Meet artist Big Pete, self proclaimed 45 year old Bastard from Goldthorpe

Ok, Big Pete. I’ve been following your work for a long time now, you are one of my favourite artists on the gram. Firstly, because you are an artist living in Gollywood (Goldthorpe) in the Dearne Valley near to where I grew-up in Conisbrough and secondly because I like your unapologetic way of creating collages on working class life.

How did this all start for you? And are you a fan of Richard Hamilton’s 1960s, pop art assemblages?

I’d come back from pigeon club one night n a scratch fell out mi shirt pocket and landed on top of table I av at side of chair. when it landed it got mixed up w all ret of shite I keep on it, baki making stuff predominantly. I felt as though it looked interesting, a depiction of the futility of my own existence. then a bought some nail scissors off market n started cutting stuff up n putting it on top or underneath of stuff i’d already cut up. Things that exist in my world.

Who’s Richard Hamilton?

Some dude from the 1960s who got famous making collages. Lottery funds a lot of art and community projects doesn’t it?

It represents the opportunity to escape the shit. A cardboard day dream that lads can talk about at 4 in morning round the kitchen table about if they won they’d defo give their mate a million. What car they’d buy, what house they’d buy their mum. The untold quantity of change we could shuff up are sneks. it’s the big what if, if I win. the golden ticket. Mint for roach when you lose too.

If you won what would you do with money? 

I’d build a youth club for all young ens in Dearne somewhere for em all to go, somewhere to learn about our past, a place to get involved in creativity, music, sport n that. Try n create some more community and opportunity. Sumert to be proud of. If I had left I’d buy Bella woods, there putting houses in it and it makes me sick.

Yes Pete! It needs to happen. Can you tell me more about the characters in your collages, Blobby, Donny and Dennis aka Donald Trump?

Blobby’s the death of the English dream. the personification of the chaos under the surface that we all ignore, that bastard were the face of all that happy go lucky 90’s shit. Look at us now, 10 year into austerity. 10 year of us having shit ripped out from us. Blobby I find represents this for me.

Preach! I hear you – this is why you are a genius, Big Pete. New labour and the 90s massively failed us in many ways; all that talk of the future, the money that came into our areas, all the failed regeneration schemes. 

Donny’s (Trump) just a cunt int he let’s have it reyt? The sneaky bastard worked his way into minds of my community in some distant wish he could come and sort out the ‘problems’ we face cos he ‘sez it how it is’, a reflection of globalism. How some orange wotsit can be the saviour on the horizon. Can he fuck. He’s the representation of how distant we have come from our own roots.

Dennis is just ya man, the everyday bastard. The neutral party. He lives on coop street down from me. Decent fella, worked in pit n that. been purposeless since. One of them new mad ones that are springing up everywhere we dead long names. keeps asking me to go but am not arsed.

Yeah that’s deep…I remember seeing the “We need Trump here” graffiti on the wall in Gollie when I was waiting for the bus. So far away from socialist republic of South Yorkshire days it is hard to process. That world is gone though, isn’t it? Do you think your collages are about navigating Modern Britain in some way? 

Aye I seen it at poultry auction at dog track last year, next to keep your hands off my chickens. and some racist stuff i waint repeat on here. 

Yeah it’s long gone that, we’ve forgotten the power we had, cos there’s nothing for that power to exist in, to be represented by. Goldthorpe imploded. There’s beautiful remnants of it however, neighbours helping each other, looking out for each other solidarity and community are hard things to eradicate, its in the bricks we live between.

 In regard to collage, some are holding a mirror up to my experience, spending time wi a feeling. And yeah maybe as you say navigating through the mire we find ourselves in by the solitary process of cutting bits of paper up. 

Some of em I just like look of. A lot of what I do, I do because it shuts up my head. 

half of the time I don’t care what it looks like. I just love making.

You can follow Big Pete and the work he does here.

Hello it’s Doncopolitan! 

Doncopolitan is currently being funded by Arts Council England Emergency Covid-19 fund, which is enabling us to develop our print magazine and festival into an online format and pay local artists and writers to feature on our site. We want to continue to develop this once the funding has ended. We want to create paid opportunities for artists to write and create on their own terms. We are reaching out to you as a regular reader to ask if you could become a patron of our work. Becoming a Patreon is really simple; you can pay as little as £3 per month which will allow us to continue to be an independent voice for our town.

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