October 2006 AOM Michael Graeme Coxe [meico]

October 1, 2006 11:34 pm

Each month the Renderosity community votes on The Renderosity Artist Of The Month [AOM] ... October's AOM is Michael Graeme Coxe [meico] from the Writers Gallery. We congratulate meico for his outstanding collection of written works!

Who is "meico"?

This is a difficult question for a retiree, since what we are is so often defined by the way we earn a crust. For forty years I was a teacher, the last twenty-seven of which I was Headmaster of a school for children with specific learning disabilities and social/emotional problems. All my energy and creativity was absorbed by my work, leaving little or no time for personal development. Now well, I write a little, make a few pictures, potter in the garden usually on a chair with a long cold vodkatini watch the world go by [and consult my memories] a great deal. I am also frequently dragooned into serious grampsing. Before my first grandchild was born some 17 years ago I did state categorically that I dont do babies! The babies, however, didnt agree.

My early years were spent in the Valleys of South Wales a schizophrenic environment when the landscape of miners terraced houses clinging to the hillside segues seamlessly into crags and fern-garnished mountainsides, vigorous brooks and secluded woodland. Musicality, lyricism and a love of spoken language are all part of my Welsh heritage and I think they are all discernable in my written and graphic work. Wales was and remains the place I call home, though we only visited there each year until my mid-teens each summer holiday.

Apart from those early years and visits, a further two years living semi-rough on the resort coast of North Wales, three years at College in Chester, and a single year working in the Fenlands of East Anglia, I have lived and worked in Manchester. The earthy and grounded tones in my work are directly attributable to my childhood and adolescence in the back streets of this soot-stained, grimy industrial city.


How long have you been writing?

The earliest poem I can find, written in a school exercise book aged 15/16, is a love poem or, rather, an elaborate chat-up line designed to impress a girl. It didnt. I was dumped for someone with more spending power:


I sing an old song, earth song,
A delicate you and me song,
A moving song, a light song,
A dancing fall of leaves song,
A rainbow song, a shining song,
An interlaced with sky song,
A turning song, a keeping song,
A tracery of hair song,
A breaking song, a drowning song,
A bathing in your eyes song,
An old song, an earth song,
A lit by the sun within song,

An old song, an earth song
A love song sung.

I wrote sporadically up to and through College, having a few published in college magazines and such, and also during my early years in teaching when I augmented my meagre income by tutoring non-vocational evening classes in Creative Writing. I was much more involved with traditional visual art at the time, and writing came a poor second. Later, increased responsibilities meant that almost all of my writing was job-related research articles, lectures etc about my educational specialism children with special educational needs. A couple of examples [We Dont Offer Miracles, Dislexya and Stuff] can be found in my gallery. It took a tragedy my late sons suicide five years ago - to jolt me into writing seriously. The whole story can be found in Four Years. If you dont read anything else of mine, please read this. It is why Im here online.


I see from your homepage that you have some traditional art experience in oil painting. Do you still paint often?

Funny you should ask that! My daughter bought me oil paints, brushes and blank canvasses for my recent 65th birthday to start me off again I havent painted in oils for thirty years. Id forgotten the sheer terror that a pristine white canvas can produce but I shall persevere. Watch this space!

What are you currently working on?

Im working on Rich Kids and Us, Part 2. Ive already posted Part 1, which was reasonably well-received. I feel the need to chronicle those simpler times of my childhood the past can sometimes offer pointers for the future. Another project in the planning stage is Starting Out contrasting the very different expectations of newly weds now and when I first got married. Poems arent usually formally planned, they just pop up when theyre ready. Lastly, Im updating some of my images and tacking on an appropriate poem where I have one.


What software/equipment do you use and why?

I use MS Word for all my written material. My images are mostly based on scans of existing traditional art drawings, monoprints, paintings and wax-resist enhanced by postwork using MS Picture It [which was pre-installed on my PC] and PhotoImpact [found on a freebie disc attached to a PC Magazine]. Both are comparatively low-tech specific photo-editing programs, though I confess that Ive used them far beyond the levels and functions for which they were designed.

What do you think your best piece of work is and why?

