Tag Archives: James MacKenzie

Realm 8: Midgard – Overview and writing prompts, The Nine Realms, an ArtiPeeps Combined Arts Collaboration 2014-2015

6 May

nine realms8

The Nine Realms

9 months, 22 poets and writers, 22 Artists, 3 composers, 1 Viking boat= a magical reworking of Norse Mythology for contemporary audiences


(the realm of the people)


Vikings Ahoy!

Here we are in early May,  with the deadline for the poetry and writing for the 7th realm Muspelheim due in on Monday 11th May ! I shall be posting out more Helheim poems this week and next week. This month we are outlining the realm of Midgard. The deadline for all writing, poetry and mp3s for this realm is Friday 5th June 2015.

These monthly posts will draw from a range of primary and secondary source materials and focus on selected gods, themes and stories that circle around the highlighted realm. They will not attempt to cover everything, and writers can embrace any other stories and characters within their writing which is not covered. Month by month we will be building our own magical, contemporary norse world whilst exploring the themes of POWER, NATURE and RELIGION. The project’s overall intention is to embrace orality, translation, storytelling and rhythm all of which are inspired by the origins of the oral tradition of the Norse Sagas.

I may well put out little mini-posts intermittently focusing on orality and poetic form as necessary.  

What is presented below is designed to inspire, present basic information and offer a starting point for individual creativity within the project inspired by the themes, characters and spirit of the myths and stories.


Aurgelmir: Sea from Blood, Sky from Skull (2015) by Raymond Bentley

Aurgelmir: Sea from Blood, Sky from Skull (2015) by Raymond Bentley, for The Nine Realms Project


1. A brief Overview of Midgard


Crossley Holland (xx-xxi), explains that Midgard is on the second level of the Norse universe’s ‘tricentric structure’. Midgard is in the middle, surrounded by a sea, which Snorri Sturluson (author of The Prose Edda, See ‘Things of Interest’ below) says ‘to cross it would strike most men impossible’.

When Ymir formed the world he allocated Midgard, the central region, to the human race. Midgard is ringed by a fence made out of Ymir’s eyebrows. Human’s did not make their home in Asgard until Midgard was formed where they created their palatial residences. One root of the The world tree, Yggdrasil, runs through Midgard. It is the place where Odin, in disguise, would go on a quest for more understanding of the world. Midgard is also the only realm that is seen to be visible, the other 8 realms move between visibility and invisibility.


Líf and Lífthrasir by Lorenz Frølich

Líf and Lífthrasir by Lorenz Frølich


2. Midgard Following  Ragnarök


It is said in The Prose and Poetic Eddas that, Midgard will be destroyed at Ragnarök, the battle at the end of the world. Out of this  Jörmungandr, the World Serpent, will arise from the ocean, poisoning both land and sea with his venom. He will cause the sea to rear up catastrophically against the land. The final battle will take place on the field of Vígríðr. After this battle Midgard and almost all life, will have been eradicated. The earth will sink into the sea.  The earth, however, will rise again, fertile and green when the cycle repeats and the creation begins again. 

After the cataclysmic events of Midgard it is said that a couple (Lif and Lifthrasir) will survive the destruction hidden in Hoddmimir’s Wood, a dark cavern or forest, where they survive living off dew. From their children life will engender, and offspring will be born, repopulating the earth. 

From The Lay of Vafthrudnir,45, Gylfaginning, The Prose Edda

‘In the place called Hoddmmimr’s Wood, two people will have hidden themselves from Surt’s fire. Called Lif [Life] and Leifthrasir [Life Yearner], they have morning dew for their food. From these will come so many descendents that the whole world will be inhabited. So it says here:

‘Lif and Leifthrasir

will hide themselves

in Hoddmimir’s Holt.

The morning dew

they have for food,

from them springs mankind.’

(Byock: 77-78)

You can find the whole Gylfaginning here



Jörmungandr: World Serpent by James Mackenzie

Jörmungandr: World Serpent by James Mackenzie for The Nine Realms Project


2. Thor and the Midgard Serpent


Jormungandr, the world serpent, lives in the ocean surrounding Midgard. He was so long that his tail circled the entirety of the realm.  He is one of the three children of Loki. There are a number of stories attached to the serpent:



1.  Loki’s Challenge


Where Thor comes across the serpent in the form of a huge cat, disguised in this guise by the magic of Loki. Loki challenges Thor to lift the cat as a test of his might. However, Thor is unable to lift Jörmungandr entirely, but does manage to raise the serpent far enough that it lets go of the ground with one of its four feet.


Thor and the Midgard Serpent

Thor and the Midgard Serpent



2.  Thor’s Fishing Trip: Hooking Jörmungandr


Thor goes fishing with the giant Hymir. However, the giant refuses to give Thor any bait to catch the fish, so Thor cuts the head off Hymir’s ox to use as a lure.  They fish for a while, but Thor wants to go further out to sea, despite Hymir’s protestations. Once further out Thor gets a strong line on which he hooks the ox’s head. The World Serpent, örmungandr, is hooked and pulled onto their fishing boat. Thor and the serpent face each other,  Jörmungandr, dripping venom and blood. Thor grabs his hammer to kill the serpent, but Hymir cuts the line and the serpent goes free.

For more information see here

See ‘Things of Interest’ below re: The Gosforth Cross


Máni and Sól

Máni and Sól


4.  Mundilfari, and the Sun and the Moon


Mundilfari is the father of Sól , goddess of the sun, and Máni, the son,  named after the moon. Mention of them can be found in The Poetic Edda in the Vafþrúðnismál stanza 23 and in The Prose Edda (chapter 11, Gylfaginning).

Sól married a man, Glenr (‘Opening in the clouds’, responsible for driving the horses across the sky), which angered Odin. Therefore the gods, in retaliation, grabbed both Sól and Máni from Mundilfari, and placed them in the sky to guide the sun and the moon and the constellations (created by the sons of Bor). The world was lit from the sparks from Muspelheim.


