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Artist pair team up for concertina book collaboration

PUBLISHED: 18:28 31 October 2019 | UPDATED: 19:34 31 October 2019

Artist friends Mike Pert (left) and John Midgley, who have created a concertina-style art book featuring 40 original paintings, drawings and collages.
Photo: KAREN BETHELL

Artist friends Mike Pert (left) and John Midgley, who have created a concertina-style art book featuring 40 original paintings, drawings and collages. Photo: KAREN BETHELL

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Mundesley octogenarian John Midgley and his fellow artist Mike Pert, 72, are proving age is no barrier to innovation, by creating a piece of contemporary artwork featuring 40 paintings presented, concertina-style, in a collaborative book.

One of the artworks created by Mike Pert for a collaborative book.
Photo: KAREN BETHELLOne of the artworks created by Mike Pert for a collaborative book. Photo: KAREN BETHELL

The pair, who, between them have more than 100 years' experience as working artists, spent three months ferrying the A5 sketch book backwards and forwards between each other's studios, creating paintings, drawings and collages depicting subjects ranging from landscapes and architecture, to figures and still life.

Mr Pert, who lives at Aylmerton, near Cromer, attended art school in the 1960s.

One of the artworks created by John Midgley for a collaborative book.
Photo: KAREN BETHELLOne of the artworks created by John Midgley for a collaborative book. Photo: KAREN BETHELL

Urged by his parents to study for a 'proper' profession, he spent a further three years at university and went on to build a successful career as an architect, working for firms in London and Norwich before setting up his own practice.

He hit on the idea for taking on a joint project with long-term friend Mr Midgley after his daughter Nikki - also an artist - gave him the book as a gift.

One of the artworks created by John Midgley for a collaborative book.
Photo: KAREN BETHELLOne of the artworks created by John Midgley for a collaborative book. Photo: KAREN BETHELL

"I always have to produce something every day and it was the first time either of us had had the courage to collaborate with another artist," Mr Pertexplained. "I think that, as artists, we do generally tend to deliberate too much, but, with this, you never felt reluctant or ponderous about completing the next piece of work."

A former arts advisor to the London boroughs of Haringey and Brent, Mr Midgley, 84, founded an artists' co-operative in a former North London swimwear factory before moving to Norfolk 40 years ago to set up his own company painting trades union banners.

One of the artworks created by Mike Pert for a collaborative book.
Photo: KAREN BETHELLOne of the artworks created by Mike Pert for a collaborative book. Photo: KAREN BETHELL

Since selling the business to focus on his passion for contemporary art, he has exhibited work at galleries in Norfolk, Suffolk and London.

He said that as it progressed, the artwork - which is more than 13ft long when fully extended - took on a sense of urgency.

One of the artworks created by John Midgley for a collaborative book.
Photo: KAREN BETHELLOne of the artworks created by John Midgley for a collaborative book. Photo: KAREN BETHELL

"A feeling that we had to get it done came over us, and I'd look forward to Mike driving over so I could get the next piece done," he explained.

The completed work, which the pair are calling 'The Book', will go on show at a joint exhibition being held at the Belfry Arts Centre, Overstrand, in January of next year, before being printed as a limited edition title.

One of the artworks created by Mike Pert for a collaborative book.
Photo: KAREN BETHELLOne of the artworks created by Mike Pert for a collaborative book. Photo: KAREN BETHELL

For more information, visit www.johnmidgley.co.uk

One of the artworks created by John Midgley for a collaborative book.
Photo: KAREN BETHELLOne of the artworks created by John Midgley for a collaborative book. Photo: KAREN BETHELL

One of the artworks created by Mike Pert for a collaborative book.
Photo: KAREN BETHELLOne of the artworks created by Mike Pert for a collaborative book. Photo: KAREN BETHELL

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