Hello everyone, welcome to our blog, my name is Tony Begolo, I’m a 58 year old bloke who recently discovered he’s still capable of producing art at a very accomplished level. I’m not saying this to big myself up, I know I have ability because my work bears scrutiny, but by the same token I’m not conceited about it. It is what it is. I won’t pretend that the purpose of this blog isn’t to introduce my wife Karina and I to whosoever feel inclined to have a look at what we are doing in the hope that you might feel inclined to buy some of our stuff. We are grounded, solid people, there are no pretentions about us, and I want to use this blog as a vehicle for you to get to know us a little. We aren’t the only honest, hardworking people around hustling for a break so I guess there might be those amongst you who will take the opportunity to make a purchase while it’s still affordable.
That said though, I will tell you about myself so you can build your own impression of what we are about. I have no intention of bleating about the misfortunes of my early years, it’s enough to say this. However, my dad was a contracting engineer and every couple of years the family was uprooted and dragged around the country following the money; I attended nine different schools, and was ignored by all of them. My parents were both married when they met each other; both of them ditched their respected spouses and lived over the brush until I was ten years old. That they married changed nothing for me personally, I knew nothing of my personal history until years later. A child will adapt to any environment, and will live uncomplaining in any set of conditions accepting them as normal so long as they remain ignorant of other alternatives, so I grew up in a fundamentally dysfunctional family where my elder siblings, products of my mother’s first failed marriage, were that bit too old for my younger sister and I to relate to, and to this day we remain dislocated. It’s not so much about enmity; rather we have no common ground. I have no grounds for objection towards them, but the years have done nothing to close the gap between us, I would welcome conditions to facilitate a closer union, but it takes all parties to be of the same mind, and at our ages now, our lives have diverged to such a degree I doubt this will ever be truly accomplished.
I wasn’t close to anybody when I was young, I had friends but no attachments, besides which I was only allowed to do what was proscribed by others who had their own best interests at heart, and so like any teenager I retreated to my bedroom, mainly to keep out of the way, either that, or I was working. From the age of eleven I had one job or another, and at times I had about three jobs on the go. There was no spending money, and if I wanted anything I had to provide it myself.
I never realised during those times that what I did to occupy myself was of any consequence, no one paid me any attention, and there was no encouragement. But although what life amounted to on the outside was austere, my inner landscape developed into an escape route of fantastic proportions. In my mind I could transcend the mundane. I was a child of the 60’s, and 70’s. The psychedelic music of those years fuelled my imagination and transported me to otherworldly destinations, which totally influenced my later experiences, although I was completely ignorant of the real world and its machinations.
There was a day when I was 14 that has remained with me all the days of my life. My form teacher was called Stan Duckworth, he was the head of the art department, his form room was the art room of course, and he was an ogre. My form was probably the worst in a bad school, the teacher we had been assigned to previously refused to have any more to do with us, we terrorised the poor woman, so we got what we deserved, and ended up with Stan who terrorised us, every last one of us. And so that morning at registration when he said “Bigolo! I want to see you at break time” there was no room for compromise, no alternative option. He who must be obeyed had spoken. I obeyed. I was petrified; those were the days of capital punishment, excuses for which were not needed, so if one of the teachers wanted to spite a child he could do so emphatically, without recourse to sanction. I knocked on the door of the art room and after a short while I received the summons. There was no avoiding the inevitability of the moment; I had to face my fate, I entered the room and stood before his desk which he was sat at. Then he said “ get a chair Tony and sit down “ and motioned me to place it in front of his desk. I did as he asked, not told. When I was seated he opened a drawer and removed a piece of paper, then placing it on the desk in front of me he asked “did you do this?”. It was a drawing I had been tinkering with the day before, and which had been confiscated. I thought I was in trouble, but the situation was incongruent with my experience of the moment. I had to confess that it was, and what followed was the first conversation I had ever really had with an adult who wasn’t telling me what to do.
Stan asked why he hadn’t seen me in his classes, and I had to explain that I had to do as I was told and there was no allowance for such a thing. He wanted me to ask my mother to come to see him. The conversation tore down any sense I had of who or what I was and set me on a course that would eventually see me thrown out of home after any hopes of a future of my own choice was taken from me, and left me sleeping on sofa’s for six months, broken, and stupidly, childishly deciding then that my future was gone, and Never would I attempt anything like that again. I would never trust to hope again. That was 42 years ago.
Then three years ago as I write this, following a conversation I had with a work colleague John West about teaching my children about art, I turned into work one morning at 7am, and there on the office floor was a collection of artist’s materials which he had brought into work for me. The last time I had felt the way I did then was when Stan showed me that I had any value. I told him right there and then that he had no idea what he was doing!
Since that moment my life has completely changed. I have walked away from yet another abusive relationship, and the circle has proved to be a spiral. The 39 years have not been wasted, I have filled them with experience, I’ve been both good and bad, that I am here to talk about it is miraculous, I’ve had umpteen relationships which I’ve either destroyed, or have been catastrophically abusive for me, I’ve fathered three children who want little or nothing to do with me. I’ve done the sex and drugs and rock and roll thing, I’ve been killed and resuscitated, and I have lived a life most people would not wish to endure, but who cares? How many people get two bites of the cherry? Well I did! I have a second chance. There’s no room for brooding sentiment, no pretence, I didn’t believe I would ever have a chance, but look what I’m doing, I’m doing what I was born to do, it’s hard sometimes because I haven’t had an education, I’ve had to do everything myself, I have no Name, and no one is going to help me other than myself.
Well that’s not strictly true, Karina has been the most supportive person of my entire life. She has encouraged me, pushed me, praised me, put up with my moods and behaviours, and shown me patience. If I was 40 years younger I would probably kill myself, but this is this, and that was that. I have the chance that was ripped out of my grasp when I was too young, immature and ignorant to appreciate, so I don’t care how hard it is going to be, I Am going to succeed, so have a look at my stuff, my first commission was paid by instalment, and I’m happy to work that way again, so if you are looking for an investment get in touch. Cheers, Tony