Themes, Relevance and Questions


Stasis and Visibility

It is interesting that  Midgard, the realm of the people, is seen to be the realm that is seen; maybe meant to be seen. It is the place of destruction and the place of rebirth, which to all intents and purposes could be  considered a replication of the fluctuation of all living things. It is powerful that this profound dynamic is embodied within the realm of the people. of man. As if the beginning and the end is rooted in man and how humankind overcome adversity through reformation. A Norse retelling of Eliot’s ‘the end is my beginning’ perhaps? 

Exploration Point:  What is the relationship between humans and the gods in The Prose and Poetic Eddas? What is the dynamic and how is it manifested? 


Things of Interest:


1.  Snorri Struluson



Born 1179, Hvammur, Iceland—died Sept. 22, 1241, Reykjaholt, Icelandic poet, historian, and chieftain, author of The Prose Edda and the Heimskringla.

The Heimskringla is a history of the Norwegian kings that begins with the Ynglinga saga and moves through to early medieval Scandinavian history.

See more here.




2. The Gosforth Cross


Gosforth Cross World Serpent



The Gosforth Cross is a large stone Anglo-Saxon cross in St Mary’s churchyard at Gosforth in the county of Cumbria, UK. The area was settled by Scandinavians some time in either the 9th or 10th century and was previously part of the kingdom of Northumbria. The cross itself dates to the first half of the 10th century.

For more details see here.


3. Icelandic Alphabet



 You can see more ‘Icelandic Lessons’ here


 Optional Poetry and Writing Prompts:


Consists of two rhyming couplets which attempt to encapsulate the life and works of a character or famous figure.  As Vole Cental puts it:

‘Exaggeration, wilful misunderstanding, and even complete fabrication or character assassination, are permitted, and perhaps encouraged. The first line is always the person’s name. ‘

This might work well with a Norse character.

See here for more details.

Writing Word Prompts:  Striding, Killed, Wane, Edge, blood, licked, sky, hostility, ice, path, raised


To confirm, the deadline for all writing, poetry and mp3s for the Midgard realm is Friday 5th June 2015.


 Thank you so much for your interest.



 Allan, T (2010) Vikings, The Battle at the End of Time, London: Watkins Publishing

Crossley-Holland, K (1993) The Penguin Book of Norse Myths: Gods of the Vikings, London, Penguin Books

Ellis Davidson, H.R. (1990) Gods and Myths of Northern Europe, Penguin Books

Hollander, L.M. (1996) tr. The Poetic Edda, Austin: University of Texas Press

Larrington, C. (1996) tr. The Poetic Edda, Oxford University Press

Sturluson, S. (2005) The Prose Edda, Penguin Classics, tr. Jesse L. Byock

Transformations: Art, and Meeting Face-to-Face

29 Sep



Supported with public funds by Arts Council England.

Supported by Norfolk County Council.



Firstly,  let me share this link to the newspaper article that was written by The Lynn News in response to Transformations. It sums up the whole experience entirely: ‘ArtiPeeps King’s Lynn exhibition ‘rip-roaring success”:


And here’s the Wordle I did of the Evaluation Sheet we had at the exhibition (click to enlarge):


Cloud 17


For me, the most interesting evaluatory word in real terms amidst all of the above is the word ‘Confused’.  This lone word is potentially a real point of growth and development for us. What we presented to a viewing audience was a huge swathe of material that nearly everybody appreciated in someway, but that maybe still needs to be contextualised more for better understanding.  It’s made me ask: do we need more explanatory information?; how can we best guide people around our projects? are we putting on collaborations or exhibitions?  These are big, fundamental questions that affect our artistic practice and future projects. These are all really great questions to be asking as we step into our next project.


Art and Connecting

When Transformations first started out as a project I hadn’t even thought of incorporating art or making it a multi-form project. It was going to be solely a poetry project. However, the power of juxtaposing one form up against another is undeniable, and the more that thought brewed the more the idea of bringing art in seemed inevitable. The art and the poetry could juxtapose, they could also mirror. Either way they would stimulate interest in different ways, broadening out the reach of our project. I never thought in my wildest dreams that in the asking and in the return I would get such a diversity of mediums, themes and styles. The level of skill too was beyond measure too. Also the mixture of emerging and professional creatives provided a really good balance.

In case you’ve forgotten here are all the Transformations pieces:


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7 of the 15 pieces were framed by us, with some of the artists (Rob Fitzmaurice,  Diana Probst, James Mackenzie and Heather Burns) delivering their art themselves. It was such a privilege to meet them for the first time and here they are with their pieces:


Rob Fitzmaurice an The Transformation of Hecuba, Book 13

Rob Fitzmaurice an The Transformation of Hecuba, Book 13

Diana Probst delivering her Book  picture

Diana Probst delivering her Book picture

Heather Burns and her Book 6 painting A Circle Unbroken

Heather Burns and her Book 6 painting A Circle Unbroken


Seven seems to have been our lucky number as 7 pieces of art were sold too: James Mackenzie’s The Moon’s Dark Shadow, which went to the Vice Principal of King Edward VII Academy, King’s Lynn:

The Proud owner of James Mackenzie's picture

The Proud owner of James Mackenzie’s picture


And Lili Morgan had her first ever picture bought…Here’s the red marker going on, placed by the owner:


The moment Lili's painting was sold

The moment Lili’s painting was sold


Both Kelly Occhiuzzo’s piece Echo and Narcissus was sold, and two prints of emerging artist Charle Redding’s print The Mortal Coil were also sold. We hope to build on this next year with a designated promotion zone where people can sell other pieces and exhibition prints.

Also the impact of the comic strip and cartoon orientated pictures was pivotal in the consolidation of our use of comics in what we do:


Teenager looking at Comic Strip


Schools' Day: KES Academy, King's Lynn, Sara Mena's Picture Strength and Disgrace

Schools’ Day: KES Academy, King’s Lynn, Sara Mena’s Picture Strength and Disgrace


The interest younger people showed in the comic strip material was obvious and a really good introduction to the material and to Ovid’s Metamorphoses. With The Nine Realms we will be having a designated Comic Corner, a physical comic and hopefully an animation of some sort.

