Woodrat Podcast 41: A walk with Clive Hicks-Jenkins (Part 2)

Clive Hicks-Jenkins in context
(l-r) Clive points out hart's-tongue fern; Jack on bridge over Ystwyth; sand martin nests in the riverbank; Basil the Shetland pony; Clive in front of his painting "Green George"

The conclusion of our May 5 walk around Clive’s neighborhood in rural Wales, near Aberystwyth. (It should stand on its own, but do listen to Part 1 if you haven’t already.) I’m grateful to Clive for taking the time to show me around in the midst of frantic preparations for the launch of his retrospective exhibition just two days later (for more about which, see the series of posts on his Artlog). We’re also lucky he’s such a great communicator, because as the naive quality of my couple of questions about his painting demonstrate, my general knowledge of art is woefully inadequate. Nevertheless, somehow this walking conversation with Clive has turned into one of my most satisfying podcasts to date, I think. Give a listen.

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

16 Comments


  1. A walk through the landscape of a place and a life and a mind and imagination. Completely absorbing and quietly exciting. Thank you both.

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  2. My thanks too for this excursion, enhanced by the rhythmic sound of your footsteps, Dave and Clive, on the Welsh country road. Clive’s wonderfully lucid and modest explanations about his work remind me of the animated video of his maquette: pieces at first simply laid out on the table, then springing into life, a vivid choreography eventually becoming eternalised as paintings. Peter must be thanked too for giving Clive the steady encouragement to take this road and stay on it. Dave, your questions and your contributions were essential to this conversation and I’m so glad you recorded it.

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    1. Peter would’ve made a fascinating podcast guest too, I think, if we’d only had the time. Thanks for listening, Natalie.

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  3. Well, bravo for Peter!
    A fascinating interview, Dave. The discussion around Clive’s awakening to art, and what art was to become for him is so wonderfully expressed.
    This is a superb podcast.

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  4. Wonderful. Clive is possibly the ideal interviewee, you probably the ideal interviewer. A superb combination.

    I listened in two parts… drifted off to sleep last night halfway through, woke up this morning and listened to what I’d missed. During the first bit I’d been struck by the beauty of the birdsong. After the second bit it struck me as an aural equivalent to the negative space on the canvass Clive had been talking about. I thought particularly about the poem you wrote mentioning the leaves like blades.

    Then I wondered whether you’d ever interviewed anyone out and about in Plummer’s Hollow, what the birdsong sounded like there. Then I thought what I would love to hear would be someone interviewing *you* out and about in your native habitat. On hikes. Etc. I’d also love to hear an episode with the deer hunters, or one deer hunter maybe. That sort of thing.

    And while I’m being so free with my opinions I’ll also mention that I particularly noticed and appreciated how much of Clive’s work seems to owe its being to love – the inspirational and nurturing aspect of love, in this case of a partner, the tearing and harrowing side of love with the loss of a beloved, in this case a parent.

    And finally (yes, really), would it be possible to put links to some of the pictures talked about in the podcast? As a newcomer to Clive’s art I’d love to know what the “dark” period looked like, how the horse’s skull is drawn.

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      1. I’m totally blown away. Thank you so much for the links.

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    2. Thanks for the warm and substantial response, rr. I did do a podcast of the dawn chorus back in early winter, and should probably do one again now that we’re at the height of spring breeding season. The trouble is, for whatever reason, this is a really quiet year for birdsong, as my mother and I had occasion to document this morning with the first of our two annual point counts for the IBA (Important Bird Area). The numbers both of species and of individuals were just pitiful. I am hoping to record conversations with some of our hunters — glad to hear you’re interested in that.

      Thanks to Clive for doing my job for me here and digging up those links! Do check out his regular website too, though the images on his blog tend to be larger/higher resolution.

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  5. There is no proper place to put this… After I posted that picture of you in the “amorphous” hedge with your tongue out, Lucy K. sent me the tumbler picture (what do you call those?–rather like a flip book) of you flapping your tongue in and out, and I am overcome!

    Stared. Made weird hoicky noise. Then laughed. Stared some more. So wonderfully silly!

    Back to Clivedom: it is lovely to have these, so that the world may go on a Clivewalk. I am always impressed by how collected he appears, and how well-spoken. It must be all that practice via his earlier life in the theatre. Or maybe it is just Clive.

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    1. I hope I’m not speaking out of turn here, but that’s fellow commenter rr’s tumblelog. She really did an ace job making that animated gif (two photos shot in quick succession). We were in a poetry-themed pub, believe it or not.

      I agree — Clive required essentially zero editing, possibly the easiest podcast guest ever. I chalk it up to his theatre background, elocution school, etc., but I suspect he must’ve come from a family of good talkers, too.

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  6. I like how the conversation got around to Clive’s work and didn’t start there. With both of you knowledgable about your surroundings, it made for effortless transitions between talk of nature and art. It was like a real conversation between friends, which of course it was. Very fun to eavesdrop on it. Thanks for recording and posting this.

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