Tag Archives: art

Concept card of the Dreamspace Gallery

Now with better photoshopping! And some words to the effect – if you like this concept, why not get in touch? Renaissance is a together thing… Share this image and message… website coming, looks like the name is DREAMSPACE, and the place, hopefully, is 61 Carnarvon. Early adopters who might want to share a space here, and also artists wanting to exhibit in a positive, spiritual space…and get true feedback by a variety of means. Also any ‘friends of Dreamspace’ wanting to be a part of the group/movement/process…? for my philosophy on art, see http://www.altarsofart.com – art is about the sacred, and Beauty Truth Love and Freedom – the Possible Human. The world has had enough reflections of its filth, nihilism and anti-romanticism. ‘There ARE still Blessed Isles’ (Zarathustra)

Two men looked through prison bars; One saw mud, the other, Stars’.

Dreamspace Carnarvon concept reduced 27 4 16 copy.jpg


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‘Go Big or Go Home’ for sensitive artists

Happy Earth Day! Excuse the animal metaphors which follow. ‘Go big or go home’ – this saying, from a Trump documentary, got to me in a good way! I thought ‘Yes we can!‘ – to quote the Obama side of the elephant. Both ends of the human spectrum in  their saner moments know there’s only one elephant in the room, and it’s called Homo Sapiens, and it’s uber-smart, uber-adaptable, a veritable rhinoceros of the intellect in the animal kingdom, unstoppable in its problem-solving power, in any situation or environment on or off the planet, dammit!

So why do we artists and thinkers feel so stopped and powerless sometimes/most of the time/when not high on caffeine? ‘If we’re so smart/creative, how come we ain’t rich?’

It’s called Learned Helplessness. Some humans (ughh!) actually benefit from spreading it. They even started public schools to inculcate it, and make the baby human rhinos of the spirit attend 6 hours a day for a decade or so, and progressively cut off their little horns and geld them too. Then tell them to ‘express themselves’ in art class or English essay assignments. Horrible but true history… it’s changing now – isn’t it? (Not if the Muslim faith triumphs in the West.  Or any other religious fanaticism with a Book to back up the apes of the mind and spirit with a Thus Saith the Lord).

So, to continue my own slow emancipation saga: I have rung up about the space for a gallery workshops and general Mad Art pursuit, and the agent told me it was under contract and would go unconditional next Tuesday… This Tuesday he rang to say it fell through and do I want it. I had a feeling he would! Gulp… ‘Put up or shut up, I said. So now it’s the ‘putting up’ stage. Funny thing about Home – it can be a haven – or a cocoon, or a prison. I was going to do all my thing here at appletree haven – Home. Now I am looking at Coming Out, doing it Out There, in town, at 61 Carnarvon St, Gisborne. The energy is there, and the ability to pay the rent for a 6 month trial (just) ; then I’ll need to have used my homo sapiens unleashed creativity to make a financial go of it.

Sound good?  Go thou and do likewise, human rhinos, and grow back that horn of the spirit, and the other bits, and Go Big or Go Home! 🙂  Not sure what the name will be – ideas are Eutopia Gallery, Renaissance Workshops, Heartstone Gallery… Dreamspace Gallery?  Photos follow…

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Being me now – everyone else was taken!

Three fifteen is a dangerous time to wake up. If you start thinking it usually goes downhill fast. So you try to go back to sleep.

What if you don’t, but instead look at why your thoughts are gloomy, why your energy is so low?

I did that this morning at around 4 AM, Gisborne time – we’re ahead of the world so maybe I was the first soul to wake this day?? Well apart from the worthy farmers and shift workers. OK the first artist? OK at least the first philosopher! So, I got to thinking… I’m so… blocked. I have a monstrous block. Maybe I need a phsychologist to sort me out. No, I really know what he’d say, and if he didn’t I’d now what he should have said. So why not just do that!? What would a good psychologist say to Peter Harris aka the Wizard of Eutopia? ‘Put up or shut up’. Or what Paulo Coelho’s  Alchemist told the Englishman who wanted to become a real alchemist and not just a book one: ‘TRY!’ Try and transmute that lead into gold. Even if you think you tried before, now, this time, in THIS moment, TRY it.

