Tribute to Janice Pugsley a Welsh artist, actress, and singer-songwriter

by BardofEly

Janice Pugsley was an artist, actress and singer-songwriter who lived in Cardiff and was in the TV comedy series Taste Buddies.

Janice Pugsley the artist

Janice Esther Mary Pugsley (1952-2003) was very much an artist and a creative person in so many ways. I will always remember when I first met Janice she was wearing a white sari, with makeup that made her look oriental. We were both in the New Moon Club, a popular Cardiff venue where local rock bands played. Janice stood out from the crowd and I thought she was amazingly beautiful with her exotic looks. That was the start of my longest relationship ever.

How she was dressed when I met Janice that time very well illustrates the artist that she was because her creativity extended into many areas of her life including what she was wearing. How she looked showed her individuality and artistic nature. Described on a YouTube site as a “Cardiff eccentric, actress, singer-songwriter, artist, and entertainer. A true fringe polymath,” she was someone who thought outside the box and because of this we shared a mutual bond.

Janice Pugsley

janice

The art of Janice Pugsley

Paintings and drawings

Art had been a main focus throughout Janice's life and she always carried a sketchbook in which she would draw people, places and anything she found interesting. She found ideas for her paintings and drawings very easily. Janice found inspiration in all sorts of places and varied subject matter.

One of the homeless

Homeless man by Janice Pugsley
Homeless man by Janice Pugsley

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Homeless people

Streets of Cardiff

She did a series of portraits of homeless people on the streets of Cardiff. This showed her concern for others and caring nature as well as her artistic nature. Janice had lived for a while as a squatter with her her former husband Jason Hale and was very aware of the housing crisis in Britain and the problems that homeless people faced. She had been a member of the Cardiff Housing Action Group and the Homeless Families Action Group.

Janice was always a very understanding and compassionate person who truly felt for anyone who was suffering in the world and this compassion extended to her love of animals as well. Janice really loved the natural world. She delighted in drawing and painting trees and capturing the character she perceived in them.

20th Century Matchstick Woman by Janice Pugsley.wmv

Protest song about homelessness

Fantasy paintings

Other worlds

But Janice didn’t just find her subjects in the real world because many of her artworks are fantasies and otherworldly. Janice was a firm believer in life on other planets and she often painted extraterrestrials and strange and beautiful images that were in the realm of science-fiction. It was as if she was tapping into other dimensions and planes of existence and illustrating the beings and their temples and cities she saw there. She often talked about the future and tried to express her ideas about it in her art, as well as being acutely aware of the problems this world faces.

Extraterrestrial woman

Alien woman in a city on another planet
Space Girl
Space Girl

Mind, Body and Spirit

Catherine Andrews

Janice was seeking answers to the mysteries of the universe. Often her paintings and drawings had mystical symbols and an esoteric nature to them. Figures in her art might have their third eyes or chakras depicted, at other times there was something very tribal about them. She exhibited her paintings at the Mind, Body and Spirit Festival in London where she befriended fellow artist Catherine Andrews.

Janice was the type of person who wouldn't just sit back and do nothing when confronted with a problem. She wouldn’t say something was terrible and then just carry on with life because she would make an effort to change things for the better. Janice would try her best to get involved.

Janice Pugsley www.madjanice.com

Health problems

Partially sighted

She wasn't at all afraid of people or what they thought and this was a very great strength she had as an artist. She could be very outspoken and would speak her mind and being like this gave her a lot of charisma. Sadly Janice also suffered from intense depression and other mental problems as well as being partially sighted. These conditions had blighted her life but she never gave up fighting and finding ways to express her art. It is truly amazing that she was able to paint and draw so well with only one eye that functioned properly.

Taste Buddies on BBC3

BBC Choice

In later years Janice's creative spirit extended into singing and performing. She was an actress in the TV comedy series Taste Buddies, broadcast in 2000 and 2001 on BBC 3 or BBC Choice, as it was then known.

Taste Buddies also starred actor and musician Simon Adams as well and he often was part of a backing group for Janice in live gigs and for her recordings. Janice often appeared at Clwb Ifor Bach or the “Welsh Club” as it is affectionately known to locals, and at other venues in the Cardiff area.

Taste Buddies final episode

Janice Pugsley sings Que Sera Sera

Songs of Janice Pugsley

Janice wrote her own songs and her singing career could have gone a lot further had she found the big break she needed. Her distinctive style of singing and playing protest and comedy songs was as unique as her paintings, and so were her cover versions.

Janice covered Leonard Cohen’s There Is A War, for example, as well as doing her version of House of the Rising Sun. She released a CD album of her songs entitled Man’s Future In Space. These songs can still be heard by clicking the Mad Janice Jukebox of the Music page here.

Janice used to enjoy going to see bands that played in the Cardiff area and used to dance in her own unique way too, whirling and twirling around and around. Janice stood out again, this time on the dance floor.

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The band Pavement

Art rockers

She befriended the cult art-rock band Pavement and was invited along by special invitation to their gig at the Welsh Club when they played Cardiff for their only gig in the Welsh capital.

Alexandra Park

Park in Penarth

Uniqueness and individuality was something that really stood out about Janice and all her artistic creations and performance. On the 24th of June 2003, Janice died at her home of a massive brain haemorrhage. She was aged just 50 when she passed over. Her ashes were scattered around a tree that was bought for her by friends and planted in Penarth’s Alexandra Park. No one who met Janice Pugsley will ever be able to forget her and she lives on in her artwork, songs and filmed performances.

Janice Pugsley talks to the Bard of Ely and plays two songs

An artist until the end

Janice Pugsley in her own words

The following words by Janice Pugsley are on a memorial plaque by Janice's tree in the park in Penarth. They express what she felt about herself and her role in life but hinting that she knew she wouldn't live that long. It is a sort of verbal self portrait and a prophecy.

"And I will be creative and artistic with my voice, 'til death.
And this life, do I part,
with my commitment to all this art.
An artist to the end in many ways
An artist's soul to the very grave.
And that is where I have almighty courage.
The courage to my artist's spirit to the very grave.
For I will die an artist in many ways.
An artist born and an artist made
And this is where I am linked with God.
For the art represents something of God
That I see with this vision."

By JEM Pugsley

Copyright © 2012 Steve Andrews. All Rights Reserved.

Janice Pugsley link

Updated: 01/21/2013, BardofEly
 
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