Overall, a good number of us met for the first-time, and connected in real-time. I’m hoping that next year even more of us can meet and share in the collective experience. I’m excited to communicate our next project to a viewing and hearing audience in King’s Lynn and Norfolk, who now not only know who we are but also the quality of our work and our intention. In the not-to-distant-future I am hoping to put in place some sort of travel bursary to help creatives take part in our projects in real-time, so more of the collective can meet and see the impact of their work on others.

I shall be introducing our next large-scale project on Wednesday, and thank you, once again, for your interest.


All the very best.



Lili Morgan, Emerging, Abstract Neon Artist Journal #4

13 Feb


Well, officially this is Lili’s last week with us at ArtiPeeps but in real terms you are going to be able to watch Lili’s progress on a regular basis as she will be taking up a fortnightly blog spot with us starting Thursday 21st March. We’ll be able to continue to watch Lili grow as an artist. We will also, of course, provide her with any mentoring support as and when she feels she needs it.

 Lili has been our first artist Visitor-Peep/artist in residence. James & I have learned a lot from our relationship with her with regard to the support a Visitor Peep needs. Things we can improve on and things of which we can be proud. All of what we have learned from this experience will feed into our next visitor peep venture.

 I’d also like to thank and mention all the poets and contributors to ArtiPeeps who have welcomed Lili into the fold with such gusto; and for ALL the people who have taken the time to write their responses to Lili’s work. I’ve appreciated the candour and the warmth in equal measure.

 Finally, I’d like to thank Lili for her lightness of touch in all our negotiations, her enthusiasm and her openness and for allowing ArtiPeeps to debut her work. From a personal standpoint it’s been a delight working with Lili and I’m thrilled to be maintaining the connection so we can watch Lili grow. Roll on the Revolution Green!

If you would like to take up this opportunity (from any discipline) please do get in contact with us via the reply box or via @ArtiPeep. We’d love to have you. For more details in relation to our Visitor Peep Initiative please see HERE.

Monday 11th February 2013

‘Another week has flown by and it is now my last week as a Visitor Peep. 

I have thoroughly enjoyed writing my journals and showing my pictures. The support I have received has been amazing. Nicky at Artipeeps has been a constant support and has worked incredibly hard to make it possible for me. Her kindness is very much appreciated. Also, my mentor, James has been great in his replies to all my questions. This has been most helpful for me to help me decide how I need to move forward.

I have also had feedback, both negative and mostly positive. It was lovely for people to take the time to write to me to let me know what they thought. It was all very helpful, even the negative response, which reminded me that not everyone is going to like what I do, and that everyone is entitled to their opinion.

I was totally over-whelmed with the poetry that was written inspired by my pictures. I cannot thank the 5 poets that took their time to put pen to paper enough. Their poetry couldn’t have come at a better time for me. They have inspired me to carry on doing what I love! So thank you all.

I will be posting one new picture today and some more pictures during the week. I am experimenting with normal acrylics mixed with the neon paint, and will post them on here (I am not too sure if this will be something that I will be doing in the future. I am pretty much on the fence at the moment). It would be good to have some feedback when I do post them to help me decide if the neons will win their fight to take control again!

For now I am going to keep painting. My next step will be an SLR camera and then a website to start my portfolio. I will definitely be keeping in touch on here, on a regular basis, with updates of my progress.

Thank you for taking the time to view my journal entries and pictures. Also thank you for all of the feedback, poetry and support. Overall, it has been the most wonderful, and memorable experience for Me and my lovely vibrant neons!’

Lili X

Here’s a taster of some of my new work. 

Twisted Heart

Twisted Heart

Here’s a word from Lili’s Mentor James Mackenzie:

It has been an absolute pleasure having the opportunity to be Lili’s mentor. She has worked so hard and come up with some very innovative new concepts and approaches to producing artwork. I have enjoyed reading her blog and nurturing her along the way with any help or guidance she needed; and, I hope I managed to answer most of her questions. This is the start of great things to come for Lili I am sure. I wish her all the success and recognition she deserves and I look forward to not only her future exhibitions but also reading her blog and supporting and advising her further as she progresses. 

All the very best, Lili, from all those at ArtiPeeps.

Good to have you with us! 

NB. If you missed out on Lili’s last three journal entries you can find them HERE; or check out her previous post via the Categories box on the Sidebar under: Visitor Peep.

And Check out the Lili Inspired  poetry here & here

Featuring the poetry of:

Kate Garrett, Greg Mackie, Becca Smith, Nat Hall & Anil Godigamuwe


ArtiPeeps February Housekeeping Update

12 Feb

HousekeepingThis is just a little February ArtiPeeps Housekeeping post to let you know formerly that now ArtiPeeps has two other team members who act in both advisory capacities to me and in mentor/support capacities to those who are involved with ArtiPeeps. We are now happily a little team of 3!

Tiffany Coffman has taken on the roles of Creative Consultant (Poetry) and Mentor for Poetry and will also work with me on the shaping of our press that will be functioning at some point later this year/early next year. Tiffany will also be taking on a feature spot shortly.

James Mackenzie has taken on the roles of Creative Consultant (Art) and Mentor for Art and will continue to be our English Arts Correspondent. So we can look forward to another arty post from him at some point!

Tiffany and James will be involved in the development of ArtiPeeps’ projects in relation to their specialities and their advice will feed into these ventures and into our funding applications when I apply. As Mentors they will be supporting any Visitor Peeps that pass through our doors and will, if appropriate, take on any one-to-one mentoring. It could well be the case that we’ll need some more mentors at some stage so do get in touch if this appeals to you via the reply box or Twitter: @ArtiPeep.