What did my inner Alchemist tell me to try? What all inner Alchemists tell us all the time if we’d only listen: BE YOURSELF ALREADY! But what is me? Well, what’s my name? wizard of eutopia… hm… wizards do what? Well they change situations, make eutopias happen, catalyse. They’re alchemists of culture, turning the leaden societies about them into gold. They create portals through which people may go into a golden era. They hold a space, they plant a flag, they declare the ancient divine platitudes to a new generation of unbelievers who want the courage to believe them. Hm… haven’t I been there, tried that?

So I need to come out and TRY it AGAIN. Better. Eutopia is a phoenix bird, needs the wizard to revive it. But first he must revive himself.  ‘The kingdom of heaven is within us’. Amen!

SO, my plan is to

1 Get a space (I have one in mind – it’s big and spacious and cheap, here in Gisborne), start communicating with people who come there, have a round table with a phase timer so we remember to do all the dynamic things, in good order, in the divine Balance: 1 Love and listen; 2 Imagine and envision; 3 Reason and plan; 4 Act and communicate. For the logic of this see my www.4phase.org

2 Do my art in that space, and make the ferrocement hobbit havens and other sculptural icons.

3 Maybe open the space to other ‘harvesters, creators and rejoicers’. On the front it will say something like  ‘Eutopia. All welcome’ Or Altars of Art. Names and naming does tie me in knots often, but not this time!

email me wizardofeutopia@gmail.com if you like the  sound of this. If in Gisborne you could join me

So, what has been my biggest, monstrous, block? I think those who know me would agree (?) it’s shyness, this huge reluctance to engage with normal people out there in the normal world. The more I become ME, the weirder and more alien and threatening that ‘normal’ world and those ‘normal’ people seem to become. This morning I got that I am NOT shy per se – just shy of the idea of these implacably normal people, the System they represent that’s the real Monster out to get me, kill my soul, deny my dreams and visions. So it’s simple, really: I get with people who aren’t like that, who do want to be truly alive and think for themselves, and create new things and a better life and a better place. Eutopians… and ‘show them the rainbow and the stairway to the overman’. (thus spake Zarathustra)

Zarathustra’s monster he called the Spirit of Gravity, that mole-dwarf of leaden spirit that denies and drags down. His weapon against it was to fling it off his back and say ‘Stop dwarf!  I! Or you!’ And to show it the endless circle of life and to say Yes to it. I think what really defeated the dwarf was that Zarathustra danced. And that he laughed… like the shepherd in his vision who was choking from a black snake crawling into his throat. He bites off the head and jumps up, no longer a mere mortal but an overcomer, and he laughs. And Nietzsche writes, ‘My longing for this laughter consumes me…’

What is your monster?  When (and how) will you bite its head off and leap up, laughing?







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Sleepwalking through a wonderland

I realized today that’s what I’m doing when I’m ‘busy making other plans’ all the time and miss the staggering wonder of life – people, babies, children, dogs, cats, birds, trees, flowers – a cascade of things and beings, most of which are not out to get me or ruin my life, and some of which (take dogs, for example, ok Poppy and Honey) have amazing, unflagging love and devotion for me. If you are also lucky enough to have someone who lives with you and puts up with you and even occasionally tells you they love you, well  – thy cup runneth over!  Then there’s children and grandchildren – a huge theme of this year for us as our second grandson was born.

Why the sudden appreciation of all life? A near-death experience? No, mercifully all it took was a few hours collecting some of the photos we took this year, for a pictorial Christmas card. Some of grandchildren, some of children, some of my art labours. Here’s the draft.

Christmas card A4 2015-1Christmas card A4 2015-2

Maybe this WAS a particularly lovely year to look back on and wish I had been more ‘present’ to it. (Yes – thanks to brother John were were even in Paris and Oxford, and Florence and Cannes this year, and nobody shot us or anyone of the peaceful multitudes we saw). But really, life is so abundant and fractally amazing, even a year in gardens looking at leaf patterns could have done it for me – if necessary! Those adorable beings which periodically invaded our Appletree garden were a fantastic bonus.

Life is like the transfinite numbers, from which you can strip whole infinities of lower order and they remain the same (!!?). That’s why I suppose many of those who have least have learned the secret of appreciation of what remains – and can see ‘infinity in a grain of sand, or eternity in an hour’ WOW! Right on! And I am not even (and never was) stoned, either!

