Reference: Viewpoint Section for the Ronald Falck website 2015.
I decided to include this Viewpoint Section in August 2015 as part of my website because people were constantly asking me 'What is the story about the Council's objection to 'The Anchorman Sculpture' being on display in Bridlington?'
This also gives me the opportunity to inform the public that some East Yorkshire County Council Senior officers, based at Beverley County Hall have constantly blocked every attempt I made to incorporate some Fine Art Sculptures in and around Bridlington between 2013 —2015. I wish to point out that six sculptures were offered `Free' by me to the town. Artists such as myself require sponsorship. They have their own integrity and need to make original artistic images. They are not looking to be bought and be told what to do and how to do it by uninitiated persons, but they are looking for a partnership which gives them the individual freedom to express their ideas and ideals to make a contribution to society and the environment in a professional way.
What I didn't expect from the dealings with East Yorkshire Council, was having to confront the uninitiated Beverley East Yorkshire County Council 'Control Freaks' regarding my Public Art works which I was offering free to the Bridlington Public.
However, 'The Anchorman' became the first Public sculpture to be placed in Bridlington in spite of the East Yorkshire County Council's strong opposition to it. They had stated that it could not be placed on any East Yorkshire land, but they had nothing to compare with what I offered — I think that they see 'Flowers in wheel barrows' as art. They had nothing sculptural in the town. They gave mine notoriety.
The more enlightened Bridlington Harbour Commissioners however, said that they would like to have it, and it is now proudly overlooking the harbour on top of the Harbour Commissioners' offices - and there is nothing the EYCC can do about it!
Introduction to Viewpoint.
This viewpoint might be seen as a moan to some, and indeed there is some dissatisfaction for me because of the way I was treated. I wasted my time giving presentations and speaking to EYCC, as the Council had no intention of implementing my ideas.
In the first instance, (2013) I was invited by Mr Lister (EYCC) to introduce some of my Traffic Island Sculpture ideas to the Highways Department, to be considered. I met with a man called Mr. Brackenbury (EYCC) who was in charge of Traffic Island designs - who does them all himself now although he has no art qualifications. In my view his designs are not artistic enough, quite mundane in fact. He then uses Council workers to implement his designs, but he doesn't realise that his use of coloured glass-chips are more appropriate to a graveyard scenario by association - showing he lacks perception. In contrast, the ideas I offered are more appropriate to the environment for which they were designed, as my ideas follow themes and designs more closely identified to where they are situated. For example, I suggested 'Five large Running Hares' on the Traffic Island at Carnaby Village. Which I offered to make quickly and free, but he said he had already paid £3,000 (for a shed representing a boat), which was his first attempt, then made a replacement of a miniature Lifeboat replica at a further cost. Neither has anything to do with the village environment and both cost a lot of public money.
At the same meeting, Mr. Brackenbury invited me to make a design for the Park and Ride Traffic Island at Wilsthorpe. So I designed a 'Helmsman', struggling to control a large ship's wheel in front of him, he had a bright yellow cape with a yellow sow-ester on and was showing some action - implying the movement and his strength in controlling the wheel. As an associated reference, it is near the Boating Compound
I was later asked to present the 'Helmsman' design to a group of East Yorkshire Councillors at a meeting organised by Liz Philpot (EYCC) at the Town Hall, Bridlington. I had made three small Maquettes for discussion. I started to talk about the ideas and led the discussion about the suitability of each one. The meeting had hardly progressed when Cllr. Jane Evison made the comment 'that she felt threatened, and didn't realise that she had to make a decision about the subject'- She suggested that I waited until the proposed future Arts Strategy meeting had made some rules up, for me to abide by. So my presentation was a waste of my time.
I attended the said Arts strategy meeting, which was organised by an administrator called Helen Jackson (EYCC) who had arranged 'a Facilitator' to progress the outcome. But there were no objectives set to arrive at any conclusions, and nothing eventually was listed as an action plan. Councillor Evison, with her intrusion,' had successfully blocked my 'Helmsman' idea from progressing.
On another occasion Ray Williamson (EYCC) who was a funding advisor and an administrator for the FLAG organisation ( Fisherman's Local Action Group) asked me to submit some designs for the New Boating Compound at Withernsea, which I submitted. They included several fishing characters holding lobster pots together with a large bas-relief design for a large concrete Mural of 'fishermen caulking their boats' which he liked. These ideas were later blocked by Councillor Jane Crossley, giving spurious reasons, although my work was again offered free. No valid reason was given for the rejection, although the work was attractive and would have appealed to the public.
