Have A Cigar: Peter Pracownik

Fantasy art and progressive music go hand in hand, but for Peter Pracownik, they’re simply a way of life. “I listen to music all the time when I’m painting,” he reveals. “I like to turn it up to 11 and paint away, especially if I’m doing dragons!”

He creates art with both brushes and guitar strings, having worked with the likes of Caravan, Hawkwind, Fairport Convention and Judy Dyble, but his journey started many years ago in a London squat. It was there he met graphic artist Barney Bubbles. “He was like the Haight-Ashbury type of artist,” recalls Pracownik, then known as ‘Mouse’. “I wanted to get to know him as I really wanted to capture the bright colours that he used.”

At the time, Pracownik was a gigging guitarist and hadn’t even considered being an artist, but in the late 80s, that all changed when his fantasy postcard range took off.

I like to turn the music up to 11 and paint away!

Since then, Pracownik has travelled all over the world with both his art and his music – he’s played with Hawkwind, Pink Fairies and Astralasia, among others – and he can usually be found signing album sleeves at the annual Cropredy Convention. He’s also illustrated tarot decks, book covers and designed jewellery, much of which features the Celtic symbols that have become his trademarks. “I read lots and I’m mad on history and archaeology,” he explains. “Every great artist uses symbols in their art – just look at the Pre-Raphaelites – and you can use them in fantasy worlds. Symbols are big in prog too because the music tells the story, like poetry.”

Many of these pieces can be found in his gallery-shop Another Green World, which opened in Tintagel, Cornwall in 2005. The unusual space is just a stone’s throw from Merlin’s legendary cave and also stocks fossils, music and officially licensed items.

Despite his impressive portfolio, Pracownik still has a wish list. “I’ve been wanting to work with Ian Anderson for a number of years,” he reveals. “I’ve been a big fan of him and Jethro Tull since day one. I remember watching them at the Isle of Wight in 1970 – it blew my brains. It was amazing!”

For gallery opening times, visit peterpracownik.com.

Natasha Scharf
Deputy Editor, Prog

Contributing to Prog since the very first issue, writer and broadcaster Natasha Scharf was the magazine’s News Editor before she took up her current role of Deputy Editor, and has interviewed some of the best-known acts in the progressive music world from ELP, Yes and Marillion to Nightwish, Dream Theater and TesseracT. Starting young, she set up her first music fanzine in the late 80s and became a regular contributor to local newspapers and magazines over the next decade. The 00s would see her running the dark music magazine, Meltdown, as well as contributing to Metal Hammer, Classic Rock, Terrorizer and Artrocker. Author of music subculture books The Art Of Gothic and Worldwide Gothic, she’s since written album sleeve notes for Cherry Red, and also co-wrote Tarja Turunen’s memoirs, Singing In My Blood. Beyond the written word, Natasha has spent several decades as a club DJ, spinning tunes at aftershow parties for Metallica, Motörhead and Nine Inch Nails. She’s currently the only member of the Prog team to have appeared on the magazine’s cover.