hillary Powell, “Delivered by Accident…” highlights both Nick’s mischievous creativity and Mike’s culinary genius.
The daily sessions focus on making two and three-dimensional collages from found materials as well as Nick’s usual mix of stamps, maps, documents, paint, and other ephemera. Participants don’t need to have a high level of artistic skill, though creative experience won’t hinder.
In addition to the art, the swimming pool, the magnificent Mediterranean cuisine, the unlimited supply of wine, and Nick’s bedtime readings, we’ll also be taking excursions to the Alhambra and Ronda.

"From collage to assemblage and from the accidental mark to storytelling, creativity is no more than invention and a permission to play. Whether artistically experienced or a curious beginner this course is designed to help you expand your vision. In books like Griffin and Sabine and The Forgetting Room I married art and narrative and in Urgent 2nd Class and The Museum at Purgatory I teased and toyed with part-found objects, I learned a lot. I learned that there is a trick to seeing out of the corner of your eye and making art from accident. If I can, I hope to teach you how to sneak up in twilight—surprising yourself into creating a different art, something half you and half Andalusia." -- Nick Bantock

Bantock: here comes Silber.

More on Nick Bantock:


  1. oh yum! i think you better plan on that workshop... wish i could fly to spain and go with you - we never did get there!

  2. It's REAL! Deposit paid for, and hopes high! I cannot wait for this adventure. I feel I may have been waiting for it my entire life.



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