Why not try making a compilation celebrating YOUR kaleidoscopic, fractally infinite, year of 2015?




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The Dove sleeps in the sand

Well actually she is vigilant. Times are troubled. It was good to get the white limelock sealer on and paint the eyes and beak, see her come alive… And to sit inside her head and rest awhile. And to carve the spiral and bird and sunflower at the ends of the wall. Also the sign under her beak – ferrocement works well for signs too – won’t rot, is cheaper than signboard and very strong…

Names that have been mooted to go on the sign: The Flying Ark; Dove’s Rest, Be Here Now…

20141108_180609 20141108_181220 20141108_181225 20141108_184225 20141108_192926 20141108_193717 20141108_200156

The archetypal power of the dove and ark are there, but they are non-threatening and friendly, and lots of people – even locals! – have approved by thumbs up or toots as they passed, or by actually stopping. A little boy and his dad yesterday had a look in the head too, and the boy climbed up and heard the echo..

now, of course, the Ark needs repainted. Maybe white with green or blue trim… Then the front rooms to be converted to retail space for Jenny’s fashion and my jewellery, and maybe other things too…



Filed under artworks by Wizard of Eutopia, sculptures in progress, The Story Ark

The Passing of my Mother, and a Portrait of the Artist as an Old Man

My mental finger has been hovering over the ‘reset button’ of my life as I approach the sobering age of sixty (On June 25th 2014). More so since my mother unexpectedly caught pneumonia and died last week, aged 92.

Leone harris funeral sheet  page two monday 2  june 2014

Such is the reality of all process – it is governed not by what has gone before, no matter how often, but by systems of cause and effect – 60 years with a mother, now suddenly no mother. The human body being what it is, and the Western diet, etc, this was not unlikely. The human psyche being what it is, it’s not surprising that it caught us all a bit by surprise. We were settling in for the longer haul, as she had stabilised and seemed quite perky. Raewyn and I were looking to try and buy a house in Whangarei, start a ‘Eutopian flat’, practicing the principles of Eutopia in the microcosm of a homely house, and taking turns with sisters Penny and Rose and brother John to visit mum every day until she turned 100 and beyond, if that was to be…

Now? Well the night she took a turn for the worse, I had begin moving my stuff into the bigger studio in the Quarry Arts Centre. Yesterday after the burial I completed that move. Now that we have sold the physical Eutopia in Kaiwaka, the Quarry is the closest thing to a stable manifestation of Eutopia (a ‘Good Place’) in my life. So we may stay on in Whangarei and keep doing Eutopian things at and around the Quarry, and buy that Eutopian house. I don’t know…

[Trivia alert!] Meanwhile here at my sister’s barn where we have lived since mum was in the rest home, we have a menagerie of one old cat Max, which younger son Robert brought back (originally 17 years ago found as an abandoned kitten by daughter Xanthe), Honey, Anna’s yappy doglet who kept waking Bruno her baby son; big dog Zoe which elder son Daniel left with us upon taking off to teach English in Kazakstan; and our own Poppy mother of Honey, also a bit of a barker. Last night Max climbed a painting ladder up into our garret and set Honey off barking hysterically. I staggered up and threw Honey out and shut the door. Cat feet padding across the bed alerted me to the cause of said barking. So I got up again and threw cat out, apologised to Honey and let her back in. Woke up a bit depressed, feeling very mortal, first day without a mum above ground. Took dogs for a walk, big dog Zoe got over-excited playing fetch and bit onto my hand as I held the stick up to throw it for her. Was thinking of doing some ferrocement work, begin the couch to put by the waterfall at the Quarry:

A vision of the Quarry Arts Centre, Whangarei, with domes on the high ledge. Painted in Gisborne October 2013, in acrylics on melamine-coated mdf I found dumped up the hill on reserve land. Photoshopped to make the sofa bigger!

Now I might get to do some painting before day is over.. if I get up the gumption – the market value of my art works is… unknown but approaching zero market cap, like me. I bought this painting, Dark House,  back when it surfaced on Trademe auction site. See it on my pinterest http://www.pinterest.com/pin/173740498099294937/[/embed]

'Dark House' by Peter Harris c. 1970, labelled no. 5 from the Denby exhibition. Someone told me it was for sale again on Trademe and I bought it back - I don't remember who bought it originally, but it had ended up in the estate of a painting restorer in Auckland, and a trademe dealer bought it in ?March 2014. I paid $55.55 for it - a bargain at half the price! :)

As the only bidder, I got it for NZ$55.55 (I wanted to bid a figure that would strike awe in any other would-be bidder) .

