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Artist pair find lockdown inspiration in ‘hopeful’ book project

PUBLISHED: 13:07 27 May 2020 | UPDATED: 17:57 27 May 2020

Aritsts Mike Pert (left) and John Midgley with their concertina-style book featuring more than 40 original paintings, drawings and collages. Picture: ARCHANT

Aritsts Mike Pert (left) and John Midgley with their concertina-style book featuring more than 40 original paintings, drawings and collages. Picture: ARCHANT

Archant

A pair of artist friends have completed their second book featuring 40 original paintings, drawings and collages, two months after being forced to put the project on hold by lockdown.

A page from an art book created by friends John Midgley and Mike Pert, with Mr Midgley's contribution on the left, and Mr Pert's on the right.
Picture: contributedA page from an art book created by friends John Midgley and Mike Pert, with Mr Midgley's contribution on the left, and Mr Pert's on the right. Picture: contributed

John Midgley, who lives at Mundesley, and Mike Pert, of Aylmerton, near Cromer, came up with the idea of teaming up to produce the collaborative work after Mr Pert, 72, was given a concertina-style sketchbook as a gift.

“It was a new way of working for both of us,” Mr Midgley, 84, said. “Mike started off by making artworks on pages one and three, then brought the book 10 miles to my studio and I completed pages two and four and so on.”

Inspired by the positive response to the first book, which they completed a year ago, the pair decided to embark on a ‘Book Two’.

“Along the way, we discovered speed, responsibility, stimulus and confidence and, inevitably, one was caught up in the other’s train of thought – sometimes being inspired to develop ideas, and sometimes having a need to go against them,” Mr Midgley said.

A page from an art book created by friends John Midgley and Mike Pert, with Mr Midgley's contribution on the left, and Mr Pert's on the right.
Picture: contributedA page from an art book created by friends John Midgley and Mike Pert, with Mr Midgley's contribution on the left, and Mr Pert's on the right. Picture: contributed

Semi-retired architect Mr Pert, whose work has been exhibited in Edinburgh, Yorkshire and Norfolk, said that after producing an “incredibly depressing” collage on the first day of the lockdown, he decided to focus on a more positive outlook when creating work for the second book, with paintings and collages accompanied by optimistic comments including ‘Hope’, ‘We will dance again’ and ‘Dance as if nobody is watching’.

“I went completely the other way, with rhythm and colour, I think working on the project lifted both of us out of the whole atmosphere of the virus,” he explained.

Unable to travel, they put a temporary stop to the project, so were delighted to be able to pick it up again a week ago, when Mr Pert left the book on Mr Midgley’s doorstep so that he could complete the final few pages.

“It was quite frustrating, so we are really pleased to have been able to finish the book,” Mr Pert, 72, said. “Each page was entirely a response to each other’s previous piece, and, thanks to John, it was a hugely enjoyable, inspiring experience, with mutual respect being a catalyst, rather than a hindrance.”

A page from an art book created by friends John Midgley and Mike Pert, with Mr Midgley's contribution on the left, and Mr Pert's on the right.
Picture: contributedA page from an art book created by friends John Midgley and Mike Pert, with Mr Midgley's contribution on the left, and Mr Pert's on the right. Picture: contributed

The finished book is on show as part of a virtual exhibition on Mr Midgley’s website at www.johnmidgley.co.uk

A page from an art book created by friends John Midgley and Mike Pert, with Mr Midgley's contribution on the left, and Mr Pert's on the right.
Picture: contributedA page from an art book created by friends John Midgley and Mike Pert, with Mr Midgley's contribution on the left, and Mr Pert's on the right. Picture: contributed

A page from an art book created by friends John Midgley and Mike Pert, with Mr Midgley's contribution on the left, and Mr Pert's on the right.
Picture: contributedA page from an art book created by friends John Midgley and Mike Pert, with Mr Midgley's contribution on the left, and Mr Pert's on the right. Picture: contributed

A page from an art book created by friends John Midgley and Mike Pert, with Mr Midgley's contribution on the left, and Mr Pert's on the right.
Picture: contributedA page from an art book created by friends John Midgley and Mike Pert, with Mr Midgley's contribution on the left, and Mr Pert's on the right. Picture: contributed

A page from an art book created by friends John Midgley and Mike Pert, with Mr Midgley's contribution on the left, and Mr Pert's on the right.
Picture: contributedA page from an art book created by friends John Midgley and Mike Pert, with Mr Midgley's contribution on the left, and Mr Pert's on the right. Picture: contributed

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