I think Webmaker and Friends [which is posted separately and as part of Four Years] is the one Id select because it says just what I wanted and in the way I wanted to say it.


Who/what inspires you?

I could be ridiculously trite and say life and given that Ive lived more than sixty reasonably eventful years, thered be more than a modicum of truth in that. But I presume youre asking about artistic and literary influences, so here goes:

Ive always been a voracious and woefully indiscriminate reader, although until I was in my late teens my reading was almost exclusively non-fiction. I was a typical back-street philistine late-fifties teenager interested in birds, booze and Buddy Holly in that order. It wasnt until I reached my late teens that I began to read anything of interest, but when I did I devoured everything Satre, Camus, Kerouac, Dostoievsky, Neitzsche. Poets included the beat poets Ferlinghetti et al, Blake, Gerard Manley Hopkins, Baudelaire, Rilke, Lorca, Cummings and a selection of contemporary British poets, Dylan Thomas, T S Elliott, Christopher Logue, Ted Hughes and [ironically] Sylvia Plath. Of these, I think only G M Hopkins and Dylan Thomas had any stylistic impact on my work and then not deliberately.

My visual artwork treads the borderline between pure and decorative art, and Im happy with this I dont subscribe to the current obsession with novelty at all costs. I abhor the overuse of the word clich Frankly, I dont care if the subject I choose is considered banal or too pretty. For me, line, colour and composition are the most important elements in my pictures I give little emphasis to form. My pictures are unashamedly 2D and any depiction of perspective is merely hinted at or idiosyncratically contrived. The influence of art nouveau and art deco is obvious though I dont attempt to copy either subject or detailed style. Artists of the Austrian Secession and Der Blau Reiter movement have also had some impact on my early work.


How has this online community (Renderosity) enhanced your work, relationships, and learning?

I arrived here purely by accident whilst searching for images for school documentation, though I didnt join the community until a year later following a promise made to my late son. I joined initially to post scans of my artwork and was delighted to find that I could post writing as well. The first comments on my poems were typically direct [and wholly justified] criticism with just sufficient encouragement for me to take a scalpel for much needed nip and tuck and subsequently write new stuff. The quality of some of the art and writing and, above all, the intelligent, kind and supportive people - I found here was astounding and Renderosity seemed the perfect platform to make good my promise.

Do you have any comments or advice for other writers/artists?

Renderosity provides a rich and varied diet, but like all diets sensible management is recommended:


There is so much to take in, so be selective for the most part and choose carefully. However, dont be too rigid allow yourself to sample other goodies just for a change.


Read and digest comments thoroughly. If people have taken time to comment however briefly do them the courtesy of taking notice and trying to understand their advice and suggestions. Some comments are, of course, simply unpalatable. Just spit em out.


Take time to implement suggestions, dont rush off instantly to revise your work, even if the advice is sound. Allow yourself to assimilate the advice so that the idea is properly integrated and has become your voice or your vision, and not some hybrid collaboration.

Above all be yourself. Admire other writers by all means, but dont ape them or follow trends. Develop your own voice in your own way, whether you write form poetry or free verse. Treat general advice from successful writers with a large dose of caution. Comments such as one verb is worth seven adjectives or show, not tell are simply someones opinion, not Holy Writ. They are fashionable buzz phrases and fashions notoriously change.

All supporting images are copyright, and cannot be
copied, printed, or reproduced in any manner without written permission from the artist.

Artist of the Month is highlighting a talented Renderosity artist that has been nominated by mods and admins, and voted by the community. Recognition is given to this member for their collection of works for that year.

Since we only select one AOM per month, it is not about their works for that particular month. Instead, it is about highlighting a talented artist's works for that year, and they are recognized during that month.

To learn more about Renderosity's Artist Of The Month [AOM] award, and to view our past AOM's, please visit the AOM 2006 page, which can also be found on the sidebar under Highlights.

Article Comments

pscott ( posted at 12:00AM Mon, 02 October 2006

Congratulations, my friend! Well-done ... and well-deserved. :)

A_Sunbeam ( posted at 12:00AM Mon, 02 October 2006

A very good choice!

