Woodrat Podcast 40: A walk with Clive Hicks-Jenkins (Part 1)

Clive Hicks-Jenkins
(l-r) view of Llanilar, Clive and Jack at table, three Welsh cows

Join me for a walk with the Welsh artist Clive Hicks-Jenkins and his dog Jack. Clive and his partner Peter Wakelin live a few miles from Aberystwyth in a beautiful old place called Ty Isaf, which I’d been reading about on his Artlog for a couple years now, and was lucky enough to visit — and even stay three nights in — earlier this month.

I thought it would be fun to record a tour of Clive’s neighborhood for the podcast, allowing us to hear how a major artist relates to, and finds inspiration in, the land and people around him. For those unfamiliar with his work, it’s worth mentioning that specific places have always featured prominently in his paintings. Even elements which I had assumed to be fanciful, such as castles beside the sea, turn out to have been common features of the local and regional landscape. (For more on the sense of place in Clive’s work, see the essay by Andrew Green, “The Place of Place,” in the new monograph simply entitled Clive Hicks-Jenkins, from the British art publisher Lund Humphries in cooperation with Grey Mare Press.)

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Be sure to check back next weekend for the conclusion of our walking conversation, in which I prompt Clive to talk about his journey from the theater world to art, what he looks for in painting, and more.

Theme music: “Le grand sequoia,” by Innvivo (Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike licence).

12 Comments


  1. A delightful tromp (even sans pheasants), with fizzy cameos by the landscape’s supporting cast. How Clive can ever bear to leave, for any purpose or period of time, is a mystery.

    Doubtless you’ll be hearing, however, from the sheep solicitor. Even the dim can be defamed.

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    1. Not just dim, but crazy (see Clive’s comment below). It’s too bad that pheasant wasn’t making noise as we set off. He was, generally speaking, neither shy nor quiet.

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  2. A delightful souvenir of our one and only walk together Dave. At the time I kept forgetting that you were recording. Quite a supporting cast there, with Iwan and Jane and a maverick hen, a crazy ewe and stalking cattle!

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    1. True! Hmm, I should’ve consulted with you before writing the intro. “A maverick hen, a crazy ewe and stalking cattle” is a lot more enticing than wittering on about the sense of place in your art.

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  3. Hmm. I now see why Mistress Maizy was rather hard going after an in-depth relationship with Gentleman Jack.

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    1. Well, there was a rambunctious cocker spaniel with a leaping-and-biting problem at the other place I stayed, so Maizy wasn’t quite as a big a shock as you seem to imagine.

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  4. Grand. But next time all podcasts must be done at night with torches, while we hunt for hedgehogs!

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    1. Damn, you’re right — what a great podcast episode that would’ve made: a bunch of American poets bumbling around in the dark looking for hedgehogs!

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  5. ‘Have you got a gun in your boot?’ :-)

    This is terrific. I could ‘see’ so many details of the landscape, and such a strong image of Clive and his love of the place, as he walked along and talked.

    It reminds me of a BBC radio series I used to love, where the presenter would accompany a formal or informal group of walkers in a different region every week and talk to them about the landscape, their thoughts on it and why they were walking. This was even better, though – the spontaneity of a genuine connection and interest between two people in conversation.

    Just wonderful.

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  6. Did you, in fact, take that wool home with you?
    Have you a pullover yet?

    Wales is great for free pullovers and lamb.
    And artists and poets rambling in the countryside also. Clearly!

    Excellent!

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    1. I just grabbed a couple handfuls of the stuff, really. We were a bit rushed for time, as you probably gathered.

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