On a fourth occasion I was asked to submit an application for a design for the Bridlington Station Plaza: I designed a 'giant wave' which had seagulls flying closely on top and fish to be seen under the wave, the design incorporated a feeling of movement including foam and spray: The system of application was described to be in two pans. Thc first part asked for qualifications, and photographs of three recent works as examples. I thought I had fulfilled the criteria. My Qualifications are the highest in England with a London University Degree in Fine Art. I was a former student of Sir Henry Moore and was later one of his apprentices. I also have a PHD in Holography studies, and a B.Ed. Education Degree. As photographic illustrations were required I showed examples of 'The Dotterel Shepherd and sheep' which is on the Dotterel Traffic Island on the A165, as an example of the local Public Art work. This was Commissioned by North Yorkshire County Council and completed in 2011.
I was surprised to be told I was not to be included for the second stage of the Competition. When I questioned why? It was seen as a challenge by the control freaks, and I was told that I would not be asked again or included for any more Competition submissions! This was a statement by the organiser Helen Jackson (EYCC). I felt that this was Prejudice, Discrimination, Bias, and Undemocratic, with the prevention of equal opportunity evidenced. - Surely this is against the law?
The biggest rejection of my work however by the EYCC was my `Anchorman Sculpture'. This idea was a Commission by The West Street Residents' Action Group which met monthly at The Windsor Hotel, Bridlington. Their purpose being to identify the needs of their local area and to improve such.
At a June 2013 meeting of the group, I was invited by John Hunter, a local business person in the group to discuss making a sculpture for the South Cliff Gardens opposite the harbour in Bridlington. The Chairman, Barry Guildford, and the Committee, after some discussion asked me to present an idea for this sculpture to fill a space in the South Cliff Gardens to enhance what was looking a tired and a `neglected' site. The fountain had not worked for years, and the environment needed 'a lift' with a new feature they thought. There had never been an original Public Sculpture in Bridlington, so I submitted an original idea of 'The Anchorman Sculpture' for consideration. This was a significant original concept reflecting some possibilities, - and could even have grown with support from the Council to become a new 'Brand' for Bridlington. It was a new aesthetic concept. It was colourful, friendly, and although being a new concept it was well received by all who saw it. The Committee were taken by it. The idea was then submitted to the East Yorkshire County Council by letter for consideration — with a photograph of the Maquette, (which is a small model in 3D, as a starting point for discussion).
In their reply, Mr.Timm (EYCC) and Mr. Menzies (EYCC) rejected the idea out of hand as being 'unsuitable'. In addition, Mr.Timm blindly said the Anchor should have four flukes - it did have - but he couldn't count! The 'unsuitable' label became their dogma for my sculpture.
Why an Anchorman carrying his Anchor near the harbour is 'unsuitable' begs the common-sense question - Why? No one from the Council would visit to look at the original Maquette - or even visit when the finished Sculpture was made, refusing to discuss it further. Yet the subject is not rude, crude, or vulgar, not political, or religious, with no propaganda bias involved of any sort. It did have a message however, that of promoting 'the value of work, as an ethic'- Not everything is about making money. I think what had confused the Council people was that it was an 'Aesthetic product' requiring people to look at something through an artist's eyes, and engage some visual thinking. They seem to be programmed that everything has to have a historical connection. It was 'never intended to be a historical one - in which history subjects usually beg the question, or blurs the lines, or becomes something romantically invented, concocted with spurious facts to give some false credence of importance, but this sculpture was presented as an aesthetic, an artefact of beauty. EYCC employees who became involved in making judgement were unaware of how to read it. When any new concept presents a challenge to their limited experience they looked for negatives straight away. Quotes, 'It would get vandalised'—a verdict? 'It would cost too much for Insurance'- without any research. 'It would be too expensive to maintain' — ClIr. Sheila Finlay. —not true.
These were typical of the spurious reasons by which they chose to reject it, yet there were no facts in support to arrive at those conclusions.