Sigh… Good to have it back though. For me. And pretty good to think I still can pick up a brush and paint, just like 42 years ago when I painted it, even if left hand a bit sore from dog bite… Painting has always come easily to me, as has carving. Which is probably why I’ve mistrusted it and not done it full-time. Protestant work ethic, thanks a lot – NOT! So I mostly did ridiculous things with my talents, like make spinning wheels and photoframes and print other people’s books. Thanks to brother John, I have written some fiction books, about  three quarters of a million words I guess by now. But these too lie undiscovered, apart from the ebook volume one of the Apples of Aeden, at 200,000 words a bargain at $0.00 on smashwords. That one has rung up about 4,000 free downloads but no known reviews (I would have welcomed one star even, if only they had bothered to say something). and volumes 2-4 priced at $3.99 have combined sales of 360 copies. There goes 15 years of my life…

YET I am not now despondent.  Now I am free of any present lure to tow the line, sell out and prosper, I am quite joyfully resolved to write and paint and sculpt and start Eutopian flats or new systems of investing in the Flow, for ME, not for any protestant work ethic or other shoulds of any external kind.  (And Raewyn now knows it’s our only chance of anything like a living from my side of the partnership, and is resigned to peter the artist in a garret).

Why do I trust Me rather than these shoulds? Because Me is authentic, and external shoulds are not. Of course I do have internal shoulds, but they are of the living kind, authentic, first-hand, dynamic. So many millions of folk have died never having authentically lived past nine or so. I have some life left, lots of experience, many memories of wonder and creation, and much clearer focus now than 43 years ago when I set out as an ‘Artist’ off to Art School.  I could have begun then painting and sculpting and keeping the inner fires burning bright, but my fears of damnation if I should die without knowing the ‘meaning of life’ kept me from it. Once or twice it seemed the Empire of Sacred Shoulds seemed to have got hold of me for good, but I wriggled free, impoverished and bedraggled, but free, on the outside of the Great Wall which separates the beneficiaries of the Empire from those in outer darkness/wilderness/wasteland.

A painting inspired by a ?1970 visit to Limestone Island, Whangarei, with its ruined brick limeworks. Oil on canvas board, ?1970

Now I realize I should have stayed on the outside all along, built something there, until (as does happen) the walls opened up and accepted some of the outer ground I colonised for the majority on the Inside to enjoy. Because of course the Empire is the Status Quo, Robert Pirsig’s Static Quality, the realm of the tried and true, That Which Works (more or less), and we need it, directly or indirectly. In my philosophy it is the Purple Zone, and around it are the Dynamic Zones of Blue and Green, Yellow and Red, where the new new Thing is discovered, tried, tested and applied for the first time. The Bleeding Edge. That’s where people like me do their best work – sometimes their only work… It’s not so bad out here, if you know that’s where your lifespring is. And out here, age doesn’t matter so much. When you say Me, my Creation, my Work, my Bliss, you are just being the Child you always were. Become Yourself and do as you will, and all things will be full of life and energy, and light (adversities notwithstanding). Or bow your neck to the yoke of the Empire of Should, and all things become heavy, laborious, lifeless imitations of real Life (prosperity, security and wealth notwithstanding).

Thus spake Zarathustra/Pirsig/the Wizard of Eutopia/the Child Within.  Or as writer Gaiman says, whatever life throws at you, “Do good Art”. See the speech here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ikAb-NYkseI

<iframe width=”640″ height=”390″ src=”//www.youtube.com/embed/ikAb-NYkseI” frameborder=”0″ allowfullscreen>

Well, I’ve inspired myself. The golden afternoon sun is shining through the garret window, and Raewyn is coming home soon. I hope she likes these magic beans I’ve traded the afternoon for. As for me, I think I’ll plan my first post-parental painting. An epitaph, maybe, set in the Quarry in the golden afternoon of my life. Sun, keep shining a little longer on all of us who dare to really live, and are willing to sell our last holy cow to do so…


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