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I’m writing to thank Mr Pamphart and his assistant for the wonderful talk they gave to our Year 4 pupils. I completely agree, it’s never too early to introduce children to the concept of intellectual property, copyright law and “Read/Write” digital culture. The children found the talk and the puppet show very engaging. I have never seen them so reluctant to get out the finger paints and Play-doh – instead they have been forming their own arts organisations, feuding artists’ collectives and role-playing ‘commercial gallery politics’. It’s especially heartening to see the children who were perhaps less artistically-inclined taking an interest in the wider art world economy, criticism and arts-journalism.
I attach a picture from Class 3’s Shawniqua-Frodo (age 6) which she drew on her ipad and would like to share with the visitors to pamphart.com under a creative-commons licence.
Miss Python (age 37),
Beaver Lake Primary School, South Riding.
In favour of Surrogate Artists
There has been too much criticism of Mr Pamphart – it has become yet another bandwagon for the chattering classes and people who like to generate controversy. I knew Mr Pamphart when I was at the RCA in the 80s and for many of us he was simply fantastic. They were heady days and many of us were confused, shagged, drugged and anxious about our artistic futures. Meeting him was a lifeline for many of us.
With his old clothes and his aged punk look, we thought he was one of the college staff. But after being around for several terms the college authorities quickly realised he was not one of them and asked him to leave. By then many of us had signed up with him so it was a tense time. He opened up an office/studio/temple just near-by and we used to go see him a lot. He urged us to organise ourselves and form teams with an eye to marketing our talent. Some of us were picked as the now famous BSE - British Surrogates Enterprise. Mr Pamphart sold the concept to us but it was the South Riding Arts Consultancy that sorted the individual contracts with us at the time. They were not very nice.
People said it was exploitation of naive talent but being one of “Andy’s Surrogartists” was a privilege for me – all us BSEs felt it was exciting and a new horizon in creativity. He said it was not us but the culture itself which was doing the creating – marketing and promotion were like oil paint but much easier to handle.
People say he just took credit for other artists work but Mr Pamphart gave me his artwork as well and told me to sign it – a lot of it sold and is still on show. Also I was contracted to do twelve works for him but in the end he let me sign two or three of these BSE works as myself – let me take credit for my own paintings, despite the SRAC agreement. Later there was also the BSE livestock series of works – which Mr Pamphart master minded. He said some could be sterilised in tanks of fluid or cut up and put on show but some were sterilised by burning . Those were really exciting – diseases, animal executions, burning pits, the government and everything.
He also never touched me inappropriately unless I let him. That’s the kind of man he really was.