In my view, what they showed in their comments were prejudiced, discriminatory, and biased, evidencing a prevention of equal opportunity, and also showing a lack of support for the arts, lacking support for an entrepreneur of creativity, together with an expression of much ignorance. As this Sculpture was offered free, there was nothing about it to provoke such negative responses except that the EYCC 'control freaks' were not in charge. My observation is that many of them are used to thinking of flowers in wheelbarrows are art. They remained blind to an opportunity presenting itself. So they kick a gift horse in the teeth. The ambitious subject of a nine foot figure built in Resin - upon a steel armature, widened their eyes because it was something new made in a modem way and they could not comprehend it, the issue was beyond their experience and they showed that they were completely out of their depth.
I came to realise that locally most of the Councillors and the majority of the public in fact are unaware of the difference between a statue and a sculpture. They are not the same. I will define the difference: A statue is of a static appearance and appears still, representing some person, an event or a thing as a sign or a symbol. Whereas a sculpture has more content in it and shows a greater expression, which incorporates a message. Most great art has a visual message within it, but a sculpture will also contain an implied movement giving it more life. As said, this total aesthetic aspect was beyond the Council's' perception and perhaps beyond some of the public. Sometimes people look at art but cannot see its message or purpose, and illustrates that some people look but cannot see. Art therefore is not for everybody although it is available to them.
Some of the qualities to look for might be missed if not pointed out to the uninitiated in looking for the beauty. Part of the beauty is that the straight angles, of the arms, are complemented by the curve of the rope, and the perfect proportion of the arms, body and legs are also complemented with the rope and its surface texture. The Anchor itself offers a lovely balanced signature to the figure which fits snugly into the left shoulder. The jacket is modelled with a feeling of form, usually expected in a sculpture, and it is made to allow water to run down inside the jacket form, and away. All the making has been done working by hand with a liquid-resin applied method, and no moulds have been used. It presents a new method with skill in the design concept and illustrates a new way in the making: By presenting the subject in this way with the materials and the method used, it has broken new ground, which is what all artists should do.
Visually, the friendly red-faced cheeks on his face contributes to the power of his character, which has involved some intellectual consideration and thinking for the expression, it communicates some feeling, and the natural smile on his face will appeal to the viewer if he/she looks long enough. On his head, the Anchorman has a Baccy-hat which it has a pouch at the back to hold his tobacco. This feature might be missed or not understood if it is not pointed out, and at the base, his boots are a strongly modelled feature, which also might not be noticed. The gloves hide two well made hands underlying the form. When I worked for Sir Henry Moore I used to say —*Let me make you some hands Henry', he took this with a smile on his face. As you will notice he never did hands.
The 'Anchorman Sculpture' has a strong presence from all views, as it Should have - to achieve its power. Looking from below or even above, allows the composition of the figurine to be 'five dimensional'. For further interest and information, the originality of the subject's design and the making of the sculpture was completed by the artist in his workshop in Bridlington, and at Master Blacksmith David Robson's Forge in Bridlington.
In the beginning after I had accepted the Commission, (July 2013) I was invited to a meeting by the ERCC at the Spa, by Dale Chapman (EYCC). The Agenda was mainly to ask me if I would be willing to include the 'Anchorman' in the Maritime Trail Scheme which the EYCC were concocting with FLAG - to make a Visitor display. Present at the meeting was Dale Chapman (EYCC) Steven Carvill, Barry Guildford (Chairman), my wife, and myself. I agreed that I would be willing and we shook hands on the deal for 'The Anchorman' to be incorporated into the Maritime Trail, and I expected for that to happen. Following this, Ray Williamson (EYCC), set up another meeting with me at the Town Hall to discuss finance with him about it. This I thought was enough confirmation that the deal was going to happen. He asked for an estimation of my costs which I had said £6,000 inclusive for materials, transport, workshop costs, and the Blacksmith work for fixing on site. Ray was surprised when I said I would make the sculpture for 'Gratis' giving my time for my pleasure. I heard nothing more from EYCC. It took me some time to fathom that they had reneged on our handshake deal without giving a reason for doing so. To most people of decent stock, an agreement made with a handshake is binding by tradition and respect. I believe they are pig-headed to see no wrong in their action, but there is no honour or professionalism in the way they behaved.
In June 2014, I was told by e-mail sent by Cllr. Stephen Parnaby, who is the leader of the East Yorkshire County Councillors, based at Beverley County Hall, that I would not be allowed to put my Anchorman Sculpture on any East Yorkshire land! That was quite finite!