RGUS ( posted at 12:00AM Mon, 02 October 2006

Superb... congratulations mate... your turn... enjoy... well done!

NekhbetSun ( posted at 12:00AM Mon, 02 October 2006

Ohhhh Mike ! I had no doubts !!!! I am so happy for you S BIG HUGS & CONGRATS ~ Mina

amirapsp ( posted at 12:00AM Mon, 02 October 2006

I knew it would be you...Love your work.

meico ( posted at 12:00AM Mon, 02 October 2006

My sincere thanks to all who took the trouble to vote for ANY of the nominees - I consider myself merely a representative of our thriving and lively Writers' Gallery. Mike

TallPockets ( posted at 12:00AM Mon, 02 October 2006

Congratulations, ''old'' man. WINK. SALUTE!

vshane ( posted at 12:00AM Mon, 02 October 2006


romanceworks ( posted at 12:00AM Mon, 02 October 2006

Hey, Mike! I'm so happy your superb writing is getting the recognition it deserves. Congratulations! CC

NothingNess ( posted at 12:00AM Tue, 03 October 2006

Congrats Mike! On a well deserved honor! Best thing about winning is that we get to hear/see/know the man behind the writing!

idiot_sphinx ( posted at 12:00AM Tue, 03 October 2006

Congratulations my friend !! You certainly deserve this honor and you honor us by being here !! I adore your writing as well as your magical designs :) Bravo !!

southernamazon1957 ( posted at 12:00AM Tue, 03 October 2006


karanta ( posted at 12:00AM Tue, 03 October 2006

Congratulations :)

Anjour ( posted at 12:00AM Wed, 04 October 2006

Congratulations...well deserved!!!:o)

Ladonna ( posted at 12:00AM Wed, 04 October 2006

Congratulations. I just discover your artworks and can tell you....amazing!!!

SusiQ ( posted at 12:00AM Wed, 04 October 2006

My heart soars with your work and my mind flies where you lead it with your words. Great artistry!

Neywon ( posted at 12:00AM Wed, 04 October 2006

Congrats my friend, an honor well deserved.

Loloe ( posted at 12:00AM Wed, 04 October 2006

Congratulation Mike!!!!

bruelmcbeal ( posted at 12:00AM Wed, 04 October 2006


kansas ( posted at 12:00AM Thu, 05 October 2006

Congratulations Mike. This honor is certainly well deserved. I have cherished your art and writings for a long time. Marion

BlueLotus7 ( posted at 12:00AM Thu, 05 October 2006

Awesome, Mike! Cheers, hoots and raising a pint to you! I am looking forward to seeing your oil painting! If you show me yours, I'll show you mine...lol

midrael ( posted at 12:00AM Thu, 05 October 2006

Congratulations meico and congratulations to all the nominees from the Writer's Gallery! =)

potrastoned ( posted at 12:00AM Thu, 05 October 2006

MEICOOOOO!!! Felicitaciones... Youve always been one of my artists of the month... and now ur everyones jajajaja. im sooooo happy amiguito... lots of hugs and love...xoxoxo Vale

WhispersSoft ( posted at 12:00AM Fri, 06 October 2006

Meico it's so good to see that you have been noticed for all your lovely work and poems. It warms my heart that someone so sweet has been noticed. Congrats my friend :) Dee

Adiene ( posted at 12:00AM Fri, 06 October 2006

Grats :D

Claywoman ( posted at 12:00AM Sat, 07 October 2006

Many congratulations Meico!! Beautiful work!!

Shardz ( posted at 12:00AM Sun, 08 October 2006

Congratulations on this great honor! Well done and well deserved!

Kimberly.3D ( posted at 12:00AM Sun, 08 October 2006

Congratulations! I can't wait to check out your writings!

gunsan ( posted at 12:00AM Wed, 11 October 2006

Congrats Meico! Your work is beautiful and AOM well deserved! - Gun

sadlers5 ( posted at 12:00AM Thu, 12 October 2006

Hey Mike, Congrats on being featured! Of course I knew you were special since day one! Not many people can write, and create artwork as well! Here's a toast to you and your family! congrats and many more my friend, take care, Ann :)