The growth of ArtiPeeps into a little mini-team is part of my ongoing intent to professionalise us in preparation for funding bids. Also fairly shortly I am going to have to think about getting Governing Documents for us and really think through what sort of online organisation ArtiPeeps needs to be: a charity, a trust, a business. This is very much a work in progress at the moment and I am presently pursing advice on all of this. If we apply to the National Lottery, for instance, there are more grants available if we have governing documents. It is my intention to tackle all of these areas over the coming months, and I am also considering the possibilities of crowd-funding. My issue at the moment  is balancing the maintenance, development and administration of ArtiPeeps with my need to work on its future and what will hopefully provide me and some others in the not to distant future with some sort of financial security. And I want to be able to provide the services that I see in my head which I know can be realised. ArtiPeeps is also how I serve, so there are both personal and professional reason for going up a gear. Tiffany and James are part of this movement forward and it’s been great to share all of this formerly on all levels. I will also at some point be looking for a Creative Consultant (Prose). So watch this space. I will be changing the ArtiPeeps page shortly to accommodate these team changes.

I’m in negotiations at the moment to find us some patrons. These will spread across literature and well-being and once these are confirmed I’ll announce everything publicly. The patrons will serve to formerly and officially underpin what ArtiPeeps stands for and will give us further official standing.

 Oh yes, if I can have the courage (I keep putting it off) I may well change the theme shortly.

Well, that I think rounds it up and gives you some idea of all the moves and shakes within ArtiPeeps at the moment.

Once again, I really thank you for your support of ArtiPeeps and all its contributors. Your consistent interest means a lot to us as we evolve. 

All the very best.


aka ArtiPeep

Lili Morgan: Emerging Neon Abstract Artist: Journal #3

7 Feb


Well another week has gone by of our Visitor Peep month and this is our 3rd week with Lili. (You can read all about our initiative here).  As Lili says the month is coming to its close quickly. This week has been a week of poetry and connection really; I’ll let Lili explain….

Friday 1st February 2013

“Well another week has flown by and I have been lucky enough to have 3 poets writing poetry inspired by my art and more to come on Thursday. You can not imagine how touched I am by them all, and how they have all in turn also inspired me for my journey as an emerging artist. They have all definitely totally lifted my slightly sagging mood and I cannot thank them enough for that.

Sometimes I think I have so much to do to get where I would really like to be, and I become a little impatient. I know things should not be rushed and a steady even pace will be better in the long run. I have asked James (my mentor) some questions and his answers have been very helpful. I must remember, small steps…

I have been looking at my pictures so far and I have been thinking about the inspiration for these pieces. ‘The Trip’ was going to be called ‘Bitch Fit’ as I became incredibly frustrated with the paint as it was very runny, and in my moment of annoyance I purposely spilt the paint on the canvas. I named it ‘The Trip’ in the end as it seems quite  psychedelic and out there. ‘Revolution Green‘ started off with the under layer which I found quite boring. I decided I wanted the green to take over the painting and dominate the piece. I chose the name as the word ‘Revolution’ was perfect to describe the overpowering of the green. ‘Atomic number 10‘ was painted from one side of the canvas on purpose. I wanted the lines to reach out like an explosion. Atomic number 10 is actually the chemical name for neon (also Ne). I thought the double sidedness of the title was perfect for this piece. On a similar vibe ‘Galaxy 14‘ is the name of a satellite. I chose the name because the painting reminded me of looking down on earth from the sky. In my future paintings I will be choosing similar titles. I like to play with words. It gives another layer to the art, as well as a clue of my personal interpretation.

I have an idea for my next picture which will include both normal acrylics, as well as my neon paints. I will post it once it is finished, on here next week. I have a good idea of the direction of style in which my paintings will be going. The neon will definitely be staying in every picture, but it may not so dominant in all of them…Just most of them!!…

Now come on neons you need to play it fair and give the other acrylics a bit of a chance! ;-)”

You can find my other two journal entries here: & 2


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Q & A  With James Mackenzie (Lili’s Mentor):

Lili’s Questions

Here are more questions for you.

When I buy a new camera, should I get a tripod too?> What is the best way to approach a gallery? > How would a gallery go about displaying my art? > What is the usual commission that a gallery will take? > What is the best way to approach an agent? > Who is the best agent to approach? > Do you think I may be eligible for funding? Or would I need to wait for that? I would like funding to be able to rent studio space.

James’  Answers

I have never used a tripod but I recommend taking many photos of each composition with some indoor with flash, some in natural light outside or inside without flash. Your paintings obviously need a different approach to most with the new technique you are experimenting with. > As for approaching galleries, you can build up a collection of photographs of your work and put it in a portfolio and take it with you when you approach a gallery as an example of your work. Another way is to email many galleries with samples of your work attached. You can also have some artist business cards printed to take with you if you are planning to visit galleries personally. >The commission galleries take varies a great deal…..you should expect to receive around 60% for an original painting so mark up your price and don’t under sell yourself. > As for funding and agents, I would promote yourself and keep approaching galleries and also begin to create a website. All the small things add up. If you tick all the right boxes, enter exhibitions, have work in various galleries then approach agents to work for you…..everyone wants a cut so my advice is to do as much as you can yourself to start with and at a limited cost.

The Shining

The Shining


Two more Poems For Lili by two more great poets Nat Hall  &  Anil Godigamuwe


Direct response to three selected works from Lili Morgan:

Atomic 10, The Shining & Revolution Green


Atomic 10

Flick of your brush

on black background,

molecules of your imagination,

I see embers, sparks inside night,

as gales blow away signs of light –

the very core of man-child’s hearts

before fire, as Norsemen throw torches

to hell in hope to see again their sun.

Or is it spring,

star sedge in inverted colours?

Ten thousand seeds

set free to skid across canvas,

hordes of mayflies above rivers scorched

to imitate fireworks?

Look again now.

