What I’m not

I’m often asked what kind of art I make. I know my face clouds over when the question comes, because the answer isn’t simple. Easier, perhaps, to say what I’m not.

I’m not a landscape or a still-life artist …


… though earlier in my career I painted both.

I’m not a portrait painter and never have been, though everyone tells me they recognise Peter in my drawing and paintings.


I’m not an abstract painter, though I love abstraction.

CHJ 3 (3).jpg

My painting doesn’t aspire to realism, but rather to inner truth.

I’m not an illustrator though I make covers for novels and poetry.

Recently I’ve made my first picture book, though it’s not a children’s picture book.


I’m not a print-maker, though I’m currently making a fourteen print series of screenprints with Dan Bugg of Penfold Press on the theme of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight. (Based on the translation by Simon Armitage.)

Penfold C cmyk-2While I’m an atheist, my work often explores biblical and faith based themes.


I’m not an animator, though I made the animations for the 2013 stage production of The Mare’s Tale (composer Mark Bowden and librettist Damian Walford Davies)…


… I was commissioned to make an animated film to accompany a performance of Stravinsky’s The Soldier’s Tale at the 2013 Hay Festival…


…. and last year in collaboration with artist/model-maker Phil Cooper, film-maker Pete Telfer and composer Kate Romano, I created an animation as the online trailer for my picture book Hansel & Gretel. (Published by Random Spectacular.)

Unknown – Version 2

Sometimes it’s not possible to make a simple answer.




19 thoughts on “What I’m not

  1. People need labels and or pigeon-holes as free spirits, freedom fighters, free as air folk may be frightening to some. Lucky us who, if not flying alongside you, may look up and catch a feather of thought or an imagining as if floats by,
    You’re Clive and I’m proud to call you my friend.
    B xxx xxx xxx

  2. “Oh the wise man sat in his chair,
    and oh, the people they would not hear,
    They said, it is much too deep for us”

    “The truth is,
    we are offended by the

  3. Clive,
    I have NÖÖÖÖ problem at all,
    giving folks a simple answer to
    such a question about you.

    “Clive Hicks-Jenkins is simply great.”

    I would tell them to look at your work,…
    when they DO,
    ….they DO’NT have ask.

    (We’re happy,..we do.)

    smiles and pleasant greetings from Germany,..

  4. Enchanter.

    Maybe you need a kenning?


  5. Just like Leonardo.
    I am sure sometimes He must have been doubtful about whether he was a Prophet, or an Artist, or a scientist, or an inventor… He was all of these and more.

    Some people cannot be described with just a little word. Unless the word is “MAN”.
    But not everyone knows what being “MAN” really means.
    Their loss.

  6. Well, the series of images you include in this post show what you are Clive; the best! What a difficult question to have to answer though – they should just look at the work, it speaks for itself 😊

    • That’s a generous response, John, and I thank you for it.

      I hate how flummoxed I get when put on the spot. It makes me agonise and witter on, as though I don’t really know what it is that I do, though of course that’s not the case. I’m just wary of making unsubstantiated claims, or coming across as a Jack-of-all-trades, a description that stung when levelled at me in my youth because there was always the implication, ‘master-of-none!’

      Got to get over that sense of disapproval.

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