East Yorkshire County Council rules from Beverley, which is an old medieval town, and it seems that the people there still behave like overlords as they did in the past (very feudal). No democracy there then! Bridlington is the smaller town, and is ruled so tightly by Beverley that the local Bridlington Council have no political power to implement anything. As said, all decisions are made at Beverley. Yes, they have the usual sham of false consultation where no one can make headway to challenge their pre-conceived plans.— which I'm sure is to destroy what was a pleasant town with character. The result of their abuse of power means that Bridlington has been completely decimated recently (2016). In their way of thinking consultation means manipulation. What the Bridlington habitants and visitors want is a clean town with clean toilets, wide well kept roads, ample parking facilities, open aspects to the sea, clean beaches, access to the harbour, and Promenade walks to be a feature, with a reduction of the dog and seagull nuisance.
My observation of EYCC is that they seem to mess up everything they touch, because they lack perception, or any vision, and lack any kind of aesthetic judgement. They use the words 'Renaissance development' to give a false credence, - and they disgrace the name by this and are not aware or interested in what the Bridlington habitants or visitors want. EYCC have started to use a prefix of 'Great' to the Bridlington name which is a misnomer. Why that description? When another prefix of ‘Gridlocked’ would be a far-more apt. description.
This suggests that the Council's priority and thinking needs to be reviewed and improved. This viewpoint will hopefully also raise the awareness to the public about the lack of perception regarding some features of decoration under the guise of art, which have been placed in front of the Spa already which have cost an awful lot of money. I refer to the glass coffins, and over- sized gravestones, bordered with crucifix trees - and the rusting stage alongside the wall is an embarrassing disgrace. Have the EYCC not noticed?
When ever I had a conversation with any of the EYCC, their approach was always 'I don't know anything about art, but I know what I like' There are many different levels of intelligence in all subject areas but the above statement is not a qualification for making value judgements about art.
For two years I had been on a crusade to introduce some Fine Art Sculptures into the town, mainly on Traffic Islands surrounding the town. The rejection of my offers should raise questions. As said, people had noted my successful Public Sculpture of 'The Dotterel Shepherd, dog and sheep’ at the Dotterel Traffic Island on the A165 at Reighton — which was a Commission completed for North Yorkshire County Council in 2011. It has been on site for more than six years now and is very popular with the public. It gives off a `feel good' factor to the spectators because it has some magnificent background skies to complement it, and to date it has never been damaged — but much admired.
The 1,000 names' signatures in support by the public for 'The Anchorman' shows a support for my style of work and ideas, but in contrast to this compliment, I have been constantly blocked by East Yorkshire County Council when offering my ideas. I had offered to make the following sculptures free: I. 'The Anchorman' for South Cliff Gardens. 2. ‘The Helmsman’ behind a large Ship's Wheel, as a feature, for Wilsthorpe Traffic Island. (It is near the Boating Compound). 3, 'Five Large Running Hares', were designed for the Rural Traffic Island at Carnaby Village. 4. 'The Big wave', was designed for the Station Plaza, which has seagulls flying above and these are touching the giant wave, together with spray and foam. There are shoals of fish to be seen underneath the wave. Coloured glass fish adds to the effect. 5. 'Figures with Lobster Pots', were submitted for the new Boating Compound at Withernsea, - with a 'Mural of Fishermen Caulking their boats'. 6. 'Seven Monks' designed for the Swine-moor Traffic Island, Beverley — travelling towards the Minster from the Wawne Monastery. None of these were accepted but nothing better has emerged, and in my view some poor structures have been implemented in their place.
Where one would use and expect common sense in conversation to resolve things, this was not possible in our discussions. It was always the 'political stance' of we must be in control by EYCC, which took first consideration. Money issues were a close second. Democracy was a third - rate issue to be avoided if possible by them, as it encroaches on their power and threatens their control plans.
It is not so much who is right- but what is right that I wanted to debate, and I hope that I have revealed how EYCC have worked in devious ways and manipulated their power in covert ways to maintain an inappropriate 'control' which showed undemocratic procedures especially in the Anchorman issue. It is well known that power and position can be abused to hide crime, corruption, incompetence and moral hypocrisy. Investigating stories by the Press can right the wrongs sometimes and often does, but this is prevented and blocked, when the offender has a strong influence with the Press. I think a truth has been illustrated in `The Anchorman' case as information was suppressed, the truth and injustice was never allowed to surface in the press for the public to become fully aware of what was happening.