No heart of glass could paint this way:

atomic 10 owns unique scale

to the power of illusions;

microcosmic world

in your hands,







———— 29 January 2013


The Shining

Define your star.

Globe of matter blacker than hell,

as rouge prevails,

unfolds around distinctive squares;

diluted light,

miracle sun implores Imbolc

to wake from ice,

shine without shame

through hail & rain horizontal.

You imagine earth crust’s flowers

finding their way through permafrost,

as memories gripped inside hues,

ces rêves oranges* of past summers,

flaming sunsets right on the edge of a circle defined by men

to separate yellow from red.

Whatever you say about stars,

it is shining,


in your eyes.

Note: * orange dreams

—————————— 30 Jan 2013


Revolution Green



We see seaweeds,

globular green from the shallows,

where the known world meets with strange tides –

tales, new epics filtered through sand,

symphonic salt.

New dynamics,

Le monde en marche*,

A thousand feet on a sandbridge

in search of love,



And when you think

you strike a deal,

surf turns acidic in your thoughts –

follow clear revolution green,

take off your shoes,

brave new


Note: * new marching world

© Nat Hall 2013



by Anil Godigamuwe


Take my hand,” I said.

A hand offered,

Offering to stroke gemstones

Into souls with a touch.

A touch that colours and

Ignites a sparking soul.

Sparks that flare

And let me stare

As supernovae set sunrises

In our vision,

Bursting horizons,

Bursting with opportunity

Born of galaxies.

Galaxies born in

The splash of a heartbeat

Or the pulse of a raindrop

On a still still plane

Complex and imaginary;

Imagined complexity

Wrapped in the fractal of an iris

Which lets you stare back.

If you take my hand too,” you said.


See more of the great Nat and Anil here:


Nat Hall:



Anil Godigamuwe




In case you missed the ‘Poems for Lili’ post on Tuesday, you can see some more Lili inspired poetry HERE

Also if you would like to be our next Visitor Peep, or know of a creative who might value ‘borrowing’ one of our pages for a month DO get in contact. Either via the reply box or Twitter @Artipeep

You’d be most welcome!

Lili Morgan: Emerging Neon Abstract Artist Journal #2

30 Jan




From ArtiPeeps’ perspective Lili’s launch couldn’t have gone better. We had lots of support (for which we’re extremely grateful) and equally lots of responses to Lili’s work which Lili touches on in her post. The responses were both good and challenging; exactly what we wanted (and anyway isn’t that what art always does elicit a mixed response?)! We feel that this response is a firm, realistic bedrock on which to build.

This week has all been about establishing a good line of communication between Lili, James and myself and letting Lili settle in. One exciting thing that has come out of the launch is that some of our contributing poets are writing some poetry inspired by Lili’s work. How fabulous and spontaneous is that? You can expect a little feature showcasing them shortly. And there’s always room for more should any other poet feel inspired to contribute. Do get in contact.

Next week we’re hoping to really work with Lili to see how she wants to develop her art.

Without further ado, here’s Lili’s Journal

Tuesday 29/01/2013

‘Well the pictures are now up and I have had mostly positive feedback for my art. There was one, which was very negative as well. Although I would be lying if I didn’t say that it stung a little, it’s not really upset me too much. Well certainly not enough to justify a glass of wine!. I knew from the start that my art would be something you either get, or you don’t. If someone doesn’t, and still finds the time to write to me to tell me that they don’t, then that tells me that my art has provoked them enough to express how they feel. For me that is what art is about. It is out there for others to have their opinion, and whether that opinion is negative or positive, is completely in the eyes of the beholder.

For me personally, I want to have my own style, something unique to me, with some randomness. I want it to sometimes be visibly challenging to the eye, without symmetry. I want it to be a bit provoking. For myself that is what holds my attention. If there were not that element about it, then I would probably get bored quite easily and not enjoy it. That randomness reflects a part of who I am, and it allows me express that part of myself in a whole way, without constraints. Sometimes, I like disorder and going against the grain! (Ohh get me the little rebel! ;)) However, I do realise that not everyone is going to like that, or get it.

I have emailed my mentor James with some questions that I have. There are still things that I don’t really know how to go about achieving, so it is great that I can put my queries to him as well. I have my eye on an SLR camera that James has advised for me to purchase. It would have been great to have had one to take the pictures of in the first place. Atomic number 10 especially isn’t defined as much in the pictures as it is on the wall on the canvas, due to my camera. So James’ advice was spot on!

In my journal next week, I will explain in more depth about my motivation for my pictures and the reason for their titles. I will also post some more of my pictures that I have already done. I have also had some thoughts for my future pictures and the direction that I would like to go. So I will be posting more of these soon. I am really excited about this and the feedback that I have had so far has helped a lot.

One thing is for sure though, some randomness is definitely staying!…’


A few of Lili’s questions answered by her Mentor James Mackenzie.

1. I have my eye on an SLR camera which is 16mp. Is it the mp that is the most important thing?

 Right……..lens quality is more important than MP. I would go for either a Nicon or Cannon…..Nicon better value for money and excellent quality and the same features. All depends on how much you are prepared to pay really.

 2. What printer and paper is best to use for making prints of my work?

I use a printing company to make professional prints of my work, museum quality and each part of limited editions. They charge £12 per print and you can sell them for up to £50 depending on how much the ‘original’ work is priced at.  

 3. Is it better to have a blog or a website for a portfolio?

 I would create a website to show your work once you have taken high quality photos. There are lots of free or low price web site building program’s where you can build one yourself. 

  Next week Lili are hoping to review her work thus far and see where she thinks her areas of development might be. 

Here are all of Lili’s pictures in one slide show:

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Watch out for Lili’s next journal entry next week

If you missed Lili’s debut post you can find it here:



24 Jan


Today is a great sunshiny day for ArtiPeeps because we’re thrilled to welcome and debut new emerging neon abstract artist


We’re honored she’s chosen ArtiPeeps as the site on which to debut her work. I happily stumbled upon Lili in one of my scouting sojourns through Twitter. I asked her if she would be interested in our Visitor Peep Initiative and she said YES (always a very good word and answer) and that was the beginning of our collaborative adventure together! 

In case you don’t know Our Visitor Peep Page has been specifically created so it can be ‘borrowed’ for a month by ANY emerging artist or writer from any discipline. A mentor will be provided and support given throughout the month. At the end of the month further development opportunities will be offered to maintain the relationship. Lili will be given  an ongoing blog spot so we can keep up-to-date with her exploits, and a further collaboration. In the not too distant future we are also hoping to establish a relationship with a gallery which can act as a further platform for our artists. At ArtiPeeps our aim is to not let go of a connection once we’ve made it. We aim to nurture and develop all the talent that comes our way, and there’s a lot of it! 


So without further ado here’s Lili:

‘Thank you for taking your time out to view the debut of my abstract neon paintings. Even though I believe the focus should be on the art itself. I guess it would be a good idea to introduce myself and to tell you a bit about my journey that has led me to here and now, and also my aims and goals for the future!

All of my life I have loved art and anything creative. In fact, art is actually one of the few things that gives me an instant buzz! There is nothing I like better than visiting an art gallery and gazing at the pictures on display. I particularly like contemporary art in the forms of abstract, urban, and street art, and I am very influenced by the paintings of Jackson Pollock who I think was incredible.

For many a year I had talked about painting, and very briefly a few years ago, I toyed with abstract art with acrylic paints. However, I never had the courage to get out there and do it. I used my circumstances as an excuse. Not enough time, not enough resources etc etc. I realise now that what was really stopping me was my own fear. So my painting went on hold for a very long time until a chance conversation about 6 months ago.

I was sitting with friends and one of them was telling me about a painting they had recently bought. My other friend then randomly announced that I was an artist. I sat there and it was like a light bulb had gone on in my head, a complete moment of clarity, an absolutely defining moment in my life. I was going to become an artist.

I knew that if I was going to paint then it would be abstract, but I wanted it to be a bit different. So when I found the neon colours I knew that they were the paints for me. Their brightness and vibrancy reflected exactly how they made me feel whilst painting with them. I had found my one true love! (Apart from my family of course!). Since that day I can honestly say that I am a much happier person. My art is such a positive part of my life. I enjoy every aspect of it. It inspires me. It gives me focus, as well as aims and goals. I have also found that there are a lot of like minded creatives out there who are all extremely encouraging and supportive of one another via Twitter.

In fact it was on Twitter where I was approached by Nicky here at ArtiPeeps The concept ArtiPeeps is great. The idea is to provide a platform for new and emerging artists to showcase their work. Nicky has even found me a mentor James @jmackenzieart who is also an established artist. He will be critiquing my work, and answering any questions that I have during the 4 weeks that my art will be displayed. For me this is going to be extremely helpful and it is also brilliant to have both of their support.

My ultimate goal for my future in painting, will be to sell my pictures and display them in galleries  everywhere. It will be amazing to have commissions for my work and to be able to do the thing I truly love day in and day out. Once I am established myself then I will also like to mentor someone else to help them begin their journey as an artist. Now that I have told you a bit about myself, I would love to have some feedback from you. What is it that inspires you, and how do you aim to reach your goals? Whatever your particular journey is, I hope that it makes you as happy and excited as mine does for me. Please do let me know. I will also be writing a weekly journal about my progress on here, so please do come back and take a look.

Thanks for finding out a bit about me and I hope to find out about you and your goals too!’

Here is the debut of 4 of my paintings. You’ll find 4 more on my page here:

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A few words from James Mackenzie Lili’s Mentor during her month with us:

‘Hello All,

 I have the privilege to be the English Art Correspondent for Artipeeps….one of a few titles to come I believe!

 Thus far I have written some blogs and also produced a festive painting in collaboration with poet Nat Hall for the Artipeeps ‘A Christmas Carol’ blog. It was a new experience for me painting from someone else’s mind!

 My new role at Artipeeps is that of art mentor. A chance for me to provide some guidance and support to new artists and share the knowledge I have picked up on the way.  I’ll be supporting Lily throughout her month with Artipeps, reviewing her work and, I hope, offering her some constructive criticism as well as answering any questions she might have. We are then going to be using this experience to develop a mentoring programme that can be applied to other mentees from all disciplines.

 My day job involves teaching art and photography to secondary school students and helping to develop their artistic potential. So, as you can imagine I am looking forward to trying to do the same for aspiring artists.

 My first suggestion to any new artist is to get their hands on a digital SLR camera to take high quality photographs of their artwork. It doesn’t have to be expensive -I would recommend a second hand Nikon, maybe a D200 10.2 MP from eBay to start with. They can be great value for money and eBay is definitely the answer. Find a respectable seller, one who has sold many items and has positive feedback from buyers and you should expect to pay between £100 and £200.

James on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/james.mackenzie.12327

James on SaatchiOnline: http://www.saatchionline.com/mackenzieart (*5)

So now you know what’s in store for Lili, James and ArtiPeeps in the month ahead. Lily will be posting out her journal regularly as she continues to create, try new techniqies and develop her work. She will be sharing her trials, tribulations and ideas with us all and new pictures will be placed on her page regularly. So do keep an eye on it and follow this blog  via the tab at the top of the sidebar.

Your response is also key to this experience. You’re part of the collaboration so we’d LOVE to have lots of feedback and if you’d like to be our next Visitor Peep do get in touch. You’d be welcome!

Follow us on Twitter:

Lili Morgan: @LiliMorganArt

James Mackenzie: @jmackenzieart

ArtiPeeps: @ArtiPeep

Thanks so much for your interest, and all the very best! Here’s to collaboration!

A Christmas Carol

21 Dec

Welcome To

A Christmas Carol

Original Artwork by Soo Martin

Original Artwork by Soo Martin

the second Collaborative ArtiPeeps blog for the festive season, loosely based on ‘A Christmas Carol’ by Charles Dickens featuring the work of 3 talented artists and 3 talented poets paired and creating original work specifically for this project.