Blowing the whistle and exposing lies and incompetence does not make for popularity against any such strong political body, and proof can be expensive and difficult to obtain for use. They use Data protection reasons to block information. Freedom of information access is also blocked, and when I looked for assistance to help expose a wrong, I found that the Ombudsmen whom 1 approached have no power, will or enthusiasm to deal with subjective issues such as the treatment given out to people such as myself by Councils. When I approached them, they said take the matter to the line Manager. I wrote to Nigel Atkinson (EYCC) who had recently been appointed Line Manager, who said he could not see there was anything wrong in the way I was treated. When the facts obviously showed a bias of intention to block, using prejudice, discrimination, deliberately preventing a lack of equal opportunity, they had showed ignorance about the product which was on offer, and they would not visit to see it or discuss it further.
Later at a Bridlington 'Augustinians' meeting (in June 2016), at the North Library, there was a talk by Fred Walkington, who was a former Lifeboat Coxwain, speaking about features around Bridlington harbour, including the Maritime Trail. I attended this talk, and at the end I asked -Why hasn't the Anchorman been included? Up jumped Stephen Carvill from the audience saying `It was not agreed' - which was a blatant lie as he was one who shook hands on the agreement at the first meeting at the Spa, recorded in the passage earlier. Whosoever had made the decision to renege on our deal had gone to ground. Presumably they could not cream off any financial commission for something which was a free gift by me. No public group expects a Council to behave like this. Where is the accountability? Somebody must have discussed it. It would have cost them nothing except for materials - costs were not required for insurance requirements, or other expenses such as maintenance would not be needed, it would only need a wash.
I believe that this story which I tell, exposes the EYCC for their lack of caring and in particular by exposing their devious ways, it is not the only time which I have seen them acting unfairly and unprofessionally, in several instances I have further dealings with them to report about but I will only mention the art works as other issues are not relevant to this website.
At the Arts' Strategy Meeting organised by EYCC, led by Helen Jackson (EYCC) I noticed another artist called Steven Carvill there, who was a former student of mine, whose Portfolio was on display, I questioned why I had not had the opportunity to display my Portfolio? It was `an oversight' I was told, Prejudice, Discrimination, Prevention of equal opportunity, raised its head again.
Several people were invited to The Arts Strategy meeting, representing galleries and local interested people from Bridlington attended, - but it should have been a Major East Yorkshire County Council Issue really. As it was, there was no strategy for completing a document as there were no objectives for the meeting and we had no resulting outcomes to prepare an action plan. I smiled at the idea that we were expected to be influenced by a 'Mood board' - how Junior School was that? Two years later there is still no Arts Strategy in evidence.
Any artist is creative in their own way, and will express their own interest, and will have a definite will to form artefacts for specific locations, this I have done. These are a reflection of the artist's personality and surrounding circumstances. These products will be the expression of an individual's will. How then can we relate to works of art belonging to the different periods of history? The ultimate values of art transcend the individual and his time and circumstances. He can express an ideal proportion or harmony by using his intuitive powers - like I did in my 'Anchorman Sculpture'. In expressing his intuition the artist will use the materials placed at his disposal by circumstances of his time. At one time he would have scratched on the walls of his cave, at another he will build or decorate a temple or a cathedral, at another he will paint for a limited circle of connoisseurs.
I have used an innovation by using Resin products on a metal armature by building the contour of the form by eye, no template or moulds have been used - offering a new process in creativity.
The true artist reflects upon the materials available to him, but he is only looking for satisfying his desire to create and form art. It is only then in the wider paradigm of art history his efforts will be magnified or diminished, taken up or dismissed, by forces which he cannot predict, and which have very little to do with the values of which he is the exponent. It is in his faith being an artist - which is a kind of religion to him, and because art is spiritual, that his values within his creativity are among the eternal contribution to humanity, but people do not always realise that a developed perception is needed to make and to make valued judgements about art. Time is needed to evaluate the worth of art products, not money. What must we change to help us achieve those ideal values which speak of our time in this modern world?
We need to establish our values using a truth system, which is one thing. Honesty, fairness and equality are essential as are other values to develop creativity and display. Some artists sign their name to products they have not made themselves, surely that is fraud?
Viewpoint is information written by Ronald Falck for his website in August 2015.