JOHN MANSELL (poet) & HUGO SMITH (artist)

NAT  HALL (poet) & JAMES MACKENZIE (artist)


We wish you and your families  a very HAPPY CHRISTMAS AND A PEACEFUL NEW YEAR! 



First of Three Spirits



“Are you the Spirit, sir, whose coming was foretold to me?” asked Scrooge.

“I am!”

The voice was soft and gentle. Singularly low, as if instead of being so close beside him, it were at a distance.

“Who, and what are you?” Scrooge demanded.

“I am the Ghost of Christmas Past.”

'Once A Year' by Hugo Smith

‘Once A Year’ Original Artwork by Hugo Smith


The Ghost of Christmas Past…..

by John Mansell


I do hope so old friend, you have much to reflect upon.

Are you still so self contained and solitary as an oyster?

Do not look at me with such surprise!

I am the Spirit whose coming was foretold…..

I am the depths of all that was and will not be again.

Not the long Past, but yours.

I am the despair of consequence.

I am here to reveal how deep your footprints sank.

How the deep wounds you left, festered.

So please, carry on remembering.

Let my epicene voice scold the couched hours and release

the forgotten souls in the doom of your deepest recall.

I see your eyes; a shard of a broken tear lolls. Will it drip?

Will it splash onto the ground pure and clean,

or will it open rancid and wan…..?

I see your family, through splenific windows

in hunched repose, your parents, waiting with names on their tongues,

hearts enriched at your first words.

What were your last words to them?

Can you not remember?

They did as the time slipped from them and the blackness

sucked them into the earth.

Oh yes they are no more, and you did not even know.

Remember them, for they can now forget you.

The slim traces of a shivery moue appear; that causes me a smile,

if smile I could.

I see your love. The one solitary spark of your existence.

Dear little Elsie of the blonde curls, who loved wearing red.

You did love her didn’t you?

You told her you did. Yes you!

She wept a lifetime when you never returned.

Her present to you remained unwrapped.

Business you said. And she was gone from your mind

like a leaf kicked on an aimless stroll;

like a child left waiting alone and afraid,

whilst your aseity set you in dank niches, avoided and scorned.

I see you know her now. Do you fleet back into a field

raked with the forlorn oblique shafts of a fading sun?

You embraced as lovers do.

You do remember don’t you?

She found love eventually. And happiness.

You have never thought of her since, and yet

the name on her last breath was yours.

Oh yes she too lies in a quiet churchyard.

Her grave highlighted by a single rose once a year.

Her dates have not succumbed to the embraces of wind.

Though one day like all she will lie unmarked and unknown.

If those dry bones could cry they would soak your heart.

You will not find answers looking down at your feet.

Look there, across the street,

behind the aventurine snow clinging with shivering colour,

where the lights of welcome rejoice.

Voices purl like shrill pleas dipped in verve,

All those you know are there.

Will you not join them?

That is for you to decide.

An act to serve mockery on all that is said about you.

So I will leave you, old friend.

Whether you wear the chains you forged in life

or pursue what once you may have been

I lay my final words on the sere crease of regret

perched above your loneliness….. and leave a cautionary note

for others will come after me…..



The Second Spirit



“Come in!” exclaimed the Ghost. “Come in. and know me better, man!”

Scrooge entered timidly, and hung his head before this Spirit. He was not the dogged Scrooge he had been; and though the Spirit’s eyes were clear and kind, he did not like to meet them.

“I am the Ghost of Christmas Present,” said the Spirit. “Look upon me!”

'In the Presence of Spirits'  by James MacKenzie

‘In the Presence of Spirits’ Original Artwork by James Mackenzie


Spirit of Present, Part I


Bah Humbug!

by Nat Hall

Silence de mort,

nobody dares knock on his door.

Not an iota of minced pie could ever be found on his rugs, or in his rags.

Mice mingle on icy floorboards, craving for crumbs,

crammed in a corner of their heads;

they’ll have to make-do with saw dust.

Don’t look for holly, mistletoe,

freshly cut spruce, scarlet and gold –

coal nuggets don’t fill his bucket, but darken iris in his eye.

Rumour has it,

he lives inside a chamber cairn

with shadow of his own spirit, and when night comes,

he locks himself

and flicks away one rusty coin he could have given to the world.

Silence de mort,

nobody hears laughs from his heart,

powder inside festive crackers or cracking jokes;

only flickering of blackness,

weight of emptiness in his breath,

windchill effect through sash windows.


like fingers of death, point to the seabed of his life.



Spirit of Present, Part II

Jolly Giant

Clad inside his emerald self,

bigger than life,

death & darkness,

he summons you

behind cold


Candles & feast ready for you;

sat by his pyramid of


you’ll learn to toast,

as he fills cups –

the milk of kindness as

heartcuffs –

Dual-natured Dionysus,

he will show you

your darker

shell –

as he stands ten feet

beware of Ignorance & Want,

your hidden offspring

no one wants,


so well under

his robe…

And in this great depth of winter,

he saves you from

your underworld,



as tending


Now spread his love with tending grapes.

© Nat Hall


Winter Spirit

Today I made my home ready to welcome darkest of season.

Fruit of the rose in the garden,

crown of holly in your honour,

the thinnest moon at its zenith,

icicle sky –

your eyes, those juniper berries,

poured in mulled wine,

we toast to our despotic star to rise again from its ashes;

playful Amabael smiles outside.

Runic dream found in nordic night,

we shall feast by the bowing spruce, light bonfires on every hill,

meddle with creatures of the cairns,

free to wander with the living…

They say it starts on Tulya’s E’en.

For you,

dark world, my offerings – cinnamon stick & evergreen,

my wheel of light instead of fears,

my sheaf of corn,


© Nat Hall


The ThirdSpirit


“I am in the presence of the Ghost of Christmas Yet To Come?” said Scrooge.

The Spirit answered not, but pointed onward with its hand.

“You are about to show me shadows of the things that have not happened, but will happen in the time before us,” Scrooge pursued. “Is that so, Spirit?”

The upper portion of the garment was contracted for an instant in its folds, as if the Spirit had inclined its head.

That was the only answer he received.

Tree by Amanda Beck Mauck

‘Tree’, Original Artwork by Amanda Beck Mauck


The Artificial Christmas Me

by Tiffany Coffman


Something a little kicky and cool once leapt from God’s tongue

powdering the earth in pure confection; the first snow.

Pure and new, it warmed sweetly once, defrosting me.

Now to see I’m bitter where I am as decades stumble over me,

meaning to trip tracks as deep as holes;

imprinted on a stale, iced heart.


Corner of the room, I watch the other in the room as the shift happens;

A spark of life that pined, once dancing in colors; the last Christmas.

But not last, just changed, as it had fragranced green but now fades from me.

Assembling a life day by artificial day, 1000 tips of fake suggestions

dared provide me with hopes as high as ceilings;

pressed into a stand of jaded belief.


Was the perfect blank canvas from which to elaborate upon

in ornamental delight – an angel, a cross, a bell; the first adornments.

But old and worn as only I was, they shone brightly then ghosted away.

The disloyal angel, the cross I’d bear, and the clanging of the closing bell

left me there, alone, with frosted mouth…untouched;

placed under a melting star.


And somehow I’ve navigated here without wise men to guide me.

Jealous am I of stuffed, hanged stockings dangling with excitement; the enviable fall.

Love has abandoned me in a pile of tree needles that now stick in me,

leaching Christmas red as I circle my way down to the floor, skirting needs.

No ribbon or bows to make me presentable or tagged for anyone;

just left alone under the tree.


Click on the circles to see the whole picture.

Online Version of A Christmas Carol for you to read HERE

The most beautiful Carol in the World from Kings College Chapel Choir, Cambridge: 


Happy Christmas Everyone!  

All the very best.

ArtiPeep Signature 2

Show Us Your Art – Middlesborough Exhibition

15 Oct

Just before I take you through a journey of dicovery a few words about who I am and why I am writing this blog. My name is James Mackenzie, I am an artist/teacher and art lover. I have recently put my work out there on the world wide web and am starting to get noticed. My website address is www.mackenzieart.co.uk. I really don’t want to go on about myself so that’s it. Oh and Facebook http://www.facebook.com/JMackenzieArt?ref=hltwitter and of course Twitter https://twitter.com/jmackenzieart. That really is it! Here we go……

I am relatively new to Twitter and when this exhibition was advertised I was a complete novice. Early on I ‘Followed’ basically every major Art related page and also top art critiques……I quickly found that I was not getting quite as many ‘Follow’s back’ as I would have liked, actually none!

One of the Art pages I was following was ‘Show Us Your Art’, they were holding a large scale exhibition supported by the award winning Middlesbrough Institute of Modern Art (mima). They had commented on my artwork and said I should enter the exhibition. This was the opportunity I was waiting for but had no idea of the magnitude of the exhibition at this point.

These are the compositions that were chosen, Desolate Blue 1 and Desolate Blue 2

All works were judged by a panel of local experts, but unlike other art festivals, entry is free and the judges don’t get to see the name of the artist whose work they’re looking at.

I was lucky enough to have two of my compositions selected by the panel to be in the ‘Show Us Your Art’ exhibition in Middlesborough from Friday, September 21 to Sunday, September 23.

The Works were exhibited in locations including the BBC Open Centre, The Cleveland Centre, mima itself and in shops along Linthorpe Road, such as Psyche, Red Square and Triads.

The aim of the exhibition was to get art out and on display and not hidden away. A chance for unknown artists to have their work seen.

Unbelievably in the UK eighty per cent of the country’s art is in storage. This is Artwork owned by the people and paid for using their taxes. A real shame.

The ‘Show Us Your Art’ website has really opened my eyes to the art world. I discovered that investment groups often buy up the works of promising young artists and lock them away in containers, knowing that only one of them has to become successful for them to make a fortune.

In the meantime, this economic trap sees years and years’ worth of artists’ hard work, meant to be seen, to provoke debate, to inspire, never see the light of day and the artists who toiled so long to create them remain unseen.

Show Us Your Art wanted to change this and get the artwork into the public arena where it can be seen and appreciated. I began to realise how lucky I was to be a part in this.

Virtual Gallery

An additional 34 excellent works were viewed on the ‘virtual gallery’. There were posters in windows all around Middlesborough town center carrying QR codes. That is the image above…….a QR code. It is an ingenious way to gain extra exposure of the artwork there just wasn’t the room for. The QR code was a way for people to see the artwork by simply scanning with their phone.


The exhibition had no funding no sponsorship and no entrance fee. It was purely the art loving community getting together to make it possible for artwork to be seen and artists discovered.

Curator Emily Petyt said, “The response has been amazing. People look down at places like Middlesbrough, because they think there’s no culture here”.

“But we asked local artists to send in their work. There are no prizes, no money, but we still got nearly 300 entries in three weeks”.

“We put out a shout for volunteers and said, ‘meet us in a café’; they filled the place. There’s some real talent and a real passion for art in this area and people from outside should really come and check it out.”

Senior curator at mima, James Beighton said, “mima is always interested in engaging with people in the area who are wanting to do something with art and that’s very important.

“So it was a bit of a no brainer to be honest, when a group of people come to us and say, ‘We want to provide exposure to a greater number of artists.’ Of course you’re going to want to support that.”

Show Us Your Art’s founder, Graeme Thomson said: “This is about people, more than anything. There’s a lot of real talent around here and all we’re doing is letting Teesside shout about its artists, and letting artists shout about Teesside.”

The exhibition was a huge success, just take a look at the review